This week I focused on two separate things: a detailed still life and rapid figure drawing.
Over several days, amounting to 4-5 hours total, I drew a still life of a pineapple, light, some bottles, and other objects. My goal was to try to get the drawing to be about as realistic as I could as a sort of benchmark for what I’ve learned so far.
First I took a photo of the still life and then using a prospect I blocked in an underdrawing. This process wasn’t too bad since none of the shapes were really complex, barring the pineapple. I did misplace some things but overall I think things looked okay.
I then just laid in some value for the background and proceeded to color in values for things versus the background. Unfortunately my values for the background were way too light so I had to go back through and darken things several times. It took several passes to get to values I was happy with.
In the end I didn’t quite get a photorealistic drawing. There were a number of mistakes that I think kept me from getting there.
For one, the paper was textured in a very obvious way which meant the final drawing would have a very clear texture. This isn’t necessarily an issue but I feel like a different paper would be more ideal for realism.
My issues with the value and placement also contributed to missing realism. There’s also some proportional problems, though since they’re minor I think they could have been worked out with more time.
The biggest mistake, and this is the factor that made me stop working towards photorealism, is the size of the drawing. Having looked at some other photo-realistic drawings I think a lot of them are drawn bigger than the subject. This way the drawing looks like a photo from a distance but you’ll see marks when you’re up close. This is similar to how you’d see pixels when zooming in on a digital photo. My drawing is close to one-to-one with the size of the subjects.
I do still think from a distance it looks pretty good. Overall I am pretty happy with how it came out and the lessons I learned from it.
Other than that drawing I did a massive amount of figure drawing. I used a couple of the timed figure photo websites (Quickposes and SketchDaily) to do mostly 30-120 second drawings. I’d guess I did about 400 of them.
After killing my sketchbook this way I took a pile of old, half-used notebooks and cut out the notes. I started trying to kill these off. I got through 3 of them but I have a pretty good stack of them left so I plan on trying to get through all of them over the next few months.
For the most part I focused on gesture drawing, though I did occasional contour drawings. I’m loosely following the course plan set out in The Natural Way to Draw. I also looked at a couple videos on gesture drawing by Proko and Alphonso Dunn.
Over the course of these drawings I think there was a pretty marked improvement even though I still have a long way to go.