Still life using line

Project 2: Still life

Exercise 1: Still life using line

I found this exercise quite difficult to start with, and struggled to think of ideas for drawing that would work, so I started by sketching a range of objects in my sketchbook, and have abandoned a number of unfinished sketches in the process!

I found it difficult to separate line and tone at first, and am now thinking that my last exercise could have fit into this category as well, as the tone was built up using a lot of visible lines! I started by doing a few sketches in my sketchbook, firstly continuing with the study of a fir cone, and then moving onto more man-made objects.


Fig. 1

Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 were the results of my experimentation with different materials when drawing the fir cone in my sketchbook. In Fig. 2, I started looking at drawing the lines in a leaf.


Fig. 2

For some reason, I then reverted back to focusing on tone (Fig.3), using pencil to shade the various lines and shapes on a leaf.


Fig. 3

Because of this, I decided to use a medium where I wouldn’t have the option of blending or shading, and focused on drawing objects with pen.


Fig. 4

Finding inspiration difficult once again, I set myself the task of drawing bunches of objects, such as the grapes and keys in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5 – the grapes made an interesting sketch.


Fig. 5

The keys were a very difficult object group to draw, and is a subject I hope to revisit more in the course. The range of shapes and angles meant it was difficult to just focus on the lines, and I found the only way I could do this properly, was to sketch it in pencil, then erase most of my shading once I’d drawn the lines in pen.

Exercise 1: Still life using line

I knew that if I was going to complete this exercise in pen and ink I would not be completing it in one sitting, due to various other commitments, so I decided to look around for still life objects that could be set up without the need for natural lighting, and that didn’t need to be moved for a day or two. Randomly, it was through tidying away various toiletry bottles that I got the idea of setting these up as a still life in a corner of my bathroom!

Fig. 6 – Unfortunately half way through drawing, I coughed and I splodged ink on the paper. Despite this, I persevered with the drawing and used the incident as a chance to learn and experiment with the medium. 

Fig. 7 – I finally finished the drawing, after adding shadows of the objects with some fainter cross hatching. 

I treated the objects as a group but tried to focus on the individual details, such as the text on the labels. I felt that the objects related to the background both through the theme (bathroom/bath supplies) and by the colour scheme (all of the objects and background were white or pale/pastel coloured). This connected them, not only by the similar colours, but also by their functions. I positioned myself in front of the items and drew from there, so I was looking straight at them, but also slightly down, so I could see and draw the ellipsis of the bottle lids.

The patterns of the bath mitt worked really well with pen, but was very difficult to draw in fine detail. After starting to draw the pattern slowly, I then found that the best way to draw this was to sketch quickly and to use variable amounts of ink on the pen according to the shadows and highlights in the folds.  I felt that this gave more of an impression of the texture.

After finishing the piece and stepping back, I decided to crop the drawing, as the lines on the tiles in the background seemed to go on too far and I felt that they made the whole image look wonky.


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