Part 2: Project 5: Exercise 4 – Using source material

Brief

The aim of this exercise is to start with a found image but then build on it to create something more personal.

Find scientific and biological sources for animal anatomy in libraries and online; look for images that clearly show the mechanics of different animals’ bodies. Copy interesting images loosely, but make them into something more than a replica of someone else’s work by adding your own touches. Think about the parts that make up the whole, and about movement and stillness, emotion and detachment.

Use your compositional skills to position the subject within a believable scenario or space. You may want to use the scaling up grid or some other device to adapt found images and small studies onto a larger scale.

As you work, think about some of the things you’ve already learned about – positive and negative spaces, measuring, gestural and expressive line, etc. – to help you create more interesting drawings.

Process

“In drawing, painting, and sculpting animals, one must begin with a general, understanding of the entire animal (shape, proportion), and then concentrate on its specific parts and details. This is called working from the general to the specific. For example, rough-out the shape of the entire animal first, define the shapes of the torso, the individual limbs, the head, and the neck, and then finally add the details of the individual muscles and tendons. Artwork can be embellished with the most numerous of details, but it must conform to a greater concept of larger shapes and volumes.”
Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form.
[Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, location 239 [p.24
in converted pdf].

This is my finished drawing from the previous exercise and I chose this to explore in more detail in relation to the bird’s anatomy:

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 3 - Live animals using line and tone - finished drawing
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 3 – Live animals using line and tone – finished drawing

Bird characteristics: body covered in feathers; feet and toes usually covered with thickened skin (scales); three toes point forward and one toe points backwards and all four toes have claws; no teeth and a horny beak; short flexible tail (pygostyle) ends in a stout bone for supporting tail feathers.

Chicken 1
Chicken skeleton (Gallus gallus) – Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form. [Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, p.714
Chicken 2
Chicken muscles – Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form. [Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, p.717
Chicken 3
Chicken skeleton (front view) – Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form. [Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, p.719
Chicken 4
Chicken muscles (front view and left wing back view) – Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form. [Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, p.720
Chicken 5
Chicken skeleton (rear view) – Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form. [Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, p.722
Chicken 6
A rooster – Amberlyn, J.C. (2012) The artist’s guide to drawing animals: how to draw cats, dogs and other favourite pets. [Kindle e-book] New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. p.765
Chicken 7
A rooster – Amberlyn, J.C. (2012) The artist’s guide to drawing animals: how to draw cats, dogs and other favourite pets. [Kindle e-book] New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. p.766
Chicken 8
A rooster – Amberlyn, J.C. (2012) The artist’s guide to drawing animals: how to draw cats, dogs and other favourite pets. [Kindle e-book] New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. p.767 The hen’s comb and wattles are much smaller than a rooster’s. Piercing eye to the fore!

Finished drawing

Using my hen chicken drawing from the previous exercise as inspiration to explore further and having researched some of the anatomical and drawing guidance from my two chosen sources, I drew the outline of my ‘specimen’ chicken with a 3H pencil. Within the outline I then drew in the skeletal structure as I saw it from the source material to give an impression of that sitting within the basic outline. I think the skeletal structure is fairly accurate, although the anatomical placement is probably not totally accurate.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 4 - Using source material
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 4 – Using source material

Next, I used indian ink pens; felt-tip pens and fineliner pens to add colour to the skeleton and also the body/feathers. Lastly, I marked in some of the major skeletal elements as indicators to the bird’s structure.

I chose to concentrate on this one subject rather than hop about between different animals to assess their anatomical differences because I was influenced by Eliot Goldfinger’s Animal anatomy for artists: ‘’Although each species is unique, with its own shapes and proportions, there are very close similarities between species because they all share a common ancestor”.

Goldfinger postulates that their is a basic body plan for all animals:

“There is a basic body plan common to most of the animals presented in this book. At its most obvious, they all have a head, a body, and four [two or] limbs. Most are four-legged and stand on all fours, and are described as having front limbs and rear limbs. The front limb is anatomically equivalent to the arm and hand in humans and primates, and the rear limb to the human lower limb. The animals in this book are surprisingly similar in many ways. The head is connected to the rib cage by the neck vertebrae and the rib cage is connected to the pelvis by the lumbar vertebrae. The two front limbs are connected to the rib cage, and the two rear limbs are connected to the pelvis. These units move in relation to one another, establishing the stance, or pose, of an animal. Animals differ primarily in the shape and relative proportions of these structural units, in the position of the wrist, heel, and toe bones when standing and walking, and by the number of their toes.”

Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form. [Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, p.37.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015

Part 2: Project 5: Exercise 3 – Live animals using line and tone

Brief

In this charcoal and conté study of deer, the artist has taken a different approach, blocking in strong monochrome tone to create form and using loose, fine, unfinished lines to indicate the silhouette of the animal and just enough detail to make it interesting.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 3 - course notes image
Mark Adlington, Fallow Bucks, Richmond, 2006 (charcoal and conté on paper)

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.

