Check & Log
- How did you use a limited colour palette to create a sense of depth?
I used primarily two colours plus the white of the paper ie sanguine and black conte pencils. In the distance I used both colours very lightly to show aerial perspective, yet still varied tones by hatching albeit faintly. Middle ground was depicted a little stronger using the black over the sanguine to keep colour subtle but to indicated tone, shape, recesses and shadows. In the foreground I have used stronger contrasts and increased the strength of both colours – the sanguine to give more strength of colour and the black to increase the depth of shadows, particularly in the through alleyway. At the end I introduced a pale blue in the sky to indicate some light clouds and distance.
- Did your preliminary sketches give you enough information for your final pieces of work?
I was much happier with my initial sketches as source material this time – especially compared with my previous 360 degree studies in the Landscape project. The detail, slightly differing views and particularly the tonal sketch were extremely helpful.
They made me adapt my composition by putting the focal point in its setting and making it more of a picture rather than just a sketch of building architecture.
- Would you approach this task differently next time?
I think I would consider my drawing position more carefully another time. Unfortunately, I had to keep moving for cars leaving and entering the parking space next to me – typically no other space had comings and goings! Also in this kind of view, I think I would occasionally sketch the people/movement through the scene, it wasn’t as bustling as in the hight street but not deserted either. I had to imagine the figures in the final piece. I would definitely, do a tonal drawing again – maybe even simpler than this one.
- Have you got the scale of the buildings right? Make notes on what worked and what didn’t.
I am happy with the scale as I put a lot of effort into it. For my preliminary sketches, I drew a
frame and marked it around the edges and squared it up. As there were many diagonals and perspectives, I felt it important to mark where lines began and finished. Marking in the eye level was also very helpful. This was particularly difficult as the buildings did follow the bend in the road which skewed the perspective slightly with small differences in vanishing points. I was careful to note the height of the distant trees, the size of the car in the distance and how the windows followed the same pattern around the building. Adding in the figures also assisted with showing the scale. I tried to relate each element to its neighbour.
- Have you captured the colour and atmosphere in your studies? How did you do this?
I am pleased with the colour aspect. By using the sanguine for the predominantly red brick and clay roofed buildings, this has given a sense of realism, even with a limited palette. As
for the atmosphere, I was trying to avoid an architectural style of drawing (albeit not as accurate), which is difficult when concentrating on the more mathematical aspects such as perspective and scale. This is where the tonal sketch was particularly useful as detail was secondary to the tones and shadows. I think this worked to a degree but in future, to obtain more atmosphere and a less clinical feel, I would introduce more tone and less detail, even in the foreground. I also tried to make lines a little more uneven as the buildings are fairly old (early 20th Century) and have gained character and some crookedness. Adding trees and figures in the distance helped plus a shadowy figure exiting the foreground (a la Degas?) gives it more of a narrative. However, on the whole I think that this is its biggest weakness.
A Note Regarding the Previous Project: Perspective
As noted in my previous post Check and Log – Perspective, one of my key stumbling points in successfully understanding this, was “How do I decide whether a line/angle runs up or down?”. During the exercise: Study of a Townscape Using Line, I thoroughly worked through my difficulties. Sitting in the High Street of Fordingbridge, I attempted sketching the view down the street.
- I used the view finder
- Marked points around the edge of my drawn frame in my sketchbook
- Marked my eye line
- Noted the elements contained in fore, middle and backgrounds
- Employed aerial perspective
- Noted where lines began and ended
- Tried to reproduce what I could see
- Drew the row of shops and buildings using parallel perspective – hang on, is that line running up or down? Here we go again I thought!
I struggled on for an hour or so and took some photos so I had more reference when I got home. I returned to the same spot the next day and around the same time. Worked on the original sketch again and made some zoomed in detail sketches and notes. I came home and prepared my A3 cartridge paper, squaring up in readiness to enlarge my sketches – with some trepidation as I still didn’t really understand why I wasn’t getting it. Next day, determined to crack this, I set about enlarging my drawing – tackling the row of shops, I drew in a faint line for my eye level and … by jove I think I’ve got it! Lines below the eye level run up to the vanishing point, lines above run down! Why on earth I couldn’t get this I don’t know – so simple and let’s be honest very logical! Anyway, that’s the happy ending – so now to practice, practice, practice!
Note: I would have loved to post the A3 study to illustrate the breakthrough, however, frustratingly it was lost in the “post” with my other work and even more annoyingly, I omitted to photograph that one piece before it was despatched.
However, once the drawing was sketched out, I re-enforced the lines of foreground objects with a thicker Sharpie marker and gradually used thinner nibbed drawing pens through the image to the background. This enhanced the aerial perspective as well.