Tag: graphite

Assignment 5


The journey to produce this picture was an enjoyable one, and I have learnt a great deal in its production. I am still in the experimental stage of using Gesso but on the whole it worked well to emphasize and give form to the picture. The one thing I did find troublesome is the shine produce when using graphite on it. I decided to not to add colour in the end in order to hopefully show I have learnt to use tone and can suggest depth with mark making. The whole picture is drawn with various different marks. To work in fine detail would have taken far too long for the Assignment piece, as this is an A1 so an enormous project for pencil work and I have discussed with my tutor my technique and decided to concentrate on the trees  in the fore, using the Deer to help give some sizing. Most of the Fore is done using hatching, however for large areas I used graphite powder and the rubbing out technique. I applied this to some of the trees at the back and will use it again as it gave a good texture.bark

The tree bark in the fore was first done using the powder then shadows were put in with hatching, then the design of the bark was accentuated with a black polychromo then removed some giving a less blocky look.


I decided to leave it to a black and white project, in part because I have never used graphite in such a large picture, and it was more stable than charcoal or pastel which I had used for Assignment 4. I still have to fight myself to not add a lot of detail, but time would not allow a too detailed approach. Having said that I am getting better at using mark as a  suggestion, even though I do feel my work is still half finished. My choice for the drawing would have been on board and then a covering of gesso but due to weight when posting, I decided to use heavyweight watercolour paper. Fabrino Artistico 300 accepted Gesso but I didn’t want to cover the entire area as I was still having problems with the shine even when the Gesso was rubbed down, any build up of graphite or carbon would cause shine, Graphite powder which I used for the background was ok, but it would not build depth of tone enough so I used a black polychromo pencil to get the darks. The trees were deep in shadow one side and it gave them form. Unfortunately the paper has a cream tint and they highlights were not as bright as I wanted.

To begin with I drew out the scene loosely, then applied the Gesso and tissue to the area I wanted heavier texture. I decided to only apply it to the foreground on this occasion as it would have meant a lot of rubbing down to get the smooth surface and as mentioned above I was still working on getting rid of graphite shine. If I use the technique in the future I may try marble dust or sand in the mix. I used perspective lines to gauge the size of the Deer in the picture, trees were not as essential because they come in so many shapes and sizes, what was important was to start off correctly sizing the nearest Deer with the trees. After that I drew perspective lines to the horizon and matched the other Deer in the picture in order to get it correct. This then helped with the tree sizing behind. I also tried to incorporate the Golden Mean  placing the Deer in specific areas, though there are two in the background which were put in just to add interest to the viewer.



I started drawing at the top of the picture, due to its size I used graphite powder as it covers a large area fast, this worked well on the paper and on Gesso, but the Gesso looked overworked if I tried to get the deeper tones on it. I will use this method in the future and it has its place, but if this had been a finished piece of art I would have worked a lot slower. It is hard to get Graphite detail on watercolour paper so it did work well emphasising distance within the picture. One thing I didn’t like was in certain light you can see the change of surface colour between Gesso and paper. However walking around the room I notice something that artists in the past noticed with texture oil paintings, depending on where you look at the areas that had the Gesso the depth of tone changed, so I think I am hooked at trying to perfect drawing on the surface and will experiment further in the future with its application and use.

Overall I am pleased with my final piece, I wanted to produce a drawing that showed what had been learnt throughout Drawing 1, and I think I have done that. What I did struggle with is letting go and allowing, as they say, happy accidents. The foreground showing the texture was developed using tissue and Gesso, this gives the look of fallen branches and other vegetation. However I had little control over how this looked and had to an extent go with the look and work with it. The trees were different, they worked really well and are tactile, I managed to manipulate the bark better by using pallet knives which didn’t seem to work as well with the finer work. I did put random marks a little further towards the middle of the picture, these didn’t work as they were too small to rub down and I found it hard to work them into the picture. Also I got a little Gesso by accident to the side of one of the trees and found it difficult to make that look natural within the picture.  I think in the future I would like to take this drawing further, I would use Gesso over the entire picture and experiment more with it adding some form of grit and try different supports.

