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Week 3- Live Drawing Self Evaluation

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I was once again a bit hesitant of this exercise. I’ve never been particularly quick with sketching and often get caught up in details or shapes that prove to be of little importance in the grand scheme of the image. Hence, when drawing live models I tend to fall behind and lose them before the sketch is completed. But despite this I endeavored to meet the task head on.

It took me a while to loosen up and really get going with my sketches, as you can see many of the initial attempts are blocky, overly scratchy, or out of scale. However once I began to loosen up I believe my attempts improved greatly. I also tried to use this blocky style to my advantage and develop it into something I could further use, but it still needs some work I think.

This task has shown me there is a lot of space for improvement in my quick sketching, which indeed translates to my other work. Firstly, I need to work on where I look. Too often I found that I would look at either the subject or the page for too long and waste time in silly details. This meant that I lost time drawing the rest of the subject and would have to rush it.

Secondly, and this kind of goes against the first point of improvement, I need to work on studying and conveying facial expressions. I tend to struggle with some of the shapes faces can pull, especially the mouth, and as such lose a lot of the personality from the figure, making them rather bland.

The final area I can improve upon as well is my 3/4 shots. I’m no very comfortable with this angle and am somewhat put off by it. As such I find myself focusing on the people who gave me portrait of front-on subjects. I think the way I can best improve both this and my issue with expressions is through careful study, rather than more quick live drawings. That way I can take my time and break down the structure and lines of what I’m trying to replicate rather than feeling rushed through it and getting annoyed.

There are areas of this work which I am pleased with too, despite all this negativity. This task allowed me too loosen up and experiment in ways I’m not used to and I liked some of the styles that came out of it. Styles that relied less on the subject and more their personality, or at least the one they emanated (the messy lined baby and the hard edged security guard for example).

I really enjoyed this exercise and look forward to continuing it in my spare time. I especially look forward to discovering and developing the styles it gives birth too.

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Week 2- Tonal Studies Self Evaluation

I would be lying if I said I approached this tonal study with confidence. Whilst I consider my shading techniques to be of a good quality, my eye for tonal differences is less than sharp (possibly stemming from my very mild colour blindness). As such my shading style often features either overly strong contrast (which while useful in some cases is more often annoying in most) or not enough contrast. I saw this task as the first step on a road to changing this. I decided that since we were given two objects to study I would use different materials for each.

For the lighter of the two objects, and white paper cone, I used Copics Ciao watercolour pens. A good practice I have been taught is to sketch quick and small thumbnail of the scene first to block in the extreme tones of the scene, and allow for a tonal range to be established. Whilst this often contributes to my tendency for heavy contrast it is useful for seeing the overall layout of the scene in miniature. After this a quick and basic sketch of the full scene (drawing only the basic shapes) was carried out and the tones were put in going from light to dark. I tried to keep my pen strokes as loose as possible at first, only becoming more precise as the shades darkened. This technique worked well for me, despite the pens beginning to dry up half way through the piece, and I am relatively pleased with the overall result. The composition is distracting however, with the dark mass of Lee taking the eye away from the cone itself, something I will be more mindful of in the future.

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My second study was much more successful I feel, it was a darker object and thus by its nature had quite strong contrasts. I used a basic HB pencil for this study and took a different approach also. Once my thumbnail and basic sketch were in place I shaded the whole object in one mid-tone shade. I then went back over with and eraser and took out the light areas (such as the edges), going back and forth like this until I was happy. After this I went back and forth over the object gradually layering in darker levels shading (not really caring about the angle of the strokes but more the shape of the area) until I was happy with the tones.

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Whilst I may not have looked forward to this task I certainly found it insightful. One ‘technique’ I accidentally picked up was using my terrible eyesight to my advantage. By taking my glasses off, the object blurs and I can more clearly see the gradients and tones. There are also some areas I should definitely improve upon however, especially concerning lighter and subtler tonal variations, which I struggle to both pick up on and apply. The resulting contrast (or lack thereof) can be useful to achieve certain styles or moods, but I should still work to improve it for other works.

Week 1- Perspective Study and Self-evaluation

Our task for Week 1 was to do a perspective study of somewhere in the university, and then self-evaluate it. Being lazy I chose the work space next to our teaching area.

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cap perspective I am also pleased with my approach to this piece. I began my work with pencil, drawing basic rectangles, circles, and triangles to ensure my perspective was correct before adding too much detail. Once these basic details were in places I went over it with a fine pen adding slightly more detail, And after a final check I continued with pen to strengthen the lines and add the finishing touches to the scene. Whilst such a method lengthened the time taken, I feel it works best for myself, as I sometimes don’t notice mistakes until further on in the piece, at which point they are harder to correct. By slowly blocking in the general layout I can spot and correct most of these mistakes before I make a permanent mark.

However, even with this method I believe I have squashed the scene a little bit. I will admit that the desks (especially the nearest) have been shortened slightly and should be much longer in certain areas. The cluttered and busy nature of the area, with so many levels and lines and objects, made it hard for me to properly concentrate on the shape of the desks in the given time. This is an issue I should work on correcting as I have encountered in the past whilst drawing busy spaces. I am however pleased with the perspective shown on the left hand edge of the desks, given their curved nature.

Another point I am pleased with is the representation of detail. Given the time I kept it to a minimum and focused primarily on the foreground, decreasing the amount of detail the further back I went. It is not present much in this piece as I began to run out of time and would have liked to fill in the desks more, but you can see it in the nearest pc and the left wall.

I would say that the hardest part of this task for me was the time limit. It meant that, with my lengthy process, I was unable to include as much detail as I wanted and rushed myself in certain areas (such as the desks). This is obvious in the roof of the room which, given more time, I would seek to improve first. As you can see I only included the piping and lighting, missing out the more detailed panels and tiles to save time.

As a whole I think I approached and completed the task well. My method was time consuming but it ensured a solid representation of perspective and skill with minimal lose of detail. Given more time I would have included the finer details of the desks and roofing, as well as shaded the darker points in a neater fashion, but I believe that given the task that was laid out before me I preformed well.

[I intend to upload a photo of the area this was drawn from on Monday when I have access to it.]