Exercise 1.8: Portraying by drawing

Taking the flowers I photographed here, these are the drawings that I created:

  1. A3 – 5H pencil. To loosen myself up and get back into sketching after a break (due to health reasons) I decided to start simply by using a hard pencil and trying to draw the flower and its leaves taking my pencil off the paper as few times as possible. IMG_3583
  2. A4 – charcoal pencil. On this smaller paper I decided to create a close up using different marks to suggest the texture of the petals.IMG_3585
  3. A3 – Water-soluble wax crayons. Having never used these before I thought the delicate colours would lend themselves to creating a drawing of the flower. I tried to blend the colours so give a subtlety to the petals. This sheet of paper was torn but I didn’t want to waste the rest so decided to draw onto it anyway. On reflection, I almost wish that I had somehow included the tear as an integral part of the drawing but this is something I can always try next time I find a damaged piece.IMG_3587
  4. A3 Cardboard backing (from a A3 sketchpad) – Pyrography pen. Following on from the previous drawing and with the flowers wilting I started to think about decay and waste. With this in mind I saved the backing from a finished sketchbook and used it as a base on which to draw with a pyrography pen, essentially using the destruction of the board to create images of the decaying flowers. It is an unusual medium as you have to sketch slowly with thicker lines being produced when you move slower. The intermittent lines produced by the pen created an delicate representation of the twisted leaves and petals. By drawing the same flower repeatedly from different angles, it reminds me of designs on textiles as the positioning of the images could be adjusted to create a pattern repeat that filled yardage more evenly.IMG_3590.JPG

5. iPad using the Adobe Sketch App – Following on from the sketch I did from the archive textile, I wanted to make greater use of the technology that I have. I started using the iPad and my finger which wasn’t the most accurate but meant that I had to focus on getting the impression of petals rather than worry about detail. I used a couple of different brushes and played with the density and watercolour effects to try to represent the slightly transparent nature of the flowers.

6. Adobe Illustrator with Huion tablet & pen – Adobe Illustrator has far more functionality than Adobe Sketch so I tested out Illustrator with a tablet to allow me to create finer detail. The difficult part of using a tablet is that you have to get used to not looking at your hands when you are drawing. You draw on a blank tablet and have to watch the computer screen which takes a lot of practice. There are a lot more editing options and the pen I use is pressure sensitive which allows you to vary width and depth of colour. You can adjust the transparency of layers which allows you to build up a lot more texture in your sketching. I used different “brush” options for each sketch but this only a tiny subsection of the digital options.



Although I had originally intended to create at least one collage, I found that in the process of creating these drawings I was taken in a different direction. Inspired by the torn paper of the water-soluble wax crayon sketch and the wilting of the flowers, I started to look at ways of representing the decay through pyrography sketches. I also decided to attempt digital sketching, particularly after looking at David Hockney’s sketches.

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