Sunday, 2 April 2017

(SEMESTER TWO) Week 9: The Hive

This was the maze book for week 9, where we did location drawing within and around the Hive. I really enjoyed changing up the composition this week with the new book method, which gave a whole next context and sequence to the work, as well as changing how it could be viewed!

Unfortunately I seem to have made an error in the maze book itself, as it doesn't open out correctly, or this could be because I haven't drawn on both sides of the book so it shows some empty spaces. I wish looking back that I had filled both sides, as the work looks a little unfinished at the moment. This may be something that I go back to at a later date to finish, because I really enjoyed it.

This aside, I am pleased with the outcome of the maze book. I tried to vary my mediums and be quite experimental with composition, using the interesting sequential layout the maze book offered. I enjoyed looking at both the people and the structures within the library, and I am especially pleased with some of the line drawings, such as the tonal drawing of the criss-cross skylight, as seen in the pictures below. As an improvement I think I would try to incorporate more context to some of the images, mainly the people, by drawing the scene around them.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

(SEMESTER TWO) Week 8: River Drawing

I missed the river drawing lesson but went back in my own time and completed the tasks in my sketchbook. I chose four contrasting locations so that I could create a varied collection of imagery to represent the diversity of the location. I also chose a variation of mediums to suit this.

I enjoyed this task and found it useful in improving drawing skills as well as observational skills, such as getting into the habit of making thumbnails. It was also useful in working on time management. I think there are varying levels of success levels within the pieces, with my strongest probably being the first two. I'm particularly happy with my tone in the first piece, as it adds depth to the composition, which is aided by the unusual viewpoint I was using for the drawing. I think it is effective at guiding the viewer's eye to the focal point of the three figures at the back of the bridge, who happened to be crossing at my time of drawing, so I was able to scribble down a reference of them. The mark making in my second piece is another point of success in my opinion, as it works well to convey the textures and movement of the scene, such as the rippled water.

The oil pastel piece is probably my least favourite, as I think it looks a little rushed. I wanted to have a range of time limits on the drawings, so this was meant to be a quicker one, but this unfortunately meant I couldn't spend long enough getting the swans accurate, which bothers me about the piece. Not only this, but it looks a little flat, due to the lack of tone. I do quite like how the light has been captured to the rear of the composition, however, so there are areas of success which I feel I could take away from this and work with. I see another successful capturing of light in the final piece, where I feel the limited use of black and white has nicely accentuated the shadows and the atmosphere of the time of day.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

(SEMESTER TWO) Week 7: Experimental

In our session this week, we did not make the environment as planned, and instead revisited some previous areas that we wanted to strengthen our skills in. In the Friday class I know they put together an environment from hanging materials and drew within that, which I think would have been exciting and unusual! Unfortunately I could not attend the Friday class, but I still got some good pieces out of my Monday session and am pleased I was able to revisit some previous weak points.

Warm-up exercises - 2B pencil
1 - 5 minutes, 2 - 4 minutes, 3 - 3 minutes
4 - 2 minutes, 5 - 1 minute, 6 - 30 secs
7 - 15 secs, 8 - 10 secs, 9 - 5 secs
As usual we started with some warm-ups, and Mel went through a variety of poses which I enjoyed as it helped us get back into the swing of things quickly. We started with some longer drawings, and progressed to shorter and shorter times until we ended with a 5 second drawing! It was a challenge to get anything down at all during such a short time but it forced me to be very spontaneous and the result is simple yet effective as the rough bones of a figure. I am also pleased with my 1 minute drawing, where I think I achieved foreshortening quite well despite having to draw very fast. The first three drawings are probably the least successful as I had more time to be tentative and hadn't warmed up properly at that point.

3 x 10 minute drawings, overlaid - blue pastel, HB pencil, Micron fineliner 08, charcoal
 This was an interesting exercise as you had to focus quite hard in order to draw separate poses on top of one another! I enjoyed seeing how different drawings and mediums could work together to create one final composition, and it made you think lots about placement and perspective. During the exercise I recieved feedback from Jaime that the micron fineliner line was becoming lost despite being 'on top' of the blue pastel and pencil layers. This is because the line was too thin and therefore too similar to the pencil lines. I decided to change mediums and drew over the fineliner lines with charcoal, which helped considerably and brought this layer to the forefront. This ended up working well because this was the layer with the facial features so defined the areas of detail nicely.

