I completed this exercise on 17/06/12 and it was fun to do. I set up a composition on a table as instructed with objects that had similar elements in them.
We were to work with our drawing board propped up and I am still finding that I find it quite difficult to draw on a propped up board. I lean the board on a chair in front of me but I do then find it hard to keep steady. I also find it an awkward position to draw in and it seems to make it more difficult to control the drawing implement. I am hoping that as I get more used to it that it may become a little easier.
We were to draw the drawing in two halves using the back edge of the table as the midpoint. Starting with the line of the back edge of the table I drew that in and then followed the shape of the objects until I met either another object or the table again and then followed that. I used a 3B pencil and once I reached the table at the end of the setup it was time to return to the beginning and the work in the same way to draw the rest of the objects below the line of the back edge of the table. Considering how slow I normally draw this was positively jet-propelled drawing for me. I know it was only an outline but yesterday I spent two hours drawing an outline of the still life so 20 minutes for this was definitely jet-propelled. The completed drawing wasn’t 100% accurate but I was pleased that my two halves met. A3 sketch book p.15 (please see figure 1).
This was a really useful exercise. When I draw normally, I continually try and relate objects to each other and use negative space to help me. But I tend to be very hesitant. This was drawn straight across for both halves and though I have not got it 100% accurate it is more so than I thought that it would be and I really surprised myself.
The next part of the exercise was to do the same thing again but this time not to take the pencil off the paper. This proved to be interesting as I found it even more difficult to draw this way with the board propped up. I found that my line was quite wavy and I kept having to pause the pencil to enable me to pivot my hand while the pencil was in contact with the paper leaving a dot of darker tone in the line. I also find it harder to concentrate on the shapes, relationships and negative space while trying to draw the line without lifting the pencil. It made me realise that I normally lift my pencil a lot and normally alter the angle of the sketch book a lot as well, neither of which I could do for this exercise. This drawing was rather wonky and my two sides did not exactly meet in places. The shape of some of the objects was poor in places as well. As we were not to lift the pencil I came back along the line of the objects when I got to the end going after going the first way (whereas in the previous drawing I had returned to my original starting point as per the instructions. I made no correction to this drawing as it will be useful to look back on as it is to see where I went wrong. A3 sketch book p.16 (please see figure 2).
As the last drawing left rather a lot to be desired I thought that I would give it another go. I still found it an awkward way to draw but managed to concentrate on the shapes a little better in this version. This time the only time that I lifted the pencil was to return to my original starting position when I got to the end of the first half of the set up. I think that this version is a little more accurate than the previous one. I made a couple of corrections when I reached the small vase as its shape was particularly poor. A3 sketch book p.17 (please see figure 3).
I found that I really enjoyed doing these. It was nice just to relax and play and see how they went and all three versions were done in a remarkably short amount of time. Though all of them could be better, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were not as bad as I thought they might be and hopefully point towards my ability to observe getting a little more accurate. And I must admit that it was nice to do an exercise that didn’t take me half a year to complete (that may be a slight exaggeration but sometimes doesn’t feel like it).