Which drawing media did you find most effective to use for which effects?
Without doubt the hardest media to draw with was felt-tip markers. They were very unforgiving and the broad range of colours with not much variation in hues meant that subtlety was very difficult, in my hands at least. However if you want to make an exaggerated drawing, emphasising colour or line felt tips would be suitable. Tonal variation relied on layering colours on top of each other which resulted in quite muddy colours if not careful and damage to the paper underneath. Light tones were mostly impossible unless with a naturally light hue such as yellow. On the whole whilst fine detail could be added using fine nibbed markers (especially with the darker colours) felt tips are not about subtlety. Form however could be depicted by the direction of pen strokes.
Fine detail and subtly variations in tones were far easier to produce with pencils. Not only did the different grades of pencil enable different tonal values to be established, but they also allowed for different thickness of line which was very useful for adding line detail.
Drawing pen was very useful for drawing line, it was bold, flowed over the page and although unforgiving, left you in no doubt as to where you had been!, Tonal variations could be achieved, within limits, by repeatedly going over one particular area to darken it. As with felt pens, light tones were very difficult and mostly were represented by leaving the paper white.
What sort of marks work well to create tone, pattern and texture?
Pages from my sketchbook showing how I have been using different marks to create tone and texture.
How might you change the compositions to make them more interesting?
I tried several combinations of the left over fruit for exercise 1. I like the use of newspaper as a support but I needed to pay more attention to the positioning of the tones on the newspaper with respect to positioning the drawing on top.
For exercise 2 I chose an object (a small agave plant) that was quite difficult to compose. The plant needed to be situated high enough up towards eye level so that it didn’t appear top-heavy in the drawing. Too low however and the beautiful swirls of the leaves would be missed, and the side of the plain pot becomes massive. I am not sure that I achieved the happy balance between the two, but I was definitely more successful in the second drawing.Whilst I included a suggestion of some background in the drawing I think that this plant would have been better as part of a group of plants. The pot was very plain and boring and could have been offset and partially hidden by a grouping.
Of the three exercises I am most happy with the third. I think the bog-wood works as a stand alone object, and I selected what i thought was the best overall composition for this particular exercise. however the wood has some very interesting shapes, especially on its underside. This side would be great to draw, but I am not sure it would provide a good overall composition as the height would be lost. I am in two minds about whether the drawing needs a background or not. The single, faint line that I drew represents the back edge of the table the wood was standing on so it does put the object into some sort of context. However I quite like the isolation of the object in space with just the shadow to determine its relationship to that space. The bog-wood may also be great in a still life composition based on wood, something I may try to explore in the next project!