Monday, 24 October 2016

Week 5. Homework: Subtractive Tone Self Portrait

Using the techniques you experimented with in class this week explore them further by creating a series of Subtractive Tone Self Portraits.

Make a series of 5 self portrait drawings. 

  • Three should be of your face and experiment with different lighting (moving a desk lamp for example to create dramatic lighting effects) and facial expressions (see rembrandt below)...
  • Two should be of your full body and enable you to further practice your foreshortening skills. 

Remember from class...

...Try to see your (objects) face as being larger than life and having monumental qualities. Imagine them being as tall as the Eiffel Tower - a landscape to walk across - or an island in the sea, around which you could fly a helicopter. Visualise the spaces between them as being alive - sea, sand, sky.

On completion of this drawing you will have carved into the surface of charcoal covered paper and revealed an illusion of the visible world. In a similar way to the way in which Michelangelo found his figures in a piece of stone. You will begin to recognise the flexible beauty of charcoal, and this subtractive all over way of using it to make drawings.  

Rembrandt experimenting with capturing different expressions...

Week 5: Life Drawing Session 4; Subtractive Tone

ANIM1003: Life and Observational Drawing

Subtractive Tone
This drawing is the opposite of other drawing methods, in which dark marks are added to white paper. A drawing can be made by covering a piece of paper in charcoal and then rubbing into it to reveal the paper. The white of the paper is revealed as a positive negative, and at is whitest, it reads as a highlight - the lightest tone. A range of mid-tones can be made by rubbing out more or less charcoal.

Try to see your objects as being larger than life and having monumental qualities. Imagine them being as tall as the Eiffel Tower - a landscape to walk across - or an island in the sea, around which you could fly a helicopter. Visualise the spaces between them as being alive - sea, sand, sky.

1)    Cover the whole of the drawing paper with charcoal, edge to edge, in a mid-to dark tone, by using the side of the charcoal stick, and a tissue or old cotton rag to slightly rub the charcoal into the surface of the paper.
Imagine being in a dark room, where nothing is visible, and you have a dimmer switch for the light - gradually turn the switch on and the objects and the space become visible. Your blackened piece of paper is the dark room, and your erasers and rags are the dimmer switch. You will gradually reveal your composition by taking the darkness away, and revealing light through the whiteness of the paper. 
Imagine you are Michelangelo chipping away at a large piece of stone. Your charcoal blackened piece of paper is the equivalent of Michelangelo’s stone. You now have to use the eraser as a chisel and carve into the darkness to reveal.
Start by drawing/describing the negative space and creating a context for the model.

2) With your eraser start to take the darkness out of the negative space. Look very carefully to establish the areas of most and least light. You will need to erase right back to the paper for an equivalent of most light, and will probably have to add more charcoal for your darkest areas. Establish the lightest areas first and have in mind that you are trying to create a feeling of light.

3) Keep looking and comparing the tones of all the parts, each area against another “this is lighter, this is darker” etc.

4) Use the cloth, the eraser, your fingers, a soft brush, and the ball of your hand to adjust and integrate the negative light of the paper and the charcoal. You might like to describe the light as soft, gentle, dappled, or harsh - so make your rubbed out marks accordingly. It might help to think of your drawing as a black and white reproduction of an Impressionist painting, where the negative dabs of light left by the putty rubber are the equivalent of lots of relatively small brush marks.

5) Show that the surface of the paper that the model is standing on passes underneath them, and that at the same time, the light in the negative space is behind, between and wrapping around them.

6) When you have dealt with the negative space, and start working on the objects, it may be necessary to define them a bit more clearly at their edge.

7) Use the pointed end of a piece of charcoal to make short, slightly stabbed marks, or slide the side of the charcoal stick to define any bits of contour, and integrate the marks into the picture space with your finger.

8) Wherever possible, make a feature out of any incidental detail, quirky or particular characteristic. The eye needs to be offered moments of interest in the drawing. Mould your eraser into a point to get at the details. Gradually as you begin to work on the figure, it will seat itself into the background and it will probably be necessary to re-work some of the background at the same time.

9) Do not be afraid to use your cloth and rub out areas that you are unhappy with in order to restructure your drawing. Charcoal is very flexible.

On completion of this drawing you will have carved into the surface of charcoal covered paper and revealed an illusion of the visible world. In a similar way to the way in which Michelangelo found his figures in a piece of stone. You will begin to recognise the flexible beauty of charcoal, and this subtractive all over way of using it to make drawings.  

Monday, 17 October 2016

Week4 Homework: Drawing Your Hand Holding Different Household Objects

Drawing/Painting Your Hand Holding Different Objects

In this exercise, you will make five drawings and/or paintings of your hand holding different objects. Holding an object in your hand while you draw it will add compositional interest and provide new creative and technical challenges. Spend at least 45 minutes on each image and challenge yourself to remain focused for the entire time you are working on it.

