Project 1, Exercise 2: Emphasising form with cloth

This is the very first time I have drawn a live model sitting in front of me. My photography skills of my art is not great, and it’s a much better drawing to look at in person. When I sat in front of my sister to draw her I was initially a little overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to start, and I was worried it would end up looking awful. I started putting marks on the page, telling myself nobody had to see this drawing, this was for me to break that first barrier of drawing people. And I really enjoyed it. I tried to keep my focus on the fabric and clothing.

dais

Positives

  • I barely used a rubber and just continued drawing line after line, working over the incorrect lines quickly and trying not to overthing. Interestingly, the one place I did use an eraser was whilst drawing the facial features, and I didn’t even really need to bother with those anyway.
  • I didn’t completely and perfectly finish her feet, as she moved and adjusted them constantly throughout, crossing then uncrossing them. She was wearing very intricately knitted fluffy socks and I decided not to draw that detail as I thought it would detract the viewers eye from the main focus. I like how the unfinished aspect of it hints at movement.
  • The position of my model is natural and not awkwardly placed, she looks comfortable and it represents my sisters personality, listening to music, slouched on a chair.
  • I struggled initially with the foreshortening of the legs but I reminded myself to just draw what I see and not what my mind wanted to draw, and it ultimately worked out well.

Improvements:

  • I only used one single HB pencil and should have used a much wider variety of shades up to 8B, which would definitely have helped in creating even more depth and detail in the folds of the clothes.
  • I have almost completely ignored perspective in regards to the chair, and there are two parallel straight lines of the chair where she sits, as opposed to those two lines converging together into the background to create depth.
  • I could have included the feet of the chair to ground and neatly finish the drawing.
  • In regards to proportion, I should definitely have spend more time checking measurements against each other, in general they are fairly accurate but I didn’t constantly check using the pencil and thumb method.
  • I could definitely have made even more of the movement of the feet. I like the idea of drawing the feet over and over on the same page but in different positions to show that she was fidgety in that area.

Project 1 Exercise 1: Drawing fabric using line and tone

I have taken this new section of the course as a fresh start! I began by doing some background reading and research on the basics of figure drawing, something I wish to incorporate more into my blog, discussing art documentaries and books that interest me, developing my knowledge outside of the required coursework and assignments.

The first exercise asked us to throw a length of fabric over a chair, and make two 15 minute sketches, each focusing on either line or tone, drawing the folds and creases within.

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I started off this first sketch in pencil and then went over it in ballpoint pen. I I think if I were to do this again I wouldn’t outline the stool underneath the fabric, instead use pencil, and only use pen on the lines of the fabric to make it stand out more. I used hints of shading just to give some depth, but it would also have worked with pure, crisp lines.

fabric-on-chair

For this, I focused on tone, and one part that I feel works successfully is the contrast between the the background and fabric. The hint of shadow behind the material is obvious and could definitely be enhanced more. This drawing feels a lot looser and has a completely different atmosphere to the first, even though it’s the same object. I’m learning slowly but surely that the choice of medium makes a huge difference in how your final drawing comes across. It’s not as finely detailed or accurate, but overall has a great sketchy quality to it. Although I rushed the stool and its not perfect, for example the back right leg is completely tilted and wonky, it could easy be adjusted and wasn’t the focus of the exercise.

I found it a lot easier to create volume in the folds of fabric using pencil in the tonal drawing rather than when I was using line and pen. Using shadows, dark crevices and white highlights really adds to the idea of depth, which really adds to the realism of a sketch and I’m finding my confidence is really growing in my accurate use of tone.

folds-in-fabric

I then got an A3 piece of paper and drew six boxes, filling each one with a small cross section of fabric detail. Iused a variety of mediums such as ballpoint pen, charcoal and pencil in a variety of shades from HB to 8B. I wish I had used intense dark ink as a medium as well. I definitely spent a little longer than 5 minutes on each but I felt like the extra time was beneficial, I didn’t want to compromise quality for the sake of rushing. Perhaps a way to tackle my slow and steady approach to art would be to now push myself to do quicker sketches of fabric since I know what I am capable of doing in a longer time period. Practice and repetition, even if pages of drawings get scrapped in the process.

