Main The Complete Book of Drawing Techniques: A Professional Guide for the Artist
The Complete Book of Drawing Techniques: A Professional Guide for the ArtistPeter Stanyer
One hugely important aspect of an artist's skill is a facility with various techniques, with which to express his or her individual style. Being fluent in a range of techniques gives the artist a richer creative vocabulary. This book will help artists to expand their understanding of available media.
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C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Arcturus Publishing Ltd 26/27 Bickels Yard 151–153 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3HA Published in association with foulsham W. Foulsham & Co. Ltd, The Publishing House, Bennetts Close, Cippenham, Slough, Berkshire SL1 5AP, England ISBN 0-572-02916-0 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data: a catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright ©2003 Arcturus Publishing All rights reserved The Copyright Act prohibits (subject to certain very limited exceptions) the making of copies of any copyright work or of a substantial part of such a work, including the making of copies by photocopying or similar process. Written permission to make a copy or copies must therefore normally be obtained from the publisher in advance. It is advisable also to consult the publisher if in any doubt as to the legality of any copying which is to be undertaken. Jacket design by Alex Ingr C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Printed in India Contents INTRODUCTION 6 Part One THE PENCIL 1. Introduction 2. Materials and Examples of Marks 3. Ways of Holding the Pencil 5. Pencil Projects 9 10 22 30 Part Two CHARCOAL 1. Introduction 2. Materials and Examples of Marks 3. Ways of Holding the Charcoal 4. Other Forms of Charcoal 5. Charcoal Projects 6. Compressed Charcoal Projects 7. Willow Charcoal Projects 80 84 98 100 104 120 140 C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Part Three PENS, INKS, BRUSHES and PAPER 1. Introduction 2. Materials 3. Examples of Marks and Projects 155 156 165 CONCLUSION 207 200 Years Of Know-How icolas-Jacques Conté was born at Sées (Normandy) in 1755. He rapidly became enthusiastic about painting and at 20 years of age went to study in Paris, where he would paint portraits of the French royal family among other works. He was very close to the major scientists of his day and met the Montgolfier brothers, inventors of the hotair balloon in 1783, when he carried out experiments on the hot-air balloons, since he was still divided between painting and the sciences. The French Revolution forced him to change his profession in 1789. He thus became a talented inventor in many fields. He conducted varied research activities, some of which concerned crayons and black lead. Indeed, genuine crayons became scarce. Being a painter lacking the vital professional tools, Conté found this situation unacceptable. In 1794, Conté invented the lead pencil, also known as the graphite pencil. The Conté company profited from this invention and was able to develop an exceptional industrial know-how in the field of drawing, writing and pastel. In January 1795 he submitted the patent no.32 and set up a pencil factory. A self educated painter, chemist, physician, hot-air balloon pilot and inventor, Nicolas-Jacques Conté passed away in Paris in 1805. Today, the pioneering spirit of NicolasJacques remains within the Conté À Paris company. Their products for sketching and drawing are renowned for quality by artists around the world. N C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Introduction Drawing, just like writing or speech, is a form of communication, and in the same way as these other forms of communication drawing can be multi-faceted, and very diverse as a means of expression of our observations, thoughts and feelings. Across the broad field of art and design, artists and designers will use drawing as a specific tool for visual communication, and at the same time use a wide spectrum of drawing techniques to express, develop, and present their ideas and work to the viewer for what ever reason. Therefore, it is impossible to make a drawing unless the artist has a clear understanding of the type of drawing that is to be created, and the visual language that is to be used which will give form and expressive dynamics to the drawing. This is often forgotten or misunderstood by most teachers of drawing. known as a metaphor. Instead of chasing the idea of truth, what we should be doing is embracing the medium of drawing and using it for a purpose that fulfils our needs as an artist or designer. Let me now explain how we can break down our understanding and use drawing to facilitate our needs. As I have said before there are many reasons for us to want to draw, and there are many techniques and attitudes for us to adopt that will serve our purpose with the medium of our choice. What follows is a list of the reasons for us as students or beginners to make drawings. When using this book you should first identify the reason why you wish or need to do the type of drawing you are going to do, and then turn to the appropriate chapter in the book. That will give you the technique for the medium, and the knowledge you need to make the drawing. FIRST ENCOUNTERS WITH DRAWING REASONS FOR DRAWING Usually our first encounter with drawing is to try to copy something from observation; this could take the form of a portrait, still life, or a landscape. When we’re children we draw our observations from memory, and when we become more life experienced, we tend to draw direct from observation. This is normally when we encounter our first problems with the art of drawing, as we have fixed in our minds that to be successful with this skill our rendition of what we see must be nothing less than perfect. Usually these students of drawing that have this particular approach, those who seem to be chasing a visual truth through drawing, end up frustrated and feel a sense of failure. We cannot reproduce reality, we can only make a mark or a statement that acts for that reality, or a mark or a statement that best suits our purpose to describe that reality, and this is 1/ First Thoughts 6 One of the many approaches to drawing is to use it as a tool to record our first thoughts. These usually take the form of sketches and drawings that have immediacy to them. They are usually spontaneous and inspirational as one is drawing one’s thinking process as it happens. This process can initiate new ideas. This procedure is usually done in sketchbooks or on scrap pieces of paper, and they are usually presented as sheets of ideas. These types of drawings are then kept and developed into something more substantial as a statement in the future when our thoughts on the subject are collected and developed into a finished idea. Many artists from different disciplines have used this process of working and thinking through drawing as a way of developing their initial ideas. They range from Michelangelo, Introduction Raphael, da Vinci, Rembrandt, right up to the present day and the designers of the Disney films. 2/ Research and Information gathering Artist and designers use drawing research as a way of gathering information on a given task, or subject, that they have either been commissioned to do or one they have decided to perform for personal aesthetic reasons. Research is usually done in sketchbooks, and in specific places that hold the necessary information. These places could be museums, libraries, galleries, in the studio, or out in the field. It all depends on the type of research that is needed for the project in hand. Research can contain all types of information for the artist from shape, form, texture, diagrammatic information, techniques, recording fact, and so on. This type of work is usually completed through drawing, and note taking. Information gathering is the same as research but is done constantly by the artist as a visual resource. It is a visual dictionary that can be used at any point for reference, and all artists should continuously be gathering this type of visual information and storing it for future use. Information gathering is broader in its subject area than research as it includes anything of visual interest to the artist. If you look at some of the drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, you will see the enquiring mind of the artist, gathering information continuously from nature and science. Information gathering exemplifies the enquiring mind that sustains an interest in the visual world. 3/ Diagrammatic Drawings C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F These type of drawings are usually instructional, for example a map e.g. when someone needs directions we will draw them a very crude map that gives them an idea of where to go. Diagrammatic drawings have also been used in different cultures to enable us to read and understand religious or philosophical meanings, and aspects of that culture. Simple examples of diagrammatic drawings come with self assemble items such as furniture, models, and other forms of equipment! 4/ Theoretical Drawings Theoretical drawings are important in the history of art in that they give us a means of understanding proportion, and space through the use of analytical and theoretical devices. These drawings are usually referred to as projection systems such as perspective, planometric, isometric, trimetric, and proportion and measurement drawing systems. This theoretical drawing base is applied to human proportion, architectural plans, and drawings from nature. 5/ Copies Copying consists of absorbing the manner in which other artists have worked using the medium of drawing. In the following chapters in the book, copying is used extensively. It breaks down and assists our understanding of the drawing process. It is used to aid us in our learning, and to understand more fully the language of drawing. 6/ Drawing from Nature All artists draw from nature whether it be a direct transcription or a drawing that is from memory. Drawings from nature include drawings of still life, drawings of the human form, or drawings from the environment or landscape. What we must realise is that when drawing from nature we must have a clear idea what we want to achieve from this drawing, how we want to approach it, and the type of language or technique we are going to 7 Introduction use to make the drawing. Students and beginners often forget this, and not to be equipped with this in mind is like starting out on a journey and not knowing your destination. When drawing from nature our aims should be to identify drawing techniques that are a visual parallel to the subject we have chosen to draw. In the following chapters in the book, I constantly refer to many approaches and techniques that will enable you to make drawings of nature. Historically artists have constantly drawn from nature especially as a information gathering exercise to fill their minds with visual knowledge that is stored for future use. 7/ Presentation Drawings This is usually referred to by its Italian name, the Modello. These drawings are usually for a patron or are a commissioned piece of work. They are also referred to as artist’s impressions. Their aim is to give the patron an idea of what the finished work will look like. Both the artist and the patron can reach an agreement before the main piece of work is started. These serve the purpose of preventing mistakes being made, sometimes at great expense to the artist or patron. 8/ Calligraphic Drawings C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F In calligraphic drawings, the artist has a repertoire of marks that act as signs or symbols for cultural meanings. As students or beginners of drawing we should develop an inventory of marks for the different mediums that enable us to express our ideas, observations, and feelings. We should experiment with making marks, lines, shapes, tones, textures, and so on. These type of experiments with the various different mediums are evident in the chapters in the book, and they are an extremely important part of our experience when starting to draw, so do not 8 over look this element in the drawing process. Calligraphy has developed from strict cultural traditions and the earliest known examples are from Persian and Chinese cultural draughtsmanship. In these cultures, strict traditions and practices had to be learned and followed in the execution of a drawing. 