Part Two, Project 3, Exercise 3- Detail & Tone

Select a single object such as a piece of driftwood. Get a varied effect by combining soft and medium grade pencils and altering the direction of the strokes you make. This is time-consuming but can produce great results. Seek out the patterns and really focus on making them key aspects of the drawing. Introduce contrast making sure you have areas of strong darks with deep cross-hatching, and other areas that are very light in tone, as well as variety in types of mark, direction of mark, continuous line and broken line.

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 Driftwood- graphic pencil on A2 cartridge paper.  I chose a couple of pieces of driftwood for this exercise.  I started by outlining lightly using a hard pencil, then worked from light to dark detailing the textures of the wood using different types of marks (cross hatching, squiggles, continuous line, shading).  When I drew it the sun was shining through the window brightly from the left so the shadows and light/dark areas were more contrasting than in the photo above. The drawing took about 2 hours and I went through a stage of utter dissatisfaction.  For a long time it looked just like a mess of mid grey marks and the more I tried to create a sense of form the more messy it looked.  It was only at the end when I put in the really dark areas using very soft pencils that the picture started to look like the objects I was drawing.  I didn’t particularly enjoy this exercise- I got bored trying to depict the shape of the wood. It lacked  strong tonal contrast (it’s all brown after all!) and had randomness of shape that tended just just look like squiggles on the page until I marked in the peaks and valleys of strong shadow and texture.

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The final picture does have sufficient contrasts and variation in mark and from a distance I was pleased that in the end it did look like the objects being drawn.   However, I could have filled the paper in a more interesting and effective way.  Maybe I could have homed in on a particular part of the object, such as where the two pieces rest on each other, and let that fill the page?

Review your work for the project 3 exercises and make notes on the following:

  • Which drawing media did you find most effective to use for which effects?  I really enjoyed experimenting with all the media used in this section.  I felt each was appropriate for the task in question.  The marker pens gave a dramatic finish to a vivid drawing that did not take itself too seriously.  The ink pen drew simple line perfectly and I loved the way I created contrasting dark areas by just overlaying the ink time and again.  The pencils gave additional subtlety to shading and texture and gave the most realistic effect.
  • Reflections on this part of the course:   I felt I had been experimental in my use of marker pens etc in the first exercise but much more predictable in exercises 2&3.  I did not achieve my intention of creating more popart style drawings in ex1 but was pleased with how the pictures turned out nevertheless.  Given time and opportunity I would be interested to explore popart in more depth and try creating flatter images.
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