Saturday, 22 January 2011

Selections from a sketchbook

Lately I've been doing a lot of sketchbook work. Most of the time, if I get home from work and only have 30 mins or an hour to draw I will open the anatomy sketchbook and do a bit of study on various things just to keep my brain up to date. This book stayed in a a cupboard for 8 years while I gave up drawing and it's nice to be filling it with something finally.
 I'm happy to say I've found another art class ( and have been going every Thursday evening. 5 mins from work and with a bus that takes me straight home accross the road it couldn't be more ideal. It's been great to get back to it because no matter how much you study in a sketchbook at home, nothing replaces drawing from life.

Not too much to show for my efforts from that just yet but hopefully it won't be long. I've found that my ability to look and see what I'm looking at (muscles, landmarks etc) is a lot better but my ability with materials such as charcoal needs a bit of practice. I think my main issue is hesitation and lack of knowledge, confidence unfortunately plays a big part in good drawing.
The only downside would be that the class is only 2 hours but it's enough and it lets me figure out what areas I need to work on and then I can come back the next week and try again. It is fairly quiet too compared to the Sunday class; I have always been more relaxed in an empty class than a full one- being relaxed is pretty important for drawing imo.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Semi Successful Atmospheric Perspective

Having heard about atmospheric perspective recently, I wanted to give it a go, so I decided to do this study based on a Rubens painting. Atmospheric perspective basically means that where one object is behind another, it will fade into the backround, almost like a mist I guess. It's similar to the principle of lost edges but not quite the same thing. The original painting doesn't have it but it was a good pose to test it out.

In fact, personal study wise, I have changed the way I do things. I warm up by doing a page in my anatomy sketch book and then I do a study based on  a Masterwork. I was worried that I was concentrating too much on anatomy and in reality I think it's probably best to have several things going at once- that way I don't get too complacent in one area. That has been the hard thing this year, I have been essentially setting my own curriculum; everyone says 'Draw, draw, draw' but draw what? In what order? How do you build up your skill from nothing/ very little? So a lot of the time you have to keep yourself in check.

A few things went wrong. For one I labored over it too long but I did take breaks. Also, yet again, the importance of knowing how your materials behave raised it's ugly head. I was drawing with a Chamios leather cloth, rubbing in the gesture and then using that as a guide to do a more accurate drawing. After that, you pick out the lights with a putty rubber and then add your core shadows. But even though I used a good paper it was impossible to rub out the lights back to the white of the paper. So the drawing is mostly shadow and mid value because I couldn't get the highlight tone.

I did another small test on Bristol board and that seemed to rub out better. I considered using white gouache to paint the highlights but I wasn't sure it would look right and I decided to leave it and put it down to experience.