Monday, 13 May 2013

Drawings OCA Part 2 V: Project - Drawing Animals - Fish on a Plate

Final Piece - Two Mackerel
Ink - A3

The name of this exercise is pretty self explanatory, I had to buy a fish, put it on a plate, draw it, job done.
Not being a fish aficionado, I decided on using a couple of mackerels, I quite liked the silvery blue patterns on their skin and the simple profile they have. I started out with a couple of pencil sketches before trying an ink sketch which I really like. I used a couple of different sized nibs to vary the marks I made, using a very fine nib to produce some detailed cross hatching while reserving the larger ones for the areas of heavier and darker tones.
I decided for my last piece to go for a view looking directly down on to the subject, giving a prominent presence to the plate as well as the fish, allowing them to play off against each other, fighting for the viewers attention. I tried to be bold with the colour and line to match the strong composition using a limited palette of blue and black ink, varying the tones by diluting it. I really wanted to produce something eye-catching for this piece and I am definitely not disappointed with the result.
First Sketch
Pencil - A4

Second Sketch
Pencil - A4

 Mackerel in Blue
Ink - A4
Learning Log

What were the main challenges of drawing animals?
It was difficult to capture the proportions and to get the anatomy right quickly enough before the animal moved. It was almost impossible to predict how long the subject was going to stay in the pose or even the same place. There were plenty of times I’d look down at my sketch for a second, only to look up again and find that I no longer had a model as they had scarpered.
The texture of animals also presents its own challenges, I tried my best to pick out the details of the fur on the deer’s and smoothness of the fish scales with varying degrees of success.
Which media did you enjoy using most and which did you feel were the best for the subject matter and why?
I am relatively happy with all the media I employed to complete this exercise. When drawing in Richmond Park and other places, pencils and charcoal lent themselves well to the nature of working outside. I needed to use media that would allow me to work quickly and be able to cover a basic sketch without having to stop to clean brushes or allow anything to dry. Charcoal was especially useful for this as well as conveying the texture of fur fairly well.
I enjoyed using inks as well, first in the park where I produced a couple of rough sketches using a nib pen and blue ink (See I then used inks again for the second exercise of drawing the fish on a plate, where the slightly glossy qualities of the ink were very useful for showing the shiny smooth skin of the fish.
Where can you go to draw more animals? Think about the sorts of places that will give you the opportunities for animal drawing. Have you tried drawing a moving animal yet?
I think it would be interesting to try and draw some birds, so by a canal or the local duck pond would be a good place to try and sketch some ducks or swans.
I have not tried drawing a moving animal yet so it would be something to try out in the future.

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