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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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’:
Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015