A Drawing A Day 1162

Progress Shot 12

Ok, here we have another pass at averaging the values. I don’t really want to use the white chalk excessively, so I will rely on the various degrees of redness to create the whites. Now, because the tone of the paper is blue, the white will never be actually white, but the contrast of the blue and red will create the whiteness of the light effect. That way I can reserve the white chalk for the highlights only.
With this pass of averaging I have achieved a kind of unity in the drawing. It is becoming one body instead of a body with various parts worked on.

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

A Drawing A Day 1161

Progress Shot 11

Now, just to make things a little more complicated, of course, this body also has a head and a face. So, apart from drawing a body, there’s also a drawing of a portrait to be done. However, the same principles apply, so that’s something. I think I have made enough value establishing to start on the face.
I have also decided to drop the indication of the enclosing space. Once removed, I can see I made the right choice. This way the redness of the chalk and the coldness of the blue make a very nice contrast. I am not missing the space around her.

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


A Drawing A Day 1160

Progress Shot 10

Extending the shading and refining the intensity of the values. These two go hand in hand as the image constantly changes with each new area started. Drawing is a constant stream of comparative evaluation. Which means the only way we can make a conscious decision about a line, its position, direction or intensity is to constantly comparing it to other lines. Only in the relationship with the other lines can it be determined. The same, of course applies to proportions, values, light…..all of it.
So when you look at the model, you are comparing parts of it to other parts to make a decision about what goes where and how. Then you start making your drawing, but….and this is one of the few tricky parts….you are building up the image gradually. And so the relationships on your paper will be different to those on the model. Then you have to compare the two sets of information (the model and your drawing) and make choices about how to get what’s on the paper to either to what you see on the model, or to where you want to go in terms of expression.
And so, when I increase the contrast of light meeting the dark on her shoulder (or the range of the values), the whole drawing changes and needs to be adjusted accordingly. And so that is what I am doing here. ;–))
And just to drive the point home, when there’s this much to deal with, you really don’t want to have on your hands the correction of construction blunders too.

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

A Drawing A Day 1159

Progress Shot 09

Another construction change on her (from her point of view )left shoulder blade. But more importantly averaging of values. I use this term to describe the process by which I dampen the effect of too narrow a value range. If it is too narrow, then the difference between the light and shadow is large. You can picture this as drawing a body lit by a strong spot light. The light parts are almost white and the dark parts are almost black with a very short transition from light to dark. Yesterday’s version was heading that way. If you compare that and this progress shot, you can see how I brought the darks and lights closer together lengthening the change from one to the other. I use the word averaging. The lights are less bright and the darks are less dark. Now, with all that said, this move also allowed me to increase the darks on her shoulder where the light meets the dark without looking weird. Well, actually, now that I try to put all this to words, what I did was to change the intensity of the light source. ;–))

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

A Drawing A Day 1157

Progress Shot 07

I am fairly sure any further structural changes will be minimal, so I am back on the ball with establishing values. I will have to make some decisions about the value map, as her back is pretty much lit and her side is pretty much in shadow. Doing it just that way will not lend itself to much three dimensionality. So, I will have to make some compromises, add extra value modelling in the shadow areas and extra shadows in the lit areas. This will however also average the overall value map, which, if not handled carefully may turn out to flatten the whole image. So, interesting challenge.

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

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