Project – Detailed Observation

Check and Log

1.  Which drawing media did you find most effective to use, for which effects?
Pencil for me was the most effective medium as it offers the most variety of tone and reliability of marks.

The ballpoint pen (a first drawing with such) is more subtle than I thought possible and it was possible to grade shading  though the size/intensity of dots was not easy to vary. However the dip pen was a bit on or off and the lack of gradation of tone has to be compensated by the variation in stippling.

2.  What sort of marks work well to create tone, pattern and texture? Make notes beside some sample marks.
Shading and dots works well to create tone, pattern and texture but I am not sympathetic to hatching. I agree it produces an effect that can be used to differentiate planes, textures etc. but it does not occur in real life and accordingly I consider it to be more decorative than natural.

3.  Did you enjoy capturing details or are you more at home creating big broad brush sketches?
I prefer producing detailed drawings and creating the minutiae as realistically as possible. Time consuming but very absorbing. I haven’t learned a “big broad brush” approach yet but whilst I can appreciate the talent of expressive or gestural drawing, I am not sure it’s for me.

4. Look at the composition of the drawings you have done in this project. Make some sketches and notes about how you could improve your composition
As all my drawings were of single objects, other than viewing angles I couldn’t have made a difference. It might be that more interesting angles could have been achieved – perhaps unstable or imbalanced situations.

Project – Detailed Observation

Exercise – Stipples and Dots


The object is a wave worn soft red brick, about an eighth part of a whole, which has had the sharp edges worn off.

The ballpoint pen drawing is reasonably accurate in shape. I used stippling where effective though a ballpoint is not particularly appropriate for this technique. Surprisingly this particular ballpoint produced some delicate lines.

Perhaps the drawing appears a bit flat.

Project – Detailed Observation

Exercise – Getting Tone and Depth in Detail


The drawing possibly hasn’t got the degree of hatching envisaged by the exercise or the intensity of the darkest tones correct. Apart from some near the edge markings there was not a lot of extreme contrasts

Most of the darker areas of the shell are fine hatching and not shading and whilst not an extreme dark they are dark enough bearing in mind that the shadows are the darkest areas.

However the wider/broader hatching on the left hand side of the shell does not work, it looks like fur. Likewise hatching the mouth of the shell doesn’t work. I could have done better with shading.

Experimenting with crosshatching for the shadows did not give the desired effect. The natural marks on the edges of the shell clashed with the shadow.

I do have a concern that use of cross-hatching or hatching rarely gives a realistic or natural effect. There is no hatching in nature. With the facility of different thicknesses and grades of lead a more representational effect can be readily produced.

Hoping that I might create a better drawing with a more linear object I also drew a second object – a 6” piece o driftwood.


I didn’t get the effect I wanted with the hatching and probably would have done better by using shading. I thought the natural striations and grain in the wood would be easier ro portray with hatching but the drawing has little depth.

Perhaps I would have done better with simple still life shapes. I found the textbooks lacking in good guidance on hatching, i.e. how to define shape and texture with hatching but a websearch turned up some good examples particularly Morandi.

The use of the putty rubber for highlights was limited in the drawing.

Project – Detailed Observation

Exercise – Line Drawing Detail


Unfortunately for the first line drawing, a section through a Chinese lettuce (Bok Choy), I overlooked the exercise instruction requiring “continuous lines” which obviously my lines are not and could not have been with this object. However I have included it. I had to put the dots in the leaf stalk sections as they and the voids, if blank, did not make the drawing realistic enough/sufficiently representational.


The second drawing, a section through a broccoli, is not as realistic as the first but is a continuous line drawing.

The limitations of the technique prevented me getting the overall shape correct and also creating some of the details.

However it’s OK and I doubt a second attempt would have been any better.