Part 4, Project 6 Exercise 2 Your own face


For this i was to create two interesting images of my own face, I wasn’t to worry about producing an attractive or accurate likeness the aim is to create a believable face with the features in more or less the right place. I did 3 very quick sketches which were not the best likeness then moved onto the first sketch. I cant say it is very interesting, in fact I look terrified. In reality it was more to do with me looking intently in the mirror, so much so I forgot to do the interest thing. I hate looking at me at the best of times, so not exactly my favourite exercise this. My second drawing I did from a photograph hoping I could get a better view and remove the look of terror from my eyes. Err no, that one was even worse. The second picture I did in oil crayons and I am just not used to using pastels oil or chalk. They are very thick to use and I am used to drawing fine detail. The pencil drawing was much easier to do and is a slightly better picture of me. When my daughter stopped laughing at my minute sketches, she felt the pencil drawing was the better likeness. I think in part it was because I am used to the medium and also I found the features were easier to measure correct when working from life. I feel drawing individual parts of the face is easier for me as I am a slow drawer possibly due to my dyslexia, and although my drawing will no doubt always be slow, with all the quick sketching in Part 4 it has built up my speed and I would like to continue drawing like this as I believe it has improved my work.

Part 4, Project 4, Exercise 2, Three figure drawings


For this exercise I had to do  a standing, seated and lounging figure. The aim is to practise making interesting studies of the figure to show I have understood the basic structural principles and my ability to incorporate them using whichever style or approach for my subject. I took time as requested, sorting out a position and viewpoint, walking around my subject also making a few quick sketches, these were quick. I also used exaggerated foreshortening in one picture as I quiet enjoy the almost comedic look of a person when foreshortened. It can be seen used in this way by Jenny Savage and although I dont like the look of all the flesh on display, I do like the concept. I achieved this exaggeration because of the viewing angle. It was impossible to draw this without a photo because of the position I would be in to get the view.  I think the least interesting one was the seated figure which was drawn using graphite. This for me was the hardest drawing as I find the seated figure difficult to do and for the life of me I couldnt get the proportions correct, I went wrong and could not redeem the picture with the trousers being too narrow, and the face incorrect. I moved onto the pastel picture which I think is accurate, my subject is only short and was stood slightly angled to the side , this gave a foreshortened effect on the shoulder and leg to the right of the body. I was pleased with this sketch and liked the energy in the picture even the the figure was still.

The lounging figure was the one I exaggerated the foreshortening on, it was easier to do as when low to the ground the foot became enormous. I used a pencil as a measure and the foot appeared to be half the size of the person, giving this over exaggerated size effect. My subject was twisted to one side which did give the whole picture a distorted view. Possibly it would have looked lest contorted and abnormal if I had positioned my model facing me. I do think this came out well though and enjoyed the process. This was done in pen and wash using Paynes Grey watercolour.

Overall I think I did relatively well, but I do still have a lot to learn in regards to the accurate portrayal of a human. To make sure I was within the size and proportion, I did draw out the figures in heads before I started as I had seen done in a book written by Andrew Looomis, Figure Drawing For All Its Worth. It is without a doubt easier to draw a figure with a mental vision of the naked body shape. It helps with the hang of clothes and the proportions of their body. I also find the position more achievable if I draw a stick figure first. I am getting better and more accurate as can be seen throughout Part 4, as I have a much better grasp of the size and proportion of a human. However it can take various attempts to get these proportions correct on paper, as can be seen above with the seated figure and the trouser legs and feet which are both sized incorrect, being too small.

Part 4, Project 4 Structure, Exercise 1 The Structure of the human body




For this exercise I had to loosely sketch some of the structures that make up the human body. Look for images online, library and our own body measurements and mechanics;

Looking closely , work upwards, start with your toes, sketching small sketches of  various body parts  until finally reaching the skull.

This is a very open ended exercise and can be time consuming I looked at the bones and muscles including my own body, used images off the internet and in books. Researching the structure of our body properly takes time so I drew an example of each part of the body, some included the muscles, some the bones, the rest the contours and shape. I finished the exercise with the skull, rather than draw it small I opted to do a larger version. It didn’t take long but gave me a little breather from  trying to study all the components that go into making our bodies. I felt the time needed to do this exercise properly would be immense and the whole thing should be treated as an ongoing exercise throughout my career. It is not something you could learn in a matter of hours.

Part 4, Research point effect of foreshortening

mum 2

For this Research I was to try lounging on a couch with a mirror facing me from the foot end, then draw my body as I saw it in the mirror. My feet should be huge in comparison with the rest of my body. This effect is called foreshortening I then had to find any images were an artist has used foreshortening to create a particular effect.

Jenny Saville is a good one for this as she uses foreshortening in her figure drawing which accentuates the flesh.  This can be seen well in this painting called Plan.