Numbering each box from 1-3 and then 4-6, left to right, I feel like box 1 is the most successful, due to the incredible contrast from the dark background and the light fabric, it works really well. I gained confidence as I drew more and more, improving by adding darker tones and using a wider range of tonal values.

Objectively, number 4 is the least successful but still works as an interesting patterned drawing in its own right. It stands separate from the rest, I used ballpoint pen and some charcoal to shade. I am trying to push myself slightly out my comfort zone with different media, but if I were to do it again I would definitely have done more of a ‘line drawing’ with the ballpoint pen, and completed a separate drawing with charcoal as they give different atmospheres.

Assignment 3 – Final Piece

final

For this image I used pastels and A2 paper.

Positives

  • I really like how dramatic this image is, compared to the more subtle preliminary A2 drawing I completed. It’s a much darker, polished image.
  • The perspective is mostly accurate and I used horizon lines and vanishing points to get these complex buildings as correct as possible.
  • There is good use of tone and the light source is clear.
  • I used colour effectively, blending tones and highlights and shadows well.

Improvements

  • I wish I had had a little more tonal variety and detail in the foliage, I went straight in with dark colours and wish more light was visible.
  • I don’t think the first long house works. The actual reality of the windows etc of the building felt ever so slightly too complex for me to confidently draw but I wonder if I oversimplified it. In my preliminary drawings however I included obvious dividing line, as they are two semi detached houses and I omitted them here, which I would definitely change. Perhaps I should have brought the foliage up into the centre of the building and used that to indicate a divide.
  • In the first building I didn’t give the roof enough of a ‘guttering system’ or ‘lip’, overlapping the wall slightly, which I would in the future.
  • The composition of my assignment has interesting perspective, but the horizon line is right in the middle of the page. If I were to redo this, I would definitely move it down slightly to the lower third.

Compared to my smaller A4 drawings, I learnt that I tend to tighten up and hesitate when working on a large paper. This is why I like using pastel as it feels looser then

Assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

My observational skills have grown so much as an artist. I have learnt too see the world around me far more creatively. I think I have shown improvement in certain mediums, such as with graphite pencil and pastel, giving a strong foundation but I need to keep up that standard when adding colour or other mediums as well. I also would like to create more watercolour pencil drawings and develop those skills. For me, I feel like perspective has been the most technically challenging for me to learn so far, but with constant practice I am slowly getting to grips with it.My design skills could definitely be improved, I need to start looking at the bigger picture and the entire image as a whole rather than the individual detailed parts.

Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner with discernment (good judgement).

I feel I have vastly improved my knowledge of perspective, considering I had never learnt about it in depth in the past, and applied my use of horizon lines and vanishing points well in most of my drawings, even if its not compositionally perfect, it is still mostly technically accurate. Although this outdoors part of the course has been difficult in its content as I cannot just go to the woods on a whim, it has opened my eyes to the fact so many wonderful views are right outside my door, I don’t need to travel, I just need to open my eyes and look. I have grown and developed from searching reference images on the internet, to actually using the resources around me such as my own garden and street.

Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, interpretation, invention, personal voice.

This is still an aspect I could’t quite push to the limits in the final assignment, since I was so focused on getting it technically accurate. In my sketchbook I have a few images I am so proud of and feel like have an indication of my own personal voice and creativity, such as Study of a townscape using line. Since I didn’t rigidly stick to the exercise brief word for word and let myself be free and instinctive in what I was doing, it came out so effortlessly creative, and I need to harness that more. I need to take the exercises and run with them, pushing them and adapting them instead of seeing them as rigid boxes I have to complete.

Context – reflection, research, learning log.