Before you begin to make your image think about how the posing or position of the hand, the object it is holding, the composition and the use of colour and technique can infer narratives to the viewer and promote different emotional responses. Experiment with different objects and techniques to see what responses you can illicit. Don't just start drawing in the centre of the page. THINK ABOUT COMPOSITION. THINK ABOUT HAND POSITION. THINK ABOUT THE OBJECT YOU ARE HOLDING...
...Make your drawing as exciting to you as it should be to the viewer.

Use a range of drawing materials including coloured pastels, pencils and paint (watercolour, gouache or acrylic paint) and ink.

Upload the finished drawings to your blog and write a few lines reflecting on the experience of completing this task. You could ask yourself the following questions...
  • Are you struggling with the process or are you finding it straight forward? 
  • How does this make you feel and how has it affected your creative/design decisions? 
  • Did you gain any insights this week about your work/processes/progression that surprised you? 
  • Have your expectations about your development in drawing practice been met? 
  • Or do you feel you have exceeded them or have you failed to have met them? 
  • Why is this and where is the evidence to demonstrate this?
As a student on this module you must now start to take ownership of the tasks presented to you!
Are you fully engaged with and excited by each drawing?

Experiment with media, process and technique. Make it yours!
Go for it!!

Week4 Life Drawing Session 3: Foreshortening


ANIM1003: Life and Observational Drawing 3

Foreshortening is the modification of an established scale in a drawing of the human figure to represent perspective. Unlike linear perspective, there is no need for vanishing points, however one has the option of using such methods if the figure is lying down or standing up in such a way that a three dimensional rectangular cube could be drawn in perspective to encompass the figure and be used as a guide.

More often than not, foreshortening is a matter of observation and drawing what you see, as opposed to what your logical brain thinks you see. When you start to draw an object that is foreshortened, your logical side of your brain kicks in and tries to convince you to draw what it knows the object looks like. You need to be able to override that left brain function and let the right side, the creative side, take over and draw exactly what you see.

Foreshortening is when an object appears to be receding into the distance or coming straight out at you. When something gets foreshortened, proportion is skewed and the size of the object is distorted to make the object appear closer to you. Foreshortening can be remembered easily by its descriptive nature because whether an arm or leg extends backwards or forwards it appears to be shorter than its actual dimensions. Another rule of thumb goes as follows: part(s) of the figure closest to the viewer should be drawn larger, almost exaggeratedly so.

Also, a common technique for drawing the foreshortened figure is to incorporate greater definition and detailing to the foreground while leaving the middle and background sketchier.



We will be experimenting with foreshortening. We will mark the joints with tape - this should make it easier to calculate the differences between the different parts of the body and ensure that you have everything in the correct proportion and in perspective. Use your pencil to measure distances and angles.
(4 x 45 minute drawings).
The emphasis on these exercises is to get the foreshortening correct so pay special attention to the perspective and proportion of your drawing.


Next Week

Please bring charcoal and a rubber to the session…

Monday, 10 October 2016

Week 3 Homework: The Still Life 'Self Portrait'

Still Life 'Self Portrait'.

Purpose of the exercise:

To practice further some of the continuous line drawing and shading skills we looked at in last weeks class.


Create a 'still life' out of objects that best represents you as a person. The objects should reflect your personality, how you are feeling at the time and your hobbies. Think of the collection of objects you put together as a visual metaphor of who you are. Be as creative as you like. Spend at least an 2 hours on this exercise, more if needed.


Drawing 1: Create a continuous line drawing only of you self-portrait objects as we did in class. Challenge yourself to look as little as possible at your paper and keep your pen moving all the time. Work fairly slowly and only take a sneaky look to check out your drawing every now and again. Allow your mistakes to remain on the page.

Drawing 2: Create a tonal drawing only of your self-portrait still life using a variety of 2B, 3B, 4B pencils and/or charcoal. Spend a few minutes looking at the objects, paying special attention to the tonal range and the negative space. Observe where the darkest and lightest areas are. You will probably notice that the dark side of an object will make the negative space immediately next to it look lighter, and the light side of the object will make the negative space next to it appear darker. You might start by discovering the boundaries of the object by putting tone in the negative space, and finding the edge of the object. Then work on the object and the negative space simultaneously and work from larger shapes of tone to smaller ones. Remember to work on the drawing as a whole and not simply focus on one area before moving on to the next. No object exists in isolation and our perception of the object is greatly influenced by what exists around/behind it.

Drawing 3: Create a combined tonal and continuous line drawing using coloured pencils and/or pastels to create the tone. Start with the tonal drawing first to avoid simply 'colouring in' your line drawing. As before try and look as little as possible at your paper. Experiment with changing your angle of view when switching between tone and line.