Also there is the Grid reference illustration published by Albrecht Durer where he depicts someone looking through a string grid and transferring what they see to a drawing surface which had a grid on.


Part 4, Project 1, Exercise 2 Emphasising form with cloth


folds1            folds 2


For this exercise I had to sketch a seated figure wearing a plain and pale coloured shawl, baggy jumper or soft dressing gown. I had to use light marks sketch the overall shape of the seated figure, remembering to fit it interestingly withing the borders of the support. I am not sure I managed that. However I think I managed to disregard detail an concentrate on drawing the body and fabric. I actually enjoyed this doing this drawing, I didnt think I would as drawing people is something I have never really concentrated on.

As it happened I couldn’t find a plain pale shawl, so I had to go with a beach wrap and ignore the pattern. My model sat patiently whilst I drew, but the first drawing was almost head on and really didnt look right the model was incorrectly positioned on the chair and looked awkward. The light was bad in my cottage and it didnt highlight the light and darks as I wanted, but I think I managed to capture the folds and contours of the material and shape of the model so I was glad that part went well. The second drawing is better, I drew my model for the side and although the light was still very flat even with a daylight bulb, it was far more accurate.

If I was to do it again I would try a draw in daylight to get the tone better, unfortunately my personal life dictated evening was the only time I could draw on this occasion.

Both drawings were drawn with a 2B Graphite pencil.


Part 4, Project 1, Exercise 1, Fabric and form

For this exercise I was to throw a piece of clothing or length of plain fabric across a chair to make folded and soft layers of fabric and then, using an appropriate medium for each make two 15 minute sketches, one using line only and the other concentrating on tone. On the line drawing I used graphite and darkened the line where the fold area was in shadow. For the tonal drawing I also used Graphite Pencil one 2b and worked the tone by applying more layers when needing shadow.

material folds line drawing

material folds with tone

I then had to loosely divide a large sheet of paper into 8-12 cm squares and draw 5 minute sketches of different parts of the fabric. Look at the shapes cause by the folds.

I used various media as was suggested choosing, Chalk Pastel, Graphite Pencil, Pencil and Ink, Watercolour Pencil, Wax Pastel, Charcoal, Ball Pen, Felt Tip.

5 min farbric drawing

The approach to how I drew the folds and shapes, was different according to the media I used but all started with a line drawing in Graphite first.  I thought I would find the media that could be smudged, or blended in some way would give the best effect and largely that was correct, however each one had its merit depending on the effect wanted. The Ball Pen  had a pleasing linear effect which I may use in the future, and the Felt Tip actually looked better than the others when viewed from a distance. Out of all the media I felt the Wax Pastel was the less pleasing which surprised me. This could be the way I applied the Pastel, or it didnt work well within a small area, so I decided I would try Wax Pastel on a larger drawing. It was applied very quickly and still worked loose. I liked the effect and may try a similar drawing again but be more precise with application and spending longer in achieving the affect I am looking by trying a more layered effect. I certainly feel used in such a loose way a bigger drawing works better.

material folds 3123

Part 3, Project 5, Exercise 4 Statues

war horse statue done
Drawing of statue of the War Horse Warrior on the Isle of Wight
Wicker statue of a rabbit and eggs
Statue of a soldier.
mary statue
Marys statue from a local church


This exercise was about looking at statues to hone my drawing skills. Decide what interests me and try to make them interesting. My first statue of the war horse Warrior was drawn from a photograph I took a few years ago on the Isle of Wight. I photographed it with the intention of drawing it one day. I used oil pastels which were difficult to get the fine details I like the metallic affect though.

The wicker statue of the Rabbit was a statue put up in the local town around Easter I wasn’t sure what media to use but found pen worked well. I didnt try to draw the wicker accurately just the impression. I must admit to this being my favourite drawing. It was quickly don’t, even the dot affect, I feel it shows a progress in my work as I can see from all the statues I am moving away from my rigid approach to art which was evident in Part 2.

The soldier is a quick pencil drawing it looks a little untidy, I still need to get greater control at speed. I think I also need to look at drawing faces better!

For Mary I used charcoal and because she was white I placed her on a imaginary background, she was actually high up on a dark church wall. I added the rays to give a spiritual feeling to the piece, but am not sure it was really suited I may of been better leaving it dark. Mary herself was largely drawn using an eraser. I produced the lights and the tones using a rubber and removing various degrees of charcoal. Again I think I need to practice faces as she doesn’t have that gentle look you associate with religious figures.

