For my first drawing in this unit I draped a dressing gown over the back of a chair. For my first line drawings I used pen and ink. My first drawing was not expressive enough and too laboured so I tried a second drawing and whilst this indicated the folds better, I was still not happy with the result. The nature of the folds and drapes were not interesting so I decided to try a different garment,
This time I chose a hoodie and let it fall onto the top of a table in light folds. I again used pen and ink so I could compare the result with my first line drawing. I am much happier with this result as there are more folds and I have varied the thickness of the line to show the various weights of the folds.
Keeping the same arrangement I drew the hoodie using various grades of graphite pencils. Whilst this took much longer than 15 minutes I really like the result. This drawings shows the folds in the fabric much better and enabled me to indicate both the intrinsic tone of the fabric itself and that produced by the way the garment is folded. I also made the edges disappear in places give areas with a hard edge and others with a soft edge.
My last drawings of the details are less successful. The first is a contour drawing, then a watercolour pencil drawing and lastly, pen and ink with cross-hatching. Maybe it was because my previous drawing had taken longer than anticipated and the light was fading but these just seem rushed and do not define the folds as well as the previous drawing.
Drawing fabric folds using tome and shading is by far the most successful way for me to indicate fabric and something I need to be aware of as I progress through this unit. Also, the major effect of changing natural light is another factor I need to consider, particular when I work with a model.
As I was not really happy with the result of the drawings which focused in on a area of fabric I decided to have another try. I decided to try just using an F grade pencil and see what tones I could achieve. This was partially to help when I go sketching as I want to simplify the equipment I take out. I folded a fleece jacket and drew the end of the two sleeves.
These worked out much better and I particularly liked the fact that I have used shading to develop the form of the sleeve rather than an outline. Also, the range of tones produced by the F grade pencil were quite extensive.
On a visit to the Folkestone Triennial I came across this sculpture, Another Time XXI 2013, by Anthony Gormley in the arches of the sea defence wall at Coronation Parade. The sculpture is intended to ‘celebrate the still and silent nature of sculpture….within the flow of lived time.’ I had been wondering what to draw for the statue exercise and this fitted the bill perfectly. I used charcoal sticks and pencils and wanted the statue to appear as if it was emerging from the dark in a fairly menacing manner. I therefore made the overall image somewhat darker than reality. I was sitting on the rocks looking up at the statue, hence the viewpoint.
I liked the statue so much that I decided to go along the arches parallel to the side of the statue and complete the limited palette exercise using the same subject. I used brown, sepia and black graphite sticks. In the actual drawing the back of the statue is very dark but for some reason (due to the shine of the graphite I think) has come out light in the photograph.
On a visit to London I made my final drawing for this exercise at St Pancreas station. The Meeting Place by Paul Day is a 9m high bronze statue near the entrance to the Grand Terrace (it is often called ‘The Lovers’ statue). It was a bitterly cold day so I sat on a bench near to the statue and completed the drawing. Unsurprisingly with such a tall statue, I managed to miss off the feet from the drawing but think I have managed to capture the pose and the shading on the clothes.
For my line drawing of a townscape I went to Ramsgate as I have always liked the view back to the hill in the town from the harbour. To avoid people I again went very early in the morning and sat on the harbour arm looking back across the harbour to the hill. In reality the foreground is very cluttered with boats in the harbour but I decided to leave these out and concentrate on the view from the bottom of the hill (where old fishing nets and crates are stacked against an industrial unit) up the hill to the old houses and hotels.
The drawing took much longer than I anticipated and became quite rushed at the end. I also did not notice until I had finished that a lot of the verticals are not quite vertical and that my perspectives go a bit astray on some of the elements within the image. I think it a classic case that as time went on I began to concentrate too much on what I was drawing rather than looking at the scene and drawing what I saw. Still, you do get a sense of the place and the cluttered nature of the buildings on the hill.
Update: 15 November 2017
On a visit to Folkestone I looked across the harbour and saw a similar view to my original drawing and wanted to draw this again, without the clutter of windows, etc; I had an idea to draw a sketch of just the building outlines as they cascaded down the hill.
I went down to Folkestone early in the morning and parked in the harbour car park using my car as a sketching studio. I first sketches the outlines in light pencil to get the shapes and perspective correct.
On return to my home, I went over the outlines using a 0.01 pen for the background, 0.1 & 0.3 pen for the middle ground and a 0.8 pen for the foreground to try to help create a sense of perspective. The difference between the smaller sizes is not that noticeable but the thicker nib for the foreground is quite noticeable.
I like the simplicity of this drawing and am pleased with the result, especially as I did not use a ruler for any of the lines (but did use an eraser).
