Thursday, 4 August 2011

Assignment 3 - Drawing plants and flowers

Negative Space in a Plant

This exercise asked to look at the plant and draw only the space around and between the leaves. 

This was a really good exercise to look at an objects shape and the inbetween spaces. It made me look at the way the leaves overlap and I think I drew much more accurate picture than I normally would. A tutor at an evening class once taught me to turn my painting upside down when I was painting from a photo. It was a picture of my niece and I couldn't get her features right. As soon as I turned it upside down I was able to see just where I was going wrong. I think drawing the negative space is a similar exercise because it forces you to switch off your brain and draw what you see not what you think you see.

Plants and Flowers in Coloured Pencil

First of all I did some experiments in my sketchbook. I had a play about with blending the colours together, trying to get a gradual change and overlaying one colour with another. Certain colours are better at this than others as some colours just overpower. I used Aquarelle pencils and colour sticks. I thought the colour sticks would be good for covering large areas but I found them too faint and they didn't give much coverage for this. They also seemed quite waxy.
I found hatching with the pencils a bit unatural looking. I tried blending the colours together with a tissue and with my finger but the pigment didn't move much on the page. I think my pencils are quite hard so maybe this is why. A putty rubber was quite good at blending or at least softening the edges.
I've never really done anything with pencils larger than A4 so this was going to be interesting.

A2 Aquarelle coloured pencils on white paper
I found this very time consuming and at times I was frustrated with the lack of progress.  Particularly the stems and leaves where they are densly packed and overlapping were very difficult. I also struggled with the petals of the flowers and they are not as accurate as I would have liked. In the end though I think the drawing has worked quite well and I'm surprised at the success of the pencils. This is the first time I've properly included the background and even though it was quite simple I can see it has added to the drawing.

Drawing Plants with Other Colour Media

The next section asked to use the same subject and draw it in another medium. I had a go using the marker pens again. I went out and bought some cheap felt pens for this because my previous attempt made me realise my colours were lacking. I used Faber-Castell drawing markers, Stadler Fineliners and general felt pens. 

I'm surprised it's as good as it is to be honest as I thought at the time it was just a scribbly mess. This attempt has not won me over to using marker pens but it was quite a fun exercise. The markers are so fixed though and although they are faster and cover more area I found their style similar to the pencils because you aren't free to play around much.

I didn't have any coloured inks and I like the effects you can get with ink so I decided to give this section another go after I bought some. It's a diferent arrangement but I thought it would give me an idea of the differences between the media.

I really liked using these inks. I found them so much more spontaneous than the pencils and much more fun. With the pencils you have to labour over one part for ages but with the inks you let the media do the work and it dictates the next move. I tried adding some blobs of water which was useful in some places and not so useful in others. The leaves are all a bit dark because of this and I could have done with taking some of that tone down to the vase or in the shadow on the surface.
I think colour pencils are really useful with mixed media. In the past I've used them along with watercolours to insert detail. Also they can be used on top of sketches with black fine pen. I'd like to try using coloured inks more especially with other media. Markers pens I think I can live without!

Check and Log

1. How will your experiments with negative space help your observational drawing in the future?
If you concentrate on the negative space then this helps you focus on the actual shapes and lines that the object consist of and you draw what you see rather than what you think the flower (or whatever you are drawing) looks like. If you can get the negative shapes correct then the positive space will be correct. This method helps you see the object in a different way and stops you drawing what you think you see.

2. What techniques did you use to ensure you drew your plants in proportion?
 I predominantly used my pencil held at arms length to compare sizes of objects to each other, I always try do this to get angles correct too. This method isn't much good with small things like the leaves on the plants so I get one shape right and then constantly go back to that and use it as a reference. I would do this through out the drawing focusing on different areas

3. How did you achieve and effect of three dimensional space in your drawings?
I think the most important way to do this is to draw accurately what you see, so when a flower stem comes in front of a leaf for example, it's important to show that correctly.
Getting the shading correct is important to demonstrate the three dimantional form of an object. WIth respect to leaves, I found that concentrating on the different colours of the back and front could help with three dimantions. Blending the colours carefully and gradually so the shadows are lifelike helps.
Colour can also help by using a bluer and paler colour to show things and more distant, more useful in landscapes with far away objects. Adding the complementary colour can make the object look shaded.


Carol Anne Stimpson said...

Mary, your drawings are exquisite. Flowers are difficult to render realistically but I'd say you have done an excellent job here.

The 'negative' study has a great dynamic.


Kappleto said...

Thanks for your comment, I struggled with the flowers so it's good to know they look ok.