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Mike Sibley


Comment posted Dec.11th, 2012, viewed 22 times

EXERCISE 1
You've definitely got the right idea, you just need to develop it more. That said, this is not an easy exercise until you get your eye attuned to it. Ideally you need to be aware of the positive marks as you draw upwards, and the negative spaces on the downstrokes. You occasionally left the downstrokes blunt ended - or you're starting with a blunt end and drawing upwards... I can't tell :o)

Develop the negative side of this exercise and I think this will work well for you on a smaller, more realistic scale. And it's good to see you enjoying yourself by working freely. This whole method almost relies on that - too much thought can bring you to a grinding halt.

EXERCISE 2
First this would have worked better if your blacks had been solid. The darker and more solid the background is, the more values you have available for the strands.

This has worked quite well for you in some places, but your strands don't noticeably weave in and out and present an appearance of depth. In order to immediately describe what's happening, you need to be quite aggressive and obvious - very dark cast shadows leading to very bright highlights. Exaggerated cast shadows will send one thread diving beneath another, and you need to shade towards the highlight, just as you did with the lock of hair in Week 5. You need to show me, the viewer, that the lower thread is coming up out of the shade. I've had a quick play with your drawing to show you what I mean - and I've made the darks solid too.

Overall, it's just spoiled by your loss of sharp edges, strands that sometimes change in width, and patchy background shading. The lighter flecks and gaps in those areas catch the eye and it tries to make sense of them. Consequently, it brings those darks forwards, instead of reading them as deep dark holes. Incidentally, if you're finding you have too many dead ends, simply pinch a piece of Blu-Tack into a knife edge and cut some more strands through the black background.

You can use this method to create many subjects from a foreground bird's nest to background straw and hay - to a kitten with a ball of wool in a wicker basket. Because it breaks the subject down into two jobs, it makes the overall subject more manageable, and the spontaneity involved adds naturalism.

In response to image:

Dec.11th, 2012
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trixie1
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