We had a change this week at Morley Drawing. From the strenuous gestural drawings in charcoal of a life model of the past two weeks, we moved to the more controlled, finer-detailed graphite pencil drawings of still life. The concentration was no less intense though. We were asked to (counter-intuitively) use hard, sharp marks to depict softness; and smooth soft marks to denote harder/shiny surfaces.
Fig. 1. I started the kangaroo (yes it is) by making my marks too regular (see area on neck) but then I realised that more squiggly marks would suit the texture better. We were told not to draw hard outlines (very like Exercise 3 Creating shadows using lines and marks). We moved on to the next exercise before I had time to think about background but it was a useful chance to practise mark-making and tone and texture.
Fig. 2. This was interesting for me as I had not tried this type of drawing before. We looked at some photo-realism drawings of shoes (after we talked briefly about the point of drawing something that looked like a photo – but that’s another discussion), then we were urged to attempt a realistic representation of the shine on a shoe. This was to be achieved by making dense marks with soft graphite pencils (3B – 6B), which were blended to remove the appearance of the marks; using an eraser to produce sharp highlights, and to produce sharp, clear outlines.
Some of the learning points for me from this were: make sure you do it on a smooth surface; use another piece of paper to rest your hand on when drawing over the piece to avoid smudges; blending can be done with finger, cotton pad or bud (less messy) or tortillon (more accurate); plastic eraser worked best for this (putty rubber not hard enough); don’t spit on the paper while you are blowing on it or it will make the paper wet and you will tear it while rubbing out! (Generally, not spitting is probably a good tip anyway.)
Robert Kaupelis has something to say on blending pencil marks which I have noted and commented on in my Books section.