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mike sibley
08-13-2006, 10:31 AM
Basic 102: Class 7 - Negative Drawing with Mike Sibley

Hi everyone, and thanks to Jay and Judi for inviting me to present this workshop. It didn’t take me long (nano-seconds!) to find a topic, as this one has probably had the greatest affect on my own work – Negative Drawing.

I’ve set this out in three stages:
1. An introduction to Negative drawing and its cousin, Negative Space.
2. A demonstration of the basics and varieties.
3. A demonstration involving all the varieties of Negative Drawing, which I encourage you to have a go at yourself.

The tools you will require are simple:
• Paper – preferably plate finish or at least smooth
• Pencils – 6B, 2B, HB, H, and 2H (I use 2mm clutch pencils but any will do)
And these will help but aren’t essential:
• Kneaded eraser or Blu-Tack (preferably the latter)
• Tortillon

Those of you who have my book ‘Drawing from Line to Life (http://www.ThePencilPoint.com)' will recognise some of the following, but there’s plenty of new content too – so read on!

Drawing involves planning, and planning includes the identification of differing areas of texture, importance, and contrast. Rarely do we have the painter's luxury of working directly on our canvas. We don’t possess a wide brush to quickly transfer an image from the mind into a visible form. Nor can we remove our medium and start again from fresh. A painter can scrape the paint from the canvas, but the graphite artist is well advised to take a more controlled approach. Removing graphite from paper inevitably removes paper fibres, and flattens the surface texture, which results in less tooth for succeeding applications of graphite to adhere to. The same principle applies to the application of graphite within a work in progress - if the graphite being applied is not a constituent of that area's tone or texture, don't apply it! Do not 'test out ideas' or experiment on your final drawing surface. Preserve the pristine surface of your paper at all cost, until you are absolutely certain that the marks you are making are the true and required marks. An erased area will never match the brilliance of an untouched one.

NEGATIVE DRAWING
I often hear the phrases 'negative drawing' and 'negative space' used as if they are synonymous. They aren't. Negative space is employed as a brain-fooling method of seeing shapes with clarity. Negative Drawing is a conscious method of working that isolates and protects areas of your paper. These areas can be entire elements that are often completed later; smaller areas where the intention is to leave them as virgin highlights or white shapes against a darker background; or minute areas that, for example, form white hairs between their cast shadows.

To further dispel confusion, Negative Drawing does not involve any form of erasing. Applying graphite and cutting into it with an eraser could be described as 'drawing in negative', but it is the exact opposite of true Negative Drawing, which primarily exists to isolate and protect virgin areas of paper. Think of it as defining the boundaries of a shape using only the tone that surrounds it. In other words, you aren't drawing the object but simply giving the illusion of the object by drawing around it.

Negative drawing can be used in two distinct ways - controlled and spontaneous. In a controlled scenario, a background area may be carefully and accurately drawn around a mid or foreground element in order to establish its existence - to create it as a white silhouette. Spontaneous drawing, however, involves the instinctive and speedy drawing of shadows to expose and display the white areas between them - with no outlining or prior planning. In other words, drawing the negative spaces to define the positive shapes. Confused? Don't worry, all will become clear....

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 10:42 AM
NEGATIVE SPACE
Negative Drawing involves the use of Negative Space. To be more exact, it involves the conscious creation of negative space; therefore an understanding of the use of Negative Space is essential. So let's study that first.

The brain is highly focussed - too focussed for our purposes. It would seem by all accounts to store memory in the form of images, and these images, or symbols, are the mainstay of the brain’s defence mechanism. About half of our brain is devoted to vision and continual attempts to interpret what we see - we guess on the clues available to us – and those guesses might be vital to our survival.

Images then are of supreme importance to the brain, and matching to stored, standard symbols offers a very speedy classification system. However, as artists, this facility works against us, because our brains automatically overlay the images we see with a range of symbols. This effectively disables the ability to produce realistic drawing because the information gathered is so basic – and often inaccurate if the brain’s ‘guess’ was incorrect.

Fortunately, there are many ways of fooling the brain into letting go of the desire to match symbols, to classify, during the act of drawing. For example, working faster than you can think serves to disable the argumentative side of your brain, which struggles to keep up and then loses interest.

To learn to see what is really there and not what you think is there, you need to take your brain’s automatic reaction out of the equation. Believe me, learning to see correctly really is a hard lesson to learn but the best way involves fooling your brain into not recognising the troublesome features. Fortunately, we have Negative Space as a supreme tool.

Using negative space
This exercise will not only help your mind to concentrate on the spaces between lines it will also help to confound your brain – your logical mind that attempts to identify everything it sees. You’re going to give it a really tough time because instead of drawing an object itself, you’ll be drawing the empty space around it. Take two strips of paper; say an inch by three inches (2.5 x 7.5cm). Now shade the right hand end of one strip right up to the edges…
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-ell1.jpg
Now do the same to the left hand end of the other strip and, without drawing any lines, leave an oblong clear in the bottom corner.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-ell2.jpg
Now take a clean sheet of paper and lay your two strips end to end with a gap between them.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-ell3.jpg

What you have drawn is the capital letter ‘L’. That the letter exists is entirely due to negative space. The white of the letter is pristine, not a result of the removal of graphite.

Practice drawing articles you know. Try to picture each on the page and then shade around it. Don’t draw lines around them first - if you do, you’ll just be shading around a positive shape, not shading the negative space to cause the positive image to appear. Since these abstract shapes share a continuous border with the object, when you draw the negative shape, you’ll be drawing the positive outline too.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-neg_mugchair.jpg
You can employ the drawing of negative space almost anywhere at any time. All you need to do is switch your mind from positive to negative drawing. You’ll soon learn to understand that negative space is as important as positive shape. One cannot exist without the other - they share equal standing. As that is true it doesn’t matter which you draw. However, drawing the negative spaces will make you really look at what you are drawing. You can’t guess their shape or draw what you think is there because they have no recognisable outlines. Use this technique whenever you are having problems with drawing something the way it really looks. You’ll almost always end up with a more accurate drawing.

The use of negative space offers many advantages. Not only will it assist you in determining the true shapes of elements within your drawing it will also make white available to you as a usable colour. As with watercolour painting, the only white we have as graphite artists is the paper itself. I will guard this white at any cost. There will be times that you may have to erase lines or features to create ‘white’ details but they will never have the clarity and brilliance of an untouched area. Learning to draw the space around those areas is a lesson well worth the effort of learning. It forms the basis of Negative Drawing, which, once it becomes second nature to you, will allow you to switch effortlessly between positive drawing (drawing the object) and negative drawing (drawing around the object).

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 10:47 AM
NEGATIVE DRAWING - explained
Where Negative Space involved the art of drawing the areas around an object to define the object itself, Negative Drawing involves the deliberate creation of your own negative space.

So, what exactly is ‘negative’ drawing? What do you see when you look at the picture below? Do you see an ancient black drinking cup? Maybe an ebony candlestick holder? Or do you see two white faces both looking at each other? Imagine yourself ‘seeing’ these two faces on a white sheet of paper and then filling in the space between them so the faces are revealed. That is Negative Drawing!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-face_vase.jpg

A ‘negative’ image is one that is entirely created by the area surrounding it - I prefer to call it ‘white space’. The uses of negative drawing extend from creating bright highlights that describe the curvature of a dark object, or white shapes defined by their shadows, to the isolation of key elements that can be better drawn at a later stage. You can’t draw white with a graphite pencil so, just like a watercolour painter, you have to draw around it to define its shape.

The utilisation of negative drawing involves a conscious decision - it’s a method, not an intrinsic element of art. The white space may, for example, be of greater or lesser importance than the black areas. If the drawing is of the drinking cup then the cup is a positive image - no negative drawing is involved - just draw the cup. If the drawing is of the two faces then the ‘cup’ is the result of the decision to employ negative drawing and exists only to define them. Teaching yourself to see white on white and drawing around it is one of the best lessons you will ever learn.

Other Negative Drawing and Negative Space resources:
http://www2.arts.ubc.ca/TheatreDesign/crslib/drw04/negsp.htm
http://www.dueysdrawings.com/negative_drawing.html
http://drawsketch.about.com/od/learntodraw/ss/negativespace.htm
http://www.SibleyFineArt.com/tutorial--draw-grass.htm

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 10:55 AM
NEGATIVE DRAWING - the basics…
If we draw three lines (below) how many lines have we created? The answer is five – three black and two white.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-comb1.jpg

Let’s make that more obvious. I’ll extend and join the black lines, increase their number and join the white lines too.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-comb2.jpg

Which is dominant or positive? Are we using negative drawing? Right now we can’t say. They share equal importance, as neither has yet been defined as an object. So let’s do that - we’ll zoom out until one or the other becomes a defined shape.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-comb3.jpg

Now it becomes obvious that the subject is the white comb. It existed only in my mind until I enclosed it by defining the dark negative space.

It’s not easy to begin thinking this way. However, with practice, negative drawing becomes second nature and, more importantly, you learn to switch your mind between negative and positive drawing at will, and even to blend the two together. Negative Drawing, if you're drawing spontaneously, involves 'seeing' a white shape on white paper and shading around it. The same is true if it's planned beforehand, but then you'll have guidelines to assist you.

Why use this method?
Negative drawing offers important advantages that no other system can fully compete with.

• It can divide a task into simple, manageable elements. No erasing is involved. Your whites remain pristine, and your paper’s tooth is preserved for really crisp results.

• It permits you, when drawing spontaneously, to quickly create white objects on the paper by simply drawing the shadows between them - hair and grass, for example. You can do this without any thought being given to form or spatial relationships, as a final layer of tone applied over the area supplies the tonal shaping - either locally (a single blade of foreground grass) or globally (the overall lighting that's affecting the area).

• It permits you to split your drawing up into elements that you fully understand and those that you don't. By drawing around the unknown elements first, you often gain a better understanding of them. You can literally draw around potential problems and return to them later.

• It permits you to split your drawing up into areas of texture. If, for example, you're drawing the wooden side of a barn, it's easier to concentrate on, and complete, that texture by simply working around anything that overlaps it.

• It permits you to split your drawing up into areas of differing importance to afford much greater control over tonal relationships. For example, you can establish the background before the foreground to give much greater control over the visual separation of the two. You can draw into the created white silhouette after you have established the tones surrounding it, so when you begin to draw the enclosed element you can control the tones you use to make it stand out - or not, if that is your aim. You can see below that I drew around the rope because I needed to control the way it stood out from the background.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-dogleg.jpg

Drawing the rope first would dictate the tones available for both the dog and the background, which is not at all what we want. In this case the rope passes in front of both the dog's white leg and the dark ground. By drawing both first, I now know exactly how to make that rope stand out - and how to make it blend into the ground at its lower end.

Negative drawing, as you have seen, will allow you to concentrate on one aspect at a time. Using my way of working from dark to light, you establish the very darkest tones first. Now you know your darkest tone and your lightest (the white of your paper). The black is then extended and diluted as required to form the mid-tones, and drawn around the highlights, features and problem areas. When the black or dark areas are completed, all your lighter tones will just be flat white spaces. Now, with the full understanding of the tones surrounding them, you can begin to draw within the spaces to give them the tonal values and shaping that they require. This is much easier to practice than explain!

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 10:59 AM
TYPES OF NEGATIVE DRAWING… Pre-planned
The art of negative drawing covers many variations and complexities. The simplest method involves pre-planned objects that already have guidelines around them, as you just saw with the dog. You can choose to treat these elements as ‘unknowns’ - drawing around areas that present a problem or features that you can only properly complete at a later stage. In both cases they result from the need for additional information that is not presently available. I used this method with the roots and brambles that disappear into the shadows in my study of ‘Overlooked!’ I first drew the blacks then completed the dark localised background, leaving each root as a white shape. Then I drew the roots from light to dark.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-rabbitbranch.jpg

By doing it this way, you will have already established your lightest and darkest tones, so you just need to draw from one into the other. In this case I had three potential problems. I needed to maintain a sharp division between the roots and the background, I didn’t know how dense to make the shadows, and I was uncertain as to how the highlights should degrade as they approach the shadowed area. Leaving them as just white space and completing the dark surroundings first, meant I could return to the roots knowing exactly the tones required to make them stand out from the rocks or merge with the shadows.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:07 AM
TYPES OF NEGATIVE DRAWING… Spontaneous
Now things begin to get a little more complex. So far I’ve mentioned positive drawing (the cup in the “faces/cup” illustration) and negative drawing. The two can be combined in one area, one feature, or even one line. In this method a drawn line may be positive at one end and negative at the other.

We’re going to draw grass, and make use of two of its visual properties: the bases of tapering blades are hidden by the blades in front of them, and less light filters down into the densely packed bases so the blades appear progressively lighter with height.

Imagine that there are only two marks that we can make: one upward and one down. I’m using the upward stroke to positively draw the stalks that spring up from the base of a clump of grass - it actually represents a blade of grass:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-grass1.jpg
The downward stroke tapers off and defines the tops of the stalks in the clump below the one I’m drawing - it draws in negative, as it forms the shadow, the negative space, between two blades. It’s also true that the same two operations may be achieved at either end of the same line. Don’t worry it gets easier!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-grass2.jpg
I’ve added more blades (the original blades are arrowed), and already a suggestion of white blades is beginning to appear below. There is no pre-planning involved at all here. All the drawing is completely spontaneous and drawn quickly - too quickly for the conscious mind to interfere.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-grass3.jpg
Taken a stage further you can now clearly see the upward strokes forming grass blades at the top and the down-strokes beginning to define lighter blades below. A little extra work, mainly with down-strokes, further refines the lower layer of grass.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-grass4.jpg
Now the process begins again lower down. This new drawing area creates two further ‘layers’ of grass - just as the previous one did - a positively drawn rear layer with a negatively drawn white layer in front of it. Here positive strokes at the base are drawn up into the previously-created white shapes above and begin to create new ones below, defining a new foreground layer, which we’ll leave undeveloped here.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-grass5.jpg
Finally, a degree of localised negative drawing in the central section blends the two together, and a small amount of tone has been added to give body and form to the negatively drawn grass.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:17 AM
COMBINATION DRAWING – combining the two…
Now things might appear to be getting even more complex. But, no - this is simply a combination of the two previous methods and actually makes your life simpler. I’m all for simple! However complex a job may appear to be, it’s always possible to break it down into manageable elements or processes.

