Pencil crayon sketch…
In my terms, I had to rush this having had a timely nudge from my tutor to finish Assignment 2. The candle was done in a couple of hours a few days ago and the rest of the picture finished tonight in about three hours.
Pencil crayons are very difficult to use.
They lay colour down in a really weird way. It’s difficult to explain… they have a quality I can’t put my finger on.
I’ve found in these preparatory sketches that each medium is very different, both to use and in how it looks/what’s it’s best at. It’s almost like each is a different visual language. It’s also teaching me something about myself… about controlling colour (watercolours) and broad blocks of colour (pastels)… and that I really like the way colours work together.
And using the same supporting medium for each has shown me that that is nearly as important (maybe as important) as the drawing medium.
So, in no particular oreder this is what I’ve learned from pencil crayons:
(1) In life there are no pencil lines… a pencil line is a convention to show where two colours butt up. A visual shorthand… and when you use pencil crayons (which are very transparent) the pencil lines show through. This really brings home negative and positive shapes and forces you to consider exactly what you are drawing.
That is, the line takes on a different meaning. Rather than ‘being’ the drawing it becomes the contour of a 3D shape. It makes you ‘see’ both the line and the subject differently.
Sometimes the pencil line serves an artistic purpose and a lot of artists use line to delineate their shapes, but that’s a choice. If you ‘draw’ a shape and then colour it in with pencil it’s almost impossible to fully lose the line. So in my case the line is dictated by the medium not by the artist.
(2) The cover of pencil crayons is grainy compared to watercolour or pastel.
(3) It’s very difficuly to mix pencil crayons on the page to create new colours.
(4) My crayons kept breaking when I sharpened them which was very frustrating – I think the trick is to buy expensive crayons that don’t shatter.
(5) Mine also wore down very quickly which meant I had to keep sharpening them as they blunted and it was difficult to know where they would make a mark.
(6) The crayons left little bits on the paper which made tiny pimply marks when I colored over them.
(7) The sketch paper compressed when I pushed down with the crayons – this made it shiny and it didn’t pick up the colour very well.
(8) The colour had a certain quality I couldn’t put my finger on which will be great for something but emotionally I found it thin and watery. But maybe that was the quality of my crayons.
(9) Perspective: The candle took me an age to draw as each face has a different perspective. I tried by eye but couldn’t get it right as all the faces have to work together. I then found the vanishing points of the candle in my photograph by drawing them out on a big bit of paper and mechanically imposed them on my drawn candle.
It was very interesting to find how this changed the shapes and lines and I could see where I’d not drawn what I’d seen. But imposed what I thought (knew) on my drawing. In my head I ‘saw’ the left hand side as quite big – because I know its a flat slab of candle – and drew it bigger than it was. In fact it takes up only a tiny bit of paper
After a while I eventually managed (I think) to get all the faces working together.
(10) The composition isn’t right but I’m not sure what’s wrong with it. I think the objects are too spaced out and in a circle. There’s not enough connection between them, no visual gravity.
(11) Colour wise I like the greens and reds but I think the reds need to move nearer the greens as at the moment they are too far away to create any dynamics.
(12) Although I don’t think the drawing works as a whole (and I rushed the wooden table) parts of it are beginning to work individually.
a) The red byro and white paper are pleasing… I think this might be to do with the angles and geometry and the way the byro cut the corner of the paper making triangles beyond the paper which you mentally complete. And the highlight on the byro links with the white paper.
This is interesting too as I drew it very quickly.
b) In the photograph (I’ve never done people before) and like the way a few marks can suggest a face. My son actually looks like my son!!!! (At least to me.)
c) The green on the mug works… I think the angle of curve is right.
d) Even though it’s very overworked the candle is pleasing as it has some solidity.
(13) This drawing made me think that the human eye sees a small part of a vista in focus and ‘correctly’, and stitches together a big picture by tiny head and eye movements so what we actually ‘see’ in our head is never normally distorted.
In drawing a big picture we are actually putting together a series of small pictures with slightly different points of view.
In this photograph because the lens was too near the still life it caused distortion. And I’ve drawn that distortion… but tried to also make everything real. This is a valid technique if used consciously for a purpose and makes me think of some 1930’s? Italian painting and German Expressionism where the artist deliberately disorintates the viewer by changing the normal perspective.
In my case it was an accident of the photograph.
Finally, I know it’s taken ages but in my preparatory drawings I used different media properly for the first time and it’s given me a real feel for their possibilities in Assignment 2.
Now, I’ve just got to sleep on it and see what I can come up with tomorrow.
I’ve got to crack on!!!!!!