9/Drawing in its own right Drawings in their own right are drawings that are made deliberately or solely for their own aesthetic reasons. However, illustrations can be put in this category, as they can act independently or support text. When connected with text, illustrations bring a visual quality to the experience that stands on its own merits. This book has been put together in a unique way, as it brings about for the beginner and the student of drawing not only the techniques, but also the analytical and emotive approaches and attitudes to drawing. These techniques and approaches are then linked to the appropriate mediums for execution. However, one should only be guided by the projects in the book as starting points for your experience with drawing. Whenever you feel bold enough to engage with your own ideas and developments then you should embrace them with endeavour and gusto. Breaking with traditions, techniques, and theories is the hallmark of the true artist. Finally, I would like to acknowledge Philip Rawson and his book on ‘Drawing’, and Dubery and Willats ‘Perspective and other Drawing Systems’. Part One THE PENCIL The different types of pencil, graphite, erasers. INTRODUCTION C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F A pencil is a rod of graphite encased in a soft wood such as cedar, about six or seven inches long and exposed at one end. Crude forms of graphite pencils were first used as early as the 17th century. Before this, rods of lead or silver (known as silver point) were used as implements for making drawings. The modern form of lead or graphite pencil with its wooden encasement first came into use about the beginning of the 19th century. The pencil fundamentally works by pushing or pulling the lead end across the surface fibres of the paper, which act as graters, breaking up into small flakes. Pressure on the pencil pushes the flakes of lead into the fibres of the paper to leave a mark or trace. Graphite, a form of carbon, also known as mineral black or plumbago, is the major constituent of the modern pencil. The softness or hardness of a pencil varies depending on the amount of clay mixed with the carbon. The softest varieties of pencil contain little or no clay. Artists and designers will use a range of pencils, varying their choice according to the effect they are trying to achieve. As the graphite is worn away by use, it can be repeatedly exposed. This is done by the action of sharpening the pencil using a purpose-made sharpener or blade. Sharpening and exposing the graphite should be regarded as an important act, because how it is done changes the type of mark you make with it. There are many ways of sharpening. A particular point produces a particular result. The artist should experiment to discover what is possible and how to make each type of pencil meet his particular needs at any given time. The pencil can be used for a variety of purposes and, as with any material you use, you must be fully aware of its potentials and its limitations - different pencils and types are designed for particular uses. In the ensuing chapter some of these practices will be revealed with particular relevance to the appropriate pencil or graphite material. The marks shown over the following few pages give some idea of the wide range of mark making possible. When you have looked at them, take each of the pencils in turn and see what marks you can make. Apart from being very stimulating and a way of opening your mind to new possibilities with your drawing, you will find it increases your ‘feel’ for the pencil itself. As artists, what we feel through the materials we use has an affect on what we produce, and familiarity with those materials is vital to a good outcome. 9 Part One – THE PENCIL Materials and examples of marks HARD PENCIL C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Hard pencil marks have very little variation in the range of mark making. They only usually vary through a linear progression. Tone is usually made from a build up of crosshatch effects. Hard pencils are denoted by the letter H. As with soft pencils, they come in a range, comprising HB, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H and 9H (the hardest). These pencils are mainly for use by designers, architects and people who produce precise technical diagrammatic drawings for which a fine, accurate line is essential, such as perspective or other projection drawings. Although the marks made with hard pencil show very little variation it can be used in an expressive manner. As with soft pencil, tone can be built using a cross-hatching system, although the 10 result is much finer and more formal, the cross-hatching emerging out of a series of linear progressions. SYSTEMS FOR HARD PENCILS Hard pencils are mostly appropriate for drawings requiring accuracy. As we have pointed out previously, such drawings are usually done by engineers, industrial designers, graphic designers and architects. The final drawings they produce have to be to scale and precise so that other people, such as craftsmen, can follow the instructions to construct or make the designed object. These drawings come in a number of different types of perspective, or parallel projection systems, ranging from flat orthographic plan or elevation drawings to 3D perspective illustrations. Materials and examples of marks HARD PENCIL MARKS C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F NB: I have not given you examples of mark making with HB or 7H to 9H pencils. 6H: Vertical lines. Horizontal lines. Vertical and horizontal. 5H: Diagonal lines . sloping left Diagonal lines with left and right emphases. Diagonals with horizontal and vertical lines. 4H: A zigzag line. Horizontal line achieved with the side of the point. A combination of the previous marks. 3H: Dragging the side of the pencil horizontally in rows of zigzag lines. Spaced dragged dashes. Herring-bone pattern. 2H: Rows of squiggly textured. lines Horizontal and vertical lines, producing a knitted texture. Wavy horizontal lines. 11 Part One – THE PENCIL SOFT PENCIL The soft pencil has more versatility for creating tone and textures than the hard pencil. Soft pencils are denoted by the letter B. The HB pencil is a mixture of hard and soft and is the pivotal pencil between the two extremes. The range of soft pencils available consists of HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B and 9B (the softest). These pencils are designed for the fine artist to express particular ideas, for example through the building of tone, the creation of texture, cross-hatching or even just simple line. Pencils at the softest end of the range can be used to produce blocks of tone. A graphite stick is generally more useful for this type of work and for producing larger areas of tone For a small drawing - up to A3 size - a soft pencil is more appropriate. The only soft pencil suitable for refined work requiring great precision - essentially the preserve of the hard pencil - is the fine clutch pencil. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Drawing in soft pencil of a still life using observed directional light. 12 Materials and examples of marks C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F SOFT PENCIL MARKS 2B: Horizontal rows of scribbled shading. Scribbled lines implying a knitted texture and shadow. Vertical scribble, creating a soft texture and shading. 3B: Heavy herringbone texture. Smudged tone (with the finger) to create atmosphere. Random mark making implying a rough texture. 4B: A pushed zigzag line using the side of the pencil. Rows of vertical scribble, progressing from dark to light. Regular dashes of tone. 5B: Irregular dots, creating an implied texture, perhaps a gravel path. Woolly scribble creating a textured surface. Open zigzag lines create tone and texture. 6B: Layer of graphite rubbed diagonally to create atmosphere. Vertical lines rubbed horizontally and then vertical lines drawn over the top to create a woven texture. Tone rubbed vertically and then horizontally to create a woven texture. 13 Part One – THE PENCIL OTHER TYPES OF PENCIL Other types of pencil are available to us as well as those described above, and these offer even more opportunities for experimentation and discovery. You will find all of the types recommended below in any good art supply shop. · · · · Peel-back pencil - graphite encased, or coiled, in twists of paper which are peeled back to reveal the graphite. Propelling pencil - comes in a variety of mechanisms which reveal the point of the graphite. Clutch pencil - provides a very soft point (fine or thick) for sketching. Standard thick black pencil, known for many years as Black Beauty. Peel-back pencil Clutch pencil Standard thick black pencil Triangular carpenter’s pencil Graphite pencil or stick C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Aqua sketching pencil 14 · · · Triangular carpenter’s pencil - used by joiners and builders to mark measurements, make notes and sketch rough ideas. Graphite pencil or stick. The pencil type is solid graphite of about the same thickness as an ordinary pencil. The thin film coating on the outside edge peels back to reveal the graphite. The stick is a much thicker piece of graphite which, like a pastel, has a simple paper covering that can be removed as necessary. It is a very versatile fine art drawing implement. Aqua sketching pencil - these work like a pencil but can be used like watercolour washes when exposed to water. Materials and examples of marks MARK-MAKING WITH OTHER TYPES OF PENCIL Peel-back pencil Clutch pencil (fine) C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Clutch pencil (thick) 15 Part One – THE PENCIL MARK-MAKING WITH OTHER TYPES OF PENCIL Black beauty Carpenter’s pencil C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Aqua sketching pencil 16 Materials and examples of marks GRAPHITE Graphite is the same medium that pencils are made of. The difference being that pure graphite is not encased in wood. They are in fact solid lengths of graphite that come in different thicknesses and grades of hard and soft. As you might gather from the illustration this type of material is not meant for detailed accurate drawings. Instead it is more suited for robust drawings of an expressive nature, and it works well together with a plastic eraser. The type of drawings we would produce with this type of medium would be quick, heavy, dramatic drawings using strong, dark lines, large areas of dark tones, or interesting textural marks. Mood is very easily effected with this medium, and it is definitely not suited for drawings of a technical nature. It is also more appropriate for larger drawings rather than smaller ones for obvious reasons. It is a medium that is very versatile, and before you start to draw with it in earnest you should experiment with the potential that the medium has to offer. Because it has no outer casing you can make so much more use of the side. You don’t have this facility with the pencil, and you will be surprised at what you can achieve with this potential in terms of mark making. I personally always associate a very liberated and dynamic type of drawing with this material, and if you approach your drawing in this fashion with the graphite you will get the best results. DRAWING WITH SOFT PENCILS AND GRAPHITE C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Unlike the hard pencil, the soft pencil and graphite are designed to make a much heavier mark and to create a tonal range from a very dense black through to white. The soft pencil and graphite enable you to do this quickly and efficiently. The pencil will also allow you to describe shape and form, but you must keep the lead sharpened. The types of drawings associated with these materials are more open and expressive by nature. They relate to our responses, our observations and ideas, and might be the sort of drawings we jot down in a sketch-book as a record of our first thoughts about a subject. They might be a part of our visual research and notation. They record a change of tone, either through observation or imagination, or imply a textural surface. They can be drawings which give an explanation or give expression in their own right (that is, works of art in themselves and not just supports for further work). A useful material that can enhance the use of the soft pencil is the eraser, and the two work very well together to create expressive effects. Whereas when used with the hard pencil the eraser is associated solely with the elimination of mistakes, as a complementary tool to soft pencils and charcoal its contribution is entirely positive. Different effects can be produced with soft pencils and graphite if you vary the amount of pressure you use. Pressure enables you to activate the surface of the picture plane, either by using tone or weight of mark. Look at these examples of creating tonal gradation and then experiment yourself. As well as varying the pressure, try to apply the material in as many different ways as you can find, using different movements and different areas of the material. 