Friday, 28 September 2012

Exercise: Jars and Jugs

Sketchbook 1: Pages 19-21

I started this exercise by warming up with a rapid 'blind and peek' contour drawing in pen. This was to overcome my lack of confidence for working in pen because of the inability to rub out errors. The results weren't as bad as I expected. The ellipses were off and there results were generally a bit wonky and spilling off the side of the page but the relationships between the bottles and jars were not too bad.

Next I did quite a free sketch without taking the time to really measure anything. It is noticeable how much more feathery and tentative the use of the pen is when I allow myself to look at the paper. Confidence is reduced by having to commit myself to putting a line in the right place when there's not the excuse of being blind. The ellipses on the jars in the foregrounds are not correct especially the middle of the three which looks as if the lid has been put on cross threaded so that it tilts forwards.

In the next sketch I measured up a bit before starting to draw so that the whole composition fitted on the paper. The ellipses on the jars are a bit better although you can see that I really struggled with the lid of the front one. The coke bottle also looks a bit too tall and thin and the part of the ellipse that corresponds to the back part of the label is too tall. The bottle of olive oil (with the tube in the top) is not symmetrical- I think the one in the previous sketch was actually better. The picture still suffers a bit from tentative lines. On the whole, although this may be the more academically correct of the three it is also the one I like the least. In the other two, the jars spilling off the side of the page give a more dynamic and more three dimensional quality to the image.

So far I was working on a small scale in an A4 sketch book. I remembered from the past that I found working large easier and more satisfying so I tried a different arrangement in a different format on a large scale. Far from being easier, I actually found this  even more difficult as it seemed that my lack of hand control was exaggerated further on a large scale. I tried several different set-ups. At first I was putting too many items in and making the picture really cluttered. I've included a couple of examples here of what I ended up with but I really got frustrated with this in the end. I drew in the basic shapes in pencil then when I was happy with the pencil contour drawings I went over with marker pen. One big mistake I made when going over with the pen was just to look at the paper not the subject. My hand is also not yet steady enough so the contours produced are very wobbly. The fact I was not looking at the subject I think contributes to the way these images look a bit dead and cartoony rather than realistic.

The areas I have particularly struggled with are the base of the wine glass and the vase which is lying on its side. In the second of these two I had rearranged things a bit to try  to fit it all on the paper but ended up almost spilling off the left side of the page while leaving a gap on the right. I also need more practice with placement of objects as I don't have much instinct about making a pleasing composition. I'm frustrated but maybe I'm expecting too much at this early stage. Time to move on to the next exercise - maybe a bit of colour will cheer me up!

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