Saturday, 12 November 2016

Access Art Developing Sketchbook Skills 1

After receiving my feedback for assignment 3, I really needed to work on the sketchbook side of the course, so I have started access art's online course:  developing sketchbook skills and approaches.     


The first part gives a range of suggestions for personalizing a sketchbook. I chose to follow a couple of these and then developed them a bit. There are many more ideas on the course, including making your own sketchbooks.

I knew I would be traveling so I needed a fairly robust book, so rather than make my own sketchbook I took a selection of papers to the copy shop and got them bound together. The papers I included were regular white drawing paper, watercolor paper, black and colored construction paper, colored Thai banana tissue paper, and colored pastel paper. I then added to this some colored overlays of semi transparent mulberry silk paper and some patches of of fabric on some of the white pages. I also added some construction paper pockets and extensions to a couple of pages.

I found the sketchbook of mixed paper enormously useful. It made me realize that I don’t like drawing on white paper, it takes a long time to fill a white page with dry media and I like drawing with white pencils and pens. I also like to use wet media so the watercolor paper was really useful giving me more flexibility as to the media I use and new ways to get rid of that white paper. This is an idea I have heard people discuss before but never really tried in art journalling blogs, with ideas for preparing pages with colors and texture. I found the thin Thai tissue paper least useful as it was just too thin and delicate.

 I then tried filling some watercolor pages with washes to draw over, which was good for sketching quick drawings in black and white. Trees drawings.

The washes I made were too textured and brightly colored and could be distracting for a more detailed or color drawing. I could continue with this, using a watercolor paper sketch book and preparing pages with washes, possibly  making these smoother and simpler. This would enable me to keep my work in one book. I have always found it hard to keep everything in one book as I like different papers and left out other drawings rather than including them in my oca submission.

Of the ideas I tried I enjoyed the colored overlays most. These allowed me to explore some different options for a drawing. 

In this drawing I sketched some flowers and then tried tracing through some details on the overlay. As the paper was quite dark it was hard to see the drawing below so I cut sections out of it and stuck therm onto other parts of the drawing. This was the first page of my sketchbook and I drew this very shortly after adding the extra paper. It felt a bit forced at first, I just pulled up the paper and drew waiting for an idea to come, which it did, and I think the added silk paper helped me develop a simple sketch in an interesting way.

In this drawing I tried a different window design on the overlay. The underdrawing is of a window in Saudi Arabia with Islamic tessellation style shapes inside it. The overlay is taken from a window of a Christian building with very different motifs and colors. I had this idea vaguely from quite early on. As soon a i drew the outline of the arched windows and door I thought that this frame was such a universal style. It was as familiar to me coming from a Christian background as it was  in Saudi. This was a nice thought in a country where many things often feel unfamiliar. I wanted to explore this with my drawing and the overlay enabled me to do this.

I stuck some patches of fabric onto some pages. In some pages I developed this into collage. In others I drew over them. In the first drawing I used inktense pencils dipped in water hoping they would bleed over the fabric. This worked a bit and gave nice contrast. In my next version I wetted the fabric and used dry inktense pencils hoping the bleeding would spread beyond the fabric. In the half with the blue background I wetted the paper with a wash for more bleeding and blurring. This was an interesting exploration. In these drawings i feel like the collaged fabric took my simple drawing in a new direction. I drew these a while after sticking on the fabric. I had forgotten the fabric was there so when I came across these pages again the fabric squares inspired me to try something new.

This paper is highly textured and very absorbent. It has leaves and petals in it. I found it challenging to draw on. I drew some leaves starting wth watercolor washes then added inktense pencil while slightly damp. Because it has a high rag content this paper is very absorbent. It is not like watercolor paper at all. The paint and ink bled a lot creating lots of new colors and unexpected shapes. As the colors were blurring together I decided to exaggerate them so the drawing had some definition and the color blends were more interesting. The leaves were green with red tinged areas but I really exaggerated this. I found that once the opposite color is added the color quickly loses its vibrancy so kept adding more color to maintain some vibrant areas. I think if I had drawn this on regular paper it would not have become so saturated with color and it was an interesting experience in color mixing. 

In this drawing I used neocolour crayons as they are thick and intense and I knew they would cover the flowers. I was hoping to create some interesting patterns between the flowers. The crayons made it difficult to draw much detail. I’m not sure the drawing gained much from the flower background.

In this drawing I used pen to draw some smaller shapes of leaves hoping the more open shapes would create more contrast with the flowers. I found when drawing the leaves that often I would start an outline of a leaf and when I got to the other side it would not join up. I think this is because the leaves were so small and I was moving around slightly looking from different angles, like very subtle cubism. Again, the flower paper did not add much to this drawing. Maybe I will come back to these two later and take something new from the interaction between the drawing and the background.

I never found an idea to use with paper pockets or extensions to pages yet.

These ideas enabled me to explore different textures, surfaces and drawing techniques. One of the biggest take aways from this is just how much more stimulating it is to work on varied papers. I never realized how much limiting myself to white paper in my sketchbooks was holding me back.

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