Part 2 Project 2 Exercise 1 Continued: Experimenting with frottage

The Aim

Choose objects with a rough surface, place paper over surface and rub with back of a pencil to create an impression of the surface quality of the object

The Process


This exercise was quite enjoyable, providing a bit of instant gratification in mark making! I used compressed charcoal rather than a pencil (with the exception of the cotswold stone at the bottom of Frottage 2) as I preferred the darker mark it gave. In the cotswold stone frottage because I had used a medium hard pencil (HB) the rubbing not only had the image of the surface texture transferred onto the paper, but the paper itself had become embossed with the texture where I had had to rub quite hard to achieve an image. This effect is lost with the compressed charcoal as it is a softer medium and picks up sruface irregularities more easily.

It was easier to get good impressions from man-made objects, mainly because the surfaces I chose had particularly good ‘rough’ patterns on them, mostly occurring in a regular fashion. The natural objects produced more subtle images but may be more useful as a way of depicting surface textures. Several of the man-made objects resulted in images in their own right, for instance the writing or the leaf. The rubber from the trampoline was interesting as the surface consisted of quite a tight weave, but was compliant to pressure. This meant that not only did the texture transfer to the paper, but the edge of the compressed charcoal marked the paper as well (I was using the charcoal on its side). This adds another dimension to the image, one of vertical strips which I quite like. You could remove this effect quite easily by holding a board against the otherside of the trampoline whilst working. I love the impression of the leaf, complete with caterpillar munching damage, but I did have to press quite hard to achieve it, flattening the leaf in the process. I would not have been able to repeat this particular impression again. Although I didn’t end up using frottage in assignment 1 I had already experimented with the patterns made by tree rings in order to understand how such marks may be replicated in a drawing.

Part 2 Project 2 Exercise 1 Continued: Experimenting with frottage

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