17 Part One – THE PENCIL MARK-MAKING WITH GRAPHITE Making zigzag markings. Using a twisting movement with the graphite on its side. Pulling and pushing motion. Dragging movement. Stabbing with the end of the graphite. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Lateral and vertical mark making. 18 Lateral mark making. Vertical mark making. Materials and examples of marks ERASERS C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Usually our first encounter with an eraser is when we use it to remove a mistake. Our sole aim with it is to obliterate the offending area so that we can get back to the business of progressing with our drawing. Because the eraser is associated with mistakes, a lot of negative feelings about it and its function are directed at it. The poor old eraser is seen as a necessary evil, and the more dilapidated it becomes with use the greater become our feelings of inadequacy. It really is time for a reassessment of the eraser and its role in our work. Used effectively it can be one of the most positive tools at our disposal. But first we need to remove the idea that mistakes are always bad. They are not, and can be used as a positive element in your work from which you can learn. Many artists make decisions about where things go, or how things should look, in a piece of work. In the first instance these statements are usually wrong and have to be adjusted as the work develops. This has happened to us all - even great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. Rethinking is very much a part of the creative process and is evidenced in many works, particularly in drawings where the artists are working out their initial ideas and intentions. One of the major errors that beginners make is to erase mistakes as they arise and then start again. This puts them in a position of making more mistakes or repeating the same ones, thus creating a feeling of utter frustration and failure. When you make a correction, over-draw and don’t rub out the original lines until you are happy with your re-drawing and unless you feel they don’t add anything to your drawing. My personal advice would be to leave a ghost of the correction and not to erase it completely, as this shows the evidence of your thinking and your development. Other positive ways of using the eraser are to bring back the areas of light in a tonal drawing which have been worked over with graphite, charcoal or ink. Erasers can also be used to make expressive statements and emphasize textural marks - powerful examples of this approach can be seen in the drawings of Frank Auerbach. The technique known as ‘tonking’, in which a cloth is used in a beating motion to knock back charcoal marks, is a superbly atmospheric form of eraser use. There are many forms of eraser on the market which purport to remove all sorts of media from the surface being worked upon. Listed below are common types of eraser and some explanation of how they function. · Putty rubber. Usually used for charcoal and pastel, it is also suitable for other materials such as pencil. The chief advantage of a putty eraser is that it can be kneaded into any form to erase in a particular manner. This is very useful for a positive approach to drawing and seeing the eraser as a tool which brings something to a drawing rather than merely taking something away. · Plastic rubber. This type is designed particularly for erasing very dense graphic markings, and will also remove charcoal, pastel and pencil. It can be used to create 19 Part One – THE PENCIL Tippex fluid. particular marks which are determined by its shape. · · India rubber. Used for removing light pencil marks. Ink rubber. Ink marks are very difficult to remove entirely with a rubber. Erasers for removing ink and typewriting come in pencil and circular forms. You can also purchase a combined eraser that works for both pencil and ink, with the pencil part of the rubber at one end of the rubber and the ink part at the other. · DANGER ARTIST AT WORK Always remember that you need to work within health and safety guidelines when using materials. Scalpels and razor blades should always be used with care, and when they are not in use their blades should not be left exposed. Note too if any of the fluids you use are flammable or toxic. Bleach, for example, is a very handy and cheap method of removing waterbased ink, but it is very toxic and must always be handled with care. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Tippex pen. 20 Surface removers, such as scalpels, razor blades, pumice stones, steel-wool and sandpaper, to remove the very stubborn marks found in pen and ink drawings. Obviously, before applying this method you must ensure that your paper is of sufficient weight and quality to allow you to scrape away its top layer without leaving a hole. · Surface coverers, such as correction fluid, titanium white or Chinese white. With this approach any offending marks are buried under an opaque layer of white. When the layer is dry, the surface can then be reworked. Chinese white. Materials and examples of marks A SELECTION OF ERASERS C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Pumice stone is useful for removing very stubborn marks, but it can damage the surface of the paper and so must be used with care. A razor (or scalpel) blade can scratch away difficult-to-remove marks. It is an instrument of last resort because while removing the marks you don’t want you may inadvertently damage other parts of your drawing. 21 Ways of holding the pencil C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F PRELIMINARY DRAWING Breaking Down Preconceptions Before we go on to discuss techniques in relation to drawing media, I want you to think about your input into a drawing from a psychological and physical point of view. When we start out along the visual creative road, we tend to bring with us a lot of preconceived notions about what a drawing is and how it should be produced. It’s vital for your creative development that you shed these preconceived ideas as quickly as possible, otherwise they will continually hold you back. One of the first projects I put before my students in the studio involves an exploration of our relationship with the drawing implement. We will assume, for our purposes, that this is a pencil. Breaking down preconceptions involves taking risks and trying something a bit different. If we are not careful the familiar can become a straitjacket, and this extends to how we hold the pencil. You might think, ‘Well surely, there’s only one way of doing that!’ Wrong. There are several ways and each of them will tell you something new about the implement you are using and what you are capable of producing with it. If you try holding your implement in experimental and unorthodox ways you will produce drawings that have a variety of expressive marks and various tensions within those marks. You will widen your approach to mark making, whether with a pencil or any other drawing implement, and also open up your attitude towards drawing techniques. In the first stage of the project I ask students to make test samples and just see what sort of marks they can make by holding the pencil in a different way to usual. Holding the pencil in a traditional way - this 22 way of holding the pencil for the beginner can be very restricting, as it tends to come with too many preconditions that limits our ability to be more creative. However holding the pencil in this way is very appropriate for more theoretical and technical drawing where you need more control. Holding the pencil with your fingertips - this action changes the type of control, and it allows you to make marks that are more tentative. The pencil can also slip quite easily in this position, giving marks that are not accounted for, and therefore bring a life to the drawing that is more creative because we are allowing for the mistake or the slip to take a positive part in the drawing. Holding the pencil like a dagger - this is the opposite effect to holding the pencil in your fingertips. As the mark made from this action is strong, direct and usually aggressive in its expression. The very physical nature of this drawing employs the movement of the whole arm rather than just the wrist and the hand. Holding the pencil between the toes - I have seen some amazing drawing done by students in this position. Stand on one leg and don’t hold on to anything whilst doing the drawing. Then place the board on the floor, put the pencil between the toes and proceed to draw. Use the figure when doing these drawings. Treat them as experiments, and as fun - you will be surprised at the results. Ways of holding the pencil Traditional method. With your fingertips. In your teeth. Like a dagger. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Between the toes.. 23 Part One – THE PENCIL THE PENCIL AS A MEASURING DEVICE We can analyse our observations in a number of ways to enable us to make a visual record of what we see. One of these ways involves using the pencil both as mark maker and measuring device. What you are doing in effect is building a grid on which to map out your drawing. This approach is appropriate for all types of observational drawing and for different subjects ranging from landscape and still life to figure drawing. I have chosen a figure for our example because the pencil is still the most popular measure for this type of drawing; go to the life rooms of any art college and you will find it widely used. The procedure is as follows: 1/ Set yourself up for drawing in a fixed position so you have a consistent view that doesn't alter. This enables you to see the subject from the same viewpoint every time without any change occurring - vital if your measurements are to be accurate. 4. and 5. 2/ Hold the pencil in the fist of your favoured hand, leaving your thumb free so that it can slide freely up and down the side of the pencil. 3/ Stretch your arm out straight towards C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F your subject matter and take a measurement. This is always done on a vertical axis. For instance, if we are drawing a figure, usually the measurement will be from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin. Close one eye as you do this, to focus your vision and give you one viewpoint. Put the top edge of the pencil at the top of the head then pull your thumb down the pencil until you come to the bottom of the chin. 24 You have now established the proportion of the head. Repeat this process along an imaginary vertical down the body, using that first head proportion as your measure for dividing the figure. This will give you a proportional overall length of the figure usually an average person will comprise eight head proportions in all from tip to toe. 4/ You can repeat this process to measure the width of your figure. Turn your pencil to the horizontal position and measure across Ways of holding the pencil Establishing the head proportion: Align the top of the pencil with the top of the head, then slide your thumb down the pencil until the top of your thumb aligns with the bottom of the chin. 1. 2. Each head proportion relates to a specific part of the body: A. top of head to bottom of chin B. bottom of chin to nipple C. nipple to navel/stomach D. navel/stomach to groin E. groin to mid-thigh F. mid-thigh to knee G. knee to calf H. calf to toe 3. the figure, using the head proportion as your gauge. It is important to remember always to measure only on the horizontal or vertical axis - if you measure at an angle you will get distortions – and always measure with your arm straight out in front of you and from the same position to maintain consistency. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 5/ Once you have your vertical and horizontal proportions, you can now transfer this information to your paper. If you wish, you can make what is called a ‘sight size’ drawing by using the exact measurements you have assessed. This does, however, usually turn out to be a very small, tight drawing, and is not advisable unless you are very experienced. The other way is to make a scaled drawing relative to your proportions; for example, if your original head proportion was one inch in height, you could double it when you came to transfer each measurement to your drawing. 25 Part One – THE PENCIL POSTURE Posture runs hand in hand with proportion. Posture is the way we hold ourselves and has a direct relationship to the changing nature of proportion. As you can see in the example opposite posture is informed by directional lines that are determined by the angles of the body and the relevant proportions in relation to your body when you are in a pose. Posture also allows us to understand and come to terms with the human form that exists in space on a two dimensional surface. The posture lines usually follow the central dynamics of the pose, and pick up the changing edges of the form on the main parts of the body. You should always give lots of consideration to how you pose your model, because the posture will say so much about your drawing and what you are trying to achieve through it. One way of using postural lines is by extending them and in doing so one can find relationships that extend to other objects in a drawing. This is another way of making a drawing have proportional accuracy. It also creates an analytical directional tension in the drawing. ASSESSING ANGLES C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Posture is the way we hold ourselves and is intimately connected with proportion. As you can see in this example it is shown by using a directional line that determines the angles and proportions of those angles relative to the other relationships of the body and their changing angles. Posture lines usually follow the central dynamics of the pose through the figure. They also pick up the changing edges of the form on the main parts of the body. 26 Posture/Assessing angles C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Using the pencil as a tool to assess the angles in a composition. 27 Part One – THE PENCIL VECTORS OF ANALYSIS THE WINDOW MOUNT OR VIEWFINDER This is another way of giving your drawing proportional accuracy. The aim is to find associations by extending the axis from 10e objects to locate other essential el0ments in the drawing. Using a window mount is a marvellous way of composing your picture and getting the objects in the scene proportionally and positionally correct. Cut the window to scale in relation to your paper. To do this and get accurate proportions in relation to your paper, follow these instructions. Step 1/ Take the paper you are going to draw on and make a diagonal line from one corner to the other. Step 2/ Decide how big you want your window aperture to be. For example, if you want the height of your aperture to be three inches, mea 0 0 10.0.3cOgth up the side of your paper from where the diagonal line departs. Step 3/ From 10.0.point draw a straight line into the paper until it meets the diagonal line. Step 4/ From 10e.point where the line meets the diagonal line, draw a straight line to the bottom edge of the paper. You now have an accurate scaled proportion of your piece of paper. Step 5/ Take the mea 0 0ments of this proportion and draw them into the centre of a piece of card, then cut out the window for the viewing of your composition. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Step 6/ Mark the edges of the window mount and the paper into 1/2, 1/4 & 1/8. Some students string cotton across the window to make a grid. If you do this draw a corresponding grid 28 Vectors of analysis/The window mount C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F on your paper. Put the window up to the world and choose your composition. Now you will find it very easy to transpose what you see through the window on to your paper. 29 Pencil projects Project One DOODLES – FIRST THOUGHTS AND IDEAS DOODLES Doodles should not be thought of as drawings without meaning or drawings that have no importance or significance. In fact, they do, as many artists find other peoples’ doodles fascinating. It’s an important way of showing the unconscious process of creativity. Doodles are usually created with pen or pencil. They are usually a secondary part of our thinking process. For example most of us doodle when we are in meetings - it helps us to escape the boredom of the moment - and doodling allows us to descend into our own private world. We also doodle when we are on the telephone when we tend to use the phone pad as a sketch book. I believe there is a wealth of ideas that come from doodles so treat them as research. FIRST THOUGHTS FROM OBSERVATION C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Just like doodles first thoughts from observations are our initial visual response to what stimulates our thinking processes. Most artists always carry a sketchbook with them. It allows us to record moments that include landscapes, portraits, textures, architecture, nature, light, atmosphere, and so on. This is all visual research that is stimulation and a continuous resource for our ideas. Sketchbooks of artists are fascinating to look at, as in the sketchbook you can see the origin of ideas, and responses, that the artist is engaged with. One only needs to look at the sketchbooks 30 of the artist Turner to realise what a wealth of information they hold. FIRST THOUGHTS AND IDEAS Many ideas start with a visual brainstorming. The artist or designer plays with the potential of their ideas in their sketchbooks. They make thousands of rough sketches continually changing and rethinking their ideas. Stretching the thinking and the dynamics of their designs to the limit. Designers work first with open minds, which allows for client comment. Before honing in on a final statement, all this starts with visual thoughts translated through sketches. All those ideas, even the redundant ones are left stored in the sketchbooks for later use. It’s all visual information and that’s what’s important and exciting. COMPOSITION: THE BASIC ELEMENTS Shape can have a very intuitive influence. Only as we become more experienced do we become formally aware of how to construct a composition. Intuitively, the beginner will invariably place the mass of the subject (still life, portrait, whatever) in the middle of the picture plane. In 90 cases out of 100 this placement is a mistake, creating too much of a focal point and not allowing the eye to be taken on a journey across, and into, the rest of the picture plane. The composition is in effect becalmed, stale and therefore visually Pencil projects C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Doodles and first thoughts 31 Part One – THE PENCIL uninteresting to the viewer. What we intend to do with shape in these projects is to give you basic experience in using hard pencils to create shapes that, when drawn on a picture surface in relation to each other, will create a good composition. Sometimes this movement across and through the plane happens intuitively, but more often than not it is confirmed when you see an artist working and they step back from the picture and gesture towards their piece of work with arm outstretched, head tilted sideways and hand or thumb looking as though they are engaging with the picture in some way. This is when the artist is trying to contrive the composition. Rhythm is very obvious in other forms of art, such as music, dance and writing. It is a sort of beat holding the work together. In a drawing or painting we can create a sense of rhythm that enables us to work harmoniously from one point in the composition to another. Rhythm can be evident in the use of tone, colour, mark and scale, but here we deal with it as it presents itself in shape. ORDER AND BALANCE C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F In any given picture there are a series of tensions that must play off and counter each other so what we finish up with is a pictorial synthesis or a pictorial order. This is what is meant by a composition having a semblance of order and balance. If you look at most classical works of art, particularly landscapes by Poussin or Claude, you will see this quality in abundance. 32 MOVEMENT The importance of movement through the picture plane cannot be over-emphasized. Shape and other pictorial elements help us to create movement. The artist can engage the eye of the viewer so that it moves across the picture plane, stop the eye at a certain point and then move it back into space, bring the eye forward again, and at the same time across the picture space, and then take the eye right out of the picture to the end of its journey. Most viewers are unaware of this visual encounter, which tends to occur within a few seconds of looking at a picture. There are, of course, many ways other than the use of movement by which artists can - either consciously or subconsciously enable us to read and understand their work. As well as creating these ordered harmonies and movements through and across the picture plane, the opposite effect can be created, especially if we want to achieve an expressive effect. As beginners we tend to draw objects in isolation and in a void, so they look as though they are floating in space. For an object to have an identity, and speak to us as viewers, it must have a context. The artist does this by drawing the space around objects rather than by trying to capture the shapes of individual objects in isolation. Pencil projects C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F This very simple composition is made out of a shape that repeats itself, and yet it is imbued with a sense of time. We can see there is order and balance and that our eye is allowed to move freely through and across the composition. There is no ambiguity interrupting the flow. Movement is created by the illusion of the overlapping shapes moving across, down and back into the picture plane and our sense of the decreasing scale of the shape (perspective). The way the shapes fall injects a feeling of rhythm suggestive of the ticking of the second hand of a clock. 33 Part One – THE PENCIL EXERCISES WITH HARD PENCILS C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F In this section, we are going to introduce you to a series of projects and exercises that will give you a practical introduction to using the range of hard pencils. As we have previously said, the hard pencil makes a fine precise line. What we shall show you is how that line can be employed to demonstrate your ideas, expressions and observations. First, we must complete a series of exercises to see and experience what we can achieve with the material. In many ways these exercises are like the warm up routines that sportsmen and women go through before they take part in an actual event - by loosening us up they enable us to focus on the work in hand. The next stage involves experimenting with the concept of shape, space and composition over the picture plane. This will 34 further our understanding of how to build a composition: the type of elements a composition can contain (for example, harmony, balance, rhythm and movement), how these elements alter the eye’s ability to travel over and into the surface of the picture, and how we read the picture in a more representative way. Finally, we explain the nature of diagrammatic and perspective drawings both from theoretical and observational approaches. We will show you how to develop these methods for use in your particular approach to drawing and to expand upon them whenever you feel it is appropriate. Medium: 6H, 5H and 4H As you will see, the types of marks or lines produced with these pencils are quite Pencil projects C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F similar and lie within a close range. The fineness and hardness of the line suits precision drawing, such as architect’s plans for example. I personally would not use them to build up tone, because the contrast you can produce with them is limited. However, this is a personal opinion. There are no hard and fast rules in art, and if it suits your purposes to work tonally with pencils in this range, then by all means do so. Medium: 3H, 2H, H and HB When you start experimenting you will notice that the marks are more intense tonally than was achievable with the previous set of pencils. You can still make very precise lines, but at the same time clearly develop the weight of the mark, and bring more expression and life to what you are doing. These are ideal implements for putting down your first thoughts and making subconscious ‘doodles’. 