Here, in this small 2” x 3” (5 x 8cm) drawing, I’ve mapped out the main stalks; lightly drawing a line either side to delineate the space that constitutes the stalk and leaf. Remember that you are defining white space so be aware that it is the inside edge of your pencil line that counts - you are drawing that line around a white shape.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-rushes1.jpg
Having planned and defined the main stalks (I call them ‘status’ stalks - they’re food for the brain) I’ll switch to a more spontaneous style of working to map out the less distinct grass on the rear-most plane. I rarely outline anything in these areas but create stalks merely by drawing the negative space. Here is where you let your imagination go free, working at a pace that prevents conscious intervention. You will find yourself introducing stalks here and there that may even surprise you with their placement. Don’t try to be too accurate - inaccuracies lend an extra realism in this case. And don’t touch those ‘status’ stalks – they are ‘unknowns’; you cannot properly define their tonal values until you have completed the grass behind them.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-rushes2.jpg
As you work on this secondary area between the established white spaces that represent the status stalks of grass, introduce random shapes and lines. As long as these vaguely follow the rules of natural grass and foliage, they will serve to fool the brain into seeing more detail than exists. In life you couldn’t distinguish every element in such an arrangement (especially in areas of deep shadow) so you shouldn’t be able to do so here either.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-rushes3.jpg
Now picture, really picture, yourself looking into that area and begin to add reality to the situation; toning some stalks down a little and others so much that they are barely discernible. If you can see the reality in your mind you will achieve a sense of reality in your drawing. If you’re not sure how to treat something, leave it white then go back to it once it’s surrounded - as I have done here with the foreground. It’s going to be water and I can’t draw the reflections until I know exactly what reflections are required.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-rushes4.jpg
Finally, the status stalks are given body, adjusting the tone of those behind them if required. The foreground grass is drawn, just as I described earlier, and the water and reflections established.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-rushes5.jpg

Reinhard1
08-13-2006, 11:19 AM
Mike, my head is buzzing and I am trying to see how I can "translate" that into my problems in portraits. There must be a way.

Fantastic and absolutely understandably written, as your book is. Thanks for both. I will have to give it more than just one try. thanks so much for sharing, helping, and teaching.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:24 AM
IN CONCLUSION…
Negative drawing offers the means to tackle complicated tasks in manageable stages and, within the white space, presents the opportunity to draw perfectly and completely, without alteration or experimentation. Getting it right the first time will always give a sharply defined finish that all other methods muddy. It’s a liberating and controllable way of working and scores above all other methods in the drawing of complex negative shapes. This is particularly true when the ‘positive’ areas are miniscule – such as the light hairs of this Lynx-point Siamese cat that exist only because of the negative spaces drawn between them…
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-lynxpoint.jpg

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:30 AM
PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION
So far much of this workshop has been drawn from my Studio Tips pages at www.SibleyFineArt.com and from two chapters of my book Drawing From Line to Life. But from here on we’re entering fresh territory -- the Demonstration. I strongly suggest you follow and repeat this in your own style, as nothing teaches like experience. I’ll guide you along the way, and relate my own reasons for decisions made and techniques employed. By all means follow my example, but if you have developed a style of your own, translate it into your way of working to gain the greatest benefit.

1: The guidelines and strategy
After a few changes – goodbye Bird, goodbye Butterfly, hello Bindweed! – I’ve arrived at a composition that will demonstrate all the varieties of Negative Drawing - planned, spontaneous, and work division.

Here we have a background of Sycamore-like leaves (which I see as being dark and shaded); a central support provided by the rusty iron axle from an old chicken house; and the Bindweed, with a visiting Hoverfly. The original shown here measures 4” x 8” (10 x 20 cm). Although I usually draw on a plate finish, my paper is 300 series Strathmore Bristol smooth, but these Negative Drawing methods will work on any surface. All guidelines are drawn with a flat-faced 2B to ensure complete removal if required.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage1.jpg

It’s complex and difficult to understand this fully, so let’s begin to simplify it. Imagine it as being on three planes or layers.

Layer 1, the rear-most, contains the dark leaves with even darker shadows between them. Only the main elements are planned, as I’ll be spontaneously adding others between them as I work – drawing not leaves but the impression of them – taking and using key shapes from the planned leaves.

Layer 2 is the iron, and Bindweed stems and foliage, with at least one leaf from the background intruding into this layer to connect the two.

Layer 3 contains the Bindweed’s flowers and the Hoverfly. These are the main elements – the subject of our drawing.

And I’m going to tackle them in that order. I want the Bindweed’s flowers to shine out from the drawing, which demands a dark background. But, without that background being established first, I have nothing against which I can judge the tones required for the flowers. So I’ll leave them pristine white until I know for certain what is required.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:38 AM
2: Establishing the blacks
I know where I want the deepest shadows to appear and establishing them now sets up my entire breadth of available tones – the blacks of the shadows and the white of the paper. All other tones must fall between these two extremes. The light, incidentally, is shining from the left, just below the top left corner, which is something that I have to take into account at all times.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage2.jpg

Here, in the top left corner, a certain amount of redrawing is going on
as I work each area. I’m only using the guidelines to loosely fix
placements. But notice too that Negative Drawing is already in use - in
the centre, white amorphous shapes are being left clear of graphite.
These are not planned but are left as they occur. Later they will be
toned down to varying degrees to suggest detail where no detail exists;
and to relieve an otherwise dull, flat area of tone.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:48 AM
3: In-progress Negative Drawing
I feel it’s necessary to move onto drawing one of the leaves – to get a feel for the drawing of this element. I have not used this 300 series Strathmore Bristol smooth paper before and I’m finding its textured surface annoying, as I detest any sign of surface texture appearing in my drawings.

Immediately, one strategy suggested itself for the drawing of the ribs – spontaneous negative drawing. The ribs cannot be drawn first, as their tonal values are unknown; and drawing them first would dictate the tones used for the leaf. I want the reverse to be true – the leaf is more important than its ribs. So here the flat face of an HB chisel point is being used to shape the leaf and draw around the ribs - the position of each one being imagined as the work progresses.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage3.jpg

Following the HB, I burnished with 2H (to remove some of that annoying paper texture!), and layered a little F to tone down the whole leaf. The layers extended over the ribs to tone them down too, and to provide shaping. A layer of HB finally dulled and completed the area, as I want the ‘sense’ of the ribs to be apparent but don’t want them to be overtly visible. The same strategy will be used for all the Sycamore leaves.

Negative Drawing encompasses the use for tiny detail right through to the division of work into blocks. Here the leaves themselves form the blocks – allowing me to concentrate solely on a single texture, and to keep the three-dimensional shaping in my mind as I work, although that is an ever-evolving process. More random, amorphous shapes have been introduced (bottom left), earlier ones toned down, and stem-like structures suggest a plane behind the one I’m completing.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage3a.jpg

Before I move further down, I’ll complete that last top leaf, and show it in steps. Step 1 (below) is where I’m working out the general structure in my mind; laying light tones, positioning the ribs, and forming the three-dimensional shape. I never work these things out beforehand but just go with flow. The spontaneity seems to produce vitality, and maintains a natural balance to the composition. By Step 2 I’ve refined the shaping and have begun to hide the top corner in shade. By using negative drawing to split my drawing up, I’m afforded much more control over each element. Localised negative drawing still forms the ribs, which will be completed as soon as I’ve finalised the tonal value of the leaf. Step 3 sees the completion. Now I can correctly tone those ribs, which in this case I want to merely suggest – with a little more prominence given to the left-hand ribs that point the eye to the Hoverfly, as does the highlight near the tip of the leaf.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage3b.jpg

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:51 AM
4: Watch that line!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage4.jpg
Whenever you outline something to define it as a white pace, remember that your pencil line possesses a width. You are enclosing a white space that is, or will become, a positive element of your drawing. It’s a ‘white silhouette’, so butt the inside edge of your pencil point up to the boundary. If you stray into the white space you will merely define it as being smaller than it should be.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:54 AM
5: Backtracking…
Remember the earlier ‘Reeds and water’ example of inventing negatively drawn elements ‘behind’ the main elements? I’m doing the same here. The real advantage is that everything is drawn, or outlined, as though they were on a single plane. Each invented to fulfil a natural balance – to fill or break up an otherwise dull area – or to point the eye in a certain direction. Later these can be individually pushed and pulled onto separate planes – some quite distinct, and others barely discernable – whatever is required to heighten the reality, and add a little natural mystery. Nature does not display everything with absolute clarity, so between the stalks and vines, more amorphous shapes, which have already been toned down, serve to fool the brain into seeing depth and detail that is not actually there.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage5.jpg

The front plane is still left untouched and, when the time arrives to begin work on it, the background is easily adjusted if required. Blu-Tack or a kneaded eraser can be used to soften and lighten; and additional layers may be added to darken where shadows may have been omitted, or just to push the foreground forward.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 11:57 AM
6: Mapping…
Occasionally I map out an area before tone is applied (step 1). This doesn’t negate the use of negative drawing; it just controls it to some extent. These are simply guidelines – in this case showing me where the natural ribs of this leaf will occur. I chose this method in this instance because, unlike the other Bindweed leaves that require only a suggestion of ribs, this is the reverse side of the leaf, which presents the true ribs themselves. First (step 2), the shadows of the ribs are drawn with 2B, and then the basic shaping of the body begins, with grade H in this case.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage6.jpg

The ribs’ shadows have been reduced with Blu-Tack (step 3), the leaf toned to give it shaping, the stalk completed, and then an overall blending layer of HB added unity by toning the ribs to blend them into the overall scheme. Fine-tuning was finally carried out with an H grade lead. This strategy gives ultimate control over the final appearance. Here I decided to play down the ribs – obvious enough to suggest the back of a leaf, but not so intrusive that they catch the eye.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 12:01 PM
7: Making adjustments…
Let’s recap and take, as an example, the previous leaf. You can see that the body was shaped while disregarding the ribs. Then an overall layer unified the various elements into a whole – this time including the ribs. Hatching, cross-hatching, and circulism were all used for that layer. We have both the shaping and detail established, so at any future time additional tone layers can be added to push any element further into the shadows, without disturbing the overall appearance that resides in the lower layers. This is very handy; because at this point I’m fairly certain that some elements are too light. But I prefer to work that way – it’s easier to darken than lighten if the detail is to be preserved. This is where I’ve reached so far – all of the background elements established, and one or two of the mid-plane elements too:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage7.jpg

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 12:04 PM
8: The midground plane…
I’m going to tackle the rusty iron next, and I have a wide choice of available tones. I can draw it dark and thick with rust, or lighter with surface pitting and even vestiges of paint. My initial decision is to go for something between the two, as I want it to be visually separated fro the background, but dark enough to finally push the Bindweed forward. Instead of beginning with the main axle, I’m going to chicken out and draw the connecting bolt first and then the right-hand stub. I can work out what is required in these areas without errors significantly affecting the whole. Later I can carry through what I’ve learned to the main axle.

Rust is characterised by surface pits, and these pits display both internal shadows and edge highlights. Negative drawing really simplifies the drawing of this texture, as it allows the pencil to explore the surface – picture those pits in your mind and ignore midtones and highlights. I’ll return later to this texture when I begin drawing the axle. The pits will be deeper, and the lighting more direct, so I can more easily explain the technique. The following illustrations are twice their actual size. Step 1: 2B shadows. Step 2: H layering, leaving highlights. Step 3: F and HB layering to darken entire element. The layering is carried out with the flat face of a chisel point so, no matter how hard the pressure is applied, all preceding layers will remain unaffected and just darkened. Also, as shown here (step 4, about actual size), the layers can be extended to cover and darken surrounding areas while preserving the edges, details, and relative contrasts of the various elements.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage8.jpg

In the meantime, don’t take what I’m writing here as carved in stone – establishing the shadows first will allow you fully explore the area, but add additional layers as and when you feel they are appropriate.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 12:07 PM
9: Rust and Negative Drawing…
Negative drawing is very useful for drawing rust pits. Consider that every pit contains three elements:
Step 1: An internal shadow cast by the lip nearest the light source. As you invent the shape, keep asking yourself “can this point see the light” – if it can, the shadow you are about to draw cannot exist.

Step 2: An internal shaded neutral area – the flat base of the pit. I just decrease the pressure on the 2B point I’m using to blur the bottom edge of the cast shadow.

Step 3: A highlight where the sharp edge of the bottom rim of the pit catches the light. Simply draw around it and leave it as a negative shape. Later, when you know the correct value required, you can return and dull the highlight.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage9.jpg

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 12:10 PM
10: Highlights and Negative Drawing…
Using that strategy gives you full control over the strength of the highlight, and the same is true of highlights in general. I wish I had a better example for you… but I got carried away with drawing and completed all but one of stem of the vine. The following is twice the actual size.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage10.jpg

Here (I hope!) you can see that the core shadow has been established first (step 1), using 2B and circulism to achieve a broken appearance. Then (step 2) the secondary shading has been applied, with grade H, to begin to shape the round form. The key highlight (the area of the curve directly facing the light source) has been identified. Finally (step 3), the remaining tone has been applied with grade 2H, omitting the key highlight area. In this case I decided to draw the leaf to exhibit the intensity of the highlight before applying final adjustments, such as muting the lower end to stop it leading the eye out of the composition. The same scheme was applied to the cast shadow across the leaf – the lower end is deliberately vague so the sharper higher end attracts the eye and leads it up into the drawing.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 12:17 PM
11: Completing the principal elements…
Well, that’s completed all but one leaf, three flowers, a bud and the Hoverfly. By now I think you know all I do about negative drawing, so take a break and sit back while I complete it…

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage11.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage12.jpg

I may help you to know that the technique used for the flowers, in the very light areas, was to draw slightly darker than required, then Blu-Tack was used to gradually fade each area until the subtlety of tone I wanted was achieved. The areas were also lightly blended with a tortillon – which was then used to draw the ribs in the flower heads. The graphite on the tip toned the ribs along their length then, as the graphite was gradually depleted, the line naturally faded out. The interior of the flowers has more subtle shading than is apparent here - it doesn’t scan well - so I slightly enhanced the tone that was captured.

Negative Drawing is a method well worth adding to your armoury. In complex drawings like this one, I find Negative Drawing to be an absolute blessing. You can break the composition down into smaller and smaller elements, which makes keeping control so much easier. You can concentrate purely on that one section and, in this case, easily work out the cast shadows as you progress. Do have a go yourself, even if it’s only a small area or element – nothing teaches like practise and experience - and practise really does aid understanding of any technique.

Size: 4” x 8”
Drawing time: about 35 hours

I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this study (despite my questionable choice of paper!). Many thanks for staying with this… and no excuses for not trying this yourself – you can download everything you require. :o)

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 12:20 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/9379-stage13final.jpg
“Hoverfly on Bindweed”
© 2006 MIKE SIBLEY

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 12:23 PM
PDF, photo and outline downloading
If you wish to have a go at this composition, or even just a part of it, you can download all that you require from here:

www.SibleyFineArt.com/workshop_resources.htm

You can download a PDF of this workshop, and select and download the photographic sources (with backgrounds removed). The complete line drawing of the final demonstration is also available, or you can choose from individual line drawings of the major elements to formulate your own composition.

A fuller description of this and many other techniques are presented in my 288 page book Drawing From Line to Life – currently available from www.SibleyFineArt.com and www.ThePencilPoint.com and soon from www.Amazon.co.uk.
ISBN #: 0-9551578-0-3

Thanks for staying with this - I've enjoyed your company - and I admire your stamina! :clap:

Cheers................

Robin Neudorfer
08-13-2006, 12:44 PM
A beautiful and impressive lesson. Thank you for your generosity.

