Exercise 7: Jars and jugs

I felt trepidatious about doing this exercise, after the boxes/books one – not feeling confident about my ability to draw the most basic forms.  However, it felt a little easier once I started, although I’m not sure that’s reflected in the resulting pictures.  I arranged the objects with negative space in mind, and paid particular attention to how each object related to the others.  I’m still at the stage of not being quite sure why certain arrangements work better than others, but I’m hoping that I can at least recognise when they do.   The first arrangement appealed to me largely because of the colours, I think.  I liked the light and shadows, too.  It struck me that it might make a good subject for a painting, perhaps with something replacing the mug (which I like, but isn’t something that sits well in a still life, to my eye – but it does fit for this exercise).

First arrangement for ‘Jars & Jugs’

Using a 2B pencil, I opted for an outline-only approach again, as I wanted to concentrate on the cylindrical forms in their purest state.  I do think it would have been easier to draw them had I chosen to incorporate shade.  Outline alone seems simpler, but I’m not convinced that’s the case – nothing to hide behind.

First pencil drawing of first arrangement

As directed, I worked in soft pencil, resisting the temptation to erase my mistakes (of which there were many).  In the first drawing, I would say the only positive is the body of the jug, which seems quite believable.  The negative space in the handle is wrong, though – not long enough.  I did notice this as I was drawing it, but couldn’t see how to alter it without losing the height proportions of the objects on either side.  The green vase on the left seems too squat but, again, height-wise it looked right to me, and if I’d made it narrower, it would have been disproportionate to the width of the jug.  Confusion! The three bottles look slightly off-balance, and the ellipses on the shorter two are not quite the right angles.  I should point out that the bottle on right has a chip in the rim, so my drawing of it isn’t quite as bad as it might seem!  Also, I drew the mug too narrowly, at first, so you can see where I widened it, leaving the original marks in place.  This made the ellipse rather messy, but I tried to make my revised line a bit darker.  Lastly, I put in a line to show the back of the table, but the angles went awry – not a great success.

First arrangement, second attempt

In my second attempt, certain aspects improved.  The green vase on the left is slightly better-proportioned, although not symmetrical.  The jug works better here, too, I think. I paid particular attention to the handle, and feel that the negative space is more realistic.  The ellipse on the jug looks closer to the real thing, too.  The right hand side of the drawing was less successful, though.  I ran out of space for the tallest bottle, and the neck of the thin bottle is crooked.  In addition, I made the mug too narrow, once again.  I’ve noticed that I do have a tendency to elongate objects, or make them too narrow, generally.  I need to bear this in mind for future projects.

Second arrangement

Following the directions in the course book, I rearranged the objects and moved my position, and did my final drawing using a pen (so as to avoid the urge to erase mistakes).

Biro drawing of second arrangement

If ever an eraser would have been useful, it’s on this drawing!  Yet again, I made the small green vase too narrow, and my ellipses were mixed in their success.  The ellipse on the green vase actually worked out okay in the end, but because I had the re-state my lines using biro, it looks very messy.  However, the right line is in there, although it’s possible that only I can see it! The ellipse on the mug isn’t too far off, although I was thrown by drawing it too widely to start with, and then being left with the incorrect line. I also struggled with the mug handle, but tried to correct it.  Again, I attempted to put in the table line, in the background, but went completely off, so I resorted to using a ruler to get a proper continuous line.

I was tempted to stick with this exercise a while longer, but as the next one involves the same issues, I thought it best to move on.

Reminder to self:

  • watch tendency to elongate objects
  • work on overall placement on the page (to avoid cutting off areas unintentionally)
  • try to ensure that objects are straight, where required