Category Archives: Pt 2/project 3

Part Two, Project 3- Sample Marks

As suggested at the end of Project 3, I experimented and made some notes in my sketchbook of different sample marks.

The effectiveness of different styles of marks differ depending on the media being used.  I tried out using graphite pencil, pen, felt tip pens, pastels and colour pencils.




I also tried various patterns based on Zentangle designs, which could be used with varying effect for creative shading and backgrounds.  Different patterns have  different tonal values.

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.


 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.


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.

Part Two, Project 3, Exercise 1- Using Markers or Dip Pens

Work out at least three alternative compositions for your objects and other material, and test colour combinations in your sketchbook. Use a collection of markers with different sized fibre tips, from fine points to wedge shapes. Choose a variety of colours in different tonal values. Pick some vibrant coloured inks and have ready a couple of different widths of nibs for your dip pens. Try using both media together. Once you’ve tested a few compositional possibilities, select the one you feel works best and recreate it on an A4 or A3 sheet (or use a found surface).

I spent a bit of time playing with different pens and dip pens in my sketchbook before creating a final drawing.  I was thinking about the concepts of cartoons and pop art and thinking about how to create a lively “pop” image.  I wanted to move away from literal representation towards flattening and brightening a bold picture with intense colours.


Brush pen and marker pens on  A3 250gsm bristol board (extra smooth).  In this first attempt I was thinking about trying to flatten the image whilst still drawing in shadow and tone.  I felt the cherry tomatoes worked well- I liked the cartoon-like highlights, which I forgot to put into the other fruit.  I tried dabbing ink off the page with a wet towel which smudged the finish and detracted from what I was attempting to do. I like the effect of the bold outlining which added to the cartoon style.


 Dip pen & ink and marker pens on A3 250gsm bristol board (extra smooth).  This time I decided to go with my natural instinct to represent detail and form in the objects but to enjoy using bright unrealistically vivid colours.  I started in the lightest areas on each piece of fruit and built up through mid tones to the darkest colours.   Whilst trying to represent the textures of each piece of fruit I was not attempting to create photorealism and I enjoyed using different squiggly lines to suggest the citrus fruit skin (more suggestion that realistic texture).  I think the apple works the best; it looks very round and vivd and juicy!

Lastly, I added the background, from my imagination, but I was annoyed that I put the edge of the surface the fruit was sitting on too low so it looks as if the pepper is about to fall off the table!  If I did this again I would make sure I set up a background to draw from.   I chose bright but contrasting colours for the background to exaggerate the intensity of the fruit colours.  I really liked the way the (Sharpie) marker pens worked in layers.  The first colours were true and all subsequent colours blended nicely with those beneath.  I used dip pen last to add detail and outline in places- again to increase the impact and contrast of bright colours against the dark areas.


Part Two; Project 3; Exercise 2 Detail and Simple Line (p45)

Select a natural object with interesting detail and, using a black fibre-tipped pen or a similarly ‘non-expressive’ tool to create a simple line drawing on a sheet of A4 paper. Where necessary, add a few marks and lines to position it within a believable environment.Concentrate on the object and, as far as possible, do a continuous line drawing.

Red onion- Black ink pen on A4 cartridge paper.  For this exercise I chose to draw half a red onion using a V7 pilot black writing pen.  I loved this exercise, I felt free to create a random line (I avoided straight lines and used stumbling and squiggles as much as possible) and just kept building up texture and depth of tone by working over the darker areas more and more to create contrast.  It was a little like gently stroking the onion and I felt increasingly sensitive to it’s contours, highlights and patterns as the picture developed.  I was very pleased with the result.  I had started the picture in the car but later put the onion on a chopping board with a knife to finish it off and to create a background and context.  As suggested in the course notes I was impressed by how a simple line flowing across  paper can so effectively create the impression of three dimensions.