I slowly feel like I am making my learning log more concise and relevant, using bullet points and clear ‘to dos’ that I can look back on at any time and get inspiration. I am trying to turn away from long rambling paragraphs that are daunting to read again and also make more of a conscious effort to reread old posts and keep remembering the things I wrote so my art can be the best it can be. I find the research really interesting, however I could spend more time actually incorporating that research into my actual drawings and producing more images influenced by other peoples styles.

Assignment 3: Preliminary drawings

This assignment asked us to draw an outdoor scene of our choice that incorporated perspective and foliage. I had two possible ideas.

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Sketch 1

2

Sketch 2

I completed these two A4 sketches, as contrasting first draft ideas for my final assignment. Each of these focuses on a different aspect of foliage or perspective. Although I am very proud of the first, and it has interesting and dramatic lighting and I would definitely like to do a larger scale drawing of it, the second would show my technical abilities at perspective a little better and push me slightly out of my comfort zone, and so I ultimately focused on that as my final image. I find it a lot easier to draw small scale with coloured pencil, but the more large drawings I complete the more confident I will get.

Improvements for sketch 2 –

  • The windows on the nearest house are awkward and unnatural
  • The outlining in pen doesn’t work and does not give the effect I would want, it needs a softer, more gradual indication of tone.
  • I am not sure if the autumn tree branches decorating the top of the image look particularly realistic, and so may remove them if I cannot make them more ‘realistic’, although it wonderfully contrasts the man made buildings.

3

I started making notes of the detail and elements I wanted to include in this image. I decided it would be landscape as it would exaggerate the natural linear perspective aspect of it, as well as . I also am going to focus more on linear perspective, since the more urban landscaping lean themselves more to keeping the natural colour of the houses as opposed to fading them out to blues like a greener more foliage based landscape.

4

This is definitely the type of drawing I am the most accurate and detailed with, simplifying an otherwise large and confusing and just drawing a single element of it really helps me pull out what’s important and produce the best final result. There is a small porch over the door and I couldn’t get the perspective right, so decided to eliminate it from the final drawing.I also tried a dark red door, and adding white over the top to indicate windows. It created a great contrast in tone, but ultimately decided to keep the light, bright and modern style of the house and have a glass door instead.

one

I used an A3 piece of paper to create a rough mock drawing and practice the perspective. I did this lightly in coloured pencil so I could get some detail and precision.

Positives:

  • I really like the foliage and the colour choices of the houses, and the perspective pencil underdrawing is incredibly accurate.
  • The detail in the windows are accurate, I feel confident using coloured pencil in small detailed areas.

Improvements:

  • I struggle to cover large areas of paper with coloured pencil smoothly as I always end up with uneven textures and marks.
  • The tonal values aren’t exaggerated enough and the overall feel of the image is a little weak and unfinished, especially the road and pavement.
  • The colour of the sky is an awkward mixture of pencil and pastel, at some points coming off a little too vibrant and fake. I should definitely have blended the clouds better as well.
  • I could have done with adding more detail, for example chimneys and small trees in the background, otherwise it looks ‘middle heavy’ with lots of detail in the centre and then nothing at the top and bottom.

tw-o

In order to check I was making the right decision, I created a larger version of the first sketch. Although the use of shadow and sunlight is interesting, ultimately I think I could definitely create a more dynamic and complex image.

Improvements

  • The bare branches of the trees could be far more realistic and compositionally positioned, filled with leaves or made vastly bigger and fuller, as they look childish and singular here.
  • The positioning of some of the shadows are slightly inaccurate, especially the one coming off the solitary  foreground tree.
  • I would absolutely move the horizon line higher on the page, as it feels like its along the centre of the paper and the shadow could be far more dramatic and elongated.
  • The perspective of the fence could be improved, and could do with being darker and stronger. It feels like it is part of a completely different drawing. I thought using coloured pencil would help me get that intricate detail, but it just seems too stylistically contrasting to the rich pastel foliage.

This confirmed that I am going to draw the second sketch instead, the road of houses, for my final piece.

