Still life study of made objects. Assignment 1

I completed the second part of the assignment on 31/07/12. Due to outside pressures and health issues it has been quite difficult to get to the final drawing and taken longer than I would have wanted but I am pleased to have completed it. Again, I decided that I wanted to use monochrome for the assignment piece and also wanted to use frottage as well as I had enjoyed the exercise on this.

I started with trying out a set up with a jug and a basket of rolls and then tried a jar with kitchen utensils and bread and rolls, sketching the set up for each of these, A4 sketch book page 44 (please see figure 1).

Figure 1
Possible set ups for still study of made objects

I felt that the sketch with the jar and utensils etc had potential and next sketched it with some small adjustments and lit from the opposite side, A4 sketch book page 45 (please see figure 2).

Figure 2
Possible set ups for still life study of made objects

I felt this worked better but that I could make more of the shadow shape if I moved the light round a bit. I did the next sketch in watersoluble graphite, A4 sketch book page 45 (please see figure 2).  Next day I tried adding some rolls in on the right hand side but didn’t feel that this added anything to the set up, A4 sketch book page 46 (please see figure 3).

Figure 3
Possible set up for still life study of made objects

Finally I tried a couple of set ups with out the jug and utensils, one with bread, rolls and croissants and the other with a paper bag and some rolls, A4 sketch book page 47 (please see figure 4).

At this point I reviewed all of the sketches and decided that I preferred the bottom set up in figure 2 and felt that this would be a possible design for the assignment piece, particularly as I liked the shadow shape made by the kitchen utensils.

Figure 4
Possible set up for still life study of made objects

Next I tried a couple of colour sketches of two different types of roll using colour soft pencils. They were nice and soft to use, laying down good colour smoothly and layered up quite well. I was quite pleased with the second roll as this looked quite rounded and was certainly better than my attempt at the first roll that had ended up looking a little like a squashed mars bar! A4 sketch book page 48 (please see figure 5). I enjoyed using the pencils and experimenting with them to see how best to represent the rolls. I did though find it difficult to show tone in colour.

Figure 5
Trying out coloursoft pencils drawing rolls

I then unfortunately had to take a break for about a week but luckily the bread and rolls didn’t go mouldy (rock hard but at least not mouldy) which was a relief. The next thing that I tried was an A3 drawing of just the bread and some rolls using the colour soft pencils again as they had worked well in the small sketches. I wasn’t sure how best to tackle the different textures and felt very unsure of myself prior to starting so I decided to just try and enjoy doing this drawing and have a play with the pencils to see how best to show the different surfaces of the bread and rolls. I enjoyed tackling the bread and rolls and was quite pleased with them when I had completed them but once again I felt that my range of tones was lacking with the drawing being high key again. I think that I tend to be quite nervous of going too dark and perhaps then go too much the other way. I wasn’t sure how to tackle the background or table and decided to do diagonal directional strokes for the background and horizontal directional strokes for the table. I was quite pleased with the effect but I do feel that I could have been bolder in my treatment of these and they are rather pale (and hardly show up in the photograph), A3 sketch book page 25 (please see figure 6).

Figure 6
A3 drawing Bread and rolls. Coloursoft pencils

The next stage was having an experiment with the possible different textures that I would use for the frottage. I tried out some 8ogsm and 100gsm paper but the grain from the plank of wood was not coming through very well so next I tried a thin layout paper and this appeared to give really good rubbings and also was an advantage that I had this in A2 size. I tried out various textures and settled on the ones that I thought would work best for the drawing, namely a plank of wood for the table, the texture on a metal case for the background and for some of the poppy seeds and sandpaper for extra texture on the rolls/bread. (Please see figure 7).

Figure 7
Frottage experiments for assignment drawing

I reset the arrangement following the set up in the bottom drawing in figure 2. Once I was happy with this I first drew an outline drawing onto an A2 sheet of layout paper. I found the utensils particularly tricky to draw. Next I experimented with the kind of marks I wanted to use to represent the different elements in the drawing. For this drawing I decided to try woodless graphite pencils and used HB, 2B, 4B and 6B and I also used Lyra graphite crayons in 2B and 6B. I enjoyed using the woodless graphite, they were smooth to use and were good for areas that needed shading such as the side of the jug. The Lyra crayons give a lovely rich tone but can be easily smudged. Once I was happy with the basic drawing I tried out the ideas for the frottage using the various objects that I had used on the practice sheet. For the frottage I used Lyra graphite crayons in HB, 2B and 6B. Overall I was reasonably happy with the drawing and felt the frottage had worked quite well. (Please see figure 8).

Figure 8
Trying out design for still life study of made objects

There seemed to be quite a lot of empty space around the objects on the paper and I felt that I could perhaps improve the composition by adding some extra elements in for the final drawing. I added some extra items to the set up and then sketched these first onto scrap paper so that I could cut them out and try them in various positions on my initial A2 drawing to see how they looked and adjusted positions as necessary. Once I was happy with the set up it was time to move onto the final drawing.

I used the same thin paper and also the same materials to draw with. I tried to be quite free with my marks and enjoyed trying to show the different textures of the bread and rolls. Once all the elements were drawn I reassessed my tones and strengthened some of the darker tones which appeared to have a positive effect on the drawing, bringing it a little more to life. I added in some small broken pieces of bread on the right hand front of the table and then felt that the drawing was complete. I feel that once again my range of tones is still not great and overall the picture remains high key although less so now the darks have been strengthened. I am not sure how to progress with my difficulty in tone and will need to look into this. My composition is not great and I still have quite a lot of empty space so haven’t utilised the paper as well as I could have. On the positive side I feel that the frottage elements tie in quite nicely into the drawing and were fun to explore and I also feel that I have drawn the elements reasonably well. Loads of room for improvement but I am pleased to have completed the assignment, at last! (Please see figure 9).

Figure 9
A2 Final drawing for still life study of made objects. Assignment 1

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