For this exercise I was to select an object with interesting detail such as a sliced through red cabbage or a fir cone. Then on a sheet of A4 paper create a line drawing of the object that I set up, taking time and effort to really look at the patterning, thickness of line, texture and shape of the overall composition. The brief also said that I was to position the drawing well on the paper and fill the paper effectively with a continuous line drawing and no shading which is what I TRIED to do…
I made a few attempts at this with two different subjects, both of which were green peppers but in the Bangkok heat they go off pretty quick. With the first pepper every attempt was a continuous drawing with minimum detail, I used the thick nib of a double tipped felt pen and although the subject fit well on the paper, I didn’t give it a strong enough light source to pick up all the detail and too be honest the finished drawings at that line thickness all looked somewhat pathetic.
I gave it a week with another exercise in between before I had another go at this exercise. Visually the drawings with the second subject look a lot better, I used the finer nib of the felt pen and this time after I completed what I could do continuously without taking my pen off the paper I decided to add the detail which were the ribs on the inside of the pepper that I could see from wisely using a light source this time.
I probably did go a bit overboard and it does look like I have had a go at shading the object but this is all down to the closeness off the lines on the inside of the pepper. However I am quite happy with the results.
The thing that I am not happy with however is the positioning on the paper and how much space I left to the sides and underneath it. When drawing an object such as a pepper with a very irregular shape I think it’s best if you know where to start, in Image A above I started at the core just above the seeds. With Image B I started at the tip of the stem Starting near the center of the image was better with this object but that would differ with something like a cabbage.
Which of the media you have experimented with did you find the most expressive?
From experimenting with the different colour media in this exercise I would probably say at this stage that the oil pastel is the most expressive. Oil pastels seem to allow more sketchy fluid strokes and seems to work well with all the techniques that I have practised so far.
Which medium do you think lends itself to more detailed work?
From what I have seen so far I would say coloured pencils as well as ball point pen but then again I do not think I have worked with nib pens and ink enough at this stage to dismiss these as a medium for more detailed drawings
I originally had the idea to to use traditional Buddhist items for this part of the assignment such as yellow cloth, a candlestick, temple type money box and did go out and purchase them. The medium I chose for the original composition was coloured pencil, but as I laid down watching the girlfriend iron in front of the electric fan with the white wall of my apartment I had a better idea.
I wanted to show something about my life in Thailand and I felt that the new objects set out in the right composition would describe my life perfectly, a normal working-class life in a tropical country. With 13 years in the country and the last few years living alone I knew these objects intimately but the fan would prove to be something of a challenge..
I began with composition studies in my A3 sketchbook, I found it difficult to come up with more than two variations as I was locked into how i felt the objects should be presented from the start. How every I did vary the composition slightly with the iron laying down in the first composition which I think was actually my first idea and then the iron stood up proudly in the second. The ironing board was lifted up on the table and I was almost laid down drawing the second composition sketch which I liked so much that I decided this would be the one to develop and decided that I would be there for a while so raised the ironing board higher with the ironing board on top of a table on top of another table. We had to do without a place to eat for the next few days.
At this stage I did things a little bit in reverse with the composition studies just finished I decided to develop the composition in pencil to get a feel of how it would look in that medium before looking at others. One of the main reasons for doing so was being insecure about whether or not I would be able to demonstrate the techniques especially pencil holding techniques that I had practiced in the first part of this course. I then concentrated on enlarging the image by drawing a grid over the top of the composition ready for enlarging for the finished drawing.
At this stage I was still not so sure about what medium I would use for the finished drawing, so as instructed on an A2 sheet I practiced with colour pencils and charcoal.
Charcoal would have been great for the towel and even the water bottle and possibly the iron but on an A2 sheet which I was planning to use this medium proved itself too messy for the electric fan. I did love the way the water bottle looked in charcoal though, rather like stencil street art. Colour pencil wasn’t too bad but didn’t look solid enough for me, I was still trying to get practice with this medium and didn’t feel like I could carry it off in any other medium than graphite pencil and so that was my final decision.
At this stage i decided the composition still needed more work and moved the squirty bottle further in to create less negative space to fill the rectangle shape of the paper. The layout of the fan was very technical it helped that there was no front on it but still took well over an hour and a compass and ruler for the cage. After everything was sketched out my insecurity about not being able to show the various techniques that I practiced in the first part of the course disappeared as I got into it, swapping between 3B and 4B pencils using different pencil holding techniques and several different forms of hatching.
The squirty bottle was pretty straight forward and quite easy to show tone and form on…eventually after I managed to get the shoulders of the bottle right after several goes, as I had moved the bottle in since the composition development work. This was completed mainly by hatching and cross hatching.