Project 5, Exercise 4 – Statues

The sport Rugby was invented in my home town. Pupil at Rugby School, William Webb Ellis disregarded the rules of traditional football, and on one occasion picked up the ball and ran with it. This ultimately lead to the creation of the new sport, and we have a large statue commemorating him.

statue

I am incredibly pleased with this particular drawing. It boosted my confidence in my own abilities and I enjoyed drawing it.

There was a lot of detail in the background behind this statue, a huge grand building stood and I made the decision to have a completely blank background as I felt it would detract from the focus on the detailed statue. Too much complex information would confuse the viewer and the equal balance of blank and detailed space works extremely well.

Positives

  • Excellent depth and shading, showing shadows and creases. I tried to look at tones in relation to each other, comparing sections constantly to each other so I had reference points as to which areas were darkest and lightest.
  • Not too many harsh outlines, I focused on marshaling the various tones within the image together to create a blended and coherent yet
  • Good proportions in the body. Considering this is the first time I have properly drawn an entire body, I feel like its very accurate.

Improvements:

  • The facial features aren’t perfect, I’ve drawn a slightly inverted chin and lips that could be a lot more precise, and the skull shape could be more rounded.The nose could also be ever so slightly elongated.
  • Whilst the trouser cuff on the leg touching the floor looks correct, on the other, raised leg it seems ever so slightly off and could be readjusted.
  • The shape of the rugby ball is just slightly off, its too much like an egg.

 

I would like to continue drawing this statue again from multiple perspectives in my sketchbook, for example a really dramatically lit image with extreme blacks contrasting with bright whites, or from an exaggerated perspective looking up at the statue and emphasising its height, various quick line drawings in ink and detailed pencil drawings like this. The more familiar you become with a subject the easier it is to draw the next time. This has definitely given me a boost to draw more bodies and people, making me even more excited for part 4, the figure and face.

Project 5, Exercise 3 – A limited palette study

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I decided to develop the drawing of my house for this exercise. Although in this particular image I haven’t incorporated things such as perspective using other buildings, the main focus for this was the limited colour scheme of sanguine, black and white. I have attempted to use sanguine before but never effectively, and I found that adding the other colours definitely helped. I followed the instructions, drawing the strongest verticals, then diagonals, then detail, and colour, then depth. This is a really useful guide I can generally follow in future drawings, as I sometimes work on the detail or depth far too early on. This has a very different atmosphere to my sketchbook pages, and I’m really trying to find my style.

Positives

  • I really like the simplistic illustrative feel of this, it has a soft glow to it.
  • It is extremely  in its proportions and underlying structure. There is a huge hint of tonal contrast in the tree and rooftops especially.
  • The colours work really well and are blended together skillfully
  • The clouds in the sky are fluffy and I worked quick and lightly to give it a fresh spontaneous feel.
  • I used more textured canvas paper, as I have only ever worked on smooth before, I am determined to step outside my comfort zone and try new things and develop as an artist constantly.

Improvements

  • The brightest section of this image appears to be the tree trunk, and I should definitely have dulled it down slightly and added some more interesting wood detail.
  • The path and road don’t work at all. It feels so unfocused and fuzzy and actually at completely the wrong angle as the path seemingly travels into the bushes. To rectify it I would definitely try and make it sharper and straighter, blanking it out with white to start again, then use charcoal to make a more defined kerb in the lower third, with a wide dark path and a lighter road. Shading and highlighting is so important in giving depth to this.
  • The foliage on the tree isn’t quite perfect. I should have started with a mid tone grey all over, then given depth with a black and white instead of starting with the black. It has a very cartoon feel to it and doesn’t quite portray its light dangly leaves or wispy appearance.
  • The entire image is extremely heavily outlined which ultimately gives it a very childlike finish, I need to remember tones and blend the edges of the house more. I think I sometimes struggle to think about and include every aspect of art previously covered in this course, in a single image. For example my tonal values slip if I’m focusing on colour, etc. I need to just keep reminding myself of past lessons and techniques, especially when I’m learning new things, and slowly the repetition will stick in my brain and it will simply be second nature to look at the shadows and dramatic light or use a certain colour or not draw heavy outlines etc.

