Preparatory Work 07/10/14
As before, I have had to take photographs for this drawing.
We were asked to produce a reclining pose, paying particular attention to tone and to focus on the pictorial qualities, making the background as important as the figure.
I decided to wait for the evening so artificial light could be used to throw shadows and produce more tonal contrast. I used only the lighting available in the room ie an adjustable standard lamp and the secondary light source from the TV screen in the opposite corner. I took photos from many different view points and angles to try to help build the structure and three-dimensional aspect in my mind. The background was definite but not overwhelming, I omitted a large pot plant behind the figure as I decided there was enough to make an interesting image without it and I didn’t want it to look overcrowded.
I made a few sketches to establish the composition. I particularly like a sketch taken from behind the model looking down on his head and along the length of the sofa he was lying on. However, the light source did bleach out a lot of the tonal contrast. I decided on the first sketch for the composition due to more tone being evident.
I was determined not to use the photographs at all in the final piece of work. This was to test myself in the following ways:
- Did the sketch have enough information eg tone, structure and background? (This was a failing in a previous section “Drawing Outdoors”).
- Could I use my memory of previous numerous drawings of the same model together with these sketches to achieve a likeness? (As in the exercise “Portrait from Memory”).
- Could I translate the tonal sketch into a colour study? (Something that I have previously struggled with).
- As this was to be a drawing incorporating the background to explore pictorial possibilities, could I achieve realistic and accurate perspective in the drawing? (Again a struggle in the previous section “Drawing Outdoors”).
- As I had simplified the tonal ranges in the sketch from which I was working, it was much clearer where light and dark occurred. I also, in the final drawing, sketched out the entire image in black conte stick and then hatched in the same dark tones in a dark blue pastel before blocking in with colour. this again described the darks clearly before working in to them. (Note to self: Must take more work in progress photos as this was a particularly interesting and new way of working for me).
- The sketches were a good starting point for achieving a likeness. As the drawing neared completion, I was drawn to the face and was not happy with it. A few adjustments with coloured pencils and a basic likeness appeared with which I was satisfied.
- As the sketch had clear definition and the tonal under-painting was in place, I did not consciously consider the problems I had had translating tone to colour previously. The precautions I had taken initially made it a natural process. I couldn’t have been more pleased at this result at this stage in my progress.
- The perspective element is something I need to keep working on so I tried not shy away from it in the final drawing. The aerial perspective seems to have been successful with background objects being described subtly, however, I am still unsure about the sofa. I can not blame the source photograph as the sketch was in proportion. I think that as I was working on a larger sheet of paper with slightly different ratio of width to length, that I overcompensated and made the sofa appear too long. I’m not sure – I need a neutral point of view to case an eye over it I think.
I think that the sketch works slightly better proportionally than the final drawing. However, tonally I am very happy with the outcome. I enjoyed exploring another process by marking in the tones first in one colour as an under-painting, especially as it seems to have worked. Another note to self: if unsure whether something has worked – it probably hasn’t!