Part 2: Project 6: Exercise 5 – Mixed media

Brief

Assemble a range of drawing media including coloured media such as oil pastels, watercolours, ink and coloured pencils. You might also incorporate small areas of collage (using found images, scraps of newspaper, etc.). You may need a heavier paper if you intend to use watered down PVA glue or flood large areas with wash.

Work on a large sheet of paper, A2 or A1 divided up into two or four boxes. alternatively work in your sketchbook. Glance through the studies you’ve made so far and notice which have been most successful in terms of pictorial effect. Work either from direct observation of your interior view or from one of your exercise studies. Try mixing media you are less familiar with and experiment with several studies of the subject, looking at it from different viewpoints.

This exercise is more about experimentation than accuracy, so let elements of abstraction or distortion enter to help you to express your subject. It may be interesting to have a title in mind such as ‘My clutter’, ‘Shoe cupboard’, ‘Cat’s corner’, ‘Tobacco plant in candlelight’ – offering the hint of a story.

Think about interesting formal compositions using negative spaces, interesting shapes, patterns and textures – for example, large leaves from a houseplant in silhouette, lines on a rug, some areas in deep shadow and others brightly lit. Artistic devices such as these help express mood and feeling.

Introduce colour. You could make a further tonal study in which you limit the palette to one or two colours to express atmosphere and tonal values.

These preparatory exercises should help you to focus and select both your subject and your handling of it so be experimental and work outside your comfort zone.

Process

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 5 - Mixed media - 'My guitar gently weeps'
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 5 – Mixed media – ‘My guitar gently weeps’

Using a prepared ground of ink marks on paper pressed into sand I picked out one of the guitar images from my quick sketches around the house to lay down a vibrant image of how I feel about the guitar – a love/hate relationship! I used gel pen and felt-tip pen and ‘strung’ the guitar with cut lengths of wine-bottle-cap metal twining and staples.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 5 - Mixed media - 'Take a seat, any seat'
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 5 – Mixed media – ‘Take a seat, any seat’

On a prepared canvas sheet with dark grey gesso, I tried out several media here to capture a different, quirky angle on the small bathroom chair from my previous sketches around the house. There is an abstract feel to the picture, with the upright chair given tone and the background chair depicted in pure pop-arty like colour. I used marker and felt-tip pens for the chairs and oil pastel for the background negative shapes.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 5 - Mixed media - 'Bye, Bye Teddy'
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 5 – Mixed media – ‘Bye, Bye Teddy’

Marker pens and ink on canvas sheet again refer back to the small chair and teddy bears of previous sketches. This time there is definitely a spacey feel to the composition, with the background chai appearing to capture/consume the teddy-chair drifting in space. I like the perspectives. This was the first time I had used Inktense blocks and a water brush pen – I’m hooked!

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 5 - Mixed media - 'Whatever happened to Cecil?'
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 5 – Mixed media – ‘Whatever happened to Cecil?’

My take on a recent news story of ‘hunter kills nice lion’. Using one of my prepared papers pressed onto black ink splattered on sand the ‘splatter’ looked to me like gunshots on a target. I used the elephant statue from my living room sketches to occupy the space and drew the picture with Inktense block and water brush pen. To the bullet hole splats I added some red and silver gel pen marks to add drama to the scene.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015

Part 2: Project 6: Exercise 4 – Line and wash

Brief

This exercise will encourage you to convey mood and feeling by making rapid statements.

Select a range of media including pen, soft pencil, oriental brush pen, charcoal and oily pastels. Work on any scale but be aware that small paper will limit your gestures. Warm up by drawing continuous line in different media without looking at the page. Try to maintain a loose approach and keep working until you feel confident that you understand the different qualities of each medium.

Work on creating interesting tones by using just one or two colours mixed as a wash (watercolour is best for this). If you’re using inks just use one colour as it is easy to pollute a whole bottle if colours get mixed. You could use Indian ink for the darkest areas for dramatic effect.

For the lightest tone, you could try a wax resist technique using a light coloured oil pastel or wax crayon overlaid by a darker wash. This technique is most effective when used sparingly.

Experiment and enjoy the freedom of drawing loosely with wet and dry media.