The iron allowed me to use several different drawing techniques including hatching, smudging and drawing the patterns on the blade with a putty rubber. However the shape of the iron varies slightly from the photo above I was having double vision when it came to the iron as my left eye is quite bad but refused to work from the photo.
The towel and the ironing board itself allowed me to draw with texture using short, lines dots and a putty rubber on the towel to dry and fluff it up and cross hatching for cloth ironing board cover.
I’m satisfied that I have managed to make reference to most of the aspects of drawing that have been covered in the first part of the course in this part of my assignment from holding pens and pencils to enlarging an image. Drawing the fan allowed me to demonstrate different pencil holding techniques, the bottle allowed me to demonstrate tone and form while the iron allowed me to show both tonal variation as well as reflected light on the blade. The towel was also a great idea which I originally added to raise the iron and didn’t realise it would help me to demonstrate techniques for drawing with texture.
For this project of ‘Enlarging an Image‘ I was instructed in the course materials that I needed two acetate grids, one with small squares across it and the other with large squares printed on it.
As instructed I went out and bought a roll of acetate and card and made myself two acetate grids, one small and one big and glued them to card so I could use them as view finders. I managed to slice my finger open with a Stanley knife while making the big one so you can see the dodgy line where the CD marker hit the big chunky bandage.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to use them as I didn’t really need to because I was also instructed to draw a grid with an HB pencil over the small image, where as I could have placed the small grid over the image in my A5 sketchbook instead; but I can see they will be getting plenty of use in the future. The size of the squares on the small grid are 2cm, the size of the squares on the large grid are 4cm, I think I also need to make those 2cm as well.
Have you discovered any new ways of using your drawing tools to depict surface and texture?
Not as much as I wished I had, there were a few things that I couldn’t find here in this part of Bangkok such as a chunky sponge, I would have loved to have tried dripping or splashing ink for the texture of this. However I did discover new ways of hatching for as in the the fur of the teddy bear, hatching with small strokes in flowing patterns. I also discovered new ways of using my putty rubber to show texture such as twisting for the mop rug underneath my composition.
How successful were you at implying form with little or no tonal hatching?
I seemed to use some kind of hatching for nearly everything except the mop rug. The technique that I used to depict the mop strings (as I would call them) showed real depth. This was a mixture of squiggles, circles smudging and twisting with a putty rubber and it worked well.
What are your impressions of frottage as a drawing technique?
I really love the idea of using this as a drawing technique and I love the way that a surface of one thing can give you a totally different result to what you thought it would and how something as simple as the joint of 4 breeze blocks can give you an idea for a drawing of a crucifixion or graveyard scene. The best thing about frottage is that you can use it for texture in drawing you are already working on or it can give you an idea for a new drawing.
This exercise was aimed to give me further practice in enlarging original drawing with a slightly more complicated structure. For this exercise I chose a fancy jar of face cream (borrowed from my girlfriend), a roll on deodorant and a plastic Nasol bottle.
To get familiar with the objects I did a quick 3 minute drawing of each one before putting them together for the composition in my A5 sketchbook. This helped me to recognise problem areas on the objects such as the top of the Nasol bottle that would have looked a mess too wide or too narrow.
As in the previous exercise ‘ Enlarging an Existing Image’ I drew the composition of three objects in my A5 sketchbook and drew a grid of 2 cm squares over the top of the composition with an HB pencil. Just as in the previous exercise I labeled the squares by writing numbers across the top and letters down the right hand side to stop any confusion to which squares I would be drawing in.
From there I drew a grid of 3 cm squares in my A4 sketchbook, again moving the composition up the page by taking away the A row in the grid then reproduced the drawing on a larger scale.
Again, I really loved this exercise it was so simple and easy, I erased the odd line due to points of contact on the grid being slightly wrong, but the results of drawing these 3 objects were actually better than in the first object. I think this was down to viewing all three at once rather than trying to look for faults on the angles and curves of one single object.
For this exercise I drew a thumbnail drawing of my favourite coffee cup roughly 10 cm square in my small A5 sketchbook, which I’ve barely put to use so was good to fill a page or 2. Once I had finished the thumbnail drawing I drew a grid of 2 cm squares with an HB pencil over my thumbnail sketch.
In my A4 sketchbook I drew 3 cm squares, deciding they were a perfect size for this object on this size paper, with a larger more detailed composition I would have probably needed smaller squares in both sketchbooks.
To make it easier for myself to identify which squares I would be drawing in I labelled the squares with letters down the left hand side and numbers across the top. However the drawing was quite low in my A5 sketchbook so in my A4 sketchbook I started at B instead of A lifting the drawing up 1 square.