45 minutes - 6B pencil
Our first sustained pose was 45 minutes so I could take my time with this piece. The position I was drawing from was quite tricky as it meant Mel was almost totally foreshortened and therefore a lot of my time was spent measuring, re-measuring, and planning. I considered moving to an easier position however I was determined to give this a good shot as I wanted to test what I had learnt over the course of the semester (and semester one). I think that on the whole the perspective isn't too bad, considering how difficult the angle was. The angle of the back perhaps may be slightly off, as the legs appear to be more vertical to the head rather than retreating backwards. I should probably have double checked the sizes of body parts in relation to each other to avoid this. However, I think the yoga mat and the tone that I added in help to counteract this, so the perspective isn't totally unsuccessful. The mark making is a successful part of this image in my opinion - I wanted to bring in techniques I used in previous weeks, and I love the texture and direction that this gives to the figure, especially the hair. The fact that Mel was reading a book was also a nice touch, as this created an interesting composition with a bit of a story behind it.

35 minutes - dark blue, light blue and white pastel & 4B pencil
Our second sustained pose drawing again included foreshortening for me where I was standing in the room, but this was a little easier as the torso was upright so only the legs needed foreshortening. I spent longer on the measuring with this piece as the colour didn't require too much time to apply. This paid off and I recieved positive feedback on my foreshortening here, which was a lovely boost of confidence to get in our final session with the model. I worked really hard on this drawing and am very pleased that my skills show improvement from last semester and this semester's earlier sessions, because it encourages me to keep working on them and that the module has been beneficial. I am also pleased with my use of tone here, which I tried not to overwork - I think it gives a effective sense of 3D and keeps the image light. The composition could have been centralised to frame the subject better, but generally I am very happy with this outcome.

10 minutes - willow charcoal
I finished the final 45 minute drawing with about 10 minutes to spare and to avoid overworking it I went onto a new piece of paper and did this 10 minute study. I fancied trying it in more of a linework style considering I had just been focusing more on tone and colour. As a quick piece I think this is pretty accurate, and I enjoyed practising some quick mark making skills to end the session.

Friday, 10 March 2017

SEMESTER TWO: Week 6 Homework

I found this homework extremely challenging as I had also found the class very tough. I find it very hard getting accuracy and proportion correct when the subject is never still!! However, I know that practising this is the only way to improve, so I wanted to attempt the tasks as best I could.

The first two drawings are done from a primary source; I used two of my flatmates doing repeated actions and drew from there. I chose to use pencil, which, while not very adventurous, gave me more confidence as I knew I could always have another go if it went wrong. I am very pleased considering how hard I found the task, with my first drawing. The figure is going from seated to standing, and I think I capture this movement well by keeping my mark making simplistic and directional to carry to action across the page.

The second drawing is perhaps less accurate, but I think there are still elements of success. The figure here is crossing the room to reach into a cupboard. This was a harder sequence to draw, which is why I think the outcome is less strong. Nonetheless, this exercise did give me more confidence and inspiration to keep trying the task and learning from it.

The second half was to draw from a video online, so I chose to draw a tennis player making a serve and then somebody taking a bow. I chose charcoal for the tennis player, which I found a little tougher as I was unable to erase any mistakes, so again the accuracy is not perfect. However, it gave me freedom to be looser with my marks, so the drawings do appear quite energetic and gestural, which I like. I had a few attempts in pencil too. This was an interesting drawing to attempt and I did learn a lot from repeating it a few times.

