I loved doing this though it took me far longer than I’m supposed to take!
What I learnt:
(1) Tones are like colours.
(2) I started to see tone as an equal a property in colour to hue.
(2) The eye is as sensitive to correct tone as it is to colour.
(3) Good quality equipement counts: I did this on a table with pencils that kept breaking, a rubber that left bits on the paper and had no edge. And no board big enough to put the paper on.
(4) It matters where you work on the page as till it’s fixed the paper becomes a record of the creation as well as the ‘picture’. Not just rubbings out but all sorts of little unintended marks.
(5) The surface is massively important… how much bite it has… how easily it compresses.
(6) If you have 12 pencils in a set each has its own tonal ‘colour’. How you use the pencil means that you can make ‘tints and tones’ for each ‘colour’. Then you can blur with your finger or a ‘stub’. And use your rubber. All of which affects not only the tone but the texture as well. So the range of ‘tonal colour’ is almost limitless.
(7) Graphite is very sensual and creamy to use.
(8) All pencils are not the same! Each make has it’s own personality as do the different hardnesses. A 6B in one make is not the same as another, and in some cases they are as radically different as a poodle and an alsation (both being dogs). You have to get to know your tools.
(9) When you use colours you are also making a tonal picture.
(10) On composition I found I was subtly (and not so subtly) altering the picture to make it work. I guess this is aesthetics… so although it is a fairly accurate record of my drawing space it is not a photograph or even an attempt at a photograph. It is composition – spacially and tonally – and my emotional connections to the space. On one level the room is just a veicle and the still life should work in it’s own right as a piece of art and not be a ‘snap’. In a sense it’s a record of me.