Friday, March 25, 2016

Drawing -- Book 2

I apologize if I'm going on too much about my drawing, this being allegedly a blog predominantly about fiber art, but since I took on a daily drawing at the start of the year, and since I enrolled in a drawing class, I have found that it's in the front of my consciousness.  It seems that every day I discover something new -- a new technique, a new insight, a new facility with some tool.

The other night as we drove home from an evening gathering the full moon was ahead of us, wreathed in clouds.  I found myself wondering how I would go about drawing it, noticing where the value change was abrupt and where it was gradual.  Three months ago I would have enjoyed the moon, but would never have observed it so carefully.

I noticed the same effect six years ago when I decided to do a photograph as my daily art project.  After a couple of months of carrying my camera everywhere and thinking always of what I could shoot, from what angle and from how close, I started to look at the things I saw with a newly critical eye.  My photos got better, and my sensibility changed forever; even if I don't have my camera with me I'm seeing things with a different eye than I had before.

In December when I decided on a daily drawing project I set my rules that I would buy various sketchbooks and fill each one in turn.  My first book was 80 pages of 3.5 x 4.75 inch white paper, and it didn't take me too long before I started thinking that it would be nice when I finished that book and could move up to something a little larger.  I did my last drawing in that book on March 21 and proceeded to my second book, which I had purchased in December in anticipation of the project.

I bought this book because it was really cheap -- $2 for 45 pages of 4 x 5.75 inch brown paper.  In contrast to my first book, this paper has wrinkles, I guess you would call them, as well as flecks of other materials.  I saw a fine turquoise thread, some larger blobs of what might be plant material, some lighter bits that are kind of shiny.  Because of the color, I'm probably not going to be able to work in the graphite pencils that I have been favoring in the previous sketchbook.  I'll try out all the different tools in my box, but have started with ultra fine point Sharpie which does give a nice black line that shows up well against the brown.

Drawing in ink is quite a different story than drawing in pencil.  Most important, you can't erase it, so be prepared for multiple lines (my drawing book calls them "restatements").  You can't shade in large expanses with the side of your pencil, so shadows have to be done in crosshatching.  And you can't blend the pigment to gradually change value.  As a result, I expect my second book of drawings will have a much different character than the first, and I hope to see improvement as I learn to work in this new environment.

I can hardly wait to see how this works out!  


  1. It is an interesting coincidence that you have been posting so much about drawing just as I have been finding time and energy to unpack some boxes that ought to have contained books. Most of them did, but I have found, in more than one, some of my mother's drawing materials: a pad of water color paper, a pad of drawing paper, and three tubes of acrylic paint (black, yellow and blue, a bit limiting with no red or white). I've decided to keep them and see what else turns up.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    1. I bought a toned tan Sketchbook and have been surprised at how much I dislike working in it. I think it is the value of the toning - the pages just seem so dark although they are supposed to be in the medium range. You are right that pencil doesn't show up well - unless you use something softer than an hb. You might try a brown pen - I kinda liked that on some of my sketches.

      I've designated this Sketchbook for urban sketching so it is filling mostly with buildings. I often can't resist adding some color with prismacolor pencil. They often don't show up like I expect either. However - I saw where someone was using white to add highlights and shading. I happened to have a white charcoal pencil I hadn't tried so used it on the siding of an old outbuilding. I could not believe how it popped off the page - quite differently from the white colored pencil. Being charcoal you can smudge it like pencil but it still sticks to the page well - I thought it might rub off too easily. You might like to give it a try.