Year of pictures, week 0

Posted by – January 2, 2011

I consider weeks to begin on Mondays, so this is for the first two days of the year.

I immediately went back on what I said about not attempting difficult things like shading, and started doing a really ridiculously over-difficult study of a paper-covered vase and an amaryllis plant in it.


I could spend ten hours doing this kind of texture and not get it right. As it was, I spent about an hour. The vase part was sketched with a light sepia pencil, with some highlights in a white pastel one. I used a paper stump to get some of the smoother shading parts. The red ribbon I did with a stick of burnt sienna (which is not intended for detailing, but it’s what I had). There’s some graphite pencil in the outlines as well. I started doing the colour for the plant with a set of waxy sort of pencils (quite old ones my wife had gotten at some point), but didn’t like them much. Very difficult to get good coverage or shading, plus you’re completely stuck with the colours in the set. The green parts are in the wax colour, as are the left-and rightmost red leaves and yellow anthers. I then gave up on the wax and finished up in disgust with my trusty watercolour set (six incredibly well chosen colours).

At the very beginning I tried to get “all” the detail in, but once I realised there was just no way, I settled for getting a right-ish impression. Here’s a photo of the plant – the lighting’s not quite right and the orientation is a bit different here, but you get an idea of my degree of fidelity:

Another problem of mine is using space: not only did I end up cutting off half the flower, I’d made the vase so big and detailed that the flower had to be rather smaller than life to fit in at all. I should have made it a natural size, draw only the very bottom and make the picture be more about the vase (although that was my main interest anyway).

Here’s a gel pen rendition / sketch of my pocketknife / multitool thing.

Not much to say, really. You can again see that I ran out of space. This sort of thing I could do a bit better by just spending more time on it and being careful, but for now I want to do things fairly quickly and just get used to drawing. Anyway, it’s not that bad in a cartoony way.

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