Using both line and tone can create a sense of volume and movement through space. For this exercise, you’re free to work in any combination of media. You can make a study that is monochrome or use colour to render tonal value or add visual interest. Using coloured sugar paper or Ingres paper will give you a mid-tonal ground and you can then use your drawing materials to establish lighter and darker tonal areas. Allow the paper’s ground colour to work in your drawing by leaving some areas clear or by shading lightly so that it shows through. Work on large paper so that you can explore tonal values freely. Remember to vary the pressure and speed of your lines to create a sense of dynamism or stillness, enhancing the stance, gestural posture and strength of the animal.
I started off by visiting a field of horses and making some sketches. I was trying to be fairly loose and not to get bogged down with detail. I couldn’t resist adding more detail than I wanted, but was pleased that with each drawing I became more relaxed and found I could concentrate more on the tomes and shading than the lines.
I took home my sketches and had a go at transferring the essence of the sketch onto A3 pastel paper using charcoal and soft pastels. I was trying very hard to focus on shading and highlights to give a sense of form. I think I achieved that, but was a bit disappointed that the resulting picture looked a bit stilted and “safe”.
I made a second attempt at speed trying to be very loose with both my drawing and the shading, which i was very happy with.
In the end I was happy with both pictures I produced for this exercise. Both captured the essence of the animal and gave a sense of form using shading. I was particularly pleased with the looseness of the sketching on the horses head- i wish I could be freer in a lot of my work. It doesn’t detract from the subject and lends it a sense of movement. I enjoy using pastels and charcoal because it forces me to be less finicky about details. There is no particular background on either picture, but using shading and colour smudges suggests that something is going on there. In both cases I successfully used the colour of the paper to shine through and lift the image.