Thursday, 26 February 2015

Project 3: Detailed observation of natural objects

Exercise 1: Using markers or dip pens

First I tried pen and ink drawing of objects on moss-and-soil covered stone. I found that it was difficult to get very bright colours of ink from the selection I had, and mixing colours made them even duller.

The composition, of three objects about the same size on a flat background was rather boring too.

This was when I decided to try using marker pens instead
of ink. It was much more sharp and bright, as suggested
in the course work instructions.

This was one I did to try to get more detail
and three dimensional interest

Then I started some more focussed thinking about composition. In particular, what do you do about background if you are drawing natural objects. My initial thought of a mossy stone didn't do so well, partly because of the lack of contrast between it and the objects, and partly because it was rather flat, so didn't hold them up 
in an interesting juxtaposition.

So I decided to put my objects into a plain bowl.This gave it a thrown together look, which allowed shadows and relationships between the objects.

Sketches in marker pen of different compositions and backgrounds for the natural objects.
It was obvious to me, looking at the compositions, that the emphasis would be on different things with different arrangements, and I have made notes of that. However, it was also obvious that using marker pens for these sketches did not show what I was interested in, so the rest of the sketches were done in pencil.
This was a closer focus on the objects
inside the bowl, with the stalk snaking over the top third.
The wavy line and shells are a classic combination,
and they give an interesting contrast to the plain eggshells

By this time I had decided that a bowl was the way to support them, and that broken eggs were going to be the main part of the group of objects.

Vertical composition
I like their texture and the contrast between the smooth shell and the jagged broken edges, and between the orange-brown outside as opposed to the pale mauve inside.

This was the objects in a bowl, with stalks
falling across. I liked this, but the stalk
at the bottom didn't work so well.

Trying out different shapes of paper, I wanted to see the effect of having more weight and detail at the bottom and less at the top of a taller page.

This was good, but had the effect of losing the attention on the eggs.

I then tried a flatter rectangle, which lost some of the interest altogether.

Horizontal composition

Mixing marker pens

I decided to go with the original layout, with closer focus but showing all or most of the supporting bowl, in a square format. The two stalks were to be arranged so that they were both in the middle section, allowing the shadows to add interest to the right hand side.

My last sketchbook work for this exercise was to try out combinations of marker pen to see the range of colours available to me.

Drawing for Exercise 1: Still life with broken eggs
Marker pens

Exercise 2: Detail and simple line

Mushroom drawn with black felt pen without lifting pen from paper

Exercise 3: Detail & Tone

Still life of natural objects

Which drawing media did you find most useful for which effects?
For making objects seem solid - pencil and colour.
I was surprised at how the marker picture turned out - I thought it would look a lot more flat - strong colour blocks intensify the shaping effect of light and shade.
Crosshatching worked well to give shape and detail. Not so good for contrast - might use watercolour pencils to give more contrast of tone.

What sort of marks work well to create tone, pattern and texture?
Combinations in layers give more depth to texture.
Pattern looks good in plain ink lines.
I didn't use frottage for any of these, but it would have been useful for the shell or avocado skin.
Thinking about negative space has helped to shape all these objects, and their markings.

Look at the composition of the drawings you've done in this projects. Makes some notes about how you might create more interesting compositions.
I have an urge to frame things. I don't think this is necessarily a good thing, and I tried in the last drawing to just lay them out and not frame them. The effect of this was to make them look a bit flat and without purpose. I don't feel particularly confident that I know how to do this, to make the background work. I think I just have to try a variety of solutions, and perhaps copy some classic ones, so that I can work out what effect they have on the final drawing.

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