Jory
08-13-2006, 12:51 PM
Mike!
What incredible generosity!

I am frankly astounded at the level of detail you manage to achieve in your work, and now that I've had a peek behind the scenes, I am even more in awe. Meticulous doesn't even come close to describing your method!!

One question: do you always use so many source/reference images? (from your workshop download page) If so, you must have an incredible library of images! Which raises the 2nd question: when do you have time to collect and organize all of those images??!

Thank you so much for sharing your talent and experience with us!!

Jory

sultry
08-13-2006, 01:26 PM
Wow alot to digest and thanx Mike I will read this and study study study.

Mary Woodul
08-13-2006, 01:31 PM
Mike, a brilliant write up with so much information and a total new way to approach a drawing. Thank you so much for giving us your time and knowledge. This class will be abosolutely fantastic.:clap: :clap: :clap:

Fozbot
08-13-2006, 01:34 PM
great kick-off to the class, Mike.:) i understood every word, too and that's saying something for me.:) also, thanks for sharing those downloads!!

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 01:39 PM
I am frankly astounded at the level of detail you manage to achieve in your work
Hi Jory, now you can see how easy it is if you break it down into smaller and smaller elements - and how you can fool the eye into seeing more detail than actually exists.

Meticulous doesn't even come close to describing your method!!
I believe a job worth doing is worth doing well - and that any drawing is only as strong as its weakest element. Keeping that in mind, keeps me on the straight and narrow, avoiding shortcuts :)

One question: do you always use so many source/reference images?... If so, you must have an incredible library of images! Which raises the 2nd question: when do you have time to collect and organize all of those images??!
I do use a lot of reference photos. I surround myself with photos of whatever element I'm drawing - not specifically for detail but to get a 'feel' for the varieties of form, and texture. That's one reason why I prefer to draw one texture at a time - I can concentrate fully on it and immerse myself in it.

Organising? No time - I have envelopes and boxes marked "foliage", "water" etc that I just throw photos into for future use... :)

The photos for this study didn't take long to assemble. I stood the old axle up in our yard and photographed it (digital camera) from a few angles. Then I took a walk into the lane (we live on a farm track) and spent a hour photographing the Bindweed. At one point I had my camera switched to macro for close-ups of the interior of a flower.... and the Hoverfly landed! An opportunity I couldn't miss ;) . On the way back to our yard I stopped to photograph the Sycamore leaves growing from suckers at the base of the tree. That's it.... job done. It took two days to select the elements I wanted to use, and to strip away the backgrounds so I could compose the drawing in Photoshop. From that rough composition I printed out an outline version and then completed the composition with a good old-fashioned pencil.

I used more of the photos directly than I normally would - because this is a workshop, and I want to make it simpler to copy if anyone wishes to do so. Usually, I use the ref pics very freely and just interpret what I have spread around me.

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 01:44 PM
great kick-off to the class, Mike.:) i understood every word, too and that's saying something for me.:) also, thanks for sharing those downloads!!

Every word? I must be doing something right..... :clap:

Sorry the PDF isn't ready yet for download.... :o

I added that option as an afterthought as I was uploading the workshop. I'll have it ready later this evening.

Sumariel
08-13-2006, 02:06 PM
You are amazing, this is a subject I have seen touched on in my classes, but this is the clearest explanation of it and how it works as well as how to do it that I have seen. I have a busy day, and will not be able to do this til this evening, late, but I will be back! Thank you very much!!!!!
Suzi

term8or
08-13-2006, 02:35 PM
Mike, unfortunatly, I'll soon have my grandmother (85 years old) to stay over the next week (planned before I knew about the class)... but I'm going to download the class and do it later, honest;)

IslanderNL
08-13-2006, 03:33 PM
Great explanation Mike, thanks for taking the time to write it all down and provide the step by step. It seems like a very logical way of tackling a complex subject.

I will download the files now and see what there is to work with,then have a go at this method. :)

*Deirdre*
08-13-2006, 04:41 PM
Thanks Mike! As you know, I've got the book!:smug: However, I've been too scared to attempt it on my own...:eek: In a couple of days I'll be free to join in and hopefully get over my fear of doing it wrong!:o

Fireman's kid
08-13-2006, 05:16 PM
I haven't had time to read this yet, but I am so in. I hope to get it read over the next few days. Just subscribing now so I don't miss a thing. :)

mike sibley
08-13-2006, 05:39 PM
Just popping in to let you know the PDF has now been installed and downloadable from my site. Go to Studio Tips > Index > Workshop resources.

It's a PDF of the Word original of this workshop, but it matches the post here in almost all repects.

Closing down for tonight. I'll be back tomorrow. Cheers..........

Striver
08-13-2006, 05:50 PM
Oh me brain needs to go into overdrive for this one, completed 50% of my life's interfering chores, another week to 10 days and then i can concentrate on this one. Will download the PDF and get mentally ready. Now you need the negative to realise the positive, that right.
See you later
Les

SparrowHawk7
08-13-2006, 05:52 PM
Thanks for taking the time to assemble this, Mike. I have your book, of course, and while I've tried negative drawing to some extent, it's one of my weakest areas. I'm looking forward to reading through the pdf and giving this another try.

Thanks again,
Ken

cat1hat
08-13-2006, 06:04 PM
Thanks Mike and hope you will check back after we post our works.

Thanks again, we know your time is important. :)

Cat

KSH
08-13-2006, 06:17 PM
Mike just as in your book your explanation is perfect. I'm printing the pdf of this lesson as I type so I can read this evening. I plan on having a go at this. Thanks again Mike!
Karen

DianeWright
08-13-2006, 06:21 PM
Mike,

I am so excited about this workshop! Your artwork and explanations are masterful and an excellent extension of your book!

I am thrilled that you created a pdf file to download and all your images as well. This is just incredible.

I seem to be forever your student....but always eager to learn from the master.

I've printed it off and am taking the evening off to enjoy a good 'read'!

Diane

Shelly B
08-13-2006, 06:25 PM
Mike,
Yikes, have a bit of catch up to do, so I see.
I do have your book, but as I tend to be a "put it down and erase it off" type of gal- hoping to push to learn a new way of seeing/doing things.
Thanks for this,
Better get to it...I seem to be late for class- except for Diane who just got in the door ahead of me...and the race is on... :o)
Shelly

JellyBelly
08-13-2006, 06:32 PM
Mike,
Thank you so much for taking the time to teach us this.
Looks like a lot of reading. Just printed it out - going to sit and read it tonight.

Lee

Anita Murphy
08-13-2006, 07:46 PM
Superb class and demonstration, Mike! Also nice to know that this is what I have been doing all along unconsciously. It has always seemed the most logical thing to me to do what is furthest away first leaving what is closest to last. It seems to make it more realistic and believable too.

Hoping that I will find the time to get something done for the class.

Thank you for your incredible generosity in sharing your knowledge with us.

danna23
08-13-2006, 08:17 PM
Mike thank you so much for all your work I just got done reading everying and I just wanted to be sure on what you want us to do next. Either we can use one of your demos or we can tackle something on our own, is that right? And if you took 34 hours for yours do we get at least 50 hours for ours?

Thank you for a wonderful class.

bsnowden
08-13-2006, 09:35 PM
Wonderful info and demos. Tackling this will be a joy!

RogerG
08-13-2006, 10:11 PM
Mike,
Thanks a lot for the great class. It's like getting a bonus chapter in your book. As a matter of fact, I think I'll print it and add it to my copy. Where do you find the time?

Roger

mauricar
08-13-2006, 10:30 PM
Mike, when I bought your book last month I didn't know that you would be teaching. I am so happy to learn about this class, and will go and read everything you have written so far. Then it is onward and upward.

Thanks for all that you do.
Midge

GraphitePncl
08-14-2006, 12:17 AM
Fabulous job, Mike! I just finished reading everything & I'm trying to absorb everything that I just read, from reading all that you do to create your excellent drawings. Thank you Mike for taking your time to do this workshop. I just printed out your PDF version & placed it in your book, so that I can read everything again. Before your book, I never knew that there was so much decision making in creating a drawing, yet your techniques will make it easier to make those decisions, now that I am becoming more familiar with knowing what to look for.
Toby

ujwala
08-14-2006, 06:59 AM
i've realised finally that i hadnt truly understood negative drawing until now.

I find the each of the series 2 lessons to be outstanding. I am now kicking myself for not going through series 1. I seem to always stop at thread one where people post the spheres, lines and chairs. Then I try to hunt for the chair give up and next thing i know a few more months have passsed :( sorry for rambling on.

Fantastic job Mike and thank you for the pdf format being in dial-up land it really helps. I shall go through the file at leisure.

IslanderNL
08-14-2006, 07:03 AM
I was up early - sleep seems to vary lately and sometimes to my advantage - so I spent a couple of hours doing a test run on a piece of the bindweed before I commit myself to the real thing.

Am I heading in the right direction with this Mike, in terms of negative drawing? I used the bindweed jpg and just eyeballed it as it was a test piece so I wasn't so concerned about specific placement of leaves, buds, etc. If I am 'getting it', then I'll start a new drawing tonight when I get home from work on some lovely smooth illustration board.

I do enjoy the detail that can be acheived with slow circulism and as you said Mike, the smoothness of the paper is vital in this. This little section is done in my Moleskine sketchbook which has silky paper, lovely to draw on. I do believe I have used this method previously to some degree, but just didn't know that I was using it! :)

This scan doesn't do the piece justice, I'll try it again with a photograph I think.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2006/67422-bindweed.jpg

azulparsnip
08-14-2006, 10:38 AM
Thanks, Mike...I am a newbie here as three days ago and this class is just what I was looking for!!! I am so jazzed. I will post as I get work done.

gibson99
08-14-2006, 11:58 AM
Wow! Another great class! I just finished AL's Class. This looks great! I love negitive drawing. Mike , I will buy your book . I cannot resist drawing books. I am really looking forward to this.:)

mike sibley
08-14-2006, 01:59 PM
Thanks Mike! As you know, I've got the book! However, I've been too scared to attempt it on my own... In a couple of days I'll be free to join in and hopefully get over my fear of doing it wrong!
You don't need to slavishly copy my steps - I don't :lol: I've been very strict with myself in the drawing, as this is a workshop, but in normal use I might draw a secondary element before completing the background if I felt that it helped.

What I'm doing here, by tackling the background first, is to complete the area where 'unknowns' are most easily handled. When drawing the midground layer, I then have something to refer to, which solves many of the problems in that area. By 'problems' I mean that I don't have a clear visual idea of their form, angle to the lighting, or where their shadows are cast.

Finally, the foreground layer, which possibly contains most of the problem areas, is now much made simpler. If I'd tackled the foreground first, I'd have had no tone references to balance it against, no prior experimentation with the textures, and no real idea of how it would react with the background - or indeed, what the background would eventually look like, as it would have to relate at all times to the tones used in the foreground.

Besides, 'mistakes' are what we learn from. no mistakes - no progression!

Now you need the negative to realise the positive, that right.
Yes, Les! :) I find it aids my concentration when drawing the positive elements, and it achieves a much sharper edge - because the edge is defined negatively before the actual element is drawn. Take a leaf - I'm left with a white silhouette, which can be concave, convex, or any 3D form that I visualise it as - and now that it's shape is defined I can better image its form, and 'see' the form that will best suit its location.

Thanks Mike and hope you will check back after we post our works.
I'll check in as often as I can, Cat. But, as I'm on dial-up, I'll do what I'm doing here - saving the page then answering offline. Also, if you're in the US, I'm 7 hours ahead of you here in the UK so there may be a delay.

I am thrilled that you created a pdf file to download and all your images as well. This is just incredible. I seem to be forever your student....but always eager to learn from the master.
....yes... but I'm sweating trying to keep ahead of you... :D Now get back to work on that book of yours and don't use me as an excuse for taking an evening off! I'm glad I thought of the PDF - I sent JayD a copy in that format, then realised that anyone else, like me, on dial-up might prefer to have the whole thing available offline - all 24 pages of it. As a bonus, you also get bigger images. I had to cut a lot of them down to fit into WC's size limit. I particularly wanted to show the final result full size, as I feel it helps to better understand the actual drawing process.

I do have your book, but as I tend to be a "put it down and erase it off" type of gal- hoping to push to learn a new way of seeing/doing things.
I used to work that way myself - I still do at times - but I've found that mentally working out what I want to achieve with each area, or even each line, before committing it to paper, gives a much cleaner, fresher, and vibrant result. I don't mean working out each actual line, but properly understanding the form or texture that I'm about to draw.

Also nice to know that this is what I have been doing all along unconsciously. It has always seemed the most logical thing to me to do what is furthest away first leaving what is closest to last. It seems to make it more realistic and believable too.
Thanks, Anita. This is not something I've worked out - it just came out of analysing the way I work when I was writing my book. It's become my natural way of working - for all the reasons I've stated. To me, it makes the most logical sense. And the more I delve into it, the more benefits it seems to possess.

Either we can use one of your demos or we can tackle something on our own, is that right? And if you took 34 hours for yours do we get at least 50 hours for ours?
Whatever suits you best - the right choice for you is whichever you think you will learn the most from - and take as long as you like! :)

Before your book, I never knew that there was so much decision making in creating a drawing, yet your techniques will make it easier to make those decisions, now that I am becoming more familiar with knowing what to look for.
Thanks, Toby - I'm pleased it's been of some help. I think all that's really required is a clear idea in your head of the final result - that gives you a plan or structure that the work can evolve around. That said, changes very often need to be made during the drawing process, so my plan is constantly being updated - but having that core image in my mind from the start largely stops me from experimenting on my actual drawing surface.

Fantastic job Mike and thank you for the pdf format being in dial-up land it really helps.
I know that dial-up feeling... :rolleyes: It's one the few disadvantages of living half way down a two mile a farm track. It took me two hours to download the workshop so I thought a PDF might be appreciated ;)

mike sibley
08-14-2006, 02:04 PM
Am I heading in the right direction with this Mike, in terms of negative drawing? I used the bindweed jpg and just eyeballed it as it was a test piece so I wasn't so concerned about specific placement of leaves, buds, etc. If I am 'getting it', then I'll start a new drawing tonight when I get home from work on some lovely smooth illustration board.
Hi Jeanette. I think you're definitely on the right track. I like the way you've placed those hard-edged dark shadows alongside and in the right hand bud. This method gives you that control. You can select right from the start, where you want the eye to go, and which clues you wish to use to make the viewer's eye read what you want it to read.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2006/9379-try1.jpg

That left hand leaf with the ribs too - so much easier to draw around the ribs, as you'vedone, because it frees your mind to concentrate solely on inventing the 3D form, which injects the reality. Then a final layer or two allows you to tone down those ribs to exactly the degree that you think necessary for the overall success of the leaf.

Also, take the stem of the top-right bud... If that had been completed first - where do you place the core shadow? Along the bottom edge maybe? By leaving it as a negative shape and completing the background, you can now mould it to suit your requirements. You can move the core shadow to the bottom edge to visually play down the stalk. Or perhaps invent a little reflected light to highlight both top and bottom edges, so that it achieves prominence over the background.

