Category Archives: Pt 2/project 4

Part Two, Project 4, Exercise 4- Monochrome.

For this exercise you’ll work towards creating an image in a single colour – combining natural and man-made objects and contrasting materials. Think about composition carefully and be adventurous in your choice of subject.  Select a medium that suits your subject to aim for detailed complexity of line or an expressive looseness of mark. Ensure you’re able to create a range of tones for your chosen colour by practising in your sketchbook first. Work on approximately A3 size paper. Lightly sketch the composition. Consider your viewpoint and how the subject sits on the page. 

I am sorry that I missed this exercise.  I was a bit unsure how to approach it and whether it needed to be a fish(?), so I moved onto the next exercise and then ran out of time.  Let me know if I need to plug this gap?

Part Two, Project 4, Exercise 3- Experiment with mixed media

Experiment using both traditional art tools and ‘non-art’ media. Use wax crayons, ballpoints, highlighters and fat marker pens together with pencils, dipping pens and oriental brush pens (and so on). Think again about your support; perhaps use a coloured wash and/or collaged, textured surface.

I decided to draw my daughter’s guitar -mainly because I had found a really interesting picture in a travel magazine of a Blues musician that I wanted to use as the support, so I was prompted to think about music and how I could  link the picture and my drawing together.  I did a couple of sketches to explore both  the  composition, and ideas for mixing media.  I wanted to explore how I could use the found paper to create an abstract drawing with some of the background picture showing through.

In the first sketch below the result is flat and uninteresting- it has no soul!!  In the second sketch below I used marker pens and watercolour pencils and overlaid it with white acrylic- I felt I was onto something….

IMG_0460 IMG_0459

Mixed Media on found paper (approx A4)  I started by creating an interesting white acrylic wash over the found paper background, encouraging drips and different depths of the white colour to occur.  Then I overlaid with colour pencils, Derwent Intense pencils (painted in with a water wash) and felt tips.



I really enjoyed this exercise and became very involved with the drawing and the subject.  I enjoyed the fact that it was not trying to be a realistic drawing of a complete guitar and I felt very free to experiment with media and style.  I wanted the viewer to know it was a guitar without detailing the whole thing.  I focused in on the centre of the instrument with details of the guitar’s decoration but put a lot less detail around the edges of the drawing.. I had wanted to let the background picture to shine through my drawing a bit more but I think I got a bit carried away and overlaid it a bit more thickly than intended.  I hope the subject matter of the found paper is evident?

The strings look a bit too far to the right- but this was how it actually looked, as the guitar was slightly twisted to the right.

I really like the visual effect I achieved and felt that the creative elements from how the different media and colours were used emerged naturally as the picture developed.  I did not have an end product in mind during the drawing process.

If I were to do this exercise again I might aim for an even  more abstract subject with more of the background showing through the picture.

Part Two, Project 4, Exercise 2- Still Life In Tone Using Colour

 Set up another still life group. Before you begin, screw up your eyes and identify the darkest areas. (You may need to adjust the light using a lamp or strong sunlight.) Use a coloured pencil or pastel to sketch them in roughly, using the side of the medium to create broad strokes. Then, use a different colour to sketch in the mid tones, and yet another colour to sketch in the light tones. Work your way around the composition, adding layers of colour on colour, varying the type and pressure of mark, building up tone, shadow and contrasts.  Think carefully about using a variety of effects, pattern, sweeps of colour, etc. Work quite fast to keep the activity and the image spontaneous and energetic. Don’t be surprised if this image becomes slightly messy and don’t be tempted to fiddle or overwork the image.

I set up a still life and very quickly sketched light pencil outlines to work from. I chose various brown green tones, starting with a mid-green colour in broad sweeps to roughly suggest the mid-tones of the objects.  then I filled in the dark areas and then the light areas.  This had only taken a few minutes but I was surprised how 3dimensional it looked, especially from a distance.  I actually rather liked the picture at this stage but thought I should develop it.


I tried to add some background; I felt I had to use  contrasting brown/black colours for this to avoid the whole picture becoming muddy and losing contrast.


In the resulting picture  I defined some of the detail more strongly.  I was pleased that I stayed pretty much with the original three colours for the main objects, with may just the addition of a lighter tone for the highlight areas.

I did not linger over-long on this exercise as I felt I had succeeded in using simple tone and colour to represent the objects.  I resisted the urge to add detail even though the picture was a bit messy. I just indicated the main details using the tip or side of the pastels.