35 Part One – THE PENCIL SHAPES AND FORM In this next section we are going to look at shape and turning shape into form. The definition of shape is that it has perimeter and lies flat upon the picture plane unless we relate it to other shapes which can then imply space. It is a very useful exercise to practise drawing shapes – squares, circles, triangles, rectangles and any type of organic shape. It is also useful to practise turning shapes into illusions of form; for example, making a circle into a sphere, a triangle into a cone, an oblong into a cylinder. These exercises are essential for the beginner. Circle. Ellipse. Medium: 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H and HB Next we are going to draw shapes - shapes that will imply meaning in a non-representational way and will create tension on the surface of the paper. The shape contains the essence of any composition - a combination of harmony, balance, rhythm, movement and spatial implications. These are the basic components that hold a drawing together and the dynamics that a composition needs to express an idea. The interrelationships between them are key to the making of a successful drawing. In the sketches that follow we will be playing with these interrelationships. The basic shapes you will encounter in most drawing compositions. Triangle. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Square. 36 Oblong. Pencil projects PRACTISING SHAPE INTO FORM Now practise turning shapes into the illusion of form, so the circle becomes a sphere, the triangle a cone, and the oblong a cylinder. We need to understand the properties of shape and form, and how artists use them to create a composition. Without a sense of form you will not be able to produce a finished piece of work. Spheres Cross-sectional analysis. Square. Cube: parallel lines. Form of oblong: parallel and perspective lines. Crosshatching. Triangle. Pyramid shading using vertical lines. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Cone: diagonal line shading. 37 Part One – THE PENCIL POSITIVE COMPOSITION Shape as an underlying compositional device is extremely important. In this example, after Malevich, shape is used to bring a sense of order, balance, rhythm, harmony, movement and space to the picture plane. We see the bones of the composition that any great picture has as its structure. We can compare this drawing to Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa. Both have an underlying triangle that appears to pull the eye upwards to the top edge of the picture plane. This triangle is the base on which the rest of the picture hangs and the device that holds it together. All activity in the picture revolves around this basic structure and helps to move our eye through the picture plane from bottom to top, and back and forth. Playing with composition: Line creates a shape. Shape overlapping shape creates space. Tone emphasises space. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Malevich 38 Pencil projects As our eye moves upwards, we get a feeling of hope and lightness, while down at the bottom of the picture plane we are seized by a sense of falling and despair. Note also a sense of space that gives the illusion of movement through the picture plane. This is created by scale and weight of mark. The space is constructed by overlapping shapes to create distance. This drawing, after Miro, gives us a completely different feeling from the Malevich. The composition is based on the organic flow of shapes. There is more fantasy, almost a dreamlike quality. The organic shapes and the sense of texture suggest that the picture is growing and expanding before our eyes. Line creates organic shape. Shape overlapping shape creates space. Shapes creating a transparent overlap. Textured overlapping shapes creating space. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Miro 39 Part One – THE PENCIL COMPOSITION: NEGATIVE SHAPE With the Malevich and Miro copies, we have been looking at examples of positive composition, drawing shapes of objects we have in mind and placing them to create an effect. A different way of understanding shape is to draw the space around the positive. This is called the negative space, and is a very effective way of creating relationships between objects in a drawing. SUNFLOWERS AFTER VAN GOGH When analysing the drawing of sunflowers after Van Gogh I can see quite clearly how important the element of shape is to this piece of work. The negative shape, or the shape around the flowers in this composition is just as important as the flowers or the positive shape, and it is integral in holding the composition together. The negative shape underpins the composition and helps the sense of harmony, balance, proportion, and rhythm that gives the picture its wholeness. Through the negative space, the subject becomes locked into its context. Here we have in these two drawings the first two layers of negative shape, which establish the subject in its environment or context. Set up a still life of flowers on a table that is put against a wall. Then set up as if to draw, with your pencil, paper and an eraser. Now take a viewfinder or what we know as a window mount and frame the composition of the flowers. We are going to copy the composition in the window mount and place it on our paper, by mapping the composition using the negative space. HOW TO START C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F In the first example you will see that what we have drawn what appears to be a silhouette over the top of the flowers. Do this by starting at the paper’s edge on the left hand side, as it is important to make your first connection with your drawing at this point. Start to progress the line towards the centre of the paper following what would be the line that 40 would indicate the back edge of the table where it touches the wall. It is now important to try to assess how far that line goes into the paper before it encounters the vase that holds the flowers. Do this by looking through your window mount again, remembering to look through it in exactly the same position every time. The window mount should be proportionally marked as showing halves quarters, and eighths as seen in the example on window mounts. One should mark ones drawing off in the same way, as we can use these as guides to indicate where objects are situated in the composition. One can now begin to make an assessment as to how far that line travels into the picture by using these proportions. Let’s say for this instance it is about a quarter of the way in. We would then translate that observation from our window mount to our drawing allowing the line that we first started with to travel into the drawing a quarter of the way, where it would then engage with the vase. Now the line would start its journey around the vase being monitored for proportion in the same way, firstly observing and making your proportional calculations through the window mount and then transferring these observations to your drawing. Eventually the line will complete its journey to the other side of the paper, splitting the paper in two as you can see in example 1. In example 2 you will restart the drawing in exactly the same place over the top of your first line. However, when it engages the vase this time the line will detour around the bottom edge of the vase, and it will progress following the outline of the vase until it reaches the other side of the paper. This part of the drawing should be easier to accomplish as the first part of the drawing will help you in your understanding of the second part of the drawing and so on. The drawing as in example 2 will now contain three sections to it rather like a simple jigsaw construction. The first being the top half of the silhouette, the second being the bottom part of the silhouette, and finally the overall shape of the objects that are contained in the composition i.e. the vase and the flowers. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Pencil projects 1. 2. 41 Part One – THE PENCIL The next stage in the drawing as shown in example 3 is when you begin to draw in the smaller or secondary areas of negative space. These exist as small holes that appear through the objects that we are drawing. This part of the drawing completes the drawing of the negative space, and at this point we can now see how important this concept is as it holds the whole composition together in a spatial context. In other words the objects appear to be anchored in a real space, rather than floating in the picture plane C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 3. 42 In the final drawing we have now filled in the rest of the visual story by defining the objects first, and then adding the tone and the texture (see tone and texture examples for further references). Now we have a complete work that pulls on a number of visual elements to make it work. There is also an example in the charcoal section that illustrates how a negative space drawing can be constructed. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Pencil projects Final drawing 43 Part One – THE PENCIL SHAPE INTO FORM Shape can very easily be transformed into form by the use of shading. We can see in the drawing after Picasso (opposite, below) that regular shapes have been given the illusion of three dimensions by using various wellknown shading techniques. He has taken these shapes and turned them into C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F An example of shape using tone after Morandi. 44 representations of human forms. Not only has he given them form, he has given them a character, and a life. He has created the form by using different types of bracelet, crosshatch, and linear lines to build up tone. All these processes are consistent in that they follow the planes of the form You will see from the examples that some systems of shading suit different types of forms. Pencil projects Bracelet shading. Sphere using crosshatch shading. Diagonal line shading. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Below: After Picasso. 45 C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Part One – THE PENCIL 46 Pencil projects Tone emphasizing form Form overlapping form, creating space C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Here we see different shading techniques and how they can bring forms to life. Note that although different methods have been used, all follow the plane or surface of the form. 47 Part One – THE PENCIL PLAYING WITH COMPOSITION: ORGANIC SHAPES Medium: 2B pencil In this example (after Joan Miro) the composition is based on a more organic flow of shapes. Part of its impact is created by the inference of textures. All the elements we found in the previous example are evident here, too, although in this instance the nature of the shapes implies other considerations. This drawing seems to have a life, and we have a sense that it is still growing. There’s a mood, an almost dreamlike quality. Line creates organic shape. Shape overlapping shape creates space. Shapes creating a transparent overlap. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Textured overlapping shapes creating space. 48 Pencil projects STEP BY STEP DRAWING OF A HEAD METHOD The illusion of volume is central to the success of the following portrait, which I built up in a series of six drawings. I used a 2B pencil and cartridge paper, but almost any pencil would do, as would any type of paper. You might like to practise drawing ellipses, cylinders, eggs or ovoids before starting. 1/ Draw the shape of an egg/ovoid. Try to do this with a free, expansive movement, sensing the shape rather than using your eye to gauge it precisely. Repeat the shape several times, drawing over your original lines, as I have done here. Now draw an ellipse, as shown, to give the shape the appearance of form. 2/ Create the basic form of the neck by adding a cylinder to the bottom of the egg form. 3/ Draw in outline the back of the head. Now extend the ellipse to meet these lines, giving the form of the skull. The lines of the ellipse are called cross-sectional analysis lines. They enable you to have a full visual understanding of the form and a sense of the back, front and sides of the head you are creating. These lines also provide the illusion of volume. 4/ Now we begin to build the face. Draw two parallel lines at a slight angle from the centre plane of the forehead. This appears as a wedge protruding out of the front plane of 1. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 2. 3. 49 Part One – THE PENCIL the face, and is the basis of the nose. At the bottom of these two parallel lines, draw a line between them and which then extends back in space following the front plane or angle of the face. Now draw a line tilting back in space and following the side plane or angle of the head. Join up this triangle by drawing a straight line down the front of the face. From both corners of the front plane of the forehead draw two downward lines to just below the bottom of the original egg shape. Make these two lines slightly narrower at the 4. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 5.. 50 bottom to give a sense of form to the front of the face. Join these two lines at the bottom with a straight line that follows the angle of the front plane of the face and then follows the angle of the side of the head through to the back of the original egg. If you look at the drawing, you’ll see that you are repeating the lines used to establish the nose, only on a bigger scale. We now have the underlying form of the chin and jawbone. 5/ Add spheres to denote the eye sockets. One sphere lies in front of the nose, the other directly behind it. Now we have the underlying volume of the eyes. 6/ In the preceding five stages we have built an overall sense of the volume that makes up the head. Once this is established it is your base over which you can draw in the characteristics of the particular person who is sitting for you. It’s important to allow this under-drawing to remain, because it will reinforce the illusion of form and guide your over-drawing. 6. Pencil projects C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Use the same method for other subjects 51 Part One – THE PENCIL CREATING ORGANIC FORM MEDIUM: HB - 2B Like the copy of the Picasso, the drawing based on a sculpture by Henry Moore, is directly related to the form of a figure. There the similarity ends. The Picasso copy has been made up to represent the human character and form, whereas the Moore is based on observations direct from a figure. Crosshatching alone has been used to build up tone in this drawing. We get an illusion of volume from this because we sense only one light source is falling upon the figure. A build up of crosshatching techniques. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Using crosshatching to build form. 52 Pencil projects CREATING FORM USING TONE Medium: 3B The tone used here relies on an observed directional light source, which is then exaggerated to create the effect. The shadow cast makes us believe the sphere has form. Without it the drawing would look flat. Medium: 5B The lighting appears to be from the front in this example of constructed tonal form. The light cast at this angle is very intense, gradually fading to complete darkness towards the sides of the cone. Lighting was used by early Renaissance artists such as Giotto. Medium: 6B Medium: 4B C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F This cube has been constructed using three defined tonal variations - white, grey and black – to give the illusion of form. It is a constructed illusion, of course, and has not come about as a result of observed tonal changes. The cylinder is like the sphere in observation, tone and how light plays across the surface of the form. But the tone we have used to define the form is an expressive gestural tone. It has less form than the previous tonal gradation and is more emotive and responsive to the observation. 53 Part One – THE PENCIL PROJECTION SYSTEMS AND THEORETICAL DRAWINGS Theoretical drawing systems include orthographic drawings, planometric drawings, isometric or parallel drawing systems, trimetric, and perspective. These drawing systems are very useful particularly for architects and designers. They are usually used as presentation drawings for clients. The orthographic or the planometric system of drawing is probably the easiest to understand as this is just a flat representation of an object, usually from the front and is done to a scale. See the example on page 55 of a pair of scissors, and pliers. Sometimes in these drawings, you will have tonal keys to give you the idea of plane recession, and form. The easiest way to go about producing one of these drawings is to place an object like a pair of scissors down on to a piece of paper and then draw around them. What you will have produced in this drawing is an outline of the object and that is what an orthographic projection is. To complete the drawing, observe, and draw in the rest of the detail of the object and then code it tonally or texturally accordingly. show one face of the object and from that face the other faces can be planned and plotted. This is technically referred to as the first angle projection. First introduced by a French military engineer, Monge, at the beginning of the 18th century, it was very quickly adopted. Orthographic drawings represent the object being drawn, or the face of, and from that face the other faces can be planned and plotted. Front elevation Front Side Plan ORTHOGRAPHIC OR ELEVATION PLAN C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Orthographic drawings represent the object being drawn or designed as flat. They can represent the design as linked individual drawings from all sides. This is usually referred to as plan, front and side elevations. They can best be described as representing a silhouette of an object on the picture plane from one side or the other of the plan. They 54 A table, showing front, side and plan elevations. The shape of an object from the front can be understood by placing it in a box or rectangle that relates to its proportions. Pencil projects EXERCISES SHAPE AS A PLANOMETRIC PROJECTION In this exercise tonal keys are used to give an understanding of planal recession and form. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Parallel diagonal lines pick up the front plane. Flat tone is used to describe a flat plane down the edge of the pliers. 55 Part One – THE PENCIL ISOMETRIC OR PARALLEL PROJECTIONS To help engineers, architects and designers give a fuller three-dimensional understanding and impression of their ideas and finished works, other methods of drawing were developed from orthographic projection. First came the isometric projection process, introduced by an English contemporary of Monge, Sir William Farish, which enabled all the faces of the front, side and plan to be joined together. Using a specific angle from the 90 degrees angle creates these drawing systems. For instance, an isometric projection is always conceived by using an angle of 30 degrees as shown in the systematic series of examples on page 57. You can see in this example we have created a chair by creating it in an Isometric projection. There is also a simple example of an isometric projection shown on the right. In this example, you can see how a block has been cut had a segment removed. One can quite clearly see that all the angles for this drawing are based on 30 degrees of a 90 degrees angle. Drawings based on this system were used in the aircraft industry to assemble aircraft, and they are used by interior and theatre designers as finished working drawings that the makers would work from. 1/ Create two ninety-degree angles. 2/ From those ninety angles create two thirty degree angles. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 3/ Using the same vertical create another two ninety degree angles. 56 4/ Now create two more thirty-degree angles, and then place two between these angles to create what appears to be the side edges of a rectangular box. 5/ At the two top corners of this rectangle create two more ninety-degree angles, and from those two angles create two thirty degree angles that will converge and meet creating the top of the rectangle. 6/ One can now fill in the back of the box consistently using a thirty degree angle as seen with the dotted lines in this example. One can also now use this rectangle or crate to plot an object within this projection system. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Pencil projects 57 Part One – THE PENCIL TRIMETRIC PROJECTIONS Trimetric projections are very similar to isometric projections and are used for similar reasons. The difference being that the trimetric projection can present different orientations of a box or object on the same picture plane. Therefore, what we have are different degrees of orientation. This type of drawing is very useful as a diagrammatic drawing that is used to help you assemble or even take apart a piece of furniture or machinery. One usually sees these types of drawings in car manuals. THE TRIMETRIC SYSTEM IN USE C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Industrial designers use the trimetric system to ‘crate’ a form; that is, to put it in a box. The shape of the object is drawn on the front face of the box and then the form of the shape is projected back into the ‘crate’. By encasing volume and form in this way, designers can visualise how their ideas will appear in reality. 58 C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Pencil projects 59 Part One – THE PENCIL PLANOMETRIC PROJECTIONS C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F First introduced by Auguste Choisy at the end of the 19th century, and the favoured system of Le Corbusier and Theo van Doesburg, these projections were primarily produced for architects. This type of presentation gives a truer, three- 60 dimensional illusory understanding of the space and form of a building produced from a plan in scale, and has become very popular among architects. Pencil projects CONVERGING PROJECTION SYSTEMS OR PERSPECTIVE C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Perspective is vital with any technical drawing. Perspective establishes a viewer’s cone of vision and a context for objects contained within it. For example, a representation constructed on a picture plane has an established ground and horizon upon which objects can be placed in relation to it. Perspective is distinct from the other drawing systems we have been looking at in that it creates an illusory yet real impression of space which employs an imaginary or observed view created purely through our observation of a subject. These two systems employ the same rules, although they arise from different creative roots and needs. The constructed perspective drawing is dominated by pure theory; the observed perspective drawing is from one view point. Perspective is a system of drawing that shows the illusion of threedimensional objects in a picture space. To produce a good perspective drawing one has to abide by a certain set of rules. To break these rules is to undo the illusion. There are two common uses for perspective. One is a perspective drawing constructed from our imagination and creative thoughts; the other is constructed from an understanding of planal recession and form. 61 Part One – THE PENCIL ONE-POINT PERSPECTIVE These are the basic rules that govern a onepoint perspective drawing, and it is worth remembering that all lines that do not appertain to the horizontal or the vertical axis will go back to or terminate at the perspectival point that as been set up in this drawing. 1/ Draw a square on your piece of paper just to the left or the right of the centre of your piece of paper. Make sure that this square runs parallel to the edges of the paper. 4/ From the nearest top and bottom side of the square draw two straight lines that converge to the vanishing point. It is important that extreme accuracy be observed in drawings of this type, as any slight mistakes can lead to distortion in the drawings. Therefore, I would advise that beginners use a ruler for this part of the operation. Now do the same from the top and bottom of the far end of the square. You will now have a drawing that resembles the example at the bottom of the page. 2/ Now draw a horizontal line across the piece of paper that travels through the square. This will be referred to as the horizon line, and in drawings from observation it can be referred to as your eye level. 3/ Put a dot on the horizon line that sits on the other side of the paper to the square you have just drawn. This is now known as the vanishing point. 1. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 3. 