The buds themselves, are not total 'unknowns' - we know the upper portion is white. So we can engineer the background to make that white shine brightly - either by presenting a dark rich background or (often my preference) to make the bud visually cut across a dark stem or hard-edged shape behind it. That harsh break both pushes the bud forwards, and signals to the brain that the bud lies on a more forward plane.

I do believe I have used this method previously to some degree, but just didn't know that I was using it!
I'm no different - I was just forced into working out how I work so I could write about it. :o

gibson99
08-14-2006, 02:16 PM
2: Establishing the blacks
I know where I want the deepest shadows to appear and establishing them [/CENTER]

How do you get this so black with pencil? Or is it just the computor? Whenever I try to go so black I get a shine , Is this normal?

Burnishing Means rubbing down the tooth with a 2h?

Thanks in advance
Gibson99

Mary Woodul
08-14-2006, 03:12 PM
Mike, I just wanted to say, thank you for making the reading and studying of this so much easier. I have just printed it out and hope to be able to start with the drawing tomorrow.

Teea
08-14-2006, 03:36 PM
Oh I just can't wait to start! Rushing to get everything else finished, so I can jump right into this..looks like I need at least a week to read and then re-read this class :) so much new things to learn..I'm so excited: this all feels like someone has hit me with a baseball bat and woke me up, leaving me dazzled and in disbelief :lol: I can't really thank you enough, such a great lesson!

:heart:,
~Teea

mike sibley
08-14-2006, 05:29 PM
How do you get this so black with pencil? Or is it just the computer? Whenever I try to go so black I get a shine , Is this normal?
I did whiten the paper before posting (300 series is rather creamier than the paper I'm used to working on) but I tried to adjust the tones to match the original. Despite my moaning about the 300, it does allow intense blacks. I only use a 2B for my blacks (I erroneously said you'd need a 6B at the beginning).
Burnishing Means rubbing down the tooth with a 2h?
No. The technique is to use a harder grade to force the softer grade into the tooth. When I use 2B for the blacks, I go over it again with an HB or F, sometimes an H. That smooths it out, spreads it into the deepest parts of the tooth, and the pressure of the harder grade makes sure it stays there. For really intense blacks I have (but rarely) fixed the first layer with a matt fixative and then applied a second layer of 2B, also burnished.

Shine? Definitely on my usual Mellotex plate finish surface, but not so on the 300 series, which is just rough enough to scatter the light.

I never worry about the shine. A final coat of matt fixative dulls it and enhances the blacks. And once the drawing is behind glass, the shine ceases to be a problem - and the blacks are again enhanced.

mike sibley
08-14-2006, 05:33 PM
Mike, I just wanted to say, thank you for making the reading and studying of this so much easier. I have just printed it out and hope to be able to start with the drawing tomorrow.
Hi Mary,
I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

Did you get my email about inserting the missing paragraph?

Mary Woodul
08-14-2006, 06:07 PM
Mike, I just checked and it is there, I will get to that right now. Sorry I hadn't seen that but it went to my spam mail. I rescued it and it won't happen again.:)

Judi1957
08-14-2006, 07:07 PM
Mike this is soooo awesome-I will be starting tonite!
THANKS SO MUCH!!:clap: :clap: :clap:

SparrowHawk7
08-14-2006, 07:30 PM
Well, I've got to tell ya ... I couldn't be further from my comfort zone unless we were to put color into something. :o Negative drawing is one of a number of my weak points so here I am to give it a shot. :eek:

I'm using Strathmore Bristol Plate ... the drawing is about 8x10 I guess. I started out basing it entirely on your line drawing, Mike, but along the way I decided to make it up so midway along it diverges.

In reading your wonderful explanation, I started with the deep dark background (first attachment). I left nebulous areas and shaded them distantly. Then I was called to the upper leaf which I made a go of ... marginal results but I tried to shade around the veins and then shaded them last. I'll get better I'm sure as I go along.

I think I'm heading down the right path here ... any guidance would be quite welcome.

Thanks,
Ken

gibson99
08-14-2006, 11:34 PM
I know there are not supposed to be stupid questions, but, I might ask a few. Since I am so new to drawing and I am an engineer by trade I can't help sometimes to get reall technical. So I hope you don't mind and will bear with me.
When you say the flat of the pencil. do you mean the flat end of a chisel tip or the pencil sideways?
Do you hatch in one direction and that is one layer, or do you cross hatch or both?
Do you press very hard to the flatten the tooth on the very dark?
Is this a good example of a Chisel point on a pencil?http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Aug-2006/44925-heather078.jpg

I am so used to using a very sharp 2B on medium tooth paper and hatching very light. I looked at your website and was very impressed with your drawings.

JayD
08-14-2006, 11:50 PM
Mike, I just went back to tackle Al's class before I start this one. It looks fantastic. We appreciate the time and the effort that you have and are putting into this workshop. See ya soon!!! OH, thanks for the post! I got it Saturday!

Lady Carol
08-15-2006, 12:17 AM
Thank you for being so generous with the information regarding negative space. What a useful lesson for us. I had not idea that it existed until today. Very embarassed about that but I have only just returned to drawing after quite a few years away. I for one will be following along and trying your demonstration.

sultry
08-15-2006, 07:51 AM
Hi Mike, I wanted to practice sketching the negative space (as in the demo you showed us of the cup & chair).
So I started to sketch around the vase. Since I was not home and only had a pad and one HB pencil with me.
The Leaves and fish were easy but getting the vase correctly symentrically was hard with out a line drawing.
This is on Canson 70lb Drawing paper, with HB mech pencil.
I did find I was in a different mode in this type of drawing, I was not looking for a fish shape but the edges and even the edges of mark or highlights on the vase.
By the way, I did this in the car from memory.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Aug-2006/29757-negativespstdy.jpg

"J"
08-15-2006, 01:33 PM
Sultry please tell me you weren't also driving. lol Very good.

mike sibley
08-15-2006, 05:02 PM
Negative drawing is one of a number of my weak points so here I am to give it a shot.
It's not the be all and end all of drawing, Ken - but it's at least a very useful method to add to those you have available. Personally, it features top of the list.
I started with the deep dark background (first attachment). I left nebulous areas and shaded them distantly. Then I was called to the upper leaf which I made a go of ... marginal results but I tried to shade around the veins and then shaded them last. I'll get better I'm sure as I go along.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_1.jpg
You're on the right track, but a bit too hasty to move on, I think. You have at least established your darkest and lightest tones. But I would have extended the background wider, and probably have moved to a more distant leaf first.

The bottom of your top leaf is positively drawn where it overlaps the leaf below. That means the current leaf is going to dictate (and maybe limit) the tones available for the lower leaf. If you'd drawn the lower leaf first (including the cast shadow of the leaf above - which would complete the outline of the top leaf), you could then more easily adjust the tonal range of the top leaf to either make it stand out from the lower one, or blend it in if you wished.

The ribs on a leaf, incidentally, are really on the underside. Usually just a pale line exists above, although that line is in a valley. Taking your leaf as it is - you can now tone down those ribs to get them looking as prominent or hidden as you require. Once you have the ribs correctly toned for the leaf (by 'correctly' I mean according your vision) the detail layer is complete. Now you can apply an overall layer of tone if you need to, at any time, which will preserve the detail and tonal balance of the leaf while pushing it further into the shade - or Blu-Tack will bring it out again, if you gently lift that top layer away.

As you become more accustomed to working this way, so you will find your vision for each element is realised more easily. Right now I have no doubt you're having to concentrate on 'working backwards' :lol:

I know there are not supposed to be stupid questions, but, I might ask a few.
There's no such thing as a stupid question - except an unasked one :lol:

When you say the flat of the pencil. do you mean the flat end of a chisel tip or the pencil sideways?
The flat face of a chisel point - just as you illustrated. I always work with a chisel point - and have done for longer than I can remember. The only difference is that I use 2mm clutch pencils (aka Lead Holders)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_2.jpg
Do you hatch in one direction and that is one layer, or do you cross hatch or both?.... Do you press very hard to the flatten the tooth on the very dark?
In my mind a 'layer' is simply a layer of graphite that is applied to do a job. It can be applied randomly, hatched, cross-hatched, with circulism, or a combination of any of those. It's the result that counts, not the method of application.

The amount of pressure on a burnishing layer really depends on the surface you're drawing on. But the general idea is not to physically force the softer graphite in, but to spread it and push it into the holes that the larger graphite grains failed to fill. The more you can remove the white content, the darker the area will appear.

mike sibley
08-15-2006, 05:22 PM
What a useful lesson for us. I had not idea that it existed until today. Very embarrassed about that but I have only just returned to drawing after quite a few years away.
I knew it existed because I've been using it for years, but I only dreamed up a name for it a couple of years ago - so you haven't missed anything :lol:

I wanted to practice sketching the negative space (as in the demo you showed us of the cup & chair). So I started to sketch around the vase.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_4.jpg
Wonderfully done! The pencil lines nearly always give cheats away! In your case - not a single line drawn around anything :clap: You can be excused any around the vase :lol: That's a very complex image to choose and you've certainly succeeded. 'Seeing' something white on white paper and drawing around it can really take time to learn, but you seem to have a natural talent for it. Exercises like this really force you to think - you can't move your pencil point without imagining where it must stop, and to do that you must be able to visualise the complete object.

Does anyone mind me repeating the images here? I hope they help but I'm not sure of WC's policy, if any.

Fozbot
08-15-2006, 05:48 PM
Does anyone mind me repeating the images here? I hope they help but I'm not sure of WC's policy, if any.

no, absolutely not! please, repeat the images. it saves a lot of time searching thru pages and pages of posted images to see what you're referring to and i'm sure this class will be looong.:thumbsup:

Judi1957
08-15-2006, 07:23 PM
Hi Mike-
Decided to do the grass first and it still needs some more mid tones and I think I should have pushed the darks a bit further in the beginning so I will work some more on it. Started the demo on stonehenge tablet. I am using a .5 mech pencil.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Aug-2006/37258-stage1.jpg

artdude
08-15-2006, 10:11 PM
Hi Mike, just wanted to drop in and say THANKS for such a detailed lesson! Looks like it's off to a GREAT start!! We ALL appreciate the time and effort you put into this! :clap: :thumbsup: :clap:

Unfortunately I don't have time to participate, but will certainly keep the PDF file of it on hand for future study :D



PS: why isn't there 5 stars on this thread yet?? Please rate this thread people! I wish we had a 10 star rating for this one! ;)




Murray :cool:
================

azulparsnip
08-15-2006, 11:42 PM
Thanks for a great lesson, and answering all those beginner type questions cause that's where I am at too, Gibson:)


I got most of my basic drawing on today - zinnia's. Tommorrow I will finish the shapes and move into the background layer. This is only my third ever graphite drawing, the second being the little copy I made of your little example.....

Sumariel
08-16-2006, 12:31 AM
Man, can I ever see I'm going to be the slow coach on this lesson. I'm still getting the hang of drawing around the white space, and everyone else has moved on into the big stuff, Yikes!!!
Suzi

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2006/82344-Swans.jpg

dotsart
08-16-2006, 03:35 AM
Whoops, sorry Mike, Late for class!

Thought when you snuck in about this class on your drawinglinetolife forum that I'd better get along here and see what I'm missing - a lot by the looks of things..

Well I've downloaded your workshop, so hopefully will get a look at that tonight.

Thanks for taking the time to do this Mike it is greatly appreciated. I really don't know where you find the time. I see Diane has snuck in here too and for such a busy lady, I think you and her work on a 48 hour day as you are both so busy with books etc.

Looking forward to trying this lesson out.

Dot:clap:

JayD
08-16-2006, 06:20 AM
By the way, folks-Artdude will be teaching the next class-I think you all will find it very "Valuable" so dont miss out--now back to you, Mike!

gibson99
08-16-2006, 10:51 AM
Mike - Thank you for answering all my questions. I am looking forward to starting on this as soon as I free up some of my time. I agree with ARTDUDE this thread deserves the top number of stars!

sultry
08-16-2006, 11:59 AM
Mike thanks for letting me know I am on the right track. I was a little worried because I drew it from memory instead of from a photo or actually looking at an object. I came home and noticed alot of areas I should of kept the paper white. So in a way it opened my eyes even more to see the white of the paper so to speak. As your teaching us to see the white become alive.

I am glad your showing us with everyone's image also, as Billie said we do not have to hunt for the image.

I agree with Murray this should be rated 10 or more stars.

:wave: Hi Judi, Jay & Billie its wierd to be in class with you all again.

mike sibley
08-16-2006, 05:36 PM
Decided to do the grass first and it still needs some more mid tones and I think I should have pushed the darks a bit further in the beginning so I will work some more on it. Started the demo on stonehenge tablet. I am using a .5 mech pencil.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_5.jpg
Looking good, Judi. However, I think you're trying too hard :wink2: I'd make those blacks as black as you can - the blacker they are, the wider will be your choice of intermediate tones. It's not easy for me to really understand what's going on here, but I think you need to bear in mind that those black areas are right in the background. Just work quickly, let those random shapes appear as they suggest them selves - if an area looks to be unnaturally detail-free, bland and uninteresting, miss a bit to relieve the visual boredom, then return later and darken it until it almost disappears. That's sufficient to fool the eye into believing there's something there, even though it cannot be understood. But that's Nature for you - everything cannot be understood all of of the time.

The fact that you use a .5 mechanical pencil might be limiting your spontaneity too. I prefer to use a poker - compared to your .5mm :) - as I use 2mm clutch pencils.

Mike, just wanted to drop in and say THANKS for such a detailed lesson!
Happy to oblige ;) Good to hear from you again Murray. I'm sorry you can't participate - maybe later? We may be here for some time... :D

I got most of my basic drawing on today - zinnia's. Tomorrow I will finish the shapes and move into the background layer. This is only my third ever graphite drawing, the second being the little copy I made of your little example.....
The Zinnia composition looks very interesting. Are you giving it a dark or shaded background so you can try out the negative drawing techniques?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_6.jpg
The small drawing is a little too small for me to comment on (even enlarged 200% in Photoshop!) - but you want to try avoiding the use of dark lines bordering the blades of grass (I'm assuming they represent the shadowy edges?). Try instead to engineer the tone of the leaf behind to create the edge of a blade crossing over in front. Nothing in life has a line around it.

If you repeat this exercise, for the purposes of learning, begin with the background (lightly outline the blades of grass if it helps) and complete it. That will have provided hard edges for all the mid-layer foliage. Then complete the mid-layer, which will serve to give complete borders for your foreground grass - no lines required - ever. Finally complete the foreground, and you should produce a very realistic result. Remember also, as you draw each layer, that the background layer needs no detail, the mid-layer may benefit from some detail, but leave the really detailed work for the foreground. That will increase the sense of recession and give real depth to your drawing.

