Saturday, 12 July 2014

Summer Drawing Project – Lesson 10

‘Five a day’

We are advised to take ‘five a day’, so my drawing project this week asks you to ‘draw five a day’. The previous lesson asked you to draw an object like a jug using a continuous line and making it very fast – just a few seconds.

This lesson asks you to draw an object five times; each drawing in quick succession. So settle yourself in front of your object with drawing materials close at hand.

Choose an organic object, perhaps a large flower head or a group of leaves. Don’t choose something that is too complex. I felt I was a bit too ambitious in this group of leaves and the lily pads below and gradually cropped down my range of leaves as you’ll notice in both.

Choose a marker you like working with and use this for each of the five drawings.If drawing outdoors, use a clip or rubber band to stop your pages flapping around.


Look for SHAPES and record shapes which interest you in your object or group of objects.


You’ll probably notice many different types of shapes within your objects. Draw lines around the shapes you see. 

OUTLINE SILHOUETTE - Initially you’ll see shapes that are defined by their actual edge. This is an obvious shape and not always the most intriguing, so keep looking for other shapes to make your drawing more interesting.

OVERLAPPED SHAPES - Perhaps one shape overlaps another, as in these leaves, suggesting my leaf shapes are ‘nibbled’ or cut off. The overlapping leaves look odd shapes and not ‘standard’ leaf shapes because of this.

SHADOWS AND HIGHLIGHTS– Perhaps a shape casts a shadow over another, so draw the shape of the shadow too – you could block it in with your marker.  Perhaps there are shiny shapes on a surface that forms a shape – you could include this shape?

SPACES BETWEEN - Get to know the shapes of the spaces between if you have gaps. These will offer shapes that relate to your objects as they will contain elements of their surroundings.

SURFACE DETAIL - Perhaps there are other shapes on the surface of your object – patches of colour, shadows of ripples or a curved surface?


Get to know what each shape within your view looks like and how to draw them. You’ll get better and better, the more often you draw it.

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Repetition is important as this helps you to get to know the shapes in your object well. Matisse said “Draw every object again and again to really understand it. I draw a subject repeatedly until I feel it’

lily padsP1080348P1080422 

Change your drawing marker if you wish; narrow your field of vision; keep looking at the same subject

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Biro, oil pastel and felt pen used to draw the lily pads. The drawing above was drawn with two pens taped together to suggest the reflective quality of the shapes in the water.

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These drawings of the large flower head have been done with black ink and two different types of brushes – a long, soft one (above) and a wide, stiff one (below).

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Both types of brushes made their own character of line and were less controllable but fun to draw with. You learn to control them by using your wrist and fingers to twirl the handle around to make wide and narrow lines. Letting the ink run out gives more variety to your lines


If you’d like an extra challenge and don’t mind working with bleach, especially if you’re sitting out-doors, Try a tester page as below with different inks you might have. I tried writing ink (Quink), ‘spent’ cold water dye, Brush and an artist ink.

A thin, liquid bleach was applied with an edge of a piece of scrap card and an ‘ear bud’. Bleach will dissolve and ruin your brushes!


Cover some pages in your sketchbook with a black or coloured ink that you know is beachable.


Put a small amount of bleach into a small jam jar and label it. The drawings below ere done with  ‘pens’ made of two different widths of cardboard. Black ink could also be applied with this type of ‘pen’.

It’s interesting to note the  ‘shadow’ left by the bleach on the back of the sketchbook page of the left hand drawing.



The next lesson will be published on 21st July – and this time, get your scissors ready!

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