Part 3, Project 4, Exercise 3 Aerial or atmospheric perspective



ariel view2060
Bedroom Window Tonal Sketch


This exercise is about tonal gradation and how the horizon becomes lighter and less detailed. I had to use  media such as charcoal, soft graphite, conte sticks, soft chalky pastel oil sticks and ink. I used all but the oil sticks.

First I wast to establish the horizon and then plot the basic forms of objects in the landscape, analyse the gradation of tone and if I wanted I could use monochrome to create atmosphere and tone.

I had a day at a nature reserve and thought it would be a good place to draw. Unfortunately things dont always go as planned. It snowed the day before and although clear the next day it was bitter. Undeterred I still went thinking there had to be something I could draw. Reality was, the weather was bitter and higher ground was  not accessible. It made drawing almost impossible. The first sketch I did was of the buildings which at various angles and surrounded by reeds didnt really look good when roughly sketched, which I did in my small sketchbook. I used charcoal for this but due to the situation I found it didnt suit the subject plus I wasn’t high enough up to sketch any distance.

building063 uni

I moved my place and managed to get a little higher this time setting about a quick sketch in conte sticks. This worked a little better but the area hadn’t enough of interest to work without full colour,  it was so cold I couldn’t stand it especially as I was ill, so I packed up my things and moved to a hide.

reserve uni 2


The hide gave me some protection  but I had no height and it was an expanse of flat mud banks and water. There were only two birds in the distance and nothing again between foreground and horizon to suit the remit. This was done in graphite, I applied the pen and wash when I returned home.

reserve uni


None of my quick sketches gave me inspiration, a little disappointed I returned home.

The next day I decided to draw an aerial  view from the window of one of the bedrooms,  I was able to sit quietly and concentrate on perspective and tone. After having attempted quick sketches the day before I could see this views content was more suited to the exercise, so I decided to work in my A4 sketchbook, but draw in pencil first. I had to have several attempts at the perspective before I felt confident enough to fill with tone. The village is an old one and many houses built in stone so I wanted to give an aged look. I love the drawings and paintings in minimal colour like this one by Harold Riley http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/harold-riley-figures-by-the-church-5338938-details.aspx  especially this one of Peter Rubens http://www.peterpaulrubens.net/the-battle-of-anghiari.jsp and some of the old pastel drawings.  I chose three shades of pastel and charcoal. I loved the affect and felt the tonal gradation worked well but I still have a long way to go with perspective, I find I get bogged down with angles and forget the drawing.

I liked this exercise and found it challenging. I have learned just because things look good by eye they don’t always make a good picture. Plus getting bogged down in perspective can stop you seeing the picture as a whole. Another thing  I learnt was to put in the vertical lines first, as this helps get the perspective correct. I made a mistake of not doing that with the conservatory and made a mess and had to redo it.


roof shot
A difficult picture to get




Part 3, Project 3, Exercise 2 Foreground, middle ground, background

view for uni


I had difficulty with this as I had to put 4 scans together and the picture warped when applying the water to the watercolour pencils. I had to choose a sketch or photograph establish a foreground, middle ground and background.  Use A3 paper, pencils, graphite and water-soluble pencils.

I chose to use a photograph of an area I return to every year in the Lakes. If I was able to draw it in the field I would have chosen a slightly different  view as the foreground looks little angled due to the rock position. I made a pre-sketch of the water to get its appearance correct, I also had a small field sketch in graphite which I had drawn last year of the same Lake different viewpoint.


water 22049


My foreground is the bank of the Lake and just a little of the water. I used heavy marks to show shade and cleft in the rocks and shadow.

Mid ground was water which was hard to depict depth, was drawn using the size of the ripples on its surface and colour towards the bank, you could see the brown surface under the water so it looked more brown/blue in appearance.

Background was just after the start of the land at the back, so I used colour and less detail as it receded into the horizon. On the left, the land was nearer that the right so I included more detail and heavier shadow.

I drew this picture using graphite and then applied a few layers of watercolour pencil, then a wash. This action removed my actual sketch marks in areas, so I lost the graphite detail, some were put back at the end, with graphite and coloured pencil.  I don’t like the texture watercolour pencils give, probably because I haven’t mastered the technique to use them.

I feel I managed to fulfill the brief, but if I was to take this drawing further I would chose another part of the Lake, or add a boat or two to emphasize the middle ground even more and give the picture some interest.