I have reworked this assignment after receiving valuable feedback from my tutur: see here
After some thoughts back and force whether to go for bathroom interior as in project 4 or for an animal drawing I decided for the latter one. As I felt a bit unsatisfied after the completion of project 5 (see my reflection) I wanted to find a good conclusion for me with this assignment. I came back to my favorite theme ‘Sheep’. Here I could make good use of my earlier sketchbook studies from project 5. I looked further on other Contemporary artists for some fresh inspirations. I went through the book ‘Vitamin D2 – New perspectives in drawing’ (2013) and fround two inspiring artists: Anju Dodiya (b. 1964) for her combined use of charcoal and watercolor, and Adriana Molder (b. 1975) for her use of transfer paper and ink. I already experimented with transfer paper collage in project 4. From there and inspired by Adriana Molder I throught to try this further to get a visual effect of the sheep coming out of the picture plane. To find my right material, color and composition I did further sketchbook studies on my chosen subject.
I was not so sure whether to go for a charcoal, watercolor combination or a more ink, watercolor drawing. I could not find the right visual effect with charcoal / watercolor as seen with Anju Dodiya. I think this would be something for me to study further. When I moved on to more ink line drawing I enjoyed the visual effect much more. While studying the transfer paper collage technique (I rejected a transfer paper only drawing as I found out that a complete line, tone drawing on this support is extremely tricky) I found out (as also mentioned my Adriana Molder) that the paper warps after applying liquid ink. This may be a disadavantage but I liked the visual effect. It was not so easy to work further with ink and pen on it but when I checked charcoal it left nice marks on the warped paper, great for my sheep subject. I tried a few way how achieve my intended effect of the sheep merging out from the background.
From my various studies (incl some landscape elements from my field studies e.g. fence, old trailer) I decided to make a composition of one main sheep (one sketch from my earlier sketchbook studies for project 5), one smaller one, a fence in the front (I liked that one from my exercise 3 in project 5) and some contextual landscape elements. I checked this composition with some cut-outs from my sketchbook on the floor. Inspired by my previous exercises and the work Yan Pei-Ming ‘Wild Game’ (2014) that I studied during my reflection on project 5, I intended the sheep coming from a fuzzy background towards the viewer – nearly touchable.
My working sequence:
The planned for the overall composition three main diagonals: 1. sight line of the eyes of the two sheeps, 2. in parallel the front fence, and 3. background fence. I placed the front of the sheep in a sweetspot (approx 1/3 by the ‘golden ratio). I decided for a large 70x50cm paper (170 g /m2).
I started with the sheep on transfer paper (A3) by applying broadly white ink and after drying making more expressive marks in charcoal and ink, some more accurate marks for the eye and ear areas. Doublechecking the position on the paper I continued with blocking in the dark areas, as a background for the sheep head I applied a yellow water color wash to get a shining-through effect. I added further watercolor washes to create atmoshere (yellow = front, blue = bacbground, ochre/green = middle areas)
Marking with a frisket pen the highlights for the left sheep and the fences (I studied this intensively in project 4). I continued with building up the body of the sheep
- Godfrey, Tony und Zaya, Octavio ‘Vitamin D2 – New perspectives in drawing’, London: Phaidon
- Anju Dodiya: http://www.bosepacia.com/artists/anju-dodiya/
- Adriana Molder: http://www.adrianamolder.com/
I think I went successfully through the sequence of preliminary sketches, material & subject studies, compositional studies (considering that a live animal can not be turned around like someone wants) and achieving an interesting final drawing. I found it very helpful to tap into my own sketches also from previous exercises. However, I was facing some challenges on my way. Upscaling ink drawings from A4 sketchbook on 70x50cm is tough, as the ink marks get relatively smaller. In some areas I went than for a small brush to cover wider areas. Also I had to be careful on using the metal dip pen on wet surface as it easily can scratch through the paper. Gluing the warped transfer paper with PVA didn’t work, so I went succesgsfully for acrylic adhesive.
Overall I am quite pleased with the final result and the visual effects. I think I achieved good contrast and used the materials in the context of the picture. I like the proximity of the main sheep. At the end I gave some additional line direction from the main sheep towards the right bottom corner. This gives an additional interesting visual effect underlining the dominance of the sheep.