Process

I needed to look no further than our garden and adjoining field for subject matter for this exercise – a roaming pheasant and strutting hens. I worked quickly to sketch down the main elements of the forms using colour brush pens and then worked them up in some more detail with regard to line and tone later on in the studio:

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 3 - Live animals using line and tone - sketches 1
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 3 – Live animals using line and tone – sketches 1

A trip out to the east coast cliffs allowed me the chance to capture a nesting cormorant, again quickly, this time using Artbar wax colour bars. I left this sketch in its original rough form. I sketched the local cow using Artbar as well, but this time back in the studio I used a fine brush and water to blend the colours:

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 3 - Live animals using line and tone - sketches 2
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 3 – Live animals using line and tone – sketches 2

Finished drawing

I was struck by the energy and style of the strutting hen sketched earlier and decided on this as my chosen live animal. My medium this time though were Faber and Castell PITT artist pens on A3 Daler 90gsm sienna coloured Ingres pastel paper (the photograph of the drawing has lightened the paper):

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise - Live animals using line and tone - finished drawing
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 3 – Live animals using line and tone – finished drawing

I lightly drafted in the outline using a cadmium yellow pen and then spent a happy couple of meditative hours building up the lines and tones using a range of coloured pens. Making small marks loosely with the pens allowed the paper’s colour to show through and merge with the different coloured strokes to suggest the texture of the plumage.

Critique

Once started on this exercise I became a bit less intimidated by the brief and had fun with the sketches and techniques of using the different media. I am reasonably pleased with the final drawing, although if I’m honest I prefer the original sketch for its spontaneity and dash – a hen with attitude. My feeling about the finished drawing is that it appears to me to be overly stylised and has lost some of the spark or verve of the sketch.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
5 August 2015

Part 2: Project 5: Exercise 2 – Tonal study of bones and shells

Brief

Find your subject and decide on the best media for conveying its characteristics. Would the subject lend itself to a strong tonal handling with heavy shading using a solid graphite pencil or charcoal? Or do you want to make a more delicate visual statement? In this case a mix of soft and harder pencils or a drawing pen might be better. Or try both approaches.

Try to ensure fairly constant light for around two hours. Move your lamp or the object itself so that shadows fall in a way that adds interest or highlights and provides dramatic possibilities. How can you convey the volume and solidity of the object?

Notice how the surface textures catch the light. Think how you can convey the subtle gradations of tone from the lightest areas to the darkest. Work out where these areas are and shade in with the side of the pencil or by using hatching techniques. It can be useful to work with less pressure to begin with and, once you’re satisfied, go over these areas with much heavier shading for the deepest tones. If you’re using hatching, try to follow the contours of the object with the direction of marks that you make. Lighter tones and highlights can be drawn in lightly with a putty rubber towards the end of your drawing.

Remember to half close your eyes when you’re surveying tone, both when you look at your subject and as you’re drawing. The size of the work is up to you but it’s usually easier to work out tonal values on a large-scale drawing.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 2 - course notes image
Christine Gregory, Fish Head (pencil)

Process

My chosen subject for this tonal exercise was a stag skull and antlers from our garden. We have a lot of deer here in Glenurquhart and this was a found skull from the forest through natural death of a fine animal. We have looked after it for over 19 years now and I thought it would make a great subject for a drawing.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 2 - Tonal study of bones and shells - sketches 1
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 2 – Tonal study of bones and shells – sketches 1

For the sketches I used Graphite pencil – a mixture of H, F and B – and places the skull in several positions to sketch with a natural lamp moved along the top of the subject which was lying/standing in a number of positions. As suggested in the course notes I started light and built up pressure to pick out the mid and darker tones. I also let the white paper shine through in places to capture lighter areas and highlights.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 2 - Tonal study of bones and shells - sketch 2
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 2 – Tonal study of bones and shells – sketch 2

For this sketch I used pencil to draft in the outline and shades and then used indian ink pens to capture some of the essence of the ‘greened’ bone. I like the effect the green and yellow inks have on the structure of the posed subject. I think the pencil shadows on the foreground could have probably been a bit darker.

Finished drawing

On A2 fine grain heavy weight drawing paper I chose to slightly rearrange the positioning of the skull by lifting it up into a more standing position leaning against a back support. I also changed my own position in order to draw the subject from a side angle:

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 2 - Tonal study of bones and shells
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 2 – Tonal study of bones and shells – finished drawing

My chosen medium was Conté – black and grey sticks. I sketched in the outline using an H grade pencil and started light again (or as light as I could with Conté stick) overlaying the outline and shading in the tones dark to light. Using a paper stub (tortillon) I took time to try and capture the form of the antlers first and then moved down to complete the skull. I used a grey stick to put down the shadows. Finally, using a putty eraser I removed selected areas of the Conté to create highlights.

