Part one, Project 2, exercise 1- Groups of Objects (p22)

The aim was to draw at least six 3D objects.  I composed an arrangement of a couple of boxes, a paperback, a box of tissues, a metal cylinder full of pencils and a paper takeaway bag.

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First attempt– willow charcoal on A2 cartridge paper.

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I struggled with lots of things on this first effort:

  • How to arrange the objects?
  • How and where to position the easel?
  • Which medium to use?
  • How to start and how to compose the drawing?  How big to make it?
  • How to measure and ensure accuracy so each object stays in proportion with each other.

I struggled to put any feeling into the drawing because I was focusing too much on accuracy.  It is a fairly draughtsman-like effort!

I started by outlining the various objects in pencil, using a ruler to measure and sometimes to help draw the straight lines (which felt like cheating!) then going over the lines with charcoal. I really wanted to work freehand but was restrained from doing this because I also wanted an accurate drawing.  I felt the charcoal removed some of the accuracy and in places it became messy.  I found the more organic shapes easier than the angular geometric shapes.  I found that to create ‘believable’ 3D shapes the angles and corners need to meet up smoothly and continuously.

In spite of initial disappointment in my results I was pleasantly surprised looking at the picture from a distance later.

Second attempt– bamboo dipping pen and black ink on a sheet of newspaper.

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Having  been very stilted in my first attempt I chose to do something completely different.  I wanted to introduce some looseness, so I decided to use bamboo pen and ink, which blots easily and runs dry frequently to introduce freedom into the drawing.  This took about 15 minutes to do and there are some glaring inaccuracies (bag and tissue box), but it was all done freehand and I felt liberated by not putting myself under pressure to create a draughtsman-like perfect drawing. The fact that the medium was unpredictable contributed to helping me relax and even though some parts went wrong, I was pleased that some elements of the drawing were fairly accurate, in spite of not agonising over every stroke.

Third attempt– Pencil outline overlaid with sepia pencil on A2 newsprint paper.

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I initially intended to do a quick graphite pencil sketch as an expansion of the previous attempt but it evolved into something more serious.  However, I was very pleased that I was relaxed and less hung up with with accuracy; I measured less and did most of the picture freehand and was pleased that the resulting picture was a good representation on the whole of the subject.  Having done the initial rough pencil sketch I decided to overlay it using a sepia pencil but it didn’t work well because the paper was too smooth so the line are a little patchy, making them look rather contrived and timid.  I also intended to make the drawing larger scale on the paper.

If I did this exercise again I would aim for a larger scale drawing with more confident flowing lines using an appropriate medium/paper combination.

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