Task 5: Knife, Fork and Spoon using Graphite or Charcoal

Let’s finish off still life with a tricky one! Metallic objects with shine can really test your observation and use of tone…so a great one to bring together what we have done until now.

High contrast is the key to drawing bright reflective surfaces. So, for this task we need to know about tonal range but also; composition techniques, charcoal techniques, graphite techniques, observation techniques and a generous helping of creativity! Experiment with a style you have developed and enjoy to make this task your own 🙂

 

Tips:
Graphite or charcoal can be used for this task-I will demonstrate by using both! The graphite is good for the reflections and midtones, whilst charcoal will give great cast shadows and give that real dark contrast we are aiming for.

If you are using white paper, that is your lightest value so save that for the extreme highlights you observe on your objects.

The environment or setting in which you draw your subject always affects the subject itself. The effect can be dramatic with reflective objects so you need to consider that when setting up your still life for this task.
Working from photographs is great as you can rotate them! Great for practicing. As we have already seen from task 1 you can ‘see’ and interpret the shapes better if you turn the photograph sideways or upside down. Plus the photograph is 2 dimensional and you are translating this to another 2 dimensional surface, your drawing. Nothing beats the real thing though, so keep those real objects in their composition right in front of you.

Accuracy of the shapes of the reflections is important when drawing metal objects but with cutlery it keeps this simple as you can set up so no actual objects are reflected!  Although the contrast of the reflections is crucial for a realistic drawing: from bright white highlights to black (or nearly black). Also, have a good look at those objects you set up, can you see the sharp clean edges of the reflections? You have to be bold with this drawing and make those sharp edges apparent with less blending. Reflections are what make your surface look metallic- you can make anything look shiny with bright highlights but metallic is different. Smooth gradual changes in value will still appear within a shape, but this will not affect its clean, sharp edges. So keep those pencils sharp! You can’t make crisp edges and outlines if your pencils are dull.

Go for it 🙂

 

Check out this resource of mine which talks through the process to help you with this task:

Drawing Cutlery

 

Also my FB Iive video can talk through some of the hints and tips from the resource to show you how you could approach this task 🙂

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

OCAD Studio: Rhythmic Drawing from Life Part 1

Drawing Project #2

Rhythmic Drawing from Life Part 1

Finding flow-through lines and blocking in the shapes

Introduction

This project will help you to approach your work in a more expressive manner. You will learn to produce an artistic interpretation of a simple subject, making use of flowing, expressive lines.

In part 1, you will learn how to use flow-through lines to capture the general composition and proportions of your subject, before adding a simple set of shadow shapes.

This main purpose of this project is to observe the relationship between different aspects of your subject and seek out lines that flow from one part to another. These lines will form the basis of the drawing’s composition and the visual rhythms therein. This approach will serve you in good stead when you tackle more complex subject matter or arrangements of shapes and figures.

 

Materials

  • A3 drawing paper
  • 2B and B pencils or charcoal
  • Pencil sharpener or a knife and sandpaper block
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Hard Eraser
  • Drawing board (at least A3)
  • A simple still life subject (fruit with leaves, teapot, small curiosities etc. Preferably lit by a single dominant light source.

 

Process

Step 1

Take time to observe your subject before drawing. Look for one or two major lines that flow through the entire subject. This line (or lines) will form the backbone of your composition. Lightly sketch them in with a few sweeping strokes.

Step 2

Add several more lines to define the approximate shape of the object. Try to make these lines flow as well, where possible.

Step 3

Begin connecting your initial lines with secondary flow-through lines. These may become apparent as you work so keep an eye out and don’t hesitate to alter the lines, as the purpose of this exercise is to find rhythms within your subjects, and these rhythms may take time to emerge.

Step 4

Once you’re happy with the overall impression your drawing gives, you can lightly erase any early lines that no longer form part of the drawing. Even though you will remove them, they will still be an underlying aspect of the drawing’s composition.

Step 5

You can now begin defining smaller forms with shorter connecting lines. Keep things loose as you work – you don’t need to make a finely detailed drawing at this stage.

Step 6

The final thing you need to do is define and lightly shade in any major shadow shapes. This will provide a great basis for you to work from in the second part of the project.

Still Life Tasks: Perspective Drawing

Task 3 and 4 both involve still life drawing. Being able to draw in perspective is an important aspect of drawing to understand.

Leonardo Da Vinci said of perspective:

Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship.

Many artists though do make the point that perspective is merely a tool and it depends on what final effect you are going for. The Pop Art artist Roy Lichtenstein, who disliked certain rules said,

People think one-point and two-point perspective is how the world actually looks, but of course, it isn’t. It’s a convention.

Either way, it is something that should be practiced and understood 🙂

The meaning of perspective used in art involves creating an appearance of depth. This emphasis on distance stems from it being a difficult and impressive effect to achieve, especially upon paper that is completely flat. Here we are attempting to convey a sense of reality with space and depth on something which has none.

