Still Life Using Line

I decided to start with a couple of quick sketches before committing to a final drawing and began with a pineapple, a coconut and a pear. I chose these for their different shapes and textures, plus they were still hanging around since the previous exercise.

Photo 16-03-2017, 11 31 18
quick pencil sketch

I used pencil and tried drawing almost continuously in a gestural style and I liked the end result, perhaps because it was quite different to my normal attempts. I think I managed to get the solidity of the three fruits but in a freer, looser style than normal which was fun although the pineapple isn’t completely convincing.

As I really enjoyed drawing the pears, I wondered what a few pears would look like as an arrangement and did a quick sketch of them using compressed charcoal. I wanted to try something different but it was quite difficult to get the pears to stand up. I got one to stand up by itself but the other two needed each other for support, that seemed the perfect composition.

Photo 16-03-2017, 11 31 07.jpg
quick compressed charcoal sketch

Perhaps because of their funny shapes, they were a pleasure to draw,  and I think I did  a capable job of capturing their form. I am beginning to realise that charcoal needs more room, I was using an A5 sketchbook, so I did a larger version on A3. I very much enjoyed drawing these, making a real effort to draw fast and loose and not in a constrained way. Perhaps I am beginning to understand the need for the right tools for the job, including paper size, and am starting to enjoy drawing bigger and bigger.

Here’s the larger version.

Photo 16-03-2017, 11 30 56
longer study, compressed charcoal

This time I used a bracelet effect to give the pears their rounded shape, again in compressed charcoal.

As I really want to experiment with the dipping pen and ink, I will do another version but I am happy that I have experimented with a different technique and am somewhat content with the result. Although now that I have uploaded the photo I’m not sure if the middle pear’s stalk is projecting forward as much as I would like! Obviously the drawing is not perfect, the shapes are a little off but I enjoyed getting to know the new materials.

Drawing with the dipping pen was very tricky, I’m not sure if I have some defunct nibs or it’s down to user error, but I had real problems even getting the nibs to work. I had soaked them in boiling water previously, in case they were covered in wax, but I’m clueless as to what is going wrong here. After a few attempts, I used a much broader nib, which seemed to work better and tried out a version of the pears.

Photo 17-03-2017, 10 30 54
ink version

It’s not perfect and, whilst I found it challenging, I am also quite happy that I persisted and am pleased with the end result. Clearly the technical aspect of the line is lacking, and I need some more practice but I am excited to try it again.

Reviewing this after exercise two, I thought the images were relatively successful, especially the pears, as I felt I took a risk with just using pears and having them fall onto each other as an arrangement. I think some of my compositions have been quite basic so I realise the need to be more adventurous going forward.

Some elements of depth came through, in the use of contrast and the way one pear falls on the other, and through use of tone.

Being restricted to tone was fine, it adds some personality to the drawing but the ink pen technique clearly needs practice.

Just using one colour worked well, although the brown ink was the only one I owned at the time, it seems appropriate for the pears, hinting at the seasonality of fruit, giving it an autumnal air. This course is pushing me to try new things but I’m never really sure if I am doing it right, even analysing your own work is difficult and trying to second guess your self. Hopefully this will become easier as I go on.


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