This is the hardest exercise I have completed on the course to date and I am very disappointed with the results. Having learnt the importance of preparatory sketches from assignment one, I did two preparatory sketches of spoons. I was happy with neither, so perhaps should done more.
Before starting, I looked up advice on the internet about drawing reflective surfaces. The consensus seems to be that sharp lines with contrasts between light and dark are effective in conveying reflection. However the large spoon I used was very scratched and I could not see such stark differences in very light and very dark tones hence the variations in mid tones I used. I don’t know whether this was a wrong choice. Perhaps I should have exaggerated the tones, but the instructions for the exercise were very clear that you should draw what you see.
I honestly don’t know how to improve my skills here. When I look at my first preparatory sketch on A4 paper I can’t really see any progression between that and my final drawing on A3. I feel that all I learnt from this exercise is that I can’t draw reflective surfaces and that a 6B pure graphite pencil / stick is useful for shading larger work as you can use the flat side of the nib area to cover larger areas. I would really appreciate some guidance here.
I drew a glossy plastic pencil sharpener and matte finish fabric pencil case for this exercise. The objects were lit from the left hand side and placed on a slightly shiny table which created an unusual shadow effect where the cast shadows of the objects were repeated.
It is clear to me that I have a long journey ahead with picking what shades of grey to use for tonal variation. I really struggled to know which shades to use for the pencil sharpener which was grey itself, as there were three distinct colours of shadow on the top of it. I am quite pleased with the hard lines I used to convey the shadows on the side of the sharpener. I am pleased with how careful I was when observing the curved edges of the sharpener too.
I am less pleased with the pencil case. It seems to lack weight towards the brighter end on the left. The case was pink canvas style fabric which reflected little light and there were not really any folds on the long side of it which might have resulted in shadows for me to convey. I ended up exaggerating some of the undulations in the fabric to try to add interest and convey weight but I’m not convinced this really worked.
If I did the drawing again I think I’d be braver with picking up darks where there were shadows to the left of the pencil case because the right hand side at the end seems much more convincing. This again shows me I have much to learn with regard to picking out contours of shades to use. Should I have used the full range of H and B pencils? I sat for quite some time just looking before starting the drawing, thinking about the tonal values but this wasn’t enough to translate what I was seeing into a convincing drawing. I need to do more still life drawings to practice my observations skills.