Man, can I ever see I'm going to be the slow coach on this lesson. I'm still getting the hang of drawing around the white space, and everyone else has moved on into the big stuff, Yikes!!!
....but the Tortoise beat the Hare! :D

Don't worry, Suzi. Just keep practicing the way you are... and you're really doing well. Pick simple subjects at random - chair, jug, alarm clock... - something you can easily picture in your mind. Later, you'll find those exercises really help when you're drawing, as you'll be able to shade around subjects at will without having to think about them.

mike sibley
08-16-2006, 05:45 PM
Mike thanks for letting me know I am on the right track. I was a little worried because I drew it from memory instead of from a photo or actually looking at an object. I came home and noticed alot of areas I should of kept the paper white. So in a way it opened my eyes even more to see the white of the paper so to speak. As your teaching us to see the white become alive.
Working without a photo is far better for these exercises. The little demo I did of the reeds and water was purely imaginary. Not a photo in site :D

I did use photos for the main demo, but I only worked directly from them for the actual flowers and Hoverfly. Everything else was either just my interpretation of the photos in general or invention.

To make spontaneous negative drawing work for you, you really do need to develop your ability to picture forms on your white paper - to make "the white come alive" as you say (what a perfect way of describing it :) ). It's all about imagination, not photo ref sources.

Judi1957
08-16-2006, 07:15 PM
Hi Mike:wave: -Thanks for commenting-that really helped. I put down the .5 and switched to a woodless as that is fairly close to a clutch pencil. Worked on it a bit more and the woodless did help me loosen up a bit I think. I need to work on those veins a bit more too as well as some of the values between the two most completed large leaves. They are too close in value to each other here. Back to work.

danna23
08-16-2006, 08:08 PM
Hi Mike and all... I got your book, and have been reading all the posts and I think I'm ready to post my first WIP. I chose to do one of my own pictures, mainly because I have a thing about using anything of someone elses :o . I guess I'm just weird that way. I only have about 1 hour into it included the drawing. I just love the look of graphit pencil, and all the different shades of gray and black you can get.

Judi your's is looking great.

Teea
08-16-2006, 08:09 PM
A :clap: for everyone- looking good!
Had to give this a try..This was just as a warm up, but I think I'll continue it after I've done the other 'must do' works first- never really drawn a complete flower before, so it could be useful to finish this one..seems really fun way to draw, but I find it rather difficult to change the own working habits :o

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2006/84111-flower3.jpg

G'night,
~Teea

Fozbot
08-16-2006, 09:08 PM
Judi, great start, gf! how do you like the woodless pencils? i now have a few but haven't tried them yet.

Danna, i love calla lilies so i can't wait to see this one progress.:)

Teea!!! wow! that's stunning! you're a fast worker.

i'm just finishing up my last portrait for Al's class and then i'll be joining in.

azulparsnip
08-16-2006, 09:38 PM
Thanks Mike for the guidance on the small piece, I will be doing those small studies often for a while :)

I am taking the same approach with the zinnias so the tips about no outlining will be observed, hopefully ......Here's how is looks so far...just getting in 25 min. a day.....and loving every minute!!!!!!

Thanks again for a great workshop.

azulparsnip
08-16-2006, 09:45 PM
where does one go to rate a thread???

Mary Woodul
08-16-2006, 10:17 PM
You all are doing stunning work!

Mike, I promise I will post part of mine tomorrow. I have had life issues in the way but will get going on this now. My hands have been intching all week.:)

Azul, to rate a thread you go up to the top post and above the post there is a blue bar and one of the options it Rate Thread. You click on that and a menu with different ratings will open.

dotsart
08-17-2006, 05:15 AM
Well, got started with this last night. Major trauma - negative drawing AND plants! Could it get any worse - both of these I find really difficult, but battle on I will.

Here is what I've done so far....:(

dotsart
08-17-2006, 06:13 AM
Teea, what beautiful work - I just love this, looks so real.

Azulparsnip - at top of this lesson - there should be a tool bar where it gives options of:
'thread tools' - 'search this thread' - 'rating' and 'display modes'.
Just go into 'rating' and just click on on your voting option. Easy - even I can do it.

Dot

azulparsnip
08-17-2006, 07:12 AM
Thanks Dot,

Mike, on my zinnia piece know I need to darken the background real dark so I can then develope the range from there ......

I showed my husband this workshop and he was really impressed with your ability to communicate what is happening in the picture......thanks so much for doing this....

azulparsnip
08-17-2006, 07:14 AM
oh and thanks, Mary...somehow I missed your helpful post....

this is the best -

mmdm
08-17-2006, 10:00 AM
You know, I think this technique, if I can manage to learn it, will get me over my fear of complicated backgrounds in both drawing and painting. I rarely do any kind of landscape because of it. Your wonderful bindvine drawing is a bit intimidating for me to start with so I will try to find something smaller and simpler or either do just a small area of it to start with.

Is it really neccessary to have all the different hardnesses of pencil? I have 6B, 4B, 2B, and Hb but really only use the 6B and 2B so I hate to bother buying more that I won't use. Actually, I wouldn't know when to use which, which is probably why I only use 2 of the ones I have now! Any tips on that, if you have time, would be really helpful. Thanks so much for all the work you've already done. I'm going to give that 5 star rating now, that this thread deserves.

gibson99
08-17-2006, 10:15 AM
Melisa - I agree with you. I have always been intimidated by complicated backgrounds and this thread might help me with that:)

Sumariel
08-17-2006, 10:48 AM
Mike, obviously I have not yet even gotten enough of a start on this to post more than the negative swans, am still working at it, though. I just wanted to say, the technique itself, and training the eye to see white areas as "alive" is helping me do a portrait of a friend whose hair is blond. Neat! Thanks!
Suzi

danna23
08-17-2006, 11:33 AM
OK.. I totally love doing this, for some reason I have no problem thinking backwards :rolleyes: . I keep thinking I want to work more in color and than I find more graphit I want to do, though I did get the new derwent pencils with just a hint of color that I really want to try. Oh, specs.. 7x10 on canson vellum bristol and so far I've used only 2B and a little 4B. Looking at this picture, I think I can go blacker in my really dark areas.

Here is a new update, I will be working on it today since I cleaned my house yesterday I get to play today :clap: .

Teea your piece is just beautiful, I love your clean/crisp work :thumbsup: .

mmdm
08-17-2006, 11:48 AM
Danna - That looks great already

John - I'm glad I'm not alone with my fear of complicated backgrounds. :) I really think this will help us lick it, though. I'm going to try it in my painting, too.

Looks like everyone who has gotten started is "getting it" so maybe I can do this, huh?

I picked out a photo ref from the image library and will try just a small 5x7 first. Hopefully, that is not too small to get enough detail in. Got some appointments this afternoon but maybe I can start tonight.

Fireman's kid
08-17-2006, 01:44 PM
I love what everyone has posted so far. :thumbsup: I'm still in the reading and absorbing stage. I do think I'll have a go at some simple white shapes before diving into the complex.

As I read the WIP, I find myself wondering how this method of drawing would work with a light or mid-toned background. I'm thinking it could work equally as well, but since I haven't actually put pencil to paper yet, I'm not really sure. Mike, any input on that?

One thing I am sure of...Mike's book is going on my Christmas list!! :D

Sumariel
08-17-2006, 01:50 PM
OK, Mike I am an idiot, and am going to try something I have never been brave enough to do. You keep talking about using your imagination for the background. Well, I do have a piture reference for the background I want, but it's not exact. Oh well, if I never try it, I'll never know. And your technique is ideally suited for the pic I want. I'm holding my nose tightly, and getting ready to dive!!!!
Suzi

IslanderNL
08-17-2006, 02:55 PM
This is my horse, Kit. Part Newfoundland/part Morgan, 4 years old (if anyone cares to know)

I've been toying with this one for a few days, but haven't tackled the background so I guess I've been going at it a bit backwards as I tend to do sometimes. :)

The principle is the same however and seems to work as I build layers in her face and onto the neck. I will tackle more background, but its rather light and the horse is the dark part in this one. I'm not sure if it clearly represents negative drawing or not. Mike?

Oh, and its small - 8 x 5 Canson sketchbook with mechanical pencil 2B lead

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Aug-2006/67422-Kit.jpg

And my reference

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Aug-2006/67422-August_13_080.jpg

gibson99
08-17-2006, 03:58 PM
Jeanette - Beautiful hoarse, great start on your drawing:thumbsup:

mike sibley
08-17-2006, 05:55 PM
Worked on it a bit more and the woodless did help me loosen up a bit I think. I need to work on those veins a bit more too as well as some of the values between the two most completed large leaves. They are too close in value to each other here.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_1.jpg
This is coming along well, Judi. I agree about the values of the two leaves - but bear in mind too that both are background/midground elements, so maybe they could both be darker? Eventually you'll want those flowers to really shine bright-white, so keep your lighter tones for the foreground.
I chose to do one of my own pictures, mainly because I have a thing about using anything of someone elses . I guess I'm just weird that way.
Not at all weird! :) Whatever you feel most comfortable with is best. I only suggested using my composition because the line drawing is available to save you some time.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_2.jpg
I must say you've made a great start! Really good deep blacks that are going to allow brilliant white highlights on the flower. And some nice touches of vague interest within the shadows. Ultimately they'll be subconsciously read as background detail, which will add extra depth to the piece.
..seems really fun way to draw, but I find it rather difficult to change the own working habits.
It certainly can take some getting used to, but it is a very useful method that can often solve problems where other methods fail. Especially useful for drawing the stamens inside your flower, which almost entirely exist because of the tone that surrounds them.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_4.jpg
Superb drawing - lovely broad range of tones. If this is a warm-up, I'm throwing my pencils away! :D
I am taking the same approach with the zinnias so the tips about no outlining will be observed, hopefully...
There's nothing wrong with outlining, as long as they have disappeared by the time you've completed it. But if you habitally outline in the background areas, you'll lose the spontaneity that negative drawing affords in that area.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Aug-2006/9379-pg5_3.jpg
I've adjusted your image to what I think it probably looks like. If I'm right, your blacks could be even deeper. The end result, will feature a pure white flower, so keep that in mind as you work. The darker your background darks are, the whiter that flower will appear.

lynnb
08-17-2006, 09:13 PM
:wave: Everyone has done such a great job with this.

I am late to start this class, but I'm trying to catch up. I think that this class is awesome:thumbsup: Thank-you so much for sharing your techniques with us Mike!!!:D

Mike you may have already answered this question before, but do you typically use photo references or do you draw from life alot? Also, as previously ask by someone else: do you have to have all of those different pencils and how does one know which one to use?

Here is my negative drawing exercise. Oh, the white blob on the lower left side is suppose to be my computer mouse; I forgot to leave the part for the cord white (oops). I didn't notice that until I posted it.

Sumariel
08-18-2006, 12:29 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2006/82344-Serenity.jpg

Well, guys, I am going to provide the first comic relief to this thread. The poor swan is riding at high tide in a pond. I think I am very glad I decided to work on copy paper until I got the hang of it.:cat:
Suzi

danna23
08-18-2006, 10:42 AM
Happy Friday all,

Thank you Mike for your comments. Here is an update of my piece, I made the darks darker and started some of the medium range leaves. The leaf at the top isn't done yet, I just need to grab the computer when I can.

Suzi that was your fun piece, it's very sweet.
Judi your's is coming along very nicely.

Sumariel
08-18-2006, 10:53 AM
Danna,
Just look at those wonderful leaves in the shadows! Nice job! In fact, all that have gone to larger pieces are doing well, guess I'd better get serious?
Suzi

Mary Woodul
08-18-2006, 06:42 PM
Everyone is doing such wonderful work here.

Mike, I chose the fragment of your drawing that you have at the end of your tutorial because I have been short of time and that looks a little less time consuming. I think I still have to go a lot darker with the darks befor starting with the mid tones. This is wooden 4b and 7b on Strathmore Bristol Smooth.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2006/43096-102-7-1.jpg

Judi1957
08-18-2006, 08:54 PM
Danna-Looks great-that ref is awesome too!

Teea-:eek: :eek: :clap: :clap: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Wow!

Billie-I do like the woodless pencils-though I wish I knew where my leads for my clutch pencils were. I haven't seen them for years. I am afraid they got lost in the move when Pat and I married.:( I am going to break down and order some-after I order Mike's book.

Suzi-Looks good!

Lynne-Nice work-especially on the chair!

Jeanette-Kit is such a gorgeous horse-I can't wait to watch her develop! I know you and she will be spectacular!

Mary-Looking so very nice and I really like the crop!

I forgot to say my drawing is 11" h X 6" w.
Posting Stage 3. Mike you are so right:thumbsup: -I added several more layers to the leaves you commented on. I am still not satisfied with the veins-but I will go back to that and the upper right leaves.

Teea
08-19-2006, 08:10 AM
:wave:
Woot, I think I'm getting hang of this- started a new little exercise, frog this time (horrible scan, sorry guys)..difficult, but yet so much fun! Thanks to everyone who commented the last lil work- I'll come reply later today :D Back to work.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Aug-2006/84111-frog1.jpg

~Teea

Fozbot
08-19-2006, 11:01 AM
Sults!! hey GF! yup, we're classmates once again. i can't believe you did your test piece from memory!!!

Judi, great work so far!

Azul, good start!!

Suzi..wow! combo refs for your first piece. you're the adventurous type, i see.:cool: way to go!

Jeanette, excellent shadow work on the horse.:thumbsup:

Mary, also another great start!

Teea, i think you've got this mastered right out of the starting gate. love your frog.:clap:

ok..i'm still looking for my reference.:rolleyes: i plan to do some photo taking today around the yard. it's pretty overcast so i'm not sure what i'll come up/w. i may use the ref Mike generously provided for us if all else fails. btw, i already rated this class based on Mike's Xcellent intro alone.:thumbsup:

gibson99
08-19-2006, 12:06 PM
Mike - OK , I think I getting this. First I could only find 400 series paper, but it seems OK. Next I am hatching and cross-hatching and layering with abandon and with total disregard to the shine. I am not pressing to hard as to break the paper but I am pressing harder then I usually do when hatching. I keep going over the dark areas to try and make them darker, looking for any white spots or light areas. I will work some more on the darks tonight. The thing about hatching is that it is so relaxing:thumbsup:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Aug-2006/44925-bush082.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Aug-2006/44925-paper083.jpg

Sumariel
08-19-2006, 01:26 PM
Thanks, Billie, but, it really wasn't working for what we are supposed to be learning, I am thinking of falling back on this one, since it has some really neat negative shapes that will flow with the class. So much for adventure. . .
Suzi

IslanderNL
08-19-2006, 01:52 PM
Beautiful things are appearing here...

Judi, you've got the hang of it alright and are moving well ahead. I've looked for clutch pencils with a larger lead locally. I can find the clutch pencils, but not the right leads. Typical! :rolleyes: I'll have to order some.

Mary, lovely detailed start. I think your darks can be even darker, but its so difficult to show this in a scan or photo I find.

