Project 2 Exercise 1: Groups of objects

Aim of Exercise

To produce a natural composition describing a group of at least 6 objects of differing sizes

The Process

I decided to have my objects spilling out of a cloth bag as if in the middle of unpacking the shopping. Visualising the objects in space including the hidden tins was not too difficult but translating that onto paper was quite a different matter. I chose to work in charcoal on grey sugar paper. I ended up concentrating on getting the relationships to work on paper and found that I wasn’t really using expressive marks, at least not consciously!

Putting away the shopping

The resulting image certainly depicts the shopping and I hope that the relationship of the objects to one anther comes across. I like the composition: there is some tension between the hard lines of the box of bran flakes and the soft folds the the cloth bag. There is a sense of items ‘tumbling’ out onto the table. I didn’t really manage to convey transparency and shine. The soft packet at the back next to the bran flakes was in fact a transparent bag of sugar. This was very hard to depict as this view also hid the writing on the package. I hope that by creating softer vertical lines that the roundness of the packet edges comes across. My choice of paper was may be not the best. It was an old piece I had hanging around but its quite rough and scratchy even for charcol. This made depicting softness quite difficult. I will think more purposefully about my materials next time! I am particularly pleased with the hidden tin inside the bag on the right of the picture. I am not sure that it anchors itself to the table too well, but I like the way the cloth bag drapes around its form.


Translating groups of images onto paper is hard. I have not done much in the way of still life drawing so this was quite a challenge for me. I realise that I have to put more effort into understanding the proportion of objects too. In my picture the bran flakes box is not quite the right height or depth. As a result of this I spent some time drawing a stack of boxes in my sketch book, trying to understand all the hidden edges relate to one another.

Stacking boxes

I succeeded I think in making the forms relate to one another but wasn’t brilliant at accurately representing proportions.

Can of Chickpeas

Ceramic bowl

I also tried sketching some ovals: a tin and a bowl. I find oval shapes very hard to do naturally. Again, I need to work on my proportions! My bowl was way out but I couldn’t tell until I actually photographed the it and compared the images next to each other!

What I learnt

  1. Composition matters as does choice of  materials to draw with and on
  2. Visualising the hidden edges of objects helps place them correctly against other objects – allows them to ‘jostle for space’
  3. Practice practice practice
Project 2 Exercise 1: Groups of objects

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