Collect a range of objects with different surface textures. Using different techniques and materials experiment with depicting these textures.
The Process and Reflections
I tried to be ‘free’ and experiment with materials, as suggested in the coursework notes, but am not sure I have succeeded overly well.
I started with a stone that I had collected on a beach somewhere. It is riddled with holes made by tube worms, leaving a very pock-marked surface. I used different grades of pencil (B, 4B, 7B) to depict the slightly rough but very holey surface. The dark 7B pencil marks give the holes some depth however I am not sure that you can tell from my drawing that the dark patches are holes and not coloured patches!
Next I chose a feather, a semi-plume feather from a partridge to be exact, but I decided to ignore colouring and concentrate on texture. Again using different grades of pencil I think I have managed to depict the two types of barbs found on this feather type. The distal vane barbs were drawn with a hard grade pencil (4H) to give precise neat lines of the barbs lining up withone another. the proximal downy barbs which lie in a more haphazard way were drawn in a much softer pencil (7B) . This gives the impression of a softer barb, with a slightly fluffy edge to them. I am pleased with the way this feather turned out.
I then chose a satsuma and decided to use oil pastel lightly over the surface of watercolour paper so that the colour was picked up by the ridges only. This would leave the dimples in the paper to represent the dimples found on the orange’s skin. As I looked at the fruit, I observed that the dimples really only showed up in the areas reflecting the light so I used some low-ordour solvent to gently blend the oil pastel in the shadow areas. This removed the dimple patterns in the darker areas and I was able to blend in a little bit of brown to suggest some form. I am quite pleased with the result. There is enough white showing through to give the impression of shiny, waxy peel.
As the dog was lying at my feet, I thought I would try to depict the texture of her coat. She is a poodle x springer and has a luxuriously thick coat that would be more accurately described as fur rather than hair. It is very soft and wavy (when it gets long it curls). The coat is black with a brown tinge to it. As I was supposed to be experimenting with different materials I thought I would try to use ink. I dropped some black ink onto some wet watercolour paper and waitied to see what happened. it was immediately obvious that my drops were far too large and the paper too wet as the ink rapidly ran thickly over everything. However at the edges an interesting furry line appeared along with an interesting chromatography pattern (the brown was serendipitous: I was expecting the ink to separate into bluey colours). The mark certainly suggests something thick and rather luxurious, but I am not sure it is dogs’ fur! I tried drawing in marker pens on this edge to create an impression of fur (on the small swatch pictured) however I didn’t feel this to be working so stopped. I wasn’t too sure where to go from here. I think there is scope for revisiting this at some stage!
Using coloured pencils I tried to show the texture of a variety of woven materials: a frayed printed piece of cotton, a swatch of man-made fibre seat cover and a patch of my denim jeans. I used small wavy lines to indicate the threads. In the case of the seat cover, I think that the weave is in fact artificial and the material is molded. For this, I used little dashed lines of red coloured pencil crossed with graphite pencil to indicate the squares in the weave. The drawings are quite small as I found these very very tedious (a bit like stippling!!). Please click on the image to enlarge to see the detail. I think that the impression of a weave is quite successful but I have concentrated so much on this that I have not put any form in to these little sketches making them quite 2-dimensional and boring!
I decided to have a go at drawing the texture of cotton wool using soft pastels. Firstly I smudged a background colour with some water to create a coloured base (this was an experiment and it seemed to work apart from getting splashes of pastel everywhere). . I then layered white and two tones of a warm grey, smudging them together to try to create the shadows of the soft, pillowy fibres. It was very hard to achieve and has only been partially successful. Another to revisit I feel.
At one point during the course of this exercise I had a few minutes to spare with only felt-tip pens to hand so had a go at depicting the shiny surface of a button. The embossed nature of the button’s gold outer ring bounced the light all over the place whilst the smooth uniform blue centre reflected the light in one direction only. I think my drawing shows something that is bright and shiny. I am not sure the plastic nature of the button comes across. Felt tip is rather unforgiving I feel for mark making as you get tide lines in the colouring process. I was reminded of the exercise in reflections earlier in the course. Reflections are important for realistic hard and shiny surfaces.
Finally I tried to show the texture of a bit of tree bark. For this I used watersoluble wax crayons dipped in water to draw the vertical lines of the bark in a way that would allow their edges to soften and blend. The surface appears rough and the black areas suggest the shallow fissuring that was present. The white paper shining through does suggest a slightly more shiny bark surface that it in fact was. Again possibly a texture to revisit using different media.
What I learnt
These images are experimental sketches rather than finished images of the objects I was looking at. I hope this was the correct interpretation of the course literature. As with other exercises on this course this one has shown me that experimentation is not my strong point and I need to gain more confidence to try new things. I would like to redo this exercise once I have had some time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Hopefully my subconscious mind will work on this and come up with some new ideas for depicting these textures.