Remember to date and sign your work.

Week 3 Life Drawing session 2 : Propotion

Proportion is getting the sizes of objects correct in relation to other objects in a composition. When you're dealing with Perspective you will also deal with Proportion. Since proportion is getting the sizes of objects correct, when you're creating a drawing that shows Perspective, you must get the sizes of the objects correct as the objects recede further away from view to properly illustrate Perspective.

If you are drawing from life and want to make your drawing "look like" what it is you're drawing, you'll need to get the proportions right. Here, measuring is vital. You must measure the size of one object in relation to another in your real-life subject, then compare the sizes of the two objects in your drawing. Measuring negative spaces against the real-life subject and the drawing also need to be done in order to get the proper proportion in a drawing.

In these measuring exercises, you will be able to keep the model in proportion because you will be measuring both shapes and negative spaces.


Class Exercises

We will start with some simple standing postures to get in the habit of drawing the figure in proportion. Firstly from the front and then from the back. Attention should be paid to arms and hands, and, legs and feet. Spend time looking at the model and paying attention to the way different body parts relate to each other.

Planning and Proportions
·       Map out the model on your paper. This is an exercise in Planning Your Drawing, not about creating a finished drawing.
·       Pay attention to your composition (how the drawing fits on your page). If necessary, sketch a little thumbnail in the corner of your page to plan the composition.
·       Work on the entire figure as a whole, constantly cross checking each mark that indicates a body part against other marks/body parts.
·       Resist the temptation to start with the head and work you way down!
·       When you find mistakes, i.e. poor composition (drawing is too small or too big for the page), wonky proportions (massive head, teeny tiny legs) – correct them!
·       Leave your mistakes on the page.
·       Remember this is not about a finished drawing!! These exercises are about identifying mistakes in proportion and composition and then correcting them!

(4 x 30 minute drawings).

Finished Drawing
·       Using your new skills in planning and proportions create a finished drawing in a medium of your choosing.
·       Plan your drawing as above.
·       Don’t commit to finessing your drawing until you’re happy with the composition and proportions.
·       Work on the figure as a whole rather than finishing one part and then moving on.

(1 x 60 minute drawing)


Next Week

We will be looking at Foreshortening…

Monday, 3 October 2016

Week 2 Homework Assignment

Week 2 Homework Assignment

Drawing Household Objects in Negative Space


2B and 4B Pencils, sharpener and rubber.

4 different household objects, such as a corkscrew bottle opener, whisk, scissors or any gadget that appeals to you.


Draw 4 different household objects separately. Focus on the negative space within and around the objects. Don't draw the objects in isolation but in relation to their immediate surroundings. You can use tone to help define the negative shapes you see. However, try and resist the urge to simply "shade in" your line drawing. Think of the use of tone as away of adding dimensional qualities of depth to your work. Spend at least 20 minutes on each drawing.

Purpose of the exercise:

This exercise provides further practice in using both negative spaces and tone in your drawing. You will be drawing on ungrounded paper (plain white paper), to again demonstrate the beauty of pencil line on paper.

Post-exercise remarks:

One of the striking characteristics of negative-space drawings is that no matter how mundane you subject - a chair, a bottle opener, and egg whisk - your drawing will seem somehow beautiful and significant. This demonstrates, I believe, the importance and power of negative spaces in art. When next looking at art works in a museum or gallery try and be mindful of the negative spaces and how the artist has recorded and interpreted them. If you take the time to look for this I am sure that you will begin to see a strong emphasis on negative spaces again and again.

Start by defining the object in negative space...

...then create dimensional depth and with tone... relation to it's immediate surroundings.

Week 2 Intro to Life drawing

Introduction to Life Drawing

Materials: Use a variety of materials and colours including fine liners, felt tip
pens, pencils, charcoal and wax crayons.

Think about how you can apply any new knowledge gained from the previous
Be confident…
Focus on the economy of your line…
Embrace failure…
Respond to the movements and imperfections of a life model as opposed
to the stillness of a photograph…
Concentrate on what you can actually see not what you expect to see…

D1: No rules applied
D2: Speed drawing - Halve the time
D3: Speed drawing - Halve again – repeat 2 times with same partner
D4: Speed drawing - Halve again – repeat 3 times with same partner
D5: A blind contour drawing – don’t look at the page & keep pen on page at all
times making sure to keep it moving at all times
D6: A Semi-blind contour drawing – taking occasional looks at the page &
changing materials as and when you see fit.
D7: A Semi-blind drawing using both hands at the same time – try and keep
your eyes on your ‘date’ as much as possible and avoid looking at the page
as much as possible.
D8: Using your opposite hand create a portrait.
D9: no rules applied
D10: no rules applied

Continue session for as long as time allows…