I will be the first to admit that learning and practicing linear perspective is a little bit like eating your veggies when you are a kid. You aren’t sure about them even though you know they are good for you but, in the end, you learn to love them. But what is really worth remembering about perspective drawing is that if you know the basics, you’ve got all the capabilities of a 3D drawing in your hands. That’s why understanding linear perspective is so important for artists, beginners included.

Linear perspective revolutionised the way artists perceived and incorporated spatial depth in their work. Established in solid, mathematical terms in the 15th century, linear perspective creates the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.

To create effective linear perspective, artists establish a horizon line, a vanishing point on that line, and multiple orthogonal, or vanishing, lines. The horizon line is a horizontal line that runs across the paper or canvas to represent the viewer’s eye level and delineates the sky meeting the ground. The orthogonal lines, which distort objects by foreshortening them, create the optical illusion that objects grow smaller and closer together as they get farther away. These imaginary lines recede on the paper to meet at one point on the horizon called the vanishing point.

The difference between one-point perspective and two-point perspective is the number of vanishing points and where they are placed on the horizon line.

Here is a resource to support you with developing this technique:

Perspective

My Live Session which quickly demonstrates how to create both One & Two Point Perspectives 🙂

It might just help you with adjusting those funny angles in your artwork and allowing you to see some extra fundamentals in observational drawing 🙂

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 4: Still Life Using Graphite

Back to graphite we go…

So we are beginning to bring together all of the skills we have learned so far. We will soon be moving away from our tonal work so let’s try another Still Life drawing but this time with our graphite pencils.

Things we have covered so far:

  • Observation Skills- right side of the brain
  • Tonal Scale & Universal forms
  • Charcoal Techniques
  • Composition Considerations

Now we need graphite techniques to complete our skills in observational drawing.

You can use similar skills developed using charcoal for your graphite drawing, such as using a kneaded eraser to help with highlights. Do what you feel is right for you whilst applying the full tonal range to your drawing.

The same composition techniques we have discussed will apply and you should refer back to your universal forms to remind yourself of the different highlights and shadows. This time it should be easier as you will have the objects in front of you; if your light is good (natural light by a window) and your choice of objects is good (range of sizes, forms, textures) then you should be finding it easier to observe and create successful observational drawings.

Doing some different mark making exercises will also help you to decide on your style. It will also develop your understanding and control of using a graphite pencil in different ways. We have looked at adding tone to our shapes in a Sfumato sort of way so far, but there are many others that might suit you better and give a different character to your work.

Check out this resource to help you:

Mark Making

Have fun and remember to share your work for friendly feedback to support your progress – Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and a friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Here is the video link to my FB Live Mark Making Lesson

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 3 Part 2: Still Life Using Charcoal

The final part to this task is to use all you have learned with universal forms and observation to produce a final still life drawing using charcoal.

This time you can actually observe objects and position them near a bright window to enhance the tonal range (highlights and shadows).

Composition is an important aspect to a still life drawing so here is a resource to support you with this task. Read about the different composition techniques you can apply to your drawing. Techniques covered are:

  • Golden Section
  • Rule of Odds
  • Rule of Thirds
  • Using View Finders
  • Focal Points

Resource: Composition

 

See my Facebook Live Video here where I discuss some composition considerations to improve your still life artwork 🙂

Here is my charcoal still life from the live session above…few wonky angles but you get the idea with using a range of tone to create focal points, and also can see the rule of odds! It is worth planning your still life work and using some of the techniques mentioned to maximise the final effect of your work.

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – post your own artwork for friendly feedback and discussions! see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Inspiring Artists

There are just so many artists out there to give us ideas, teach us techniques and help us to develop our own unique styles.

I have copied many over the years, for projects with my own artistic development as well as within my classroom to teach students some art fundamentals.

There is nothing quite like looking at a work of art up close in an art gallery and seeing, for example, the colours and brush strokes in a painting to learn even more. One of my favourites for this was Van Gogh! I have been lucky to have travelled to many galleries, but, as we know the internet can get us almost as close to touching the real thing- even closer than the Mona Lisa- seeing as that is now behind bulletproof glass among swarms of tourists!

Anyway, here are my top 40 inspiring artists, although there are so many more I could list. Enjoy learning about them online, copy their styles, find/read their stories and be inspired 🙂

 

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 3: Universal Forms in Charcoal Time Lapse

Watch the time lapse video to see how to add simple shading and tone to each of the universal forms using charcoal.

How it is done:

I like to sketch the outlines on top of a charcoal base. Then using a kneaded eraser take out the main areas of highlights. Using a medium compressed charcoal stick I then add the shadows and darker areas-blending into the mid-tones. Finally, as my paper was a mid tone and not white, I then used white charcoal/chalk to add the brightest highlights, taking the time to blend them together to capture the form of each shape. You can then refine your drawing with charcoal pencils or the sharper edges of a hard compressed charcoal stick to refine edges of shapes and darken shadow. Adding shadow and highlights around the image and forms gives the forms more depth.

Have a go!

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART