The objective for this lesson was to use ink washes in various tones to shorten the drawing time, even out the values, and pulling the elements together into a cohesive artwork. Pen and ink stokes were to be used mainly for details and texture. Students were to use 8 x 10″ black and white photos for their subject.
All first made a good drawing of the subject on sketchbook paper either free-handed or using a grid. Four small cups were set out with a little water in one, a little more in the second, more water in the 3rd, and the most in the 4th. We put a drop of India ink in each cup, thereby making 4 different values, plus the white of the paper and undiluted ink for the darkest tone.
We worked light to dark with a round watercolor brush, and made sure to let each value dry before adding another. Layering of values could also be used. When all the values were laid in, students used their pens to complete the painting. These really turned out great!
The homework assignment was to draw a still life composition with bottles, vases, etc. but instead of developing the positive shapes, students were to break up the negative shapes with patterns in pen and ink, thereby making the still life objects the negative instead of the positive. Here’s my example of this assignment:
I just completed teaching an eight week class on pen and ink drawing (from 1:30 – 3:30 pm) at the Maumelle Center on the Lake. I had eight students in varying degrees of drawing expertise, but they all did marvelous work and seemed to enjoy using pen and ink. My final two classes centered on scratchboard drawing – the reverse of drawing black and white, since the 5 x 7″ clayboards were covered with black ink and the lights had to be scratched out with different tools. For this and the next six posts, I will explain what we did and show various examples of my students as well as mine. For your information, I will list the artist books that I used for inspiration at the end of the last post.
Session 1. Materials were discussed along with right and wrong usage: Art Outfitters in downtown Little Rock had been kind enough to fashion kits that included all of the materials required for the course. I emphasized the importance of the sketchbook in practicing drawing daily. Sometimes, homework assignments were given to encourage more drawing practice. When pen and ink is used, every stroke is a commitment, since there can be no erasures!
In this first 2 1/2 hour class, we concentrated on loose pen and ink drawing using twigs and ink in bottles. We went outside and chose from any of the trees on the campus for our subject matter. They were to start with the trunks and build upwards, suggesting the leaves in clumps and light and dark values to define. This was a fairly quick way of drawing, akin to contour drawing. Here are two examples from the class:
Students came back inside and were told to select a single object or their hand to draw in their sketchbook using a black marker and only two values: black and the white of the paper. This was to be a quick study of loose instead of tight drawing technique. A review of gesture drawing, sighting, and measurement was given. Here’s an example:
For homework, I passed out sheets of different kinds of strokes used in tight rendering of pen and ink drawings. Students were to duplicate these strokes in their sketchbook to practice before coming for the second lesson, which would be to draw an object from life using appropriate pen strokes and their drawing pens. They were encouraged to bring objects from home that meant something to them or their families. Below is an image of the page with stroke examples they were given.
Knowing about how to use linear perspective doesn’t mean that you have to be a slave to it. Using the principles of perspective in drawings and paintings that include buildings, posts, roads, etc. can become an internal knowledge that makes your artwork more realistic. However, some artists like to distort reality and in doing so, distort perspective as well. De Chirico is a prime example of this. Some contemporary artists do this as well: (from Artist Magazine, June 2010).
But here’s another way to use perspective creatively — an imaginary residence high up in the sky! This drawing uses 4 vanishing points — all related. The vanishing points are on vertical and horizontal lines. Try this in your sketchbook to work out your “dream house”!
HERE’S AN EXERCISE YOU CAN TRY TO UNDERSTAND 1 POINT PERSPECTIVE INSIDE A BUILDING.
INTERIOR SCENES ARE MUCH DIFFERENT FROM EXTERIOR. PRETEND THAT YOU’RE IN A SMALL ROOM LOOKING AT THE BACK WALL –THERE IS EITHER A WINDOW OR A PAINTING ON THAT WALL, AND IT IS SEEN HEAD-ON. IN YOUR SKETCHBOOK, DRAW AN 8″ SQUARE IN THE CENTER OF THE PAPER. THEN DRAW A 4″ SQUARE EQUI-DISTANT FROM ALL SIDES WITHIN THE 8″ SQUARE. PRETEND THIS IS THE BACK WALL OF YOUR ROOM. DECIDE WHERE YOUR EYE LEVEL IS AND DRAW A HORIZONTAL LINE INTERSECTING BOTH SQUARES. SELECT A VANISHING POINT ON YOUR HORIZON LINE. NOW DRAW CONVERGING LINES FROM THAT VP TO THE CORNERS OF THE BACK WALL (NOT THE CORNERS OF THE SQUARE – NOTICE). DRAW DOORS, WINDOWS WITH CONVERGING LINES THAT MEET AT THE VANISHING POINT. NOTICE THAT YOU CAN ONLY SEE THE FRAMING OF WINDOWS/DOORS ON THE BACK SIDE.
TO DO THE TILE FLOOR MEASURE OFF 1/2″ DIVISIONS ON THE BACK WALL EXTENDING BEYOND YOUR SQUARES IF YOU CAN. DRAW CONVERGING LINES TO THE VP FROM THESE POINTS. THIS GIVES YOU THE ANGLES OF BOARDS OR TILES PERPENDICULAR TO THE SIDE WALLS. NOW, IF YOU WANT SQUARE TILES, START AT THE BASE OF YOUR PICTURE PLANE (THE 8″ SQUARE) AND MEASURE OFF 1″ UP AND DRAW YOUR FIRST HORIZONTAL LINE (THIS IS CALLED A TRANSVERSAL).
NOW, CONTINUE TO DRAW DIAGONALS ACROSS THE FLOOR FROM THE INTERSECTIONS OF THE CONVERGING LINES. CONTINUE IN THE SAME MANNER TO MAKE CHECKERBOARD TILES. DARKEN ALTERNATE TILES SO THAT YOU CAN SEE THE PATTERN. ERASE THE LINES YOU NO LONGER NEED.
I REALIZE THIS WILL BE DIFFICULT FROM A WRITTEN EXPLANATION. I USUALLY DEMONSTRATE THIS IN MY CLASSES, AND STUDENTS FOLLOW ALONG AS I DRAW. LET ME KNOW IF YOU CATCH ON TO THIS OR NOT. A TWO-POINT INTERIOR SCENE IS NEXT!
Using a grid is the easy way to reproduce a photograph, and IT’S NOT TRACING! Renaissance artists such as Durer and da Vinci used a standup grid to get correct proportions of a live subject. In my last portrait drawing class, I showed my students how to use a 1″ grid on an 8×10″ photograph to draw their own self-portraits. Here is the result from one of my students, Linda Keesee. She placed the grid on the photograph and made another 1″ grid on her drawing paper, then drew from the photo square by square to complete the final product. If you want to enlarge a photograph, either use a 1″ grid on the photo and a 2″ grid on your drawing paper, or a 1/2″ grid on the photo and a 1″ grid on the paper. Either way, your drawing will be twice the size of the photograph.
Of course, if you’re confident of your ability, you could skip the grid and draw free hand, but that could get you in trouble! Also, some of you who have done this before might like to try the alternate method – making an x on the corners and dividing each section equally. If you do this, you’ll need to trace your photo and use the grid on the tracing.
Noses are very much unique to the individual. They can be straight, crooked, with a big bump in it, have widely flared nostrils, slim, or large. My mother had what she called a “roman nose — it roamed all over her face!” Pay a lot of attention to the different shapes, angles, and planes of the nose. The bridge of the nose is a bone, while the edges are cartilage. There is a round ball at the end of the nose, and the flares of nostrils are wedge shapes. The overall shape of the nose is narrow at the top, and wide at the base.
After the structural lines have been made, shading the nose is the best way to define the form. If you’re drawing the nose from a front view, the only way to show the form is by the subtle variations of lights and darks. Don’t draw lines on the side of the nose. The darkest shadows lie next to the bridge. Drawing noses from a profile view is easier, because then you can ouline the nose. Nostril openings face down and should not be overstated. Because the tip of the nose is spherical, it usually has a highlight. Look carefully at the light source and the reflected light. The nose will also cast a shadow beneath it.
Here are some examples:
This example is from the Watercolor Artist magazine of June 1212.
Once you have the correct proportions of the face, and have considered the planes of the face as it turns away from the light, it’s time to put in the features of the face: the eyes, eyebrows, nose, ears, mouth. This is the time for careful observation, because even though everyone’s features are close to the same, it is the little differences that cause you to draw a true likeness. Here are some pointers.