Teea, beautiful frog. Your work is so clear and clean (even with a bad scan) :)

Thanks Billie, I've worked a little more on the horse, then decided that the background is too nebulous to continue with, so I've chosen another reference to do.

Suzi, brave references! I'm sure you'll pull it all together.

John, good paper choice, its nice and firm. And good start on your drawing too. I use mostly a 2B mechanical pencil for mine and underlay (or overlay) with a darker pencil to get those deep deep blacks with a 4B. Hatching will get you there, so will patience. :)

This is as far as the horse image is going and here's the start of the new reference. Done on Bristol Vellum 9 x 12.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Aug-2006/67422-August_19_005.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Aug-2006/67422-August_19_009.jpg

Sumariel
08-19-2006, 02:21 PM
Nice, Jeanette! I was looking at the blonde you did for Al's class, as I am doing a portrait of a blonde as a Christmas present, I too have had to use some light sprays of chocolate in her hair. It's an ash blonde, so the reddish hues do not work well. Thanks for the vote of confidence. That pic is a dream I have of a series of three, Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom, from my favorite prayer. One of these days I will pull it together, even if it isn't for this class.
Suzi

Teea
08-19-2006, 04:45 PM
Jeanette- ^_^ That horse drawing is really coming alive by those tones, keep it up! And then is that flower drawing: nothing to nit, looks great so far.

Suzi- Good choice of reference! Do you have a colored pictures to use as well or just the bw ones? That drawing is going to be a beauty..hope to see the final :)

gibson99- How's that paper feeling? Must be really smooth to fit to airbrush use..I've been wondering is that even too smooth or is it good for pencils as well? For some reason that paper is very expensive here, so not sure will I buy one to test. You got a good start there, keep on hatching :D

Billie- Thank you..but mastered this? I doubt that :lol:

Judi- :lol: You're doing brilliant work, those darks makes a huge difference- great, great, great :clap:

Mary- Wonderful so far- you chose a good spot!

I'll place my mini-update here, a better scan this time and few leafs..other work waits (oh hurrah..grrrn)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Aug-2006/84111-frog2.jpg

~Teea

Sumariel
08-19-2006, 05:26 PM
OMG, Teea, that frog is gonna be wonderful!

I only have a b&w photo for reference, but there are plenty of references out on the web of water and reeds should I decide to ever do this one in color. Thanks,
Suzi

Fozbot
08-19-2006, 09:01 PM
Suzi, love the new ref!! i like the action of the swan in this one. sorry the first didn't work out.

Jeanette, too bad. your horse was looking good.:) i've had a heck of a time finding a ref for the same reason. think i finally found what i'm looking for.

Teea, i think you're a whiz at this! i hope i do as well.

Sumariel
08-20-2006, 01:23 AM
Billie, I am too, but I wonder if I am going to have to get more daring in order for it not to drip with syrup. BTW, I see you have a black kitty, I miss mine, hope she is as much company as my Silky was!!
Suzi

Fozbot
08-20-2006, 01:39 PM
Suzi, i doubt this swan will look cutsy if that's what you meant. they'll raise their wings and flap them like that usually to show agression. if you can capture that action/attitude in your drawing it'll be a great finished piece. that's Raven in my profile pic. she's my right hand gal. kinda persnickity but a great cat.;)

Sumariel
08-20-2006, 02:44 PM
A friend once said of my Silk that she thought she was the empress of the 20 known universes. I disagreed. She KNEW she was the empress. So, yes, they can get persnickety. Glad she's a good companion. I am hoping to catch that "attitude", wish me luck!!
Suzi

mmdm
08-20-2006, 07:09 PM
My internet connection has been down for the last few days and I see most of you have been busy busy while I was waiting for my connection to come back. I did work on a little 5x7 drawing of some blueberries last night. Here is how I started the background, and then where I am now. My paper is a little rough for getting really dark darks, but I just keep layering it on there. Hope I'm on the right track with this.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2006/9614-negberries.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2006/9614-blueberriesweb.jpg

IslanderNL
08-20-2006, 07:14 PM
Thanks Suzi, Teea and Billie. :)

Melissa, wonderful blueberries, I was thinking of doing blueberries too, but hadn't created a reference image for it yet. Soon... Yes its difficult to get good darks on rougher paper, isn't it?

Here's my update on my 'weeds'. Its slowly coming together.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2006/67422-August_20_026.jpg

and a closer view

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2006/67422-August_20_029.jpg

azulparsnip
08-20-2006, 11:03 PM
I couldn't finish the zinnia's because I started this one with the weekend drawing event so here it is - WIP - I hope I can get the lights to come forward - that will make THE difference......I really like this approach and it is helping me to develope better range....this is of grape hyacinths

Teea, that frog and feathers is the STUFF

Islander those flowers and vines look great

mmdm - the blueberries have nice highlights

I hope to finish mine tommorrow....how long will this thread be up??

Robin Neudorfer
08-21-2006, 12:41 AM
For as long as Wet Canvas exists, Azul. Unfortunately we won't have Mike S. much longer, however there are some great artists here that will be available for critiques.
Welcome to Class 102-7.

mmdm
08-21-2006, 07:59 AM
Thanks Jeanette, and Azul! I forgot to mention my ref photo was from the reference library here.

Jeanette - I feel like I could crawl right into your drawing. It's really looking great.

Azul - Looking good. I think you are right about the lights making the hyacinths pop forward in the end.

Teea - Both of your drawings are amazing.

Hope I didn't forget anyone, but I have lost my post twice and had to retype from memory and my memory is not that reliable! LOL!

I think this is the first time I have ever started a drawing with the background instead of the foreground. I've done it with paintings of course, but never drawings. I don't know why. It does make sense to do it that way. Thanks so much for introduing us to this method, Mike. I'll be trying more of these!

Sumariel
08-21-2006, 09:11 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2006/82344-swangrass.jpg

Well, by no means do I think I have this concept down, I will keep struggling, here is my feeble effort so far.
Suzi

*Deirdre*
08-21-2006, 04:44 PM
Mike...so sorry I wasn't able to start at the beginning...however...I'm trying hard to catch up! For quickness...:p I've traced your drawing after enlarging it to fit A3...I figured if I did it larger I might stand a chance of getting it right!
So...Here it is with my first darks...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2006/33616-mike1.jpg

Sumariel
08-21-2006, 05:29 PM
Wow! Deirdre, you show just how dark I need to go yet! Am getting a bit more of a handle, I think, but, quite a ways to go yet.
Suzi
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2006/82344-swangrass_002.jpg

veedubya
08-21-2006, 06:57 PM
WHEW!! That's a lot of great information!

In my experience, the most common problem for beginning artists is "not enough contrast"! You really demonstrate how important that is!

*Deirdre*
08-22-2006, 06:55 AM
I hope I'm doing this right...it looks a bit messy though!:o
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Aug-2006/33616-mike2.jpg

KSH
08-22-2006, 03:43 PM
Ok I've just now had a bit of time to tackle this. This is a good exercise for me Mike since sometimes my drawings don't have that full range of tones that I'd like so much in yours. I've taken your drawing and transfered it to my usual - Strathmore 400 Series Smooth and using my mechanical pencils, 2B, HB mostly. Any C&Cs are welcomed. I did lift off a few highlights with BluTac in a couple of places.

*Deirdre*
08-22-2006, 05:36 PM
I've spent a few more hours....
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Aug-2006/33616-mike3.jpg

Judi1957
08-22-2006, 06:08 PM
Jeanette, Azul, Karen, Suzi and Dee---those look wonderful!!!:thumbsup:

I hope to post later tonight.

IslanderNL
08-22-2006, 06:49 PM
Thanks Azul, I'm enjoying the process with this.

mmdm, thank you. I love the depth that this method gives, don't you? The background does allow me to set the tones for the foreground and make them really stand out.

Suzi,you're making a good start on your drawing. And its not feeble! Just take your time to develop the darks and push the reeds behind the swan into the background. What pencils are you using for this? You may need to layer with a very soft pencil like a 4B or higher to get the darks you want.

Dee, your leaves are coming on so well. They look like burnished maple leaves and your darks are definitely there. Lovely.

Here's my update. I have a couple or four more hours left to go on this one I think then I'm calling it quits. I love the 'busy' feel to it and the process is rather like piecing together a jigsaw. Its taken away my fear of intense backgrounds. This piece is on 9 x 12 Bristol Vellum

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Aug-2006/67422-August_22_076.jpg

Mary Woodul
08-22-2006, 06:50 PM
Everyone is doing a marvelous job!

Virginia, how nice to see you over here!

I have been lagging behind but hope to get my darks dark enough to post tomorrow with the midtones.

Mary Woodul
08-22-2006, 06:52 PM
Wow, Dee those leaves are looking awesome. It looks like a reflector is on them.

Robin Neudorfer
08-22-2006, 07:06 PM
Wonderful work here!
Oh, how I wish I could jump in to this, BUT I AM GOING TO DC.
I get to meet two of our wonderful Wet Canvas Guides.
Priorities, you know.

Fireman's kid
08-22-2006, 07:56 PM
BUT I AM GOING TO DC.
Oh sure Robin, rub it in. :rolleyes: ;)

Jeanette, your drawing looks great! I love the little flowers against the dense background stuff.

Dee - you may not have started at the beginning, but you're flying now! And it's looking really good. :)

Well I finally got a tiny start myself. Worked on this at the pool while my girls swam. It's in my sketchbook and I only had one pencil (a 4B) and no eraser. First I tried some negative shapes. I found I really had to concentrate to visualize they white shapes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Aug-2006/31442-WC_D102_L7_neg_shapes.jpg

Then I tried the grass practice. I think I ran into difficulties when it was time to fill in between the top layer and the bottom layer. Any advice? Or does it just take more practice?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Aug-2006/31442-WC_D102_L7_grass_practice.jpg

I hope to get started on the bindweed piece next. :angel:

Sumariel
08-22-2006, 07:56 PM
Thanks, Jeanette, for not thinking it feeble, I am using a 2B, and you may be right and I need to go darker with the pencil, I sure need to push the darks more than I have!

Hey Robin, is this about a promotion? You have certainly earned one, with all the help you've given us. Enjoy yourself.
Suzi

KSH
08-22-2006, 11:20 PM
Everyone's drawings are really looking great. What I like is even though most are doing the same drawing you can see each individual's interpretation if it in their own style. Here's tonight's update. Hope I'm getting the darks dark enough.

*Deirdre*
08-23-2006, 04:25 AM
Karen...you're doing really well....you asked about the darks....I 'borrowed' your drawing...darkened it in PS just to show you you could go darker!:wink2:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Aug-2006/33616-Bindweedd.jpg

Robin Neudorfer
08-23-2006, 04:35 AM
Now Stacy... you had your chance. You decided to be an ARTIST instead.

Nope, no promotion. Nothing to be promoted from.
Just asked hubby for a few frequent flier miles to go meet some WC buddies. How about that for a good time. I am doing the happy dance.
It is a business trip however, because the museums will be buzzin' after the three of us get done there. We are going to claim our wall space.

Now you all hold down the fort....

Striver
08-23-2006, 04:48 AM
Hi all, Life as expected took me over past 14 days, just back to the land of pencils i thought , perhaps tomorrow i could join you. Seems someone volunteered me to help out at an exhibition 2days and also I am to babysit the G/kids over w/e. What happened to my life. So cant start until Mon/Tues, see I am not the only late started so i take heart.
Islander & Dee that looks great, think i will see if i can print a copy for a quick start, seems such a jumble to freehand it.
In anticipation of some sanity next week?
Les

Fireman's kid
08-23-2006, 11:23 AM
I've noticed that Mike hasn't been around, so I went back and checked. The last time he posted here was on the 17th. In his post he didn't mention that he wasn't going to be here. Does anyone know if he is okay?

I know he is a professional artist with a busy life, so hopefully that is it.

Can anyone tell that I'm a worrier by nature? :rolleyes: I'm working on getting over that. :)

JayD
08-23-2006, 12:50 PM
Hi Stacy--Judi and I are trying to reach him to make sure he is ok--we will let you guys know if we hear back.

IslanderNL
08-23-2006, 08:40 PM
Here's hoping all is well with Mike and nothing more than mechanical problems are causing absence.

Meanwhile, I have completed my 'weeds' and like the final product. I'm sure I could pick at it for days trying for perfection, so instead I'll put it away for a week then have a look and see if it needs anything more.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Aug-2006/67422-August_23_003.jpg

bsnowden
08-23-2006, 09:33 PM
Very nice Jeanette!

Fozbot
08-23-2006, 09:44 PM
Dee, azul, KSH...lookin' good!:thumbsup:

Suzi, your swan is coming along really well!!! the darker you get that BG the whiter the swan will look.


Jeanette, those are the best looking weeds i've ever seen and that's coming from a longtime gardener!:lol:

IslanderNL
08-24-2006, 05:09 AM
Hey Bernice, nice to see you again. And thanks. Having seen your amazing chrysanthemum, I take your words as a real compliment. :)

Thanks Billie. If there's one thing I can do, its grow weeds well!

SparrowHawk7
08-24-2006, 06:57 AM
I haven't been around since I posted my first sitting at negative drawing. Since then I've been extremely ill and, now that I'm improving, a client is pressing for me to start on a commission. So I am going to have to set this aside for the moment. I didn't want to just disappear here ... I'll return when I have time to work more on this.

Everyone's work looks wonderful.

Ken

bsnowden
08-24-2006, 09:06 AM
Glad you're feeling better Ken. Looking forward to having you finish this some time. I've been working on one from a photo I took of gooseberries. It's 8 x 6 on Bristol smooth with a 2B mechanical pencil. I'm finding it hard to stick to the black spaces and not to not "finish" certain areas. Also, I see from the scan that I can still refine the areas that I worked on. I think working slowly and a lot of patience is what this method demands. I'm liking it very much.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Aug-2006/55653-scan0015.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Aug-2006/55653-scan0014.jpg

cmwynn
08-24-2006, 02:40 PM
Had the tardy bell rung yet? Am I so late I can't squeeze in the class at all? I thought I would do this last week, but was so intimidated that I kept putting it off. So much detail, No Erasing?? And I always have a hard time getting things as dark as I like. But finally I just did it, using a very rough style. Using a very flat paper also helped with getting the darks.
I do understand that there should not be huge blocks of just black, to avoid visual boredom. But that is what I have to do to start. I got some tendrils and such in, but not as much as I should.
The first drawing is a very rough take-off of the demonstration, believe it or not. I got too confused to draw all the lines, so adjusted what I put down. My sister came by and said it was very elegant, but I know better. But it is a start.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Aug-2006/29839-Neg_Drw_step_onexm.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Aug-2006/29839-Negative_Drawing_step_2xm.jpg
Then I drew a sea scene, mostly sea horse, though I hope no marine biologists are looking. I got a little more detail in but would like to see this done by someone who is really good at this technique.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Aug-2006/29839-Seahorse_step_onexm.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Aug-2006/29839-Seahorse_step_twoxm.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Aug-2006/29839-Seahorse_step_threexm.jpg
Mike - thank you for presenting this class. I would never have tried this otherwise. I think I understand the ideas you have discussed and perhaps with practice will do better drawings.

mike sibley
08-25-2006, 10:42 AM
Where's Mike? Has he joined a monastery? Gone a trek around the world? Died?

No. I apologise sincerely for my sudden absence - due entirely to the Tortoise mentality of BT (British Telecom). Following high winds and a cloudburst, both of our phone lines went dead on the night of Thursday 17th. All my replies to you, that I wrote on the morning of Friday 18th are still sitting on my desktop waiting to be sent. I've driven over to my Father's place to send this to you.

The lines are still down - an underground break or water damage. BT say they'll try to fix it either tomorrow (Saturday) or next Tuesday. If they think that's acceptable service, I hate to think how long they could take if they really tried!

KSH
08-25-2006, 10:58 AM
Mike it is good to hear you didn't fall in a hole somewhere. I would imagine without the phone ringing, or having to answer a multitude of e-mails, work on websites, moderate forums and drawing classes, not to mention everything else you do you must have been pretty productive around the house and drawing right? :wink2:

I don't envy your time at your computer though when everything is working again but we look forward to seeing you back.

Take care. :wave:

JayD
08-25-2006, 11:04 AM
Mike Welcome Back! I was about to Fed Ex you a St Bernard and a Cask of Brandy! Sorry to hear about the phone lines. Sounds like British Telecom is being run by Americans!!

Fireman's kid
08-25-2006, 11:21 AM
Mike! Glad you are back!! Now that I know no horrible fate has befallen you I can cross you off my worry list. :D Hope the lines get fixed soon so you can return to the modern world. :)

Fozbot
08-25-2006, 12:44 PM
WB, Mike!!!:) thought we lost you for good.:(

Sumariel
08-25-2006, 01:25 PM
Mike, it's good to know that you and your family are fine, hope BT doesn't drive you to distraction!
Suzi

*Deirdre*
08-25-2006, 06:55 PM
Mike - Good to know nothing changes! BT Forever....because that's how long it takes!:evil:
While you were gone I got a bit more done...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Aug-2006/33616-mike4.jpg I'll do it in daylight next time so it shows up without the flash!

danna23
08-26-2006, 01:47 PM
Hey everyone... no I haven't forgotten all of you or this class. I went back to work this week after a nice long summer break. I'm always sooooo tired during the first week back. Anyway I plan on finishing this over the weekend, I miss my art. I work at a school and someone had throwen out the best board, I grabbed it and thought it would make a great drawing board. We never stop thinking about art do we :rolleyes: . I had been looking for something to lay my watercolor paper on after I soak it. Nothing better than FREE stuff.


Deepart... you've go some major blacks, it's hard to go that black without a shine.

Islander... you've done such a nice job, I hope you use this a lot in your future drawings.

Connie... I can't believe how busy you've been and each one just gets better and better.

bsnowden... This is just great, I'm looking forward to an update.

Well back to the drawing board :lol: .
Here's my update.

*Deirdre*
08-26-2006, 04:04 PM
Thanks Danna...It was the flash...it doesn't have such a shine when scanned!:D
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Aug-2006/33616-mike5.jpg

JayD
08-26-2006, 10:30 PM
Hey, Dee--looks great!!

*Deirdre*
08-27-2006, 10:37 AM
Thanks Jay!:heart: :D Where's yours?:evil: :p

JayD
08-27-2006, 11:02 AM
I'm one of Al's special "slow" students. Outside of WC I am overwhelmed with the selling of this old house and the buying of the new house. The envionmental impact study was copleted, except for the historical research phase, on Friday--that was holding us up so hopefully in a couple to three weeks or so, I should be my old WC Pesky self again. Keep fingers crossed--by then I HOPE I will be jumping into Mikes's class.

OH BY THE WAY, STUDENTS--I AM EXTENDING THIS CLASS FOR ONE MORE WEEK. MIKE SHOULD BE, ACCORDING TO A SIBLEY NAMED PHIL, BACK IN THE INTERNET SADDLE BY TUESDAY. ENJOY!!!!!

Fozbot
08-27-2006, 12:40 PM
Connie, great job on your vine and sea horse! i really like using a sea horse as a subject!
Dee, your's looks fantastic!!:thumbsup:

Danna, the callas are such a beauiful subject and you're doing an amazing job on these.:clap:

talk about tardy, it's my middle name.:rolleyes: i've got this to show just so everyone knows i HAVE been working. i'm not sure i chose the best subject, tho. i loved this ref for the cup on the daffodil. thanks to mustcreate for the photo.:) approx. 4 1/2" X 7 1/2" on Stonehenge.

JayD
08-27-2006, 04:13 PM
Billie, Bravo!!!

beebluefern
08-27-2006, 04:26 PM
Yay! I'm glad it's being extended because I've just decided I want to participate...I really need to get back to basics and this looks like just the ticket for me!!! I downloaded the demo and will work from that...guess I better get started!! I did practice on some negative drawing today as well...hey, that's not easy! I am sadly, years behind in drawing skills!:(

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Aug-2006/34609-negativedrawing.jpg

Fozbot
08-27-2006, 11:27 PM
thanks JayD!:) lots more work to do on this one, tho.

Fozbot
08-29-2006, 04:04 PM
i'm on a roll so here's my latest update.

*Deirdre*
08-29-2006, 04:15 PM
We've seen the photo...where's your drawing Billie?:p :clap:

Fozbot
08-29-2006, 04:19 PM
LOL! thanks Dee...i think.:confused: i had to tweak the comp a bit so you can tell it from the photo.;) the texture of this Stonehenge is doing a lot of the work for me. yes!

*Deirdre*
08-29-2006, 04:23 PM
Yes Billie...my way of saying your drawing is excellent!:p Well done!

Robin Neudorfer
08-29-2006, 04:27 PM
This is lovely Billie! Will this also become a wc?

Sumariel
08-29-2006, 04:38 PM
OOOOOOOHHH! Billie, that is lovely!
Suzi

Fozbot
08-29-2006, 04:51 PM
thanks Robin and Suzi for your comments.:) i knew what you meant, Dee but thanks for clearing it up anyway.;) Robin! so glad to see you back! are you back from DC as well? i'm not sure this will be a wc yet or not. that medium is so frustrating for me.:evil:

Robin Neudorfer
08-29-2006, 05:09 PM
Yes...I am back Billie. It was a wonderful, action packed 4 days. We filled our heads with traditional, abstract, master's drawings, sculpture, and architecture.
Ate food from around the world, and talked into the night. Anita is off today, moving into her next adventure, and I spent the day plein air painting, after getting my youngest off to her first day of H.S.
Don't let wc get you down. It is worth the challenge.

Sumariel
08-29-2006, 05:44 PM
Hi, Robin, good to see you are back, looks like you had fun!
Suzi

Robin Neudorfer
08-29-2006, 06:06 PM
Thanks Suzi, I sure did. Inspired me big time.

Striver
08-30-2006, 05:02 PM
Hi all
had a couple of days to my self at last and been able to try to catch up on what i have been missing out on.
So have made a start, it is time consuming but I am on the way. Following you Dee hope your cracking it.
Les

*Deirdre*
08-30-2006, 05:32 PM
Les...You're doing well! Me? I'm treading water, awaiting some feedback...at least that's MY excuse!:evil: :lol: :lol:

houligan
08-31-2006, 12:38 PM
Amazing! Amazing! I can see I will be here quite often, Thank-You for the wonderful lessons.

Robin Neudorfer
08-31-2006, 01:49 PM
JayD - what is with this... sign on as an instructor and life goes kattywompus.

Welcome to Wet Canvas Denise. Do come back it is an exciting place. All of the classes are open and active, not just this one.

Sumariel
08-31-2006, 02:20 PM
I am cross posting this drawing from the WDT simply because I did not finish my project for this class, and I want to show Mr. Sibley that I am using the methods he taught us here for my drawings, even though I "failed" the class. I have truly enjoyed learning this way of pushing the contrast in my work to a higher degree. Thank you, sir, for taking the time with us.
Suzi

Fozbot
08-31-2006, 02:41 PM
Well, Mike...where are ya? BT must be the slowest utility company in the world.:(

Striver
08-31-2006, 04:01 PM
Nice one Suzi

*Deirdre*
08-31-2006, 04:12 PM
Well, Mike...where are ya? BT must be the slowest utility company in the world.:(
Funny you should say that!:evil: :wink2:

dotsart
08-31-2006, 04:19 PM
Hi everyone,

Mike is still about as he has replied a little in 'drawinglinetolife'. From what I can gather, BT is still giving him grief but he has managed to reply to some of old questions. Stick with it guys, I'm sure he will be back soon.

BT can be the pitts! it must be said. All they want is your dosh! and Mike does live out in the sticks, so maybe that is part of the problem.

I am enjoying all your chat, thank you for keeping me entertained...:lol:

I have been struggling to do any drawing at the moment as I had what the hospital thought was torn ligiments in my ankle, but was back at own hospital the other day and it was a fracture, so ankle in brace and back to hobbling about, can't get comfy to draw, so a bit of a bother. But that is what you get when you fall off the caravan steps when on holiday....and I was sober, not fair..at least if I had had a few, I might not have felt it..:o

Dot

Striver
08-31-2006, 04:30 PM
Cheers Dot, patience and time for you now.
Les

IslanderNL
08-31-2006, 07:28 PM
Ahhhh yes, I remember the joys of British Tel...waiting 3 months for a telephone to be installed when I lived on a farm in Somerset....seems they haven't changed a bit, have they?

Billie, the drawing that I saw which you've done to date looks simply marvellous. Not being an expert by any stretch of the imagination, I'd say you have negative drawing down pat.

Fozbot
09-01-2006, 01:35 PM
Suzi, great job on the apples and table. nice work on all those ellipses! you're getting those darks going good, too.:)

Jeanette, thanks for your comment on my daff.:) i've done more work on it but i'm waiting for Mike (or BT rather) so we can get our teacher back b4 posting anymore updates.

Sumariel
09-01-2006, 04:36 PM
Thanks, Billie, I gave up on the swan for now, as it needs completely reworked, I'll do it, someday, since swans are a fascination for me.
Suzi

mike sibley
09-02-2006, 03:17 PM
Hi - I'm back... at last! Both phone lines working again and most of the email mountain conquered! :biggrin:

I had replies ready two weeks ago when we went offline so I'm posting them now before I update myself on progress. Out of date ... but there might be something helpful in there.

mike sibley
09-02-2006, 03:22 PM
Major trauma - negative drawing AND plants! Could it get any worse - both of these I find really difficult, but battle on I will.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Sep-2006/9379-pg6_1.jpg
...and you're winning, Dot! Good darks, not detailed, nice partially vague shapes - but watch that bottom left corner. I fear that corner will catch the eye when you've finished, as it's unnaturally empty. You could cut in a feature or two with Blu-Tack, then tone them down until they almost disappear. One big leaf might solve the problem - the nearest edge just visible, the farthest lost in the shade. Don't be worried about plants! Break it down into small areas that you understand three-dimensionally, and it will gradually grow bit by bit until you finally have nothing else to complete.

Your getting a good feeling of form with that right-hand leaf. The ribs are not intrusive either, and will be less so once the final layer is applied.
I think this technique, if I can manage to learn it, will get me over my fear of complicated backgrounds in both drawing and painting. I rarely do any kind of landscape because of it. Your wonderful bindvine drawing is a bit intimidating for me to start with so I will try to find something smaller and simpler or either do just a small area of it to start with.
Negative drawing is a very useful way of dividing work into manageable sections. When you only need to concentrate on one small area, the overall study slowly grows without the stress involved in trying to work on the whole drawing at one time.

Using just a part of my study is a very good idea - or invent your own really small one. My little "combination" demo is only 2"x3" and took perhaps an hour to complete. This method evolved because I too needed to greatly simply the building of backgrounds. I'm all in favour of simple! In my case it makes logical sense. My drawings usually contain dogs, which have detailed hairy outlines. I could draw those edge hairs first and then attempt to fit the background around them - but it's far simpler to negatively draw around the dog, establishing the edge hairs as I do so, then to complete the background before beginning work on the dog.
Is it really neccessary to have all the different hardnesses of pencil? I have 6B, 4B, 2B, and Hb but really only use the 6B and 2B so I hate to bother buying more that I won't use.
I very rarely use 6B (I listed it on page one in error), as it has such a coarse grain. When I do use it, I always burnish it with 2B to smooth out those grain. 2B is a really useful grade, but you're missing out on all those smooth light tones by not using harder grades too. I suggest you try at least an HB. H and 2H are very useful for applying final layers to dull highlights; omitting the key highlights so they really shine. I also use 6H at times but only for really subtle shading. Thanks for the stars!! :clap:
I just wanted to say, the technique itself, and training the eye to see white areas as "alive" is helping me do a portrait of a friend whose hair is blond. Neat! Thanks!
It's an excellent technique for that application. Here's an illustration from my book - the top of my Granddaughter Charlotte's blonde head - illustrating my use of the method:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Sep-2006/9379-pg6_2.jpg
As I read the WIP, I find myself wondering how this method of drawing would work with a light or mid-toned background. I'm thinking it could work equally as well, but since I haven't actually put pencil to paper yet, I'm not really sure. Mike, any input on that?
It will work in all situations. I chose to use the Bindweed idea because it has obvious layers, is fairly easy to reproduce, and the dark vague background allows for a lot of experimentation without affecting the successful outcome of the drawing. The spontaneous way of working - creating white space on the fly - is applicable to any drawing. The same is true of both the pre-planned method and the division of work - either into manageable areas or drawing around problem areas. Think of it as method that concentrates the mind on one texture or form at time, which simplifies the work and gives improved results.

mike sibley
09-02-2006, 03:25 PM
OK, Mike I am an idiot, and am going to try something I have never been brave enough to do. You keep talking about using your imagination for the background. Well, I do have a picture reference for the background I want, but it's not exact. Oh well, if I never try it, I'll never know. And your technique is ideally suited for the pic I want. I'm holding my nose tightly, and getting ready to dive!!!!
Go for it, Suzi!! :thumbsup:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Sep-2006/9379-pg6_3.jpg
You're drawing the background first? Study the swans and decide exactly what you want to achieve - if you can 'see' those swans in your mind as you work the background, you can engineer it to make the swans really stand out. Even if you ultimately need to adjust the values of the background, the work is already done, so a layer or two will easily darken it, and Blu-Tack or a kneadable eraser will lighten it - both without affecting the detail.
This is my horse, Kit.......I haven't tackled the background so I guess I've been going at it a bit backwards....I will tackle more background, but its rather light and the horse is the dark part in this one. I'm not sure if it clearly represents negative drawing or not. Mike?
I never suggested that Negative Drawing was a global method - it has just as much use locally.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Sep-2006/9379-pg6_4.jpg
Your horse's eyelashes, the clip on the throat strap, and the buckle all exist solely because of the tone surrounding them. The highlights on his hair too (unless you've erased to achieve them) employ a form of Negative Drawing. I suspect its something that many artists do, without actually putting a name to it or even recognising it as a method. Watercolourists, of course, do it all the time as they, like us, have no 'white' available.

