Part 4: Project 1: Exercise 2 – Emphasising form with cloth

Brief

Here you’ll sketch a seated figure wearing a plain and pale coloured shawl, baggy jumper or soft dressing gown.

Using very light marks, sketch the overall shape of the seated figure, remembering to fit it interestingly within the borders of the support. Then, disregarding details, concentrate on drawing the body and the fabric as though it were a single form, considering the cloth as much a part of the body as the skin, flesh and bones.

Very lightly and simply indicate the general shapes for the head, hands and feet without going into detail. Your emphasis should be on the overall form of the main part of the body.

Observe how the fabric moulds gently around and softens angles, and how marks and lines can create the illusion of three-dimensional form and believable weight.

As you work, consider how the fabric helps invoke the essence of a living being beneath the surface. What difficulties did you encounter when approaching the cloth/figure as a whole?

Sketches

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 1 - light outline
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 1 – light outline

The light line drawing isn’t too bad, but already getting bogged down in detail, i.e. the face.

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 1 - body form
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 1 – body form

So, I went for it and look what happened – I got it all wrong (never mind the facial expression)! This is pretty brutal sketch in more ways than one! What I did wrong – overuse of hard lines and little if any gradual shading/conrtolled blending (‘Drawing realistic clothing and people with Lee Hammond”, [e-book, location 138].

Back to the drawing board!

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 2 - light outline
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 2 – light outline

Decided to try again on a slightly larger scale and paying more attention to the positioning of the seated figure.

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 2 - first shading
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 2 – first shading

The first pass at shading – starting with the chair to get a feel for moving mark making from dark into light and all points in between.

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 2 - finished sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 2 – finished sketch

Built up the gradations in tones using a stump (tortillon). I feel better about this rendition, and it seems like you can almost see the weight of the body sinking into the chair cushion. Although thinking about comments my tutor made on my last assignment work, I am slowly building the drawing, sitting at the drawing board – he has suggested that I try and change tempo with faster mark making.

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 3 - finished sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 3 – finished sketch

In the spotlight – model enjoys a well-earned cup of tea. This was a 10 minute sketch using charcoal pencil and stump and the tempo was certainly quicker and I did the drawing standing up using my charcoal pencil more like an extension of my hand/arm. I can immediately see a difference – this sketch is less tight. Maybe still a tendency to overuse black line though.

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 4 - finished sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 4 – finished sketch

Stretching her legs, not a sitting but a standing pose, using pencil and stump and again standing to draw. It certainly appears much freer in execution and my feeling is that the fabric of jumper and jogging bottoms follows the shape of the standing figure and suggests the form within in its standing/leaning/ relaxed pose. I also think that there is a better balance of line and shading here.

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 5 - finished sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 5 – finished sketch

Back sitting again – well nearly sleeping actually. This time some more experimentation – I had dry brushed graphite powder over an A4 sheet of 250gsm Bristol Board (a ground suggested by my Tutor), although I don’t think I did a very good job of working the graphite powder (it was my first go at using this medium and I worked it in too hard making the background shiny), so more practice required. Using a dark graphite pencil I then sketched in the main form, which even with a dark graphite had the effect of scratching an outline. Next I treied charcoal stick to pick out darker tones and lastly used Inktense block coloured ink and waterbrush to try and suggest the reclined form better. As some added context, the yellow boots are the model’s homage to “Fairies wear boots” by Black Sabbath from their 1970 LP “Paranoid”.

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 - sketch 6 - finished sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 2 – sketch 6 – finished sketch

Final sketch in this exercise – need to move on to research and next project. For this sketch I again used Bristol Board, this time drawing with a 6B pencil, working from light outline to shading from dark to light and using a tortillon to create some gradation in tone. Finally, it seemed like a good idea to try a couple of close up sketches of either arm where the contrast in light and dark was most obvious. For some reason I still don’t think my darks are dark enough and the transition tones towards light are kind of wishy-washy.

Anyway, need to move on to more challenges.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
21 November 2015

Part 4: Project 1: Exercise 1 – Drawing fabric using line and tone

Brief

Throw a piece of clothing or a length of plain fabric (so you don’t get distracted by pattern) across a chair to make folded and soft layers of fabric and then, using an appropriate medium for each, make two 15-minute sketches, one using line only and the other concentrating on tone.

Loosely divide a large sheet of paper into 8–12 cm squares and draw five-minute sketches of different parts of the fabric. Look at the shapes caused by the folds and use lines to follow the curves, rises and falls as though the tip of the pencil is walking along the ‘landscape’ of the cloth. Identify and emphasise the areas of light and shade that define and emphasise form. Use both line and tone, testing different approaches and media as you work. Work on a larger scale on single sheets if you wish.

How easy did you find it to create volume in the folds of fabric? Make some notes about this exercise in your learning log.

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 - course notes image
Paul Cézanne, Drapery on a Chair, 1890–1900 (pencil and watercolour wash)

Warm-up sketches

Blanket & chair in light and dark charcoal pencil – line and shade:

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 - warm-up sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 – warm-up sketch

Blanket & chair in light charcoal pencil – line only:

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 - warm-up charcoal line sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 – warm-up charcoal line sketch

Blanket & chair in light and dark charcoal pencil – line and shade:

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 - warm-up charcoal tonal sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 – warm-up charcoal tonal sketch

Line & tonal sketches

Blue coat & chair in graphite pencil – line only

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 - graphite line sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 – graphite line sketch
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 - conté tonal sketch 'Blue coat'
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 – conté tonal sketch ‘Blue coat’

12 quick sketches

Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 - 12 sketches
Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 1 – 12 sketches

From left to right –

Top row: top collar in mechanical 0.5 pencil; lower left folds below collar in mechnical 0.5 pencil and Inktense block wash; top right folds in felt-tip pen; marker pen

Middle row: cuff in water colour wash; cuff in Spectrum Noir pen; cuff in Artbar wax soluble bar and wash; sleeve & cuff in charcoal pencil

Bottom row: lower l/h folds in colour pencil; cuff in soft pastel; lapel in oil pastel & stub; lower r/h folds (with a strip of lining) in polychromos colour pencil and wash

Critique

I am reasonably happy that I did manage to achieve volume in the folds of the fabric in both the blanket and coat sketches. It is interesting to me that the conté sketch of the ‘blue coat’ has a more abstract feel to it and the way in which the folds and shapes are formed is even more heightened in the close-up sketches. Of the 12 close-ups, particularly the sketches done in Inktense block wash and Spectrum Noir pen have a real abstract appearance – in order, an almost Picasso-esque face in the folds of the coat, and a similar kind of undulating curve form of Kandinsky’s dancers in the sleeve cuff.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
17 November 2015