29 March 2012

More drawing project stuff... two pencils

Hello again!

Despite the attractions of the recent warm sunny afternoons, I've managed to pick up the pencils and have a go at the next exercise from the Drawing Projects book. This one is called 'two pencils'. Here's my set-up.

This is another control (or giving up control!) exercise.  Here, two sharp pencils are taped together to make a single unit. Then you start to draw - the marks will be interesting, and it does feel rather awkward! You should end up a range of marks as a basis to work with - you then refine the drawing, using one pencil and a putty rubber to knock back the marks where you think they're too dark or just in the wrong place.

The book tells you to clarify the drawing, making smaller, darker marks, as if you were sharpening the image by focusing the lens on a camera. Interesting analogy. This part of the drawing will inevitably be 'tighter' and more controlled, but you have the looser earlier drawing to build on. I started off with my trusty boot...

Then moved on to a daffodil from the garden...

Then, lawks, a self portrait from the mirror...

Then back to the daffodil...

All pencil on A3 cartridge paper.

I found this very enjoyable - I can see the direct connection between this (and indeed the first exercise) and, for example, painting in acrylics. I've often read/heard (and tried to apply!) the advice to start off painting general shapes, and refine these. Much the same as these drawing exercises - starting loose, a bit unpredictable and exciting, and refining while keeping that initial pleasing looseness.

I'm quite enjoying myself with these exercises!

23 March 2012

Sketching and drawing projects

Hello everyone!

I decided, a couple of weeks back, to give myself a small treat - I bought a book called Drawing Projects: an exploration of the language of drawing. It has some positively glowing reviews on Amazon, and I'm keen to (a) improve and (b) have more fun with my sketching and drawing.

I have to say that I found some of the language a bit 'art schoolish', a bit affected and pompous, but maybe that's just me. However, the projects do look like they'll be FUN :-). So I'll share what I'm up to with these, along with what the aims of each exercise are, as and when I do them...

First off I'll point out that this isn't a book that tells you how to draw things. There are no instructions on how to draw a sphere, or a tree, or a face. You pretty much pick your own subject matter to draw from life. The drawing projects are designed to help you develop your own drawing practice, and to shake off the notion that the only successful drawing is one that looks like a photograph...

Anyway, here are my first few drawings. The first project is about control, breaking the habit of always holding the pencil as if you are writing with it - these are my 'extended arm' drawings. The first one was done with the pencil attached to a stick, about 60cm long, with me at the far end of it:-)

Nice and wobbly! Bit faint that one, hope you can make it out!

Next, I had a pencil attached to a shorter stick (actually a paintbrush!), about 30cm long.

 Drawing number three was done by holding the pencil at the very end.

And the next one was drawn while holding the pencil as you'd hold a knife and fork...

And finally, a fifth drawing - this was done using all of the above techniques, one drawing being done on top of the previous one, loosest to most controlled, so that the end product is a combination of drawings of varying degrees of control.

I was interested to find that I didn't make lots of revisions with each successive drawing in this last one - I actually quite liked the looseness and liveliness of the early drawings, and refined this a bit when I had more control of the pencil.

All pencil on A3 cartridge paper. And all good fun to do, and very interesting to reflect upon.

Until next time - happy drawing:-)

20 March 2012

YOP self portrait


The final Year of Painting challenge (for this year) on the Painting Friends forum was a self-portrait. I draw and paint quite a few portraits, as it’s my favourite subject, so for this one I wanted to try something a bit different – different medium, different approach, just to freshen things up a little… 

I wanted to do something other than my usual head-and-shoulders type portrait, and I'm pleased with the way this one turned out. I covered my paper with charcoal, and used a putty eraser to lift out the pale areas. This is a really forgiving approach, as it's so easy to correct the shapes, lifting charcoal out, putting it back in, until eventually it comes together...

Charcoal on pastel paper (A4 W&N pastel paper pad)

13 March 2012

Fun with tulips

Hello everyone!

Last time I went to our local Farmers' Market I bought a couple of bunches of tulips, with the intention of doing some drawing and sketching... so, here they are...

First off, a sketch in ink (Staedtler triplus fineliner pens)

Next, a sketch in biro of the whole bunch. Was trying to get a feel of the way they seemed to explode out of the vase...

After this I decided to try a couple of watercolour sketches, both 5 by 7".

And finally, a week or so later, I got the fineliner pens out again for some more sketching...

So all in all I think I did fairly well out of these flowers. I do prefer drawing/sketching/painting them when they're past their best - they seem so much more interesting then!

10 March 2012


Well, it's been a while since I last posted, but I haven't been entirely idle! Here's one I've just finished up - a portrait of my uncle. I delayed posting it until today because (i) today's his birthday, and (ii) despite deciding it was finished about a week ago, I did get the brushes out yesterday to tweak a few final things...

To be honest  I think it still needs some work, but I'm happy enough with it overall.

Acrylic, 14" by 11"

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