JayD
09-02-2006, 04:11 PM
Guys, this is unprecedented but because of the Great Battle of British Telecom, I am going to extend this ONE more week so that Mike can get back into the swing of things. Enjoy yourselves!!!

Fozbot
09-02-2006, 04:19 PM
WB, Mike!!:clap: :wave:

mike sibley
09-02-2006, 05:15 PM
Guys, this is unprecedented but because of the Great Battle of British Telecom, I am going to extend this ONE more week so that Mike can get back into the swing of things. Enjoy yourselves!!!
Thanks, Jay!!! I really appreciate that. :clap:

Tomorrow I'll be back properly. I've just spent two days processing and packing two weeks of delayed orders and working my way through almost 3000 emails.

I've just downloaded all the pages of this thread and I'll work on replies tomorrow and post them. Then - finally - I at least should be up to date! I apologise to you sincerely on behalf of Brirish Telecom - which is more than they did to me :mad:

I've been having a quick look as each page downloaded and I am very excited by much of the work. You folk have an amazing amount of talent between you!

Sumariel
09-03-2006, 03:08 AM
Welcome back, Mike, we missed ya!!!
Suzi

Striver
09-03-2006, 04:04 AM
Oh Sanity
Two & half days of my lovely grandson, tree house construction well on the way & boy did he enjoy it. Worn out myself and hopefully come Tuesday I can have a pencil day. My effort is staring at me awaiting some finish before too late, so feel I must commit myself to a post come Tues late PM.
See you all
Les

Fireman's kid
09-03-2006, 12:32 PM
Welcome back Mike!! :wave:

Jay, thanks for another week. I haven't been able to start on this project but I don't want to miss this wonderful opportunity. I hope to get a lot of other responsibilities taken care of tomorrow so I can properly work on this.

mike sibley
09-03-2006, 02:55 PM
Ref: PAGE 8
Mike, I chose the fragment of your drawing that you have at the end of your tutorial because I have been short of time... I think I still have to go a lot darker with the darks before starting with the mid tones.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG8_1.jpg
Mary, I can see you're planning ahead as you work, which is a good practice. I'm so used to working this way that I don't usually need to do that, but making visual notes to yourself can certainly help to keep you on track. In this particular case, I'd make at least some of those blacks as dense as you possibly can, because the eventual aim is make the bindweed flower appear to be brilliant white.
I wish I knew where my leads for my clutch pencils were. I haven't seen them for years. I am going to break down and order some-after I order Mike's book.
These links might help:
http://parttimeartist.com/store/drawing.html
http://yoas.net/drawingsupply.htm
http://www.misterart.com/store/view/001/group_id/3598/Staedtler-Mars-Technico-2-mm-Lead-Holder.htm
http://www.onlineofficesupplies.biz/cs/pub/catalogueGrp.jsp?dac=DONZDGWO&pcati=281
http://www.deakin.com/index.cfm?action=display&product_class_id=9&product_group_id=69&CFID=18619556&CFTOKEN=25118270
Posting Stage 3. Mike you are so right -I added several more layers to the leaves you commented on. I am still not satisfied with the veins-but I will go back to that and the upper right leaves.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG8_2.jpg
This is coming along really well! Don't worry about the veins - you can adjust them later. One benefit of this system is that you have the detail completed, which will remain intact whatever you layer over it at any later time. Bear the next layer up in mind as you complete a lower layer - you may find the top leaves of the Bindweed (top right) don't stand out too well against the midground leaf. You can adjust that later, of course, but it's often easier to do it at the time of drawing. If you don't, you run the risk of it determining adjacent tones for other leaves, and that tonal range being carried throughout the layer, later giving you a lot of necessary adjustments to make.
Woot, I think I'm getting hang of this- started a new little exercise, frog this time...difficult, but yet so much fun!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG8_3.jpg
Lovely frog, Teea! I really like the way the dense background blacks work to push the highlighted mouth of the frog forwards. It gives a lovely sense of 3D.
ok..i'm still looking for my reference. i plan to do some photo taking today around the yard. it's pretty overcast so i'm not sure what i'll come up/w.
...so draw something from your imagination :D You don't have to use ref sources.
OK , I think I getting this. First I could only find 400 series paper, but it seems OK. Next I am hatching and cross-hatching and layering with abandon and with total disregard to the shine....I keep going over the dark areas to try and make them darker, looking for any white spots or light areas.....The thing about hatching is that it is so relaxing.
You've definitely got the right idea. Don't worry about the 400 series - I used 300 but I would have used 500 if I'd had some (or my favourite Mellotex). In fact the coarser tooth of 300 seems to be excellent for achieving dense blacks. Looking for those white spots is almost essential. You might find a circular application works better than hatching at that stage. I tend to hatch and cross-hatch then finally go over each area using tight circles, to get into every deep part of the tooth. I thought I'd succeeded.... until I enlarged it while scanning for the workshop... and I'd failed miserably! :lol:
I've worked a little more on the horse, then decided that the background is too nebulous to continue with, so I've chosen another reference to do.
As much as I admire your horse, your new choice of subject will teach you much more about this Negative Drawing method..... not that you need to learn much, by the look of it! :D
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG8_4.jpg
You're working well, here - right down to the little unplanned elements that are creeping in. It's these, I think, that lend a real sense of reality to a drawing - and they often appear instinctively to create a balance and harmony.
I did work on a little 5x7 drawing of some blueberries last night. Here is how I started the background, and then where I am now. My paper is a little rough for getting really dark darks, but I just keep layering it on there. Hope I'm on the right track with this.
I like this, and you're on the right track, but I think you've rushed the background layers. Where you've drawn the foreground with a more studied reality, the background appears to be rather less realistic. Also, there's no midground to connect the two. The background looks a little flat - perhaps because you've teated the elements as shapes rather than as real entities. I know it can be a frustrating task...but... try drawing each element of the background as though it is a foreground one. Spend the same time and energy on it - no need to add detail but do consider reflected light and the general lighting direction. Finally add tone layers to push it back into place. Sometimes you may think you've wasted time if an element almost disappears into the shadows but, oddly, I find that if the groundwork is hurried or omitted, the subtle difference is enough to damage the reality of the overall piece... and any drawing is only as good as its weakest element.

Fozbot
09-03-2006, 03:10 PM
Mike, my imagination is just not that good. i'm kinda worried the BG on my attempt isn't what i should've chosen for this class. i'll wait to see what you think.

mike sibley
09-03-2006, 04:31 PM
Ref: Page 9
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG9-1.jpg
Jeanette: This is really interesting but I think you could achieve even more depth if you pushed some of the background stalks into really dense shade. At present everything the eye can see, it can understand. Yet, in reality, that is often not the case.
I hope to finish mine tomorrow....how long will this thread be up??
For as long as you want it to be.... and then a lot longer :lol: ...and I'll pop in a often as I can.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG9-2.jpg
My comment applies here too - the background contains random shapes and textures but I can see them too clearly. If you push some of them right back into the shadows, the eye will no longer see them as specific shapes but as hints to shapes it cannot understand - exactly as occurs in Nature.
I think this is the first time I have ever started a drawing with the background instead of the foreground. I've done it with paintings of course, but never drawings. I don't know why. It does make sense to do it that way. Thanks so much for introducing us to this method, Mike. I'll be trying more of these!
Thanks, Melissa. While the method doesn't translate well to every drawing, I find I use it extensively now. And in the cases where drawing the foreground first works best, past experience of Negative drawing helps me to consider the background as I work.
Well, by no means do I think I have this concept down, I will keep struggling...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG9-3.jpg
You're not thinking deep enough, Suzi. If you picture your reeds in your mind, you'll see that many other reeds appear behind those that you have drawn. Negative Drawing in its spontaneous mode will help to create an illusion of those background reeds - in the same way that I created the 'grasses' in my little demo involving the weeds and water. Instead of 'filling in' the spaces behind the status reeds that you've outlined, try instead to use those pencil strokes to suggest a mass of half-hidden reeds.
Mike...so sorry I wasn't able to start at the beginning...however...I'm trying hard to catch up!
Not half as hard as I am!!!! :D :lol:
I've traced your drawing after enlarging it to fit A3...I figured if I did it larger I might stand a chance of getting it right!
Actually, I think you'd find it easier if it was smaller rather than larger. Smaller will allow you to work quickly and intuitively. My original was only 8"x4". Your drawing is certainly looking good and right on track - but the detail.... I find if you enlarge a job by 10% you disproportionately increase the work required. If I increase one of my little 1½" high remarques up to 1¾", it can add two to four hours of extra drawing time. Sorry - that wasn't a criticism... just a warning for anyone else considering doing the same. If you carry this through to the end, it's going to a monumental but wonderful drawing! :clap:
In my experience, the most common problem for beginning artists is "not enough contrast"! You really demonstrate how important that is!
I agree!.... which is why I think this method helps to overcome that problem. Personally, I always look for (or decide where to invent) the very darkest shadow or tone in my drawing before I begin. I can either establish it first or hold it in my mind, but its existence controls the range of tones available to me.
I hope I'm doing this right...it looks a bit messy though!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG9-4.jpg
Rather more than right! :lol: - has a lovely sense of 3D about it. And may I suggest you use a hand-guard to keep your hand away fro the graphite? I use a long 6" wide strip of the same material I'm drawing on - clipped to the bottom of my drawing board so it cannot move. I can also lay it over existing work when required without lifting more than a trace of graphite - which I usually replace just before fixing the finished drawing.
Ok I've just now had a bit of time to tackle this. This is a good exercise for me Mike since sometimes my drawings don't have that full range of tones that I'd like so much in yours. I've taken your drawing and transferred it to my usual - Strathmore 400 Series Smooth and using my mechanical pencils, 2B, HB mostly. Any C&Cs are welcomed. I did lift off a few highlights with BluTac in a couple of places.
I use Blu-Tack extensively - graphite on/Blu-Tack it off - until I achieve the desired effect. I mainly used 2B and HB too - with F and 2H for tone layers, just to dull highlights or to unify areas.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG9-5.jpg
You could try introducing more half-seen shapes in the background - almost hidden in the shade. It's looking good, but those extra shapes would give the impression of an increased depth.
I love the 'busy' feel to it and the process is rather like piecing together a jigsaw. Its taken away my fear of intense backgrounds.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG9-6.jpg
I love the 'busy' look too - yet it's not so busy that it detracts from the main subject. I think you have the balance just right. And I'm pleased that you find this method helps to overcome your fears of complex backgrounds. Breaking anything up into manageable segments makes any job more controllable, and it certainly works for me ;)

mike sibley
09-03-2006, 04:41 PM
Mike, my imagination is just not that good. i'm kinda worried the BG on my attempt isn't what i could've chosen for this class. I'll wait to see what you think.
Billie, I think you worry too much! :)

My personal love for this method is to use it spontaneously - so ref pics don't help, other than perhaps providing a feel for textures.

Also, it breaks the entire drawing up into layers, and those layers into elements. Begin by imagining the foreground. Draw it lightly then forget it. Now begin to work on the background - just a little area at a time. Picture what would naturally occur in that space, and then draw it - 'roughly' is OK, it's going to be in the shade. That area will lead you into the next and provide assistance. Each leads to the next until the background is complete. Then return to the foreground - but now you'll have something behind it to refer to.

There's no need to imagine it all at any one time. Just start small and let it grow.

Mary Woodul
09-03-2006, 04:48 PM
Thank you Mike, and good to see you back.:)

dotsart
09-03-2006, 05:33 PM
Hi Mike,:wave:

Glad BT has apologised!!!! but at least your back and up and running. How can you ever catch up with so many emails to troll through.....

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/images/icons/icon14.gifCheers Mike, thank you for your comments. I haven't had much time lately to do any more, but on fortnights hols end of week, so hopefully will get commission finished and get back to this drawing. I see what you mean about bottom left area, so will work on that.

Dot

mike sibley
09-03-2006, 05:39 PM
Ref: Page 10
Then I tried the grass practice. I think I ran into difficulties when it was time to fill in between the top layer and the bottom layer. Any advice? Or does it just take more practice?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG10-1.jpg
More practice! :lol: You're thinking positively. I can see your upstrokes creating positively drawn grass at the top, but your not 'seeing' the shadows between the stalks of the as-yet-invisible grass below. The downstrokes should be forming those shadows.

What tends to happen in practice is that the downstrokes begin in a random way, then you suddenly see a grass shape appear between two lines. Concentrate on that and you next lines will define it more. Then, as more appear randomly, you learn to recognise them and use them. So, in effect, you concentration is positive at the top and negative below. It's much easier than it sounds :D
Hope I'm getting the darks dark enough.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG10-2.jpg
This is looking pretty good, Karen. I really like the glossy leaves! And the subtle shadows that push the ribs down into shallow valleys. It's not easy to tell from this scan, but I think you could go darker yet. I can detect what I think are pencil lines in there - so there's more tooth yet available that you can fill. Try using a fairly sharp 2B to get right into the tooth.
I 'borrowed' your drawing...darkened it in PS just to show you you could go darker!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG10-3.jpg
Thanks, Deirdre.... that's just what I meant - no distracting mechanical information left in the deep shade.
Meanwhile, I have completed my 'weeds' and like the final product. I'm sure I could pick at it for days trying for perfection, so instead I'll put it away for a week then have a look and see if it needs anything more.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG10-4.jpg
No.. I can't say I like this at all............. Love it! Yes! :D

I still think there could have been another layer even further back - but that's nit-picking. It's sheer complexity lends it a great realistic effect!
I'm finding it hard to stick to the black spaces and not to not "finish" certain areas....I think working slowly and a lot of patience is what this method demands. I'm liking it very much.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Sep-2006/9379-IMG10-5.jpg
What a great subject! :clap: And don't worry about what you work on and when, Bernice. I usually work the same way you are - one section, background then foreground, then move on. I only stuck rigidly to completing each layer in the demo to make the existence of the layers more understandable.

It can take a lot of time (and patience) but it's a fun way of filling it :lol: I never set out with a completion time in mind - it just takes as long as it needs.

IslanderNL
09-03-2006, 06:02 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence Mike. I appreciate it. In looking at my image again, I agree, it could have a deeper layer. I will keep that in mind for the next one. And just for bragging rights...I am going to turn this into prints and have buyers already lined up. Thanks for the insight into negative drawing. I'm going to do another I think :)

Fozbot
09-03-2006, 08:27 PM
and brag you should, Jeanette! good for you!!

mike sibley
09-04-2006, 06:56 AM
Ref: Page 11
I would never have tried this otherwise. I think I understand the ideas you have discussed and perhaps with practice will do better drawings.
Hi Connie - good to meet you. A creditable effort, which I've has a couple of days to think about.
I do understand that there should not be huge blocks of just black, to avoid visual boredom. But that is what I have to do to start.
Why "have to"? I think you've lost a major opportunity to add some background realism, that will raise the overall realