Saturday, August 10, 2013

Alternative Drawing Methods

Apart from the normal method of drawing with a graphite pencil I would like to suggest some other methods of drawing, which will give you a different finish to your work. I occasionally use these methods to create additional interest in the work.

Consider using a stylus to work into the paper before you lay the graphite over the surface. where you have indented the paper you will get a nice clean white line as the graphite does not go into the scored section of the paper. This is a particularly good technique for drawing hair, it allows you to introduce very fine highlights.

The other technique which I enjoy using is taking a sharp blade and scraping the graphite off the end of the pencil.This gives you a fine graphite powder which you can use with a tissue to apply backgrounds over a large area. It is easy to control the amount of graphite you apply so you can effectively work in different layers.

When I am doing my outline drawings, I often use a hard 3h to create the outlines. I also add additional lines into the drawing to create interest. When you draw over these lines, additional texture is easily created which gives the drawing more depth and interest.

Try using small little circles to create a dynamic texture. I often use this technique to reproduce trees, concrete, leather, in fact it is a great technique for producing a lot of different textures.

Subject Matter.

There are many factors that come into play when you are evaluating a drawing.

Today I want to chat about subject matter this is very personal and each artist will have their own preferences of what they enjoy drawing.

The truly great drawings involve the viewer they tell a story or evoke an emotion. The subject matter is fairly unimportant.It is how the drawing is crafted that matters.So if you love drawing landscapes, buildings, people or still life, tell a story involve the viewer. If you are doing a still life, placing an apple on the table with a bowl of flowers is not going to create much interest if it is not exciting.

The treatment of the drawing can be very interesting if you use light, texture, contrast etc.

Have a look at Van Gochs landscape drawing.

The subject matter is just another landscape nothing too interesting, but note how he captures your attention.

Contrast the dark land on the left the lighter land on the right.

Perspective the lines in the earth in the center of the drawing that leads you through the page

The trees on the left are heavy the ones on the right are light and wispy.

The flat horizontal lines heavily underlined in the background stop you from moving off the page he takes you so far and no further.

The figures on the right are interacting with each other, can you imagine what they are saying?

Notice the land in the front of the drawing it is the exact opposite of the land in the middle of the drawing i.e. dark on the right and light on the left.

A perfect balance to the entire drawing.

There is a story here and he takes you through the drawing like a grand master.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Greyscale two

Now that you understand greyscale let us look at another interesting aspect of drawing figure and ground. The background of any drawing is referred to as the ground and the object placed on the ground is normally referred to as the figure. What I want to show you in this illustration is how size and the use of figure and ground can change the appearance of an object.

In the first diagram the blocks are exactly the same shade although the one on the black surface looks lighter than the block on the white the second diagram the smaller block on the white background looks darker even though they are the same color.

What does this mean when you are drawing, pay special attention to the various shades of grey going from white to black and their relation to each other. You may not have to produce very dark areas if they are next to very white sounds a bit confusing but remember when you are drawing with a 6b pencil and you make a mark you cannot easily undo it.

This is referred to in drawing terms as juxtaposition, so we have learnt about figure and ground and greyscale in the use of all three.

Let us look at the Van Gogh drawing of a field

The ground is very clearly the sky and the field. The figure is the house and cart with the  tree.

Look very carefully at the dark areas in the drawing and you will notice that the blacks are almost the same shade although where they are positioned on the paper makes them look darker in certain areas.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Van Gochs letter to his brother on drawing

“Well, and yet it was in these depths of misery that I felt my energy revive and I said to myself, I shall get over it somehow, I shall set to work again with my pencil, which I had cast aside in my deep dejection, and I shall draw again, and from that moment I have had the feeling that everything has changed for me, and now I am in my stride and my pencil has become slightly more willing and seems to be getting more so by the day. My over-long and over-intense misery had discouraged me so much that I was unable to do anything.”


In order to produce drawings that are vibrant and exciting one of the tricks that artists use is contrast.

This contrast can be achieved in a number of different ways for example texture, lighting, line, grey scale

Proportion, layout and scale. There are many more methods that one can use to create contrast see how many you can come up with and produce a simple storyboard that highlights each one. A  good understanding of contrast is also important as too much information contained in a drawing can also confuse the viewer, it is important to use contrast to your best advantage. Think about the message or  what you want to enhance in the drawing, remember a drawing is the same as any piece of artwork sometimes more is less.    

As you know by now Van Goch is one of my favorite artists he had produced more than 1100 drawings by the age of 27.When we analyze his drawing of men unloading at the dock let us examine how he uses contrast to involve you in the drawing. The first thing that I notice is the white space on the left of the dock this is the first major contrast as everything else in the drawing is full of texture.

The chain hanging off the dock on the left hand side uses heavy line when the rest of the drawing has lines of medium weight he uses weight to contrast and at the same time sends the message that the chains are strong anchoring the boats.

The next most striking contrast for me is the texture of the water in the front of the drawing compared to the contrast in the background. He has in a very clever way created depth in the drawing with a few strokes sending the message that the water in the front of the drawing is more turbulent than the water in the back of the scene.     

Without giving too much away see what other interesting areas of contrast you can identify in the drawing what is interesting to me is the masts of the ships and the planks why did he leave them white and with no detail. See if you can work it out? Also notice the fact that this is not only a drawing he has used areas of wash as well. This brings me back to my original point of understanding how to use contrast to the drawings advantage.  

Have fun and see what else you can identify.  


Monday, December 3, 2012

Online representation

Online sales and promotion is the way the world has moved there are some great art sites out there and it is a good way to get to meet fellow artists look at the work and get inspired. I have been involved in the online community for some time now and these are my favorite sites,

Draw space my top site hosted by Brenda who has written many books on drawing. i am a teacher on the site and I have posted more than a hundred of my drawings online. Bluecanvas another favorite of mine I started a drawing group which I moderate and have more than forty members who have joined and posted their drawings online.

Red bubble a must visit great artists from all over the world.

Artwanted a great site for selling your work online.

Get involved with the online art community there are some fantastic sites out there.

Cheers Wayneo  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oshogbo temple Oson state

My wife and I decided to travel to see the Oshogbo temple in Soon state so we left on the Ibadan expressway early sat morning travelling on a very busy road in bad condition it takes about three hours to get to the temple so we decided to stay overnight in Ibadan Africa’s largest flat city

We found a local hotel that was reasonably priced and had air conditioning very important in west Africa that evening there was a party on at the hotel so we ended up around the swimming pool with our driver having a couple of beers and enjoying the evening the pool area had a few plastic palm trees and many pool noodles in the pool. After an early start the next morning we were on our way to the temple

The temple was built by a Brazilian woman an artist who created a fertility temple that was actively used by woman every Friday. it was situated in the local forest and I was very keen to visit the area

After about another hours drive we arrived at the forest and on the way to the entrance I noticed low mud walls with faces and figures carved into them there was the odd figure also looking at us from the trees  We paid the nominal entry fee at a small hut to the side of the entrance which was a huge vagina which you could walk through we decided to take the other route into the forest and started our exploring The ground had a funny look to it shining and sparkling with minerals which I think was feldspar Everywhere you looked there were giants statues of figures and many smaller ones in the walls even down by the river there were specific statues alongside the banks

We came to the actual temple which was still being used and the local priest asked us if we wanted to be blessed so we agreed and went through the ritual in the temple took about half an hour all in all. Afterwards we were interviewed by a local press crew that showed up photos were taken and lots of fun was had by everyone