Process

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 4 - Line and wash 1
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 4 – Line and wash 1

From top to bottom:
Ballpoint pen
9B pencil (side)
9B pencil (tip)
Broad nib pen and indian ink
Size 12 Round brush and indian ink
Charcoal stick
Conté stick
Charcoal round (on side)
Oil pastel
Soft pastel

Varying thickness and darkness of line from the different media. I particularly like the boldness of the ink and the soft pastel strokes and also find the charcoal round on its side drawn across the paper and the oil pastel can add some interesting texture to the marks they make.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 4 - Line and wash 2
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 4 – Line and wash 2

Red, blue, orange and green water colour washes in three tones – the red being the most successfully executed. The dark washes of the blue, orange and green probably need another wash of their respective colours to provide darker tones.

I found that using a brush and indian ink achieved more distinct results and you can easily see the tonal differences of these washes – raw ink for dark and thinned progressively with water through to light.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015

Part 2: Project 6: Exercise 3 – Tonal study

Brief

By now you should have a clear idea of the basic elements of your drawing. For this tonal exercise, work on a large scale (A2 to A1) and use light marks to map out the composition. Be sure to use all of the picture space.

Look carefully at how the light falls across your subject. Half close your eyes to help you see the broad tonal areas. Think about how you can convey the volume of forms in your drawing. Explore your subject using the techniques you learned in Part One.

Notice the lightest areas and map them in. Using charcoal, soft pencil, conté or pastel, work out the mid-tone areas and the darkest. Find a way to convey the subtle gradations within these areas. All of the media mentioned will give you problems of smudging, so work from the centre of a dark area outwards so that your hand doesn’t rest on an area of heavy charcoal or graphite. Don’t worry if you lose lighter areas; you can use a putty rubber to pick out highlights. You could also use white paint, chalk or conté for this, but be careful not to overdo it. Look for the lightest tones again when the drawing is almost finished.

Keep looking from your subject to your drawing while squinting to check on tonal values.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - course notes image
Vincent van Gogh, Cradle, (pencil on paper)

Process

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - Tonal study - outline sketch in charcoal
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 – Tonal study – outline sketch in charcoal

The basic composition to build on. On A2 fine grain heavy weight paper.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - Tonal study - first pass
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 – Tonal study – first pass

A first application of very light charcoal stick all over the composition to lay down a base ground was followed by a pass of slightly heavier shading to catch the mid-tones.

To add to the weak daylight coming in through the bathroom window above the sink basin I had added an artificial light bulb from above the back corner to give a more dramatic look to the foreground.

In this first pass I finished with marking in the darker tones, particularly in the shadows.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - Tonal study - second pass
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 – Tonal study – second pass

Using a putty eraser I picked out the key highlight areas in the composition and started to tone down some of the lighter areas in the foreground.

My feeling is – leave it overnight and take a fresh look in the morning – maybe some more darker tones requires in the deep shadows.

I need to watch that I don’t over work it.

Finished drawing

A last tweak to the back chair leg next to the set of drawers to slightly thicken the width below the chair seat in order to align it up better with the upper part of the leg back above the seat. I started out to darken some of the deeper shadows but soon discovered that what I was adding made no noticeable difference – dark is dark and can’t be made darker? I was also in danger of smudging and overworking – so I stopped. This is my finished drawing. Only thing left to do is apply fixative:

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - Tonal study finished drawing
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 – Tonal study finished drawing

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015

Part 2: Project 6: Exercise 2 – Composition – an interior

Brief

Look carefully at the angles and areas of your chosen interior view and note where objects are placed. Keep shifting your viewpoint until you find one that pleases you. Look for strong tonal contrasts, textures, linear qualities and strong positive and negative shapes.

Establish your observational position – standing, sitting on a chair or on the floor. Ensure you can work comfortably and see clearly. If you’ve chosen to work in an area that requires daylight make sure that you can set aside two to three hours at the right time of day to return to your drawing project.

Make four quick sketches to outline basic shapes and map out tonal areas using a soft pencil, conté or charcoal. In each sketch shift your viewpoint or eye level. You’ll notice the apparent distortion of certain forms due to foreshortening. (Look this term up if you’re not sure what it means. You’ll return to this in Part Three.) Vary your studies by shifting the viewpoint up or down, or moving in and out.

Format
Do studies in both portrait and landscape format. You may find that the portrait format can be more dynamic in terms of perspective while the landscape format an offer a sense of intimacy. Play with these ideas and think about looking up, down, to the side, straight ahead. Also look at the objects and forms that will make up the composition and consider whether a strong vertical or horizontal plane will work best. You may find that you can’t fit all of your subject into the picture space. Don’t be afraid to cut off part of the subject, as happens with photography. Consider how this might add dynamism and interest to your composition.