Critique

I got a lot of pleasure from using my chosen subject and found my skill in using the different media is improving. I think this was aided by taking a more relaxed approach to the exercise and I am particularly encouraged by my handling of the Conté sticks in the final drawing. The composition of the finished work is, I think, more pleasing to the eye than the straight on view of sketch 2. I also think that I have managed to capture some of the impressive nature of the subject – it’s solidity, sweeping lines and texture combine to present a dramatic sense of the longevity and strength of the bone of a long-dead animal.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
4 July 2015

Part 2: Project 5: Exercise 1 – Animal line study

Brief

Select your animal – easier said than done, perhaps, but here’s your chance to be creative and spontaneous. Keep your sketchbook with you and seize any opportunity as it arises.

Look for the basic shapes that make up the animal’s form. Do a series of small and fast line sketches of different poses. Experiment with different media – thick and thin, soft and hard. Do as many studies as you can. Spend a couple of hours on these preliminary sketches and then spend another couple of hours a few days later trying to capture the essence of the animal through intense scrutiny of form, colour, texture, character, scale, stance, movement and so on.

Once you feel comfortable with your subject and you’ve experimented with a range of media and poses, make a large drawing (A2 or A1). Consider how best to fit the overall form into the rectangle using a vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape) format. For this drawing concentrate on expressive and gestural line and use variations of pressure, speed, line lengths, etc., to give the animal a sense of weight and vitality. Position your subject within an atmospheric and realistic environment.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 - course notes image 1
Patricia Farrar, Student sketchbook

For example…
In the sketch below Lucian Freud has managed to capture the essence of the pigeons. He has used fine lines and the pattern made by the feathers to create the impression of roundness and softness in the more detailed bird. Monet’s study of two turkeys adopts a looser approach but again models the body through patterning across the surface of the animal.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 - course notes image 2
Lucian Freud, Two Pigeons,1947 (crayon on paper)
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 - course notes image 3
Claude Monet, Two Turkeys (pencil on paper)

Process

Our rescue collie ‘Lotty’ was the model/poser for this first set of sketches. She’s 12 years old and although still reasonably active – she love’s playing football (in lieu of herding sheep) – but likes to relax and watch the world go by even more. So, asking Lotty to take time out and pose for these sketches was no problem. [H&S/PC alert – no pet was harmed in carrying out this exercise as I had a) a willing model, and b) they were all done at different times over a couple of days.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 - Animal line study - sketches 1
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 – Animal line study – sketches 1

I used Derwent Graphic 5H and 5B pencils for these sketches.

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 - Animal line study - sketches 2
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 – Animal line study – sketches 2

Our other dog ‘Salty Dog’, a long haired German Shepherd and two local cats ‘Bali’ and ‘Amber’ – all now deceased. I used photographs I had taken for these sketches and a variety of media – pencil, oil pastel, marker pen, coloured pencil and felt-tip pen.

Finished drawing

Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 - Animal line study finished drawing
Part 2 Project 5 Exercise 1 – Animal line study finished drawing

The reliable Lotty in a favourite pose – sitting contemplating and not that eager to move (unless another dog comes into view). This sketch was made in our garden with Lotty sitting on the path below me. I have used an A2 200gsm fine grain heavy weight paper and Staedtler fineliner pens for the main drawing and DJeco gel pens for the background setting and shadows.

The focus is on the eye (she was eyeballing me as I was sketching) and I am pleased with the touches of colour there, in the mouth and collar. I think I could have done better with the legs and paws, but my eye was drawn upwards.

Critique

My favourite medium for this exercise were the Staedtler fineliner pens for their good colour and ease of use. Having said that, the Graphic pencils and felt-tip pens were also fun to use, and I think that I have managed to make fairly good attempts at producing sketches with expressive and gestural line. I tried to vary the mark making to depict hair, but it is quite a tricky skill and I am sure that with more practice I could achieve even better results.

If anything I would say that my work is more in line with the detail of Lucien Freud’s ‘Two pigeons’ rather than that of Claude Monet’s much freer ‘Two Turkeys’.

I am quite pleased with my final drawing, although I did chose a challenging angle and did not get the lower elements quite right in terms of scale and balance. Mind you, Lotty is a dog with a very trim back end and she carries most of her weight on her chest and front legs – maybe my drawing of a ‘top-heavy’ dog gives some idea of this.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
3 August 2015

Part 2: Project 5: Research point – animals and humans

My workbook notes for this research point [click on each page to enlarge]:

Part 2 Project 5 Research point - animals and humans - page 1
Part 2 Project 5 Research point – animals and humans – page 1
Part 2 Project 5 Research point - animals and humans - page 2
Part 2 Project 5 Research point – animals and humans – page 2
Part 2 Project 5 Research point - animals and humans - page 3
Part 2 Project 5 Research point – animals and humans – page 3
Part 2 Project 5 Research point - animals and humans - page 4
Part 2 Project 5 Research point – animals and humans – page 4

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
1 August 2015