62 5/ The next step is to place the back end of the box in. Do this by drawing in a vertical between the set of converging lines that we established in step 4. You need to place the line purely visually to make the illusion of the box. Place the line too far away and you produce an oblong lying down, and place the line to close and you produce an oblong 2. 4. Pencil projects 5.. 6. standing up. So try to place the line so it makes the illusion of a cube. 6/ Now draw two horizontal lines from the top and the bottom of this vertical line that you have established as the back of the box so as they join up with the two converging lines that run from the other side of the box to the vanishing point. 7/ Now draw your final vertical line to establish the complete box in a one-point perspective. 7. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Other examples of one-point perspective. 63 Part One – THE PENCIL TWO-POINT PERSPECTIVE 1/ In two-point perspective the drawing theory is very much the same. The difference is that the box or cube is set in a different orientation to the picture plane – instead of drawing a square in a facing position or running parallel to the picture plane, as we did in step one for the one point perspective drawing. We instead draw a vertical line just to the left or right of centre. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 2/ Now put in the horizon line that, for the sake of this example, makes this line cut through the vertical line just above half way, and it should travel from one end of the paper to the other. For other practice examples, you can be diverse as to where you put the horizon line to experience the dynamics of perspective space. 3/ Place two vanishing points on this line one at one edge of the paper and the other at the other edge of the paper. 4/ As with step four of the one point perspective now draw a line from the top and the bottom of the vertical to the vanishing points on both sides. Again accuracy is paramount in this type of drawing. 5/ You need now to visually place the back ends of the box in. Do this by placing a vertical line on one side of the original vertical so as it fits between the converging 1. 2. 3. 4. 64 Pencil projects 5.. 6. 7. 8. lines and it gives the appearance of being box shaped. Then repeat the process on the other side of the original vertical. You will now have created a box in a twisted orientation using two-point perspective. 8/ Finally, to finish off this drawing, all you need to do is to draw a vertical line between the two points at which they cross at the back of the box. 6/ As with the one-point perspective we need to create the illusion of the back of the box. To do this draw two lines from the far left hand vertical to the vanishing point on the right-hand side this is shown as a dotted line in the example. It is possible, using the same process but changing the vanishing points, to create many boxes in different orientations on the same picture. This process described here has also been used in the observed perspective drawing, but the vanishing points and horizon line or eye level is found through calculation from our observation. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 7/ Now do the same from the vertical line on the right hand side. Draw two lines from the top and bottom of this vertical that will extend back to the vanishing point on the left hand side. 65 Part One – THE PENCIL OBSERVED PERSPECTIVE When drawing perspective from observation you must be able to accurately measure the angles. To start the drawing first establish your composition through your window mount. Once you are happy with your position, establish the first major vertical in the composition. From this we can establish the horizon line or your eye level. It is important that you keep this view constant while you are engaged in the drawing, otherwise you will experience distortion. 1/ Start your drawing by assessing where you 2/ From that corner we can now begin to construct the perspective structure, and establish our eye level in the drawing. To do this we need to begin to assess the angles from the top and the bottom of the verticals. We can do this as we did for the posture lines, holding the pencil on the angle of the building and then transporting this angle to both the top and bottom of the vertical line. If you find this process particularly difficult, you can use a 1. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F think your primary vertical is situated. Establish it first, as you will be making your major perspectival assessments from it. In the first example you can see that the corner of the building in the row of houses is our main point of departure. So draw the vertical in position accurately first. In our drawing, we have now established where the corner of the house is and its height. 66 2. 3. 4. 5. Pencil projects 6. form of geometry to establish the angles. As with the example of the isometric drawing, I have established the 30° angle from using a 90° right angle. You can place a right angle to the vertical and then make an approximation as to the angle of your observation. When you feel confident that the angles of the lines you are about to draw are right, use a ruler to draw them to the point where they converge. At this point you will have established for that building or object one of its vanishing points. It is on this point also that the horizon line, or the eye level, is established. Now you can draw in the eye level line by simply making a horizontal line across your paper. There is a simple rule to remember for perspective. All the perspective lines that are above eye level will converge downward to a particular vanishing point on the horizon line. The same is true for those perspective lines that lie below the eye level, only they will converge upwards to the horizon line to a particular vanishing point. The accuracy of these measured angles is vital to the success of the drawing. Once you have the two converging lines from your first vertical, you can use them as guides to draw the rest of the building. 3/ Decide how long the front face of the C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F building is by looking back at the composition through the window mount. Put in a vertical line to denote the end of the building. This will fit exactly between the two converging lines to give us the correct perspective. One can now do the same to the other side of the building, using the same process. However, you will notice that the perspective point on this occasion goes off the other side of the picture. Do not worry about this – it happens in most perspective drawings. In this detail we have extended the drawing perspectivally forward to draw the row of houses in the foreground. This has been achieved by extending the perspective lines that come from the vanishing point on the horizon line, and then placing the vertical line in to denote the edge of the building. 4/ Add the roof and the chimney pots so the building now has its basic structure. 5/ Architectural information such as doors, windows and pavements are now put in. 6/ We have now established the perspectival basis of the composition. At this stage your drawing will lack expression or character. In this final stage we need to put in the elements that make the drawing more real, such as the van, the telegraph poles, the curving side of the road, and the other houses in the background. Finally, it all needs to be brought to life by working over the top of the perspective with free, gestural lines. 67 Part One – THE PENCIL C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Observed perspective 68 Pencil projects FANTASY ARCHITECTURE C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Once you have gained a good knowledge of perspective you can emulate some of the great artists such as Perineasea who developed an amazing amount of fantasy architectural drawings. One can construct drawings that will lead the eye through a well-organised perspective or architectural space both for interiors or exteriors. It’s a great way of flexing the imagination, and its fun. 69 Part One – THE PENCIL LIGHT AND DARK SOFT PENCILS Our first concern in this series of drawings is to create the fundamental form of the head, neck and shoulders if the light is coming from a fixed position on one side of the figure. In our example the light is coming from a fixed position on the left side. Once the fundamental form is established, you can concentrate on modelling the form through observation of how the shadows are cast and how they fall over the form. The figure here has the appearance of being constructed out of pure light. 1. The light source picks out the fundamental form of the portrait. TONAL DRAWING USING GRAPHITE OR VERY SOFT PENCIL This is a tonal portrait drawing based in observation and it is done using a very soft pencil - 8b. The first concerns of this drawing are to create a sense of the fundamental form by observing the nature of the effects of light. You will notice there is a very strong direct light that plays over the surface of the subject. 2. The light becomes more distinct on how it plays across the surface of the form. Step1/ establish the basic form of the head by C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F drawing an ovoid or an egg shape. Draw two lines for the neck, and then two arced lines for the shoulders. This will give you the basic outline for the form of the head. You can now initially place the basic areas of shadow in on one side of the head leaving the other side in the light. But you need to put some shadow on the outside of the head so as to pick up the edge of the form on the light side of the face. Notice the free sketched way in which the tone has been placed down at this point in the drawing. 70 3. More tonal detail that brings out the character and more personal details Pencil projects Step 2/ now look at the person you are Step 4/ in this part of this final piece of the drawing and begin to pick out the other major areas of tone that exist on the head. It is a mistake in this type of drawing to try and render features as this is a drawing that will bring you the likeness through the tonal rendition of the drawing. drawing I have used an eraser to bring back certain touches of light, just to enhance the atmospheric effect of the light. Step 3/ one can now begin to put the more detailed and subtler tones that in turn will start to imply the idea of a likeness of the subject. What is so dramatic about this drawing is that it is purely based in the observation of a light and dark effect that is known as Chiaroscuro. Using a rubber in a directional motion gives an effect of shimmering light. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 4. 71 Part One – THE PENCIL LINEAR AND TONAL DRAWING USING GRAPHITE AND PLASTIC ERASER This is a line and tone drawing of the female nude, but it is a very different in concept to the last drawing. Whereas the last drawing was based in the analytical observation of light and how it falls on the form, this drawing is more of an expressive metaphor of the reality we are seeing. 1/ In stage one of the examples we are drawing with a continuous line. That line is made by not taking your graphite off the paper until that section of the drawing is finished. This line is trying to establish the idea of form by following the contours of the form just as if you were actually drawing over the body itself and leaving a trace. You can also see from the illustration that the line is a free-roving type of line and it doesn’t follow any predictable track. bringing an atmospheric feel to the work and it sends the drawing back into the surface of the paper. 4/ We can now begin to re-establish some of the tone and the line over the last section.. This gives the drawing a sense of atmosphere, drama, space and above all an expressive nature that holds the drawing together very cleverly as an expressive metaphor. There are examples of artists who work like this when drawing, artists like Aubach, Giacometti, and Rembrandt. 2/ Gestural tone is now placed over the linear drawing. This tonal application is based in observation so the model should be illuminated from a particular direction to give a definite sense of light and dark over the subject. The tone is applied in a quick gestured manner so as not to leave too much time to dwell on the consequences of the action. A gestured drawing is a drawing that is based in a response to what you are drawing rather than a calculated observation. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 3/ This stage may seem odd, as what we are about to do is to use an eraser to work over the whole drawing to take it back. Use the eraser in a diagonal direction and work it over all the drawing. This has the effect of 72 1. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Pencil projects 2. 4. 3. 73 Part One – THE PENCIL GESTURAL DRAWING WITH GRAPHITE The next example is a line and tone drawing which derives much of its impact from knocking back with an eraser, a method that is particularly appropriate for figurative portrait work; you will find examples of its use in the drawings of Auerbach and Giacometti. You may find it a bit strange at first to reach a certain point and then have to rub out what you have just done, but after spending time practising with the technique you will begin to see what can be achieved with it. 1/ Establish the form using a continuous line (i.e. not taking the graphite from the paper while you draw) and following the shape of the figure. Imagine you are actually drawing your line on the person. 2/ Place gestural tone over the line. Gauge the strength and extra dimension it can bring to your drawing. 3/ Using the eraser in a diagonal direction, go over the drawing and rub out what you have just done. This will set the portrait back into the picture plane and also give it atmosphere. C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F 4/ You can now re-establish the tone and some of the line, imparting to it a sense of drama, space and expression which will hold the drawing together. 74 C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Pencil projects 75 Part One – THE PENCIL CONSTRUCTED TONE LANDSCAPE AFTER CEZANNE C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F As well as using tone from observation to construct form or express an emotion we can also use a constructed form of tone to create the illusion of space. In this drawing after Cezanne the tonal drawing is a very formal one and is not very reliant upon observation. Although the basic composition comes from observation, the tone in the 76 drawing is a means to an end, and informs us of a planal recession instead of the idea of volume. Cezanne in this picture seems to go out of his way to deny perspective and instead he emphasises the horizontal and the vertical axis in the drawing. He also uses a type of shading that Pencil projects C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F functions on the edges of planes giving them a sense of planal placement in the picture. He builds up the composition in a well orchestrated fashion that has a classical sense of balance and harmony to it. The shading technique used in this drawing is focused on the inside and the outside edge of the objects in the composition. To create a recession you darken the edge you want to recede. To make a plane edge come forward against its neighbouring edge you make it lighter. 77 Part One – THE PENCIL GRAPHITE LANDSCAPE DRAWING C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F This drawing is very similar to the drawing using continuous line and tone to form the model. Only it is a landscape sketch that is produced here in almost exactly the same 78 way as the life drawing, using the same medium and the same methods. However, this is a sketch and a sketch is different to a drawing. A drawing is something that stands Pencil projects C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F as a work of art in its own right whereas a sketch is meant as a piece of information for the artist to refer to at a later date as a piece of research. You should not undervalue the intrinsic qualities that sketches and doodles have. 79 Part Two CHARCOAL Charcoal, Conte Crayons and Compressed Charcoal. The main feature of these mediums is that they make very strong drawings in a linear, tonal, textural and atmospheric way, and the drawings nearly always tend to be very dramatic and expressive. CHARCOAL C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Charcoal is the oldest medium of the three materials in this section. It is made from wood that has been slowly charred in a controlled firing. The material takes on the natural form of the wood that can range from a twig to something as large as a branch. The largest piece of charcoal I have seen is up to 2 inches thick and this is called scene painters charcoal. Charcoal is a material that has been around since the dawn of man. As man discovered fire then he discovered charcoal, inadvertently at first then by purposeful production. The inadvertent discovery of charcoal enabled man to make his first drawings, recording his observations and thoughts of life in his surroundings. The mark that charcoal made would soon develop into a sophisticated visual language that would be an expression of the day-to-day lives of these early peoples as seen today on cave walls. Since these early discoveries, man has developed the medium into other forms such as conte crayon, wax crayon, and a form of compressed charcoal. We have developed 80 stabilisers to fix the drawings and make them permanent. We have also developed the use of erasers that remove or enhance the potential of the drawing. Charcoal has qualities that are obviously different to other materials. Compared to graphite or pencil charcoal is a soft smudgy material that delicately survives on the surface of the paper until fixed and made permanent. The material produces a good strong line, tone, and textured surfaces in a similar way to graphite but with a character that is very different. Charcoal has what I can only describe as an ethereal, atmospheric quality to it. It feels more direct as a material when one is using it. It feels softer and gentler in its response, whereas graphite has a more immediate harshness to it. Another material made from charcoal is compressed charcoal. This is a material that first came into existence in the first half of the last century, and behaves more like a pastel in that it holds the surface of the paper more substantially than charcoal, and has a propensity to be slightly denser than charcoal. Compressed charcoal is made by crushing charcoal into a fine powder then mixing it by rolling it with a fine binder to make a compressed charcoal stick. The stick has to be made to such a consistency so that it can be handled without crumbling or breaking, yet at the same time soft enough to make a mark when put to paper. Varying degrees of hardness and softness can be Charcoal obtained for compressed charcoal as with pencils. The product is manufactured and can be brought from any art suppliers. Finally, one can obtain charcoal in a pencil form. This enables the charcoal to be sharpened and allows it to be used more like a pencil. However, you do lose the intrinsic quality that charcoal has when used in this form. CONTE CRAYON Conte crayon is the same as compressed charcoal except that the pigment and the binders are different. Conte crayons are small square sticks that are made from pigment mixed with clay and a binder. They are harder than charcoal, compressed charcoal, and pastels. The traditional colours are black, white, sanguine, bistre, and sepia. You can however now get conte crayons in different colours. Conte crayon can also come encased in wood like a pencil. Conte crayon, like charcoal, can be smudged. However, it creates a very intense black tone that is much stronger and more difficult to remove than charcoal. Conte crayon is very good for both tonal drawings, and more intense markmaking drawings. WAX CRAYONS C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F These are very different in character to the previous materials. They are made from a mixture of paraffin pigment and wax. They can come in many different colours and they have a very greasy feel to them just like wax. They are not at all dusty like charcoal so it is not easy to smudge the material. If you need to erase the material on the paper you need to use a solvent and when this is applied it will smear and loosen the wax on the paper. However, it is a very useful material for building up layers of different colours, dark over light, and then scratching back through these layers revealing the colours from underneath. This technique is call scraphite, and the artist Paul Klee used it very successfully. The special qualities that emerge from this technique are that the marks that one scratches into the surface appear very luminous. This way of working does not lend itself to being a very naturalistic means of recording our observations, but it is very good for rendering more symbolic and abstract statements. SPANISH BLACK There is a very quick and cheap way to make a poor man’s charcoal that is known as Spanish Black. This charcoal is made from burning the end of a cork for a few minutes. I can remember using this as a student for very soft drawings when I could not afford proper charcoal. It is also very good as a cheap form of theatrical make up, and can be used for false beards and eyebrows. 81 Part One – CHARCOAL FIXATIVE Fixatives are used to preserve charcoal drawings. The fixative solution is applied with a sprayer or an atomiser. It should be applied to the drawing in fine coats to create the desired effect. Fixative is a binder that holds the loose particles of charcoal to the surface of the paper. The most common form of fixatives are diluted solutions of mastic, shellac, or manila copal diluted in alcohol. Nowadays, modern synthetic resins are used. Charcoal that has been previously dipped in linseed oil before use needs no fixing. However, you lose the soft atmospheric quality of the charcoal that is its main characteristic. It is essential to fix your charcoal drawing when you have finished it, otherwise it will remain unstable and liable to get damaged through smudging. 1. FIXING YOUR CHARCOAL DRAWING C3BF5B70-8CC4-4870-976C-617F626F3B6F Charcoal is, as we have mentioned, a very unstable material. Once applied to the surface of the paper or support it can easily be erased or smudged, especially accidentally. When you are satisfied that your charcoal drawing has reached a point where you feel it is finished, it is important that you stabilise the drawing immediately on to the support. This is what is termed fixing the drawing. Fixative is a solution that acts as a binder. It seals the charcoal or the pastel on to the support which is usually paper. If the drawing is not fixed it will remain unstable and thus liable to damage and disfigurement. The fixative solution is applied by spraying the solution evenly over the drawing surface, using two or three coats very thinly and allowing it to dry between coats. This ensures that the whole surface of the drawing 82 2. Charcoal has been covered. The solution should dry clear so as not to have an effect on the drawing. But some home made solutions can yellow with time. It is best for longevity that you use a manufactured commercial solution. These fixatives can be brought at any art suppliers, and usually come in two different forms. The first and easiest way to apply fixative is to buy the spray can version of the material (illustration 1). Although this can be expensive, in my opinion it is worth it. The other option is to buy the fixative in a bottle. It comes as a clear solution, and it needs to be applied through what is called a diffuser. One end of the diffuser is placed into the fixative solution and the other end into the mouth (illustration 2). You then proceed to blow steadily. This action creates a spray, which you aim at your drawing. You must repeat this action two or three times, as you would with the spray can variety of fixative, to achieve a good covering. A much cheaper way to fix your drawing is to make your own fixative from diluted resin. This is a very time consuming process, but if you like doing this sort of thing it can be very rewarding. (If you are interested in attempting this, you can find ‘recipes’ in the ‘Handbook of Artists Materials and Techniques’ by Ralph Mayer.) You will need a diffuser as applicator if you opt to make your own solution. to erase in particular ways that enhance the drawing. There are other erasers that also work well with charcoal. A length of cloth can be used to remove charcoal from the surface of the support. This is achieved by beating the cloth over the area you wish to remove. It will not however completely remove the charcoal surface, but it will leave the ghost of the drawing. This can be a useful as when you redraw it stops you making the same mistakes over again. One can also use bread to remove charcoal