Choose your view
Compare your preliminary sketches to help you decide on your composition. Half close your eyes in order to ‘read’ the tonal values better. Note which tonal and linear arrangements work best, and decide on the basic structure, outlines and format for your interior study. You can change your mind at any stage as you progress through the following exercises. Keep looking, evaluating and experimenting.

Process

From my preliminary sketches (exercise 1) I chose to focus on the bathroom sketches, and in particular the fourth sketch of the tiny bathroom child’s chair.

I made a further four sketches of this subject, selecting angles/viewing points from above, below, side and front. Two sketches are in portrait, one square and one nearly landscape. In each sketch I have marked out the tonal areas and while the tonal contrasts and linear lead-in arrangement in composition sketch 3 might seem more pronounced and provide depth of view, my compositional preference is for sketch 2:

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 2 - Composition - an interior - sketches
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 2 – Composition – an interior – sketches

I think at this stage that the view of the chair in sketch 2 provides a definite focal point to the subject and would make a striking portrait composition. Although, if I redefined sketch 3 I might also be able to produce an equally dynamic square composition.

Returning to the interior sketches the next day, I decided that sketch 3 gave the best opportunity for defining strong tonal contrasts:

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 2 - Composition - an interior - chosen view for composition
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 2 – Composition – an interior – chosen view for composition

However, my thoughts were that the composition needed tightening up a bit. I cropped the image at both sides and brought the focus onto the chair, leading past the set of drawers towards the suggestion of the sink pedestal. I also decided to leave a suggestion on the left of the open door. I think that this is now a composition that provides for achieving strong tonal contrasts while also leading the eye into the composition from bottom front left to upper rear right. I also like the balance of negative spaces on the wall behind the set of drawers and the floor leading into the sink. Their are also small areas of highlights that can be picked out:

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 2 - Composition - an interior - chosen composition (cropped)
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 2 – Composition – an interior – chosen composition (cropped)

One last look before confirming intention and I spotted a tweak that would make for a better end result – the seat of the small chair needs levelling out slightly so as not to appear too tilted – a small adjustment, but one that I will make in Exercise 3 ‘Tonal study’:

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 2 - chosen composition - adjustment required
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 2 – chosen composition – adjustment required

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015

Part 2: Project 6: Exercise 1 – Quick sketches around the house

Brief

Take your sketchbook or larger sheets of paper fastened to a drawing board together with a selection of drawing media. Aim to work your way around most rooms in your house over several sessions and maybe also rooms outside the house such as the garden shed. In each room make four quick sketches, turning 45 degrees after each one to face another area of the room. You’ll find that looking into corners works best.

Make fast visual notes without getting involved in detail. This exercise may take several days to complete depending on how long you have available for each session. Try to work without preconceptions. Observe, note and reflect. Your drawing approach is up to you. Some drawings may contain few marks, some will be simple line drawings, some may have elements of tonal analysis. Don’t worry if some of your drawings appear childish or scribbled or wrong in some way. Keep moving on but notice and note down any errors in observation or execution.

You’ll probably find some areas very difficult and frustrating to work on while others will attract your interest and stimulate your imagination. Think about why that is and record your thoughts in your learning log.

When you’ve completed this exercise, look at all your drawings carefully. Which are the strongest and why? Which drawings did you enjoy the most? Which area in which room do you want to study further? Use this exercise both as practice in fast observational drawing and to locate the area that you’ll study in greater detail in the following exercises

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 1 - course notes image
A Flat in Mud Mansions, The Parade, France: a British officer’s dug-out from a sketch by himself, from The Illustrated War News, c.1914

Process

I used Derwent graphic pencils for all the sketches.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 1 - Quick sketches around the house - sketches 1
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 1 – Quick sketches around the house – sketches 1

From top left clockwise: starting in the kitchen looking out through the side door into the porch; moving to the kitchen area itself (corner view); round to the side window view into the dining area; and then moving to the internal view from dining area into hall.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 1 - Quick sketches around the house - sketches 2
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 1 – Quick sketches around the house – sketches 2

From top left clockwise: living room looking out into the hall; over to outside corner behind couch; outside wall corner with woodburner; then to inside corner on kitchen wall.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 1 - Quick sketches around the house - sketches 3
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 1 – Quick sketches around the house – sketches 3

From top left clockwise: back bedroom from outside corner with sofa bed; from bedroom into hall with dog blanket (for dog); inside corner with bed; outside corner with guitars.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 1 – Quick sketches around the house – sketches 4

From top left clockwise: bathroom sink and bath taps corner; toilet corner; bath corner; bathroom out to hall.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015