Part 2b – Detailed observation

This section of the course encourages you to look at the subject in various ways to understand and capture the object on paper.

Capturing pattern and studying thickness of line

One of the key things in drawing is to draw what is there and not what you think is there.  this might sound obvious, but from very young, every time we encounter a new object our brain catalogues it and stores away the details so that we can recognise it when we see it again.  Great idea, but with objects that we see every day like flowers and trees and people, we have a set pattern of how we think they look.  As an artist you have to discard what you think it should look like and draw the shapes that are there in front of you.  This means looking at the shapes, spaces between the shapes, shadows, tones and highlights and compare each with the other if you want to create a realistic representation.










This first exercise was about using line to create a simple line drawing.  The object of the exercise was to really look at the shapes and patterns.  I chose a pomegranate because I love the intricate patterns that the seeds make.  The fruit was on  a white tea-towel, but no shading was allowed, so I quite like the simple fold lines in the background.  I think they contrast well with the patterns in the seeds.

Getting tone and depth in detail

This exercise was about building up dark, medium and light tones.  Primarily the brief specified hatching and cross-hatching as the technique, which is why I chose to have my shells sitting on a towel.  I wanted to capture the softness of the towel and short strokes following the direction of the pile worked very well.









I used HB, 3b and 9b graphite pencils, a putty rubber and a torchon/blender to produce the piece. The sharp 9b was used to strengthen the darker areas with more strokes closer together while the 3b supplied the mid tones.  I blended the stitching band across the bottom of the towel and areas of the shells with the pencils and torchon. Finally I lifted out some of the highlights on the shells and towel edging with a putty rubber.

Stipples and dots

For this exercise another interesting object was used to explore the possibilities of mark making with a biro.

I chose an artichoke and placed it on a tea-towel, one of the ‘Glass-cloth’ types.  I chose the artichoke because I felt that the arrangement of the leaves provided an interesting pattern and the glass-cloth because I wanted to depict the patterns, lettering and dimples in the weave.










I love the T towel in this piece, but I feel that the artichoke gets a little lost.  In hindsight I think that there is probably too much work in the tea towel and too little in the artichoke!

Maybe I should return to this piece and do more work on the artichoke leaves.

My observations

Of the three pieces I enjoyed Shells the most probably because of the challenge of creating a realistic looking towel; plus I enjoy pencil drawing very much.  However, the biro comes a close second.  I love the pointillist –type work and again the depiction of the tea-towel.  I also enjoyed the results of the line-drawing exercise, especially the juxtaposition of the simple background against the complex seed patterns.

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