Exercise 18: A drawing with textures
As I said in the texture samples exercise, it’s been difficult to find interestingly textured objects around the house – yet more so when trying to put together a composition of several of them. I knew I wanted to use a wicker basket and loose weave scarf, but I needed a vertical component to complete the arrangement. As I was wistfully wishing I might chance upon a crusty baguette, casually lurking in the kitchen, my eye alighted on a vestigial sprig of mistletoe. Perfect.
It was a dark day, and the only place with good natural light was the bedroom, so I set up the objects on the windowsill. Due to the restricted space available, my choices of composition were limited, although I already had a fairly good idea of what I wanted to do. I tried a couple of different permutations in thumbnails, and did a quick sketch in felt tip pen, to gauge whether I might opt for colour or monochrome. I decided on the latter, and chose charcoal as my medium, as I hoped it might help me to not get too bogged down in tiny details.
Given that I find the whole business of depicting texture to be one of the hardest aspects of this course so far, I’m guardedly pleased with this. Which isn’t to say I think it’s much good… just better than I thought it might be! I was happy with the composition, and liked the mistletoe disappearing off the upper edge. Initially, I wasn’t going to include the curtain, on the right hand side, but felt it might add to the context, whilst introducing another texture (velvet). I deliberately kept the background simple, as the main subject was rather complex.
For the scarf, I used slightly irregular hatching, and struggled to indicate the fluctuations in light and shade. I used a little bit of pale grey and white compressed charcoal here and there to increase the sense of depth.
For the basket, again I used some compressed charcoal, but focused largely on varying widths and pressure of line work. I also employed the putty rubber to pick out a few areas where the light was coming through the basket weave. Knowing that it was likely I might want to do this, I had started the drawing with some flat smudged mid-tones, with the intention of adding dark tones and details, and picking out highlights, as I went along. I think using more curved lines for the basket helped to give it a bit of volume.
Having tackled the scarf and basket, it was a relief to get around to drawing the mistletoe. I think the relative openness of its structure provided a good contrast to the close textures of the other objects.
One thing I do like about this is the progression from light to dark as the eye moves across the page. In an attempt to mirror this, I kept the drawing to the left-hand side a little looser. I did ponder whether or not to include details outside the window, but as I said above, I wanted the emphasis to stay on the main subject, and felt the composition benefitted from having substantial areas of negative space.