I loved this ‘Enlarging an Existing Image’ exercise, it was like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle but a hell of a lot easier and as the squares weren’t that big quite easy to judge where a line curves or which point of the grid they would meet. Admittedly I did do a little bit of rubbing out with an eraser but not that much.
For this exercise I was determined to get outside and draw so I took a few objects with different surfaces onto the balcony and tried them in different compositions. Originally I planned to use objects that I used in the ‘Experimenting with Texture‘ exercise and what I had in mind was a reel of red and white string, a Siamese football, a mesh dishcloth, mop mitten and a teddy bear so moved them around in different composition to see how they looked. After much thought I headed down to the shop to buy some money type bags and cotton wool and came up with the following composition.
Because of the texture of the mop mat I chose graphite stick on watercolour paper to complete this exercise and started out with some more experimenting to see how each object would look.
I must have not been myself that day because I did a quick sketch of each objects texture with a soft graphite stick and thought everything looked great so grabbed my drawing board and went ahead with the drawing.
I wasn’t too worried about perspective as it was about depicting the texture rather than anything else. The drawing took me no time at all and when I had finished I packed up, confident that I had done great. I must have been in some kind of trance because when I woke up the next day I looked at again and realised not only did the drawing look awful but was too smudged and I had done a bad job in depicting any texture that was in the composition apart from the woven basket. So I made the decision to change the medium and the paper and start again.
This time I did something I had never done before, instead of drawing everything first and then going over it again with texture and detail the only thing I drew in advance was the shape of the bears head and completed the rest of the picture stroke by stroke, The drawing took me quite a few hours and due to not drawing the outlines of the objects first the perspective was off but again I wasn’t too worried about the perspective.
Medium used: graphite pencil – b, hb, 2b, 4b, 7b and white hard pastel
Paper: A3 Canson drawing paper
Teddy Bear – Small flowing hatching
Bears clothes – cross hatching
Woven Basket – hatching, smudging
Mop Mat – loops, circles, smudging, putty rubber (twisting)
Cotton wool balls – hatching, smudging
Cotton wool in plastic bag – putty rubber (twisting and erasing lines) and hatching
I changed the length of the mat as it did get a bit tedious but I am happy I got to show the depth of the mat, my only regrets are 1, that I didn’t get to do the drawing in a different medium such as pen and 2, I didn’t leave the cotton wool in the plastic bag the colour of the paper instead of trying to use a white medium which got a bit messy as I tried a few on the actual drawing before using fixative and going over in white pastel which still looks cream.
The technique of Frottage was invented by Max Ernst in 1925 and involves placing paper over a rough surface such as grained wood and rubbing with a crayon or pencil. In this exercise I experimented with the technique of Frottage (which I always thought was just called rubbing) to see what kind of patterns and textures rubbing over certain surfaces gave me.
Up until this exercise I had done all of the coursework in my apartment and most of it at night, due to early evenings and work finishing times, this was a great opportunity to get outside and do something in the daylight.
Armed with charcoal and pencils I headed out to the swimming pool to experiment on tree bark, stone-chip floors and wooden sun chairs only to find that the paper in my new sketchbook was too thick or too rough and it wasn’t giving me any patterns/texture whatsoever.
It was another day before I finally got going on this exercise or should I say the next evening (fated to working at night) I took some pages out of my small sketch book, a white paper with less tooth and started with charcoal.
I tried the technique on stone chip floor, my apartment door, floor and even the draining board and then again with different colour crayons before heading downstairs to the lobby,
Unfortunately the bark of the trees outside did not give me good results which was both surprising and disappointing and down to the bark being very smooth (difficult to find great trees in Thailand). I did get some nice rubbings off other surfaces though including the joint of a breeze block wall, which looking at it now resembles a crucifix in the sunshine but the best results using both charcoal and coloured crayon were got from the grain of the wooden door of my apartment with different panels giving me different patterns.
In this exercise I gathered together a a range of objects with different surfaces, some I bought and some I already had. The objects that I used were a takraw (Siamese football), shaggy teddy bear, a towel, mop mitten and Scotch-Brite brillow sponge as well as a woven basket, PVC chair, wire wool, toilet roll and leather Lay-Z-Boy (not the whole thing) plus a couple of other different surfaces.
In my sketchbook I made a series of approximately 5 cm squares and used both pens and pencils to depict the textures in the squares. To depict the surfaces I used several different techniques such as hatching (takraw ball), irregular hatching squiggles and stippling (Scotch-Brite sponge) and very short hatching (towel) as well as some very irregular marks for my leather look PVC chair and the creases in the arms of my Lay-Z-Boy armchair. I also tried stippling with felt tips for a toilet roll tube but I could not get it to look anything like.
One surface that created something of a challenge was the shaggy teddy bear fur and so I chose this as well as the woven basket for the exercise ‘A Drawing with Textures’.