There is an adequate sense of depth in this image, especially in areas such as the rooftops. It could definitely have been improved and made more consistent however. As there were no other buildings to use perspective and fade into the background, the shading on the house is the way to show it, and the brickwork could have done with being a lot more defined instead of just one block colour and outlined in black

Ultimately, I learnt that sometimes restricting yourself to certain colours can actually enhance your art. It stops that overwhelming feeling of having to choose, for example, the ‘perfect’ shade of green when you are midway through a drawing. It stops your page becoming cluttered with clashing colours and it forces you to think creatively, not just copying exactly whats in front of you but putting your own stamp on an image. I definitely want to try and experiment with some simple colour palettes in my sketchbook and learn which ones go especially well together. I am fascinated by colour so I would love to purchase some books on the subject to learn even more. .

Project 5 Exercise 2 – Study of a townscape using line.

We were asked to go into town and draw a double page spread of a townscape view, using line. I had so much fun creating this. Since it was in my sketchbook I felt free and didn’t worry too much about it being perfect. I knew I could turn the page and start over.

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I used ink, a kebab stick and a small amount of white paint to create this. I started off with a simple but accurate pencil drawing of the underlying sketch, adding some shading and then using the ink and kebab stick to complete the study, adding white paint over both dry and wet ink to see how it reacted. I learnt that the colour goes grey if you mix it wet, and it goes blue if you put it over dry. I also started to use a pallet knife to get a rough, loose effect overall.

I have learnt that I just need to treat every piece of work I do as a practice piece and that fear to mess up will go, and I will feel so much more freedom. I realise now that with assignments especially, I put pressure on myself to create the best work ever, which ultimately hinders rather than benefits me as I then play it so safe my final image doesn’t work. I have learnt that I need to take assignments as extended creative exercises and worry far more about the process than the final outcome.

Positives

  • I really like how there are some blank areas in this. I think white spaces are so vital in art, to allow the viewer to fill in the gaps themselves. If you present someone with a fully perfect, neat picture, is there really anything to look at? You don’t have to do any work as a viewer, and people naturally feel more connected to works they have to put some effort themselves into.
  • I think the slightly uneven, hand-drawn and imperfect nature of these marks really give the image character and fresh uniqueness.
  • I was extremely experimental and tried so many new techniques just to see how it turned out, and my creativity was free.
  • Good variety of tone, and extremely accurate to the subject. I have really tried hard to improve my use of tone and looking at the whole picture.
  • I put a lot of theoretical knowledge put into use, for example perspective, and a clear fore and background.

Improvements

  • There are two trees on both the right and left. They are inverted mirrors of each other, one white on a black background and one black on a white background. I struggled figuring out how to accurately draw trees with ink so tried two different techniques, one including white paint and a palette knife and one with just ink and a kebab skewer. I am confident drawing trees in pencil and pastel now but need to practice in even more mediums.
  • Although this has such character as a more abstract piece, its not a perfect and accurate study of a townscape using line. It definitely started off as that but I just had such inspiration to keep going it developed into something completely else. I wish I had taken a photograph of the early stages and documented its journey before I added so many tonal values.

I finally feel like I am at a place where my hard work and repetition is slowly paying off in my art, I am developing and learning and since my last assignment feedback, have been more conscious.

My preliminary drawings gave me enough confidence in depicting the area, but as they really only focused on smaller areas with detail, I could really have done with drawing even larger areas on one page and becoming more comfortable with drawing more complex and vast areas of townscapes.

To develop this image further I really think this would work well as almost abstract painting in black, white and grey,  more finished, polished, and even more dynamic. A set of two, three or more individual paintings that compromise of a larger picture together is such an interesting concept to me.