I have been reading recently and picked up a hint along the way that it is more important to think more about tone than the actual colour in a colour drawing, in order to create contrast/ highlights and shading and a sense of 3D form.  I think this exercise illustrates this perfectly.  In fact using my camera to look at this picture in B&W showed that it still had 3D form.  If the colours had all been of similar tone this would not have been the case.



Review your work on the  exercises 1&2 in project 4:

  • What aspects of each drawing were successful, and what did you have problems with?    The black line drawing was successful, particularly the leaves and florets of the vegetables.  I felt this drawing benefitted from not allowing myself to dwell on the shading and form but to enjoy the shapes and lines in front of me.  It was almost hypnotic, homing in on the detail without thinking too much about the actual object I was trying to draw.  The success of the pastel drawing was less in the detail and more in the use of depth of tone/colour to depict form.  I found I viewed the objects differently, seeing them as a 3D whole.
  • Did you manage to get a sense of depth in your drawings? What elements of the drawings and still life groupings helped to create that sense?  The line drawing does not give a sense of depth in the same was as the colour tones.
  • What difficulties were created by being restricted to line or tone? Being restricted to line frustrated my desire to create a sense of form as by its nature it resulted in a rather flat image rather like a pattern.  Conversely, the limited colour pallet and use of pastels frustrated my desire to add detail and line! This may have been different had I used colour pencils, but I deliberately chose pastels to prevent myself becoming bogged down in detail, to make myself  concentrate primarily on representing 3D form/ shades and highlights etc.

Part Two, Project 4, Exercise 1- Still Life Using Line

Set up a still life group and select objects that either seem to connect naturally or deliberately contrast or clash.  Use an A3 sheet of paper and a medium suitable for drawing line (a dipping pen and ink, an oriental brush pen or a fine black pen) to make a drawn study that shows your understanding of the forms, and the connections and spaces between the forms. Concentrate on patterns, textures and shapes. You can indicate tone but this is principally an exercise about line.

I chose to draw a selection of green vegetables (linked by subject theme and colour- I was interested to see how I would differentiate them using only line).

I did a couple of sketches in my sketchbook to explore which angle to draw the arrangement from.  I tried a sketch from eye level which I initially liked but when I drew the arrangement again from above I decided that the shapes and perspective was much more interesting in the second sketch.  I realised that composition-wise there are subtle but important differences in the potential allure of a drawing, depending on whether your perspective is from above, below or at eye level.


“Eat your greens” White ink on A3 black pastel paper.  I liked the picture shown in the course book and decided I might try to use similar materials myself..  I found it challenging and was a little confused for a while whether white represented the light or dark areas in the objects.  In the end I treated it rather like a photographic negative with increasingly white areas representing shadow and dark areas on the objects.  I tried to put in a background in the form of a wicker basket which I thought might provide interesting texture.  However, I got the perspective all wrong and drew it too wide and flat and the angle of the board under the vegetables also went rather awry.


I tried using some white conte crayon to smudge in some shadow but it just looked messy and I wished I had left it as just a line drawing.  I was torn between heeding the instructions to make this exercise predominantly about line and my own compulsion to add  shading! IMG_0435

“Eat your greens” Black ink on A3 cartridge paper.  I tried the exercise again using black drawing pens on cartridge paper.   This time I removed the wicker basket and draw the objects on a glass table.  I tried not to get too bogged down with shading and just drew line to represent the different textures.  I just added some light suggestion of reflections and shadows in the glass surface and drew in the wrought metal structure of the table.

I was aware that my challenge was to differentiate between the celery, cucumber and pak choi as all three have predominantly linear stalks.  The cucumber is smooth and dark however, whilst the celery has pronounced stringy lines- these were difficult to represent using just line.  I had to darken the lines where the vegetables overlapped to make the shapes and orientation of each vegetable clear.  I tried not to just ink in dark bits but to apply some of the lessons learned in the previous ink drawing and to repeatedly overlay lines to create darker areas.  This was easier in the head of the broccoli than the linear areas in the celery and cucumber.

The texture in the head of the broccoli and the leaves of the pak choi were easier to differentiate as they have very characteristic features. I focused on delineating the curled veins and curls of the park choi leaves and the florets of the broccoli, which resulted in the lines naturally evolving to capture the differences between them.

I indicated just a little shadow below and between the vegetables to put them in context with their surroundings.