The aim of the brief is to introduce new ways of drawing, offering more expressive ways of working in textiles. The various stages encourages use of conventional and unconventional tools and media, development of observational skills as well as adopting a variety of drawing techniques and approaches.
I started this exercise aware I had drawn very little over the last few years. As well as detail in the line, I was also concerned with composition and perspective. The chosen objects were more complex to draw than initially given credit for but also very interesting.
Differences between wrong and right (I)
For the first right and left handed exercises, I used graphite and while it felt less fluid, my left hand gave much more interesting results. I was less hung up on perfecting composition and perspective and preferred the few added wiggles here and there; even the inconsistency in line weight and thickness was interesting. Perhaps I was just warming up after drawing with my right hand? I was genuinely pleased (and slightly surprised) with the results.
Less is more
I also started using pastel, something I hadn’t used in the previous mark making exercises. This was both soft and sharp as well as offering variety in line quality. Working with my left hand, I then used ink with three very skinny plant stems to draw the colander (below). I felt this worked really well, giving interesting mark quality with multiple lines and varying weights.
I found as I drew more, I noticed more; subtle areas of light, dark, thick and thin and in the last two drawings felt I could make more use of the descriptive words with the stems. I’ve definitely enjoyed working with the handmade tools using my non-dominant hand. Less pressure and expectation!
Continuous line (II)
This exercise is exactly that, an unbroken, drawn line where the drawing implement remains in contact with the paper until the drawing is completely finished. It encourages observational skills and expression while allowing for abstract representation and interpretation.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fluid, abstract approach with these exercises, while still considering detail and perspective. Pen and graphite were used as were ink and plant stems, both producing very different results. The words slow, multiple and agitated were used as reference. I actually found all the drawing tools to be fluid, the only slight hindrance was re-inking the plant stems. Change of direction and hand angle also influenced the lines with some interesting results. I definitely preferred this to the previous exercise (I) due to its looser approach; shape and line felt far more expressive.
Drawing from blind and memory
This exercise was about re-introducing mark-making without over-thinking the ‘perfect result’. Drawing is about observation and representing reality but is also very much about individual interpretation.
The first exercise was about drawing ‘blind’, continually observing the object without looking down at the paper. This was really enjoyable and a refreshing approach on ‘observational’ drawing. Again, it was fluid and loose without any pre-conceptions of the outcome.
I found the drawing from memory exercise produced a much more conventional drawing, something I’ve come to be less keen on. However, in terms of memorising the detail of the potato masher (as used in the drawing blind exercise), it was a constructive exercise to do. The direction of the lines and perspective of the utensil did pose some challenges despite being fairly simplistic in shape and detail.
For the final exercises I enjoyed working with the fluidity that continuous line gave me. Drawing ‘blind’ again was quite liberating and I became attached to the draining spoon with its straight and curved lines.
However, I felt amalgamating a few of the techniques were less successful and representative of the object, for example, left handed, ‘blind’ and continuous line didn’t produce a very good result. I also introduced two new objects, the can opener and a parmesan grater, but still went back to the draining spoon! Pen worked really well again, less so a soft graphite stick; I felt a sharper, more defined tool was more appropriate with this exercise. ‘Blind’ working encourages you to continually focus on the object, rather than constantly observing the paper and correcting if it goes wrong. My last drawing combined the mark making and line exercises, opting for negative lines with masking fluid and plant stems again. This medium was hard to draw with using the stems while trying to achieve detail in the line. Much less random (and successful) than the mark making exercise.
After completing these exercises, I definitely prefer the outcomes of unconventional, looser, more abstract approaches to drawing. Look more, think less!