THE EYE: The eyeball fits into the eye socket and the eyelids wrap over the eyeballs. The pupil is quite large in dim light, and smaller in bright light. The iris is darker under the eyelid because of the overlapping shape. Be sure that the eyeballs are placed in the same position in the eye socket, so the model doesn’t look cross-eyed, and make sure that the highlights in the iris and the pupils are in the same place. Light colored eyes usually have a darker rim (limbus) around the iris. Eyebrows vary from individual to individual and help to contribute to a correct likeness. As the face turns or tilts, the eyeballs can be foreshortened. Don’t forget the tear duct. Pay attention to the lower eyelid, the wrinkles and shadows around the eye. Shadows are darker close to the nose — these shadows often give structure to the nose.
A lot of expression can be put into the placement of the eyeball — for instance, if surprise or fright is to be shown, the whites of the eyes can be seen around the eyeball. If the model is sleepy, uninterested, or even angry, the eyelids squeeze together – maybe even in a squint. Careful observation is necessary.
Don’t make the mistake of putting in lines for eyelashes — simply darken about the eye to suggest them. The eyelashes are thickest toward the outer corner. The lower lid has a mild highlight along it’s edge.
Knowing about the basic proportions of the head is fine, but what happens when the artist doesn’t have a frontal view, or the head is tilted causing foreshortening? A bigger problem, of course. Actually, a profile view is easiest of all to draw because you have the negative space to help, and maybe because you only have one eye, one ear, one nostril, one-half of the lip to draw! At any rate, most people would not like to have their portrait done head on – like a wanted poster. The best view for portraits is a 3/4 view.
And if the head is tilted upward, or downward, the basic proportions of 1/3, or 1/2 no longer work. If the head tilts upward, you see more of the chin, neck, nostrils, etc. and less of the forehead. The proportional ‘thirds” diminish near the top of the head, and the nose appears above the lower part of the ear. If the head tilts downward, you will see more of the hair, the forehead and less of the eyes, lips and nose. The top “third” seems to be larger and the nose is below the lower part of the ear. Always remember to find the center line and the slant of the head. Notice the curves in the vertical and horizontal center lines. Here are some examples. Although not the best drawings in the world, you can see what happens in each case.
There is a great deal of difference in how you make a detailed drawing in graphite pencil. You can’t lay your pencil on the side and scumble back and forth for the proper value. That doesn’t look too good. No, you must keep your pencil tip sharp and use it at a more upward angle. If you want a drawing that is finely “rendered,” as opposed to just “sketching,” I recommend the following procedure.
The first step is an accurate drawing. Not only are the positive shapes drawn correctly, but the shadows and highlights are also “mapped” out — which means their shapes are drawn as well. Be sure that your objects are connected either by overlapping or cast shadows. Here’s my example:
The reason for the many cast shadows in this is because I have light sources in my set up – not a wise decision! You notice that I have used a center line to make sure my objects are symmetrical, and that I have mapped out the reflections in the silver goblet.
My second example shows that I have layered a light value over all the shapes in my drawing. I did this with a 2H pencil and covered up all the white paper. I made sure not to lose the highlight and shadow shapes.
In this final example, I have darkened the values with 2B-4B-6B pencils, and erased with an electric eraser where the highlights are. The silver goblet now looks shiny. This is a good way to depict texture in a drawing: overall layering with a light pencil, darkening with softer pencils for the shadows, and erasing the highlights. Try it on your next drawing.
This idea comes from a sketchbook workshop I took from David Paul Cook. It is his own creation. He had us draw the same image in our sketchbook the same size 4 times, choosing from eight different ways to draw the subject: 1. Use contour lines or outlines, 2. Draw the negative spaces around the objects, 3. Use thicker lines in the foreground and thinner lines in the distance, 4. Wavy lines, no outlines, 5. straight lines, no outlines, 6. shaded with hatching and cross-hatching, 7. positive in black and white only, 8. reverse – negative in black and white.
I chose to do a landscape with two cows in the middle ground in these 4 ways: 1. Straight lines, no outlines; 2. Negative shapes only; 3. Black and white positive; and 4. Scribble lines. This was a fun exercise and taught me some other ways of drawing.