Drawing 1, Part 1: exercise 5

For this exercise, we were asked to place two objects side by side and observe and record the different tones.

I chose two objects – a tennis ball and a roll of toilet paper. I placed a light source to the left hand side of the duo.

I made three preliminary sketches in an A2 sketchpad, using pencil, charcoal and conte stick.

3 preliminary sketches

The top left sketch was made in pencil. I blocked in areas of shadow by using the pencil on its side, in varying degrees of pressure. I also built up the intensity of shadow in layers.

The top right sketch was in charcoal. This is a pleasing medium for blocking in shadow and differentiating tonal range. It is easy to work with and can be manipulated with fingertips.

The third sketch was made using a Conte stick. This was more difficult to work with, for blocking in subtle areas of shadow, and I found myself using lines to represent shaded areas.

Of the three sketches, the tennis ball sketch in charcoal seemed the easiest, when it came to blocking in the various tonal areas.

I then made two separate sketches. The first was in charcoal, using a stump of willow charcoal, broken into smaller pieces, on A2 paper.

Charcoal sketch

The charcoal was responsive and I found it a suitable medium for representing variations in tonal range. I feel that I managed to depict the subjects in a three dimensional manner, and with a range of variations of shade. However, I feel it lacks detail and looks too flat and smooth, almost polished.

The second sketch was in Conte stick, on A2 paper.

Conte stick sketch

I found the Conte stick quite different to work with than the charcoal. It is less malleable. The marks seem harder, and it behaves similar to how a wax crayon would. It is easy to get depth of tone, when working with the lines. But shading with the stick on its side creates a softer effect.

I blocked in areas of shade with a conte stick broken in half, but found this unsatisfactory and proceeded to add lines to suggest shade and contour. The tonal values look quite dark and exaggerated in this sketch, which they were, although the way the light fell in the dimly lit room pronounced the shadows somewhat.

I liked both the charcoal and the Conte for different reasons, but found the charcoal the easier of the two, when depicting tonal values.


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