Exercise: Painting from a Working Drawing

24, 26 & 28/11/15

Exercise: Painting from a Working Drawing

Choose a subject that you’re already familiar with, such as a corner of a room in your own home, or objects on a table by a window, and make three drawings:

  • a linear study, concentrating on the main shapes
  • a tonal study
  • a colour study

…You’ll find it easier  to use the same medium for this study as you will for the final painting as all media behave differently.

I decided to use the corner of the lounge, with both the wall lights and standard lamp on.  It was afternoon, however, as usual for this November, it’s overcast and light levels are low.  Using pencil for the linear drawing to try to keep the shapes clean and clear, I also used pencil for the main shapes then using pen for the tonal drawing. I found the pen useful for describing tone as it was small (around A6) in scale and the pen would not smudge and blur the image.

Pencil linear and pen tonal drawing A6 in A4 sketchbook

Pencil linear and pen tonal drawing
A6 in A4 sketchbook

 

I made a fundamental error with these sketches as they were made on the right hand page of my sketchbook. This prevented me having these and my colour study viewable together whilst making the final painting. To get over this I cut out the page and turned it over to be the left had page and stuck it back in my book. Now all three can be used as reference at the same time!

 

 

Colour study Pen and watercolour A6 in A4 sketchbook

Colour study
Pen and watercolour
A6 in A4 sketchbook

 

For the colour study, I stuck to using the pen to draw out the shapes and watercolour to add colour and tone. For this I used student quality pan colours although, I used artist quality tube colour for the actual painting. Again, as I did for the working outside exercise, I sorted out my colours first.

 

 

 

 

I did not use all of the colours I thought, ie Naples Yellow, Viridian nor Raw Umber, however, having the palette loaded and ready, made it simpler and quicker to paint. I also drew out the main shapes lightly in pencil and resisted the urge to use pen to “tidy” up, it also allowed me to draw with the paint itself.

Painting from a Working Drawing Watercolour on watercolour paper A4 on A3 paper

Painting from a Working Drawing
Watercolour on watercolour paper A4 on A3 paper

  • Did your sketches provide enough information for you to do your painting? If not, what else should you have included? I felt confident with the information in front of me, of course, I am very familiar with the subject so that helped too.  I found the tonal drawing the most useful although, the colour study helped to lay out my palette.
  • Did you find that being away from the subject gave you more freedom to develop your painting style? In what way? To be honest, the subject itself didn’t really inspire me into “freedom”, although, the light and shadows are always interesting to me and I enjoyed trying to show the light coming through the lamp shade and the shadows of the plant leaves. I enjoyed drawing with the paint and using wet in wet technique to achieve the tones.
  • What is your opinion of the finished painting? In the main I think it’s worked although I had to work hard at getting the darks as dark as I did. I don’t love it and I don’t hate it but I think it was good practice to have gone through the process and will be invaluable in future projects.

 

Exercise: Observing the Human Figure

10/08/15

Exercise: Observing the Human Figure

Set model in comfortable and relaxed pose, sitting or lying down.  Make sure there is sufficient light on both the subject and your working surface. As you’re concerned more with line than tone in this exercise the shadow cast by directional light is not a major concern.

As the only other living being in the house at the time was a spaniel (a stretch too far), I had to use myself as the model. This will be a common theme so have read through this section and made some notes on how I may accomplish the brief regardless:

  • Material: conte stick
  • Warm up 2-3 minute poses
  • Longer pose 10 minutes maximum
Drawing the Human Figure 2-5 minute warm up sketches, 2 x black conte stick, 1 x 8B pencil. A3 Sketchbook

Drawing the Human Figure
2-5 minute warm up sketches, 2 x black conte stick, 1 x 8B pencil.
A3 Sketchbook

 

As I seem to relate to scale and proportion better whilst standing, my warm up sketches are stood at the easel.  As noted next to the drawings, I found the conte stick a little too thick for this size of sketch. Also, we are advised that the model should wear close-fitting  clothes so that the form of the figure is discernible – the jeans and t-shirt I was wearing proved to be too baggy and impeded my view.

 

 

 

Drawing the Human Figure 10-15 minute sketch, 8B pencil in A3 Sketchbook

Drawing the Human Figure
10-15 minute sketch, 8B pencil in A3 Sketchbook

 

After a swift change into closer fitting clothes, it was much easier to see what I was drawing.  I also decided to draw larger scale, although not quite at the scale that finally emerged, hence no feet!  This was not a conscious decision, I just found to reproduce what I saw as faithfully as I could, I had to increase the size of the drawing. I am more used to A2 size, so although I didn’t quite manage it, it is good practice to try.

 

 

 

 

 

As the brief did specify that the model should be comfortable and either seated or lying, I cast around to see how this could be achieved. As the mirror was in the bedroom and it was “change bed sheets” day, there were pillows, a duvet and a throw piled up on the floor.  I made a base out of the duvet, a couple of large pillows and fashioned a back drop from the throw tucked into semi open cupboards opposite the mirror. Then I had to work out how to actually draw whilst sitting down, I decided to cross one leg over the other and use this to support my A3 sketchbook, this worked fairly well except for covering part of my right arm and hand. It also made a more interesting pose, although comfort did not play a big part! To get around this, I had to put the sketchbook down and study the position of the arm and hand, and then draw from memory, this took a few attempts but just about worked.

Drawing the Human Figure 20 minute sketch, 8B pencil in A3 Sketchbook

Drawing the Human Figure
20 minute sketch, 8B pencil in A3 Sketchbook

NB: All notations at the time are next to the sketches.