A Drawing A Day 1156

Progress Shot 06

Still making adjustments – I think the amount of work that needs to go into fixing this is astounding. However, starting to work on the edge of the shadows where the light meets the dark. Since progress shot 03 I am using only red chalk. I have kind of abandoned the silverpoint idea. I still may make a drawing out of this.

Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 38 x 55cm

A Drawing A Day 1155

Progress Shot 05

Another adjustment on the hips and the shoulder blades. Yet another on her face. The nose is longer and I moved her mouth lower. Also the back of her neck has moved.  I am doing the background blend to see her better. But I think she coming now closer to where she needs to be. Fingers crossed.

Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 38 x 55cm

A Drawing A Day 1154

Progress Shot 04

Despite of the numerous mistakes I managed to establish a basic outline of the shadows so that I can follow some sort of structure. I still had to adjust her knees and hips, which gave me an opportunity to remove the silverpoint shading on her knee. I am still not convinced her right (left from our point of view) shoulder is ok. Also need to check the back of her neck. What a mess. No point pretending every drawing goes well.

Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 38 x 55cm

A Drawing A Day 1153

Progress Shot 03

And so, the damage control starts. There are some major construction issues and I start adjusting the blocking in whilst clinging to the initial shading plan.
What’s different? Overall proportions, mainly due to perspective. Her head was too large, her hips were too small and I have also omitted a number of construction hints on her hips that would have saved me the first time around. The size of her visible breast, the position of the knees, the position and size of her rib cage and both shoulder blades….what a mess. Wondering whether to just abandon the drawing.

Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 38 x 55cm

A Drawing A Day 1152

Progress Shot 02

Jumping right in, not wasting a minute. All exited about the nice effect of the silverpoint and the red chalk, not even mapping out the edges of the areas turned away from light. This is something that rookies do and well…. sometimes even those that have been pushing the pencil around for a while. This is a prime example of what not to do.
Eagerness to achieve an effect will most likely turn into a disaster. We all have a limit on our attention span. No matter how long you can hold your concentration, there comes a moment when you stop seeing what you are doing. And from that time on you (and in this case I am) wasting time and material. At times my process may seem slightly chaotic, jumping from tending to line work to tone to proportion and back. Sure, some of these may be bad habits, but mostly, when I realise I cannot see what I am doing, focusing on a different part of a drawing and / or opposing ( going from light to dark) part of it may just refresh your awareness and give you a bit more working time.
Sometimes it is good just routinely set the drawing aside once finishing a stage of it and do something else for 20 minutes. Then coming back to it will show whether you are still on the right track. Which, of course I have not done.

Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 38 x 55cm

A Drawing A Day 1151

Progress Shot 01

Ok, starting a new one. Another unusual pose, or rather unusual view of a pose. Or both. ;–)) Not much there, yet, just blocking in the figure with silverpoint. I am thinking of using both the silverpoint and red chalk in the similar way a I did making this drawing. I thought it worked well. Let’s see if I can pull it off.

Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 38 x 55cm

A Drawing A Day 1148

Progress Shot 13

Well, no. It did not work. The white between her legs. But then it gave me another idea about the wall behind her. So did a bit of that. Continued with refining the blacks around her head and along the left side of her body. And in this version some of those darks on the left side of her left thigh have returned. They are not the same intensity as elsewhere – there is still a bit of logical discrepancy, but I think visually this works. ;–))

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm

A Drawing A Day 1147

Progress Shot 12

So I brought the whites all the way down, being careful not to overdo it. The sheen on her left thigh is quite nice. Then the yellow background between her legs was nagging at me. I had a choice to either go darker of lighter. Opted for the white chalk, but…..not sure if that was the right choice. Will have to see.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm

A Drawing A Day 1146

Progress Shot 11

Another overall pass of both black and white chalks. Then using the drop shadow along her left leg as a sample of the darkest dark, I started to push the whites on her lower legs and knees. I quite like the highlight it created on the tibia of her left lower leg.
It is extremely easy to overdo the whites, so, instead of continuing down her legs I turn to the blacks and do some work mainly on the top of her head and along the left side of the body, where the planes turned away from light meet the planes with reflected light. I am finding it quite fascinating how I have lost those darks along the left side of her left thigh. The logic would dictate it should be of the same or very very close intensity as the darks along her trunk…..and ….yet….hmmmm. I have those next to her left knee continuing up her lower leg, but not on her thigh. So there’s the question. Should I just add them because the logic suggests it? For the time being the way it is now works for me. Let’s see how it pans out when I add more white chalk.
And another thing. Now that I am increasing the intensity of both the whites and blacks, the whole of the body needs to conform. Otherwise I run the risk of loosing unity. And so there’s a significant increase in blacks in the fold where her right thigh meets the trunk, on the drop shadows of her nipples, as well as next to her left breast in the area of her left armpit. If you look at the previous version, the armpit area was a lot more subdued. Now it has more blacks and more whites. The light hitting her seems more harsh.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm


A Drawing A Day 1145

Progress Shot 10

Adding the black and white chalk kind of destroyed the value map and so here starts the rebuild. Now the silverpoint has become the mid tone, and the black and white chalk serve to create the range from the mid to either extreme.
The first I needed to do was to blend the whites and blacks so that I loose the patchiness of the previous version. Then, again look at the darkest darks, such as the drop shadow running along her left leg. Now you can really see how grey was the darkest silverpoint in places such as the sudden plane change on her right knee. It is important to mention however, that it would have been perfectly ok to stay with those greys having them represent the darkest darks as long as there is unity in the image. Not every drawing has to have black in it. It’s was simply a different value range and would have worked just fine.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm

A Drawing A Day 1144

Progress Shot 09

Ok, so, yesterday’s progress shot was the one where I finished with silverpoint. That was as far as I could push it in terms of values. Actually I thought it worked pretty well. Considering, it is always grey and turns blackish by oxidising over hundreds of years like the renaissance master drawings. Nevertheless, I think I got quite a lot out of it. It’s given I am using a prepared paper to maximise the effectiveness.
So now, wanting more blacks, I turn to black chalk, and wanting more whites, I turn to white chalk. This is the first progress shot where I add a bit of both.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm

A Drawing A day 1143

Progress Shot 08

Adding more details across the board, from shape and plane to value and light. One thing that keeps happening as the drawing progresses, is, that it kind of takes on a life of it’s own. It magically transforms in front of your eyes and becomes much more than just a copy of what you are looking at. Suddenly qualities of the object of observation not readily apparent come forward and….well….there’s no other word I can think of….it becomes alive.
Now things that support this complex character will become the centre of my attention. And the refinement of the details will support these characteristics. The first example that comes to my mind is her left breast. The change from yesterday to today may not be easily spotted, but if I flick between the two progress shots, her left breast stops floating and takes on the weight dictated by the pose. Adjusting her hair puts her head on the ground….quite mesmerising.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm


A Drawing A Day 1142

Progress Shot 07

I am spreading the intensity of the values across the rest of the body. Constantly re-working their intensity until I find a harmony that pleases. With the intensity, also their shape is refined with each pass. Sometimes there is a fine line between being accurate and giving in to what feels right. It seems to me that unless it is a very specific anatomical study where absolute accuracy is the point of the work, then, well, I believe the visual or narrative content of the drawing has the final word in what degree of accuracy is needed. And so, whilst the values and planes are fairly accurate, with each re-working of them I may adjust their intensity and / or shape to create a visually satisfying image.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm

A Drawing A Day 1141

Progress Shot 06

Ok, so now that I have established a basic value map, I start pushing the values to see how dark they should get. I still only work with silverpoint, but not sure if I can get it to go far (dark) enough. How far is enough? Well, that depends on the person making the drawing. This choice can as often as not be purely emotional or aesthetical rather than a result of planning and thinking. So there are no recipes, unless you have a specific final effect in mind. Then, of course, you kind of reverse engineer the process. It will dictate your choice of drawing tools, paper, the tone of the paper, the light….so on and so on.
For this particular drawing I have no final desired effect in mind, so I am kind of working it out along the way. I am making this one for visual pleasure.
But getting back to pushing the values, for the time being I am sticking to the silverpoint as I really like the soft, creamy look it creates.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm

A Drawing A Day 1140

Progress Shot 05

Again adding more value details, but also, equally importantly refining the shapes of these values. Often you can see that at the beginning of a drawing, usually within the first 3 progress shots, apart from refining the line work and establishing the value map I also fairly crudely indicate the shape of these planes of value. I haven’t done so in this drawing, but the reason for doing it is to establish these shapes that will be further refined. Ideally this would be done with an indication of how wide or narrow is the value range at a specific point of plane change. That means, as the value describes the changing topography of the body, the value range will give us the information whether the change in topography is sudden or gently undulating. If the change is sudden, the range will be very narrow and the change of the planes from facing the light to being turned away from light will happen fast and within a short distance.
In the drawing below, I am indicating such a narrow value range (and a sudden change in the direction the body curves) around her right knee, where the quadriceps group joins into a common tendon which is then in turn attached to the patella, as well as the left (medial) side of the vastus medialis (part of the quadriceps group). A similar change is happening where her right breast is meeting the sternum in the middle of her chest. The gravity forces her breast to flow downwards and it nearly folds onto itself there the fleshy fibres are attached to the sternum and it cannot slide any further.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm

A Drawing A Day 1138

Progress Shot 03

Adding more areas with basic values, but also adjusting the drawing in areas that seem a little off. The sooner the better, before too much detail has been added.
What I thought needed fixing most was the feeling of the mass. In this unusual position the feeling of gravity is really important. So the believability of the drawing will greatly depend on parts of the body hanging with appropriate weight. I have added a bit of volume to the hair on the right side of the head, allowed her right breast to give in more to the gravity and equally importantly I widened the top of the rib cage (top meaning the part closest to the head) as the weight of the whole body would be pushing down into the shoulders, the place of contact with the floor.

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm

A Drawing A Day 1137

Progress Shot 02

After I established the outline, I pretty much right away start deconstructing it to establish some values. I wasn’t consciously thinking of this when I drew, but now as I am commenting, the only reason I can think of why I started with the drop shadow and her right leg is that these have a fairly consistent and uninterrupted fields of value. One should always keep the whole drawing in mind no matter how small an area one works on at the moment, and should do so in all aspects of drawing – proportion, masses, planes, values, composition…. – now this is very hard to do and requires a lot of concentration. So, I suppose to choose areas such as the drop shadow behind the body and her right leg and focus on values only just seemed easier. ;–))

Silverpoint, Black and White chalk on prepared Canson Mi–Teintes paper, 55 x 38cm