Project: Drawing plants and flowers

Exercise: Negative space in a plant

A3 negative space drawing using 8B graphite stick.

A3 negative space drawing using 8B graphite stick.

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Detail from A3 drawing

Another negative space drawing of a plant.  Using hatching.  This drawing is A4 (29.7 x 21 cm).

Another negative space drawing of a plant. Using hatching. This drawing is A4 (29.7 x 21 cm). (Click to enlarge)

The drawing above is a second drawing of negative space using hatching and a ball point pen.  I think this has been successful, I am pleased with the effect the hatching makes.  This was good for practising hatching as well as of measuring a shape.  This method is good for emphasising shape in an image.  Below is an image showing a detail from this drawing.

This photo shows details of the drawing at a better advantage.

This photo shows details of the drawing at a better advantage. (Click to enlarge)

Pencil drawing on white painted magazine sheet.

Third negative space drawing of a plant – click to enlarge.

The drawing above is my third negative space in a plant drawing.  It is around 21 x 14.8 cm (A5) drawn in pencil on magazine paper which has been painted white.  In this drawing I chose to draw in the figures, furniture and objects in the negative space.  This makes an interesting drawing, as well as helping with the process of measuring.

I chose to make this third drawing because when I first read the instructions for this exercise I thought you were meant to draw everything except the plant.  But before starting I re read the exercise and it asked you to make sure the space around the plant was blank.  But I still wanted to try drawing the negative space in this way.  I don’t know if it can still be called a negative space drawing when there are details included.  The plant is still negative.

Detail from third negative space drawing of a plant.

Detail from third negative space drawing of a plant.

Exercise: Plants and flowers in coloured pencil

Before beginning this drawing I worked in my sketchbook exploring different ways of hatching and cross hatching, layering colours to make different colours, and blending.

I have never explored all the colour mixtures you can make with pencil crayons as thoroughly as I did in this exercise.  I think this was worth doing, because it helped me to distinguish subtly different colour variations as I saw them in the plants.

Colour samples.

Colour samples. Click to enlarge this image.

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I really enjoyed the challenge of creating this drawing.  I found that drawing the flowers surroundings not only gave them context and added depth to the drawing, but also it helped the flowers to stand out better than they did on a white paper background.

I think working with coloured pencils gives a drawing a uniquely textured look, because you create solid areas of colour all built up one line at a time.  This medium allows you to develop an appearance of three dimensions because the direction of the pencil lines is apparent.  This helps you to describe the surfaces in an image.

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Plants and flowers in coloured pencil drawing on A2 paper.

Detail from drawing flowers in coloured pencil

Detail from drawing flowers in coloured pencil

Detail from drawing flowers in coloured pencil 2

Detail from drawing flowers in coloured pencil 2

Detail from drawing flowers in coloured pencil 3

Detail from drawing flowers in coloured pencil 3 

Exercise: Drawing with other colour media

For this exercise I needed to draw the same subject as in the previous exercise,  but using exploratory media, mixing pens, pencils and crayons.

Drawing with other colour media - first drawing.

Drawing with other colour media – first drawing.

Above is the first drawing I made for this exercise; I have used a ball point pen, felt tip, a B pencil and wax crayons.  I think it is interesting to see the same subject from the previous exercise drawn with different media.

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Drawing with other colour media – second drawing

Above is the second drawing I made for this exercise; I have used a ball point pen, felt tips, and wax crayons.  I didn’t use any pencil for this drawing, and further explored felt tips.

Using orange felt tip to block in the lower part of the drawing has really worked well making the image bottom-heavy.  I like felt tips for filling in areas.  They create an inconsistent surface, which is difficult to control, and I found very unpredictable.  But I think they work really well for drawing the table.

The felt tips also make good linear marks, which work well against the soft grain of the blue wax crayons.  This drawing emphasises the outlines and the shapes of the flowers.

Drawing with other colour media - third drawing.

Drawing with other colour media – third drawing.

In the above drawing I did not block in areas, apart from parts of the flowers and stalks, because I wanted to see how more white or negative space might affect the balance of the image.  I think this drawing is good because it is bright.  I did not find it easy to draw accurately with broad felt tips.  I drew this drawing briskly.  Although simplified to lines and shapes, you can still see depth and form.

Drawing with other colour media - fourth drawing.

Drawing with other colour media – fourth drawing.

In my fourth drawing I decided to make a negative space drawing with the other coloured media.  Colours work well in a negative space drawing.  I think this drawing is really successful.  In this drawing I drew the most important outlines and then filled in the negative space.  I used coloured biros, felt tips, wax crayons and pencil crayons.  At the lower portion of the page I started off using a spent biro to scratch into the surface of the paper, and then I used a wax crayon to work  onto this area.  This was in fact a happy accident, because I was unaware that the biro had no ink, so I tried to use it, and realised it made a dent in the paper.  I want to note this method because it would be useful to create textures like tree bark, or to draw negative line drawings.

Check and Log - Copy (3)

How will your experiments with negative space help your observational drawing in the future? 

Drawing with negative space helps me to see an image and its background.  It also lets you see shape and space more dramatically distinguished from the shapes around it.  It helps you to measure the lines around an object and to understand proportions and scale.

What techniques did you use to ensure you drew your plants in proportion?

I used a pencil to get approximate proportions by holding it at arms length and measuring the height of the flower head using my thumb.  Then I measured all the other parts of the drawing against this, using my pencil and my thumb.

How did you achieve an effect of three-dimensional space in your drawings?

I achieved the appearance of three-dimensional space in my drawings by drawing the space around the still life which helps the objects in the image to relate to each other and relate to the space.  The objects in the background are smaller than in the foreground, so that is perspective.  Using colours you can still create tones and shadows, so this also creates the illusion of three-dimensionality.

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