I think my least successful piece is the bottom one, of the man taking a bow. I was disappointed with this drawing, as when I started the proportions seemed quite accurate, and the poses didn't seem to be too hard to draw as only a few parts of the body were moving. However I think my error with this was choosing to layer the poses directly on top of one another, as this resulted in some getting lost, and the drawing  becoming too complicated and overworked. I think that the colour choices are effective together, in implying movement, and that the idea is good, but I think I need to attempt it again as the execution let it down. Perhaps having the same effect but slightly offsetting the next pose each time would work better, as well as drawing the eye across the page too?

(SEMESTER TWO) Week 6: Movement

I found this week one of the most challenging of the semester, due to the speed in which we had to draw poses and the continuous movement of the model! It was easy to get frustrated if I felt that my work wasn't working and I couldn't seem to do the tasks very well; however, looking back I can see that some of the attempts have real potential, and pushing myself to try new things is how I will improve.

Warm-up exercises - charcoal:
 Top right - 15 secs
Middle left - 30 secs
Bottom left - 1 min
Bottom right - 2 mins
Middle right - 3 mins
Top middle - 4 mins
Top left - 5 mins
The warm-up exercises were good for getting back into the swing of things and approaching the form with the quick, gestural strokes that we would be needing for this session on movement. As usual, my longer drawings look overworked and stylised, while the quickest ones are my most successful ones. I need to work on bringing these successful elements into my longer drawings
15 minutes - Yoga Poses - 3B pencil
Mel began moving between three poses and we had to draw each pose in the sequence. This was massively challenging! Jaime told us it was a good idea not to approach each pose separately, but to draw part of each pose every time it came around. This meant we were using our time effectively rather than waiting for each pose. While this made things easier, it was still so hard to be constantly changing focus and following both the model and your pencil! Having found the task so hard, I don't think my attempt turned out too bad - although it is rather loose and suggestive rather than 100% accurate, the sense of movement and sequence has been captured. (The top left drawing is a repeat of the crouched pose, when I didn't feel I had drawn it properly the first time).

15 minutes - 3 main poses and inbetweens - oil pastel and charcoal
This exercise required us to draw the 3 main poses in one medium and then fill in the spaces with 'inbetweens', using a different medium/colour. This was both harder and easier than the previous activity - on the one hand, it was even more information to be taking in and transferring to paper, but on the other hand it helped you visualise how the body was moving and how the poses worked together as a sequence. Ironically it is probably the seated pose that is my least successful here, as it is quite inaccurate! I think the other figures capture movement quite well, and the green is effective against the stronger black lines. I am also happy with the composition, which carries the motion across the page nicely.

5 minutes - charcoal and brown chalk
This exercise gave us such a short amount of time to work with that every second counted! Decisions had to be made very quickly, leading to fast, directional marks and only the brief suggestion of a figure. I was very surprised to find this my most effective drawing of the session, as I was really struggling with it during the time! Looking back later though, I could see how well the simple and rushed mark making had caught the motion of the figure. It works especially well since the motion itself was very fast, so the subject matter matches the technique and brings the image to life.

30 minutes - continuous line (180 degree view) - Micron fineliner 08
For the final activity we could choose a technique we wanted to revisit, and it was a static pose instead of movement. I really enjoyed the 'line for a walk' 180 degree view of the room last week, and since my second attempt last week hadn't gone too well, I wanted to try again. I am really happy with this outcome, and am glad I chose to use a pen here because I haven't used pen in life drawing for a good few weeks. Often this is because I'm worried of making a mistake but I wanted to be confident and see what happened, and it led to a bold and detailed result which I like a lot. I very much enjoyed capturing the body language and expressions of my fellow students as well as the model, and seeing as the students were all moving while drawing, this brought some of today's movement practice into play! I think the drawing has a real sense of character and story to it.

5 minutes - continuous line - Micron fineliner 08
I had 5 minutes to spare at the end so instead of overworking my larger drawing I filled the space at the bottom with a close-up study of Mel's foot. I couldn't quite get it right so I made a few attempts. The bottom left is probably the most accurate one, although it still could be improved. I think with this technique though, accuracy is not quite as important, as it's more about the quality of line and how the object is drawn rather than having a perfect final outcome. 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

SEMESTER TWO: Week 5 Homework

I also really enjoyed this homework, as I really enjoyed the techniques we practised in class. My first attempt was okay, as seen below, but I made an error with perspective so I redid this piece, and it turned out a lot stronger. I think the combination of mediums (charcoal and pencil) is effective at capturing the tonal contrast, and limited myself to only drawing dark, light and mid-tones prevents the piece becoming overworked and too dark. 

While I do also like the continuous line drawings I did for the homework, I struggled more with composition and proportion/perspective with these, as you don't really have an opportunity to plan our your design first. The choice of pen maybe wasn't best here for that very reason, although I wanted to be more confident with drawing which is why I tried to avoid using pencil. What I learnt here is to sketch out a very basic version of the scene first, and then use this as a guideline for the continuous line.

(SEMESTER TWO) Week 5: 3-Dimensional Form

Continuous line drawing (180 degree view) - 15 minutes - 2B pencil
The first exercise was focused more on mapping out a tableau rather than tone or shading, so we used the 'taking a line for a walk' technique. I really like this technique as it allows you to draw pretty quickly, and I always find my drawings end up a lot more accurate than when I spend ages trying to draw in my own style. You can't be too self-critical when drawing in one continuous line. It's also helpful in planning compositions, as your line wanders across the whole page and you're trying to use the negative space. I'm really pleased with this outcome, in particular the unusual angle from which I was drawing and the interesting perspective this gave the image. The figures worked out well in terms of proportion and accuracy, and I like how I appear to have caught them in a state of movement. This technique lends itself well to that due to the fluidity of the line.

Continuous line drawing (180 degree view) - 20 minutes - 2B pencil
We repeated the same exercise but changed our positions in the room so that the 180 view was different. I don't think this drawing went quite as well as the previous attempt, as the perspective got a little distorted and this disheartened me a bit. It was good practice and I like elements of it still, but it goes to show that improving drawing skills always has ups and downs!

30 minutes - oil pastel, graphite and white chalk
The next three pieces used 3 x 10 minute stints. In each of these we were told to focus on one area of tone (dark/mid/light) and a different medium was used for each (dark - oil pastel, mid - graphite, light - white chalk). This was a really good way of training your eyes to really take in the area of tone they were looking at without distractions. Building up the image like this was also helpful for proportion and perspective, as you could make alterations along the way rather than drawing a solid outline then realising later it was wrong.

On the whole I am happy with those aspects of this image, as I was constantly checking before putting marks down. The mediums I chose work well together to give tonal contrast, and I think I captured the most striking areas of light and shadow. One part I am not keen on is her face, and I wish I hadn't included it because it looks a bit cartoon-like and doesn't fit the image.

30 minutes - oil pastel, graphite and white chalk
This pose was more difficult to draw as the crouched position created more tonal areas and the boxes in the background made things more complicated! It was interesting when contrasting the angular box shapes against the softer and smoother human figure though. I am happy with the figure here, where I feel I achieved proportion quite well and didn't overwork the tones. The background is less successful and I should probably have considered using different mark-making or texture as it blends in with the figure, making the overall image seem flatter.

1 hour - oil pastel, graphite and white chalk
This was the longest drawing of the session and allowed us a bit more time to hone the skills we'd practised in the previous two drawings as well as refining the outcome with more detail. I am happy with the figure in this drawing, where I think my tones have visibly improved and I was careful not to overwork them. The area I think that went wrong here is the background, and the perspective. The tones blend in to the figure too much, and I should have thought about this more while drawing the figure so that it stood out in the foreground more! I also struggled with making the boxes look 3D, so they add a flatness to the image and don't give it depth. This is a real shame because it ruins the composition and stops the image being believable as a 3D scene. Despite this, it's given me a lot to take away and learn from, and I will definitely improve my from my mistakes.

Below is one of the more successful parts of this image. I think it's important to still search for areas that have positives about them, for motivation and proof of improvement! I really like the softness of the arms in this section, and how the angle and curves have been suggested simply by using line and directional marks.

Close-up of most successful area (in my opinion)