(Originally written 18/10/18)
Our day of Visual Studies began with us drawing with words, as opposed to lines, with a fineliner pen. This was a bit nerve-wracking to begin with, as we couldn’t sketch it out first and instead had to use words to plan out what we were doing. However, once I got into the “flow” I found it quite cathartic. The skills I have gained from the previous weeks of visual studies meant I could keep my drawing accurate enough for it to still look good, despite the strange medium and permanent nature of the fineliner. I layered the words, making the darker areas quite dense with text and the areas of lighter tone more sparse. I actually really enjoyed this, it was so different to what we usually do that I feel like it helped me understand drawing from another perspective. The lines that make up text are far more sporadic than the lines we usually use for drawing – it’s helped me to realise that the marks we make don’t necessarily have to be perfect and fluid, but rather that it is the entire picture that matters, and how everything fits together is far more crucial.
We then were instructed to wrap our pointer finger in a bandage, and use this to finger paint with watered-down ink. I made my ink solution extremely weak, which worked really well to get a solid foundation down on the paper. Going back to the last time we used ink, I had problems with the dark areas bleeding if I put tone washes down after them, so this time I was decidedly careful with building tone, and made a point to gradually increase the amount of ink in my solution as I was building up the layers, instead of rushing to fill in dark areas early.
After I was happy with my base, and it had some tone in it, I removed the bandage and worked neat ink into the image with a stick. Much like before, the stick allowed me to get really expressive marks, and actually gave me much more fine control than a brush due to the small amount of ink it held on it in comparison.
The finished picture is easily one of my best so far in my opinion. I think I got very lucky that a new bottle of ink was opened – when I was doing my wash, the ink had a bluish tone to it, whereas all of my work with neat ink had more of a brown lean. This adds extra depth to the areas that are in the darkest shadow, which, whilst purely accidental, really makes the image seem far more complex than it would otherwise. I am particularly happy with the way that the skull and the ribcage turned out, though I think the knot of cloth by the skeleton’s hip (and the hip itself) look a bit lost and undefined. I may have benefited from not putting quite so much neat ink in these areas. However, I feel that the eye is naturally drawn to the top of the piece, and because of that, it does not detract from the overall picture too much. This piece has really bought it home for me just how much I have improved in these 5 short weeks – I am proud to see myself progressing and I am excited to see what the future holds.