For these drawings I first visited Rye, a small town quite near my home. However, when I was walking around the town I seemed to get very little inspiration from the buildings, everything seemed to be a little bit quaint and twee. I did eventually find a little alleyway I decided to draw as I liked the light and shade.
However, the pencil drawing did not bring out the effect I wanted so I redrew it at home from the sketch and memory in pen and ink. I used a foam brush to first draw in the different blocks of shading within the allay itself and the dark frame of the alley doorway. I also simplified the elements within the alley, giving the whole drawing a looser feel.
After Rye, I decided to visit Folkestone early the next morning and did a couple of little sketches of some houses on Marina Parade (which did not really work for me in terms of composition), the bottom of the Old High Street and a view of a housing estate.
Of the three images I liked the composition of the Old High Street so whilst there drew a larger A4 version.
Once home, I thought I would add colour to my line drawing. At first I was going to add a watercolour wash over an ink drawing but then thought I would try something different. My tutor had recommended I look at the work of Patrick Caulfield and this drawing seemed ripe for trying out a coloured ink version in his style. One thing I noticed when looking at his art was the way he repeated colour across the canvas to create unity and lead the eye around the image. The buildings on Old High Street had been painted in quite bright colours as they are part of the Creative Quarter of the town and I wanted to bring out these bright colours in the drawing.
I went over the pencil lines with a black felt tip pen and then added the colours using brush pens. I picked out just a few colours, repeating them in the drawing to add some unity across the image and then filled in the rest of the areas in green.
It was quite fun doing this as it is not something I would have normally tried and whilst the colours could have been more smoothly applied with a brush and paint I am wary of doing a painting rather than a drawing. It is interesting as before I started this course I would have been drawn to the more precise nature of artists such as Patrick Caulfield, with quite controlled application of marks, paint and colour, but now I am beginning to move more towards freer gestural drawing where you can see the energy in the marks of the artist. Perhaps that is what my tutor intended by suggesting I look at this artist?
Following my reflection on progress to date, I decided to revisit the Sketch Walk as I was never really happy with my original pencil sketches. I thought I would experiment with changing my viewpoint this time and do a sketch walk looking down to find textures and shapes. I visited Ramsgate Harbour early on a Sunday morning before too many people arrived.
I had an idea to make each sketch like an individual paving stone so decided I would draw each sketch within a 6×6 inch frame. I made a template so I could draw this frame on any of the papers I had brought with me to save time whilst out.
Before arriving I thought I might just end up with views of concrete and paving stones of various colours but found the harbour to have an amazing range of materials, structures and textures; I could easily have drawn twenty different views rather than just four. I used a picture finder with a grid to look down through so that I looked straight down each time rather than at an angle.
- Pencil – The smooth white diamond shape contrasting with the rough of the flint pavement repair draw me to this image.
- Watercolour Pencil – It was the colour of the blue steel plate and the rust as well as the hole for lifting the plate which attracted me to this area. I exaggerated the colours to bring them out.
- Pen and Ink – The different textures of the steel plate, manhole colour and concrete caught my eye as well as the angles of the shapes.
- Bamboo Pen and Ink – The rusting round pole hole against the cracked surface made this area interesting. I like using Bamboo pens (first used in my life drawing class) as they have a softer quality than metal nibs and give a greater variation in line.
I enjoyed undertaking this exercise again as although the images are fairly representation I could easily extend these drawings into abstract images. Looking down has also opened my eyes to a whole range of images that I could focus upon.
I kept putting off undertaking this exercise until there were some decent cloud formations. Once a fairly stormy sky had appeared I went out to sketch the clouds using charcoal. This proved more difficult than I anticipated as the clouds move d surprisingly quickly. For both drawings, I rubbed powdered charcoal into the paper with a cotton wool ball to get the overall tones and added compressed charcoal to darkened areas and give form to the clouds. I then rubbed back for the whiter highlights using a pencil eraser.
I do not think I got the structure and form of the clouds quite right as they do not look like they have enough volume; also, I have not captured that sense of the clouds receding across the expanse of the sky, they look more like they are stacked up. An exercise to repeat at a later date.
This view is from the upper level of a car park looking across to a typical town street. Overall the perspective is fine but on reflection the angles on some of the bay windows (particularly on the house in the foreground) and other detail parts are not quite right. I had to use an eraser occasionally to correct some lines where the unearned line was complicating the image.
As part of my continued practice in drawing perspective I went to a different location to sketch a couple of buildings within a natural environment. This drawing is of the old Lydd Railway Station which is now disused and part of the area have become overgrown.
Completed in pencil, I have tried to include a stronger tonal range, with angular perspective radiating from a vanishing point on the horizon and aerial perspective included by using various grades of pencil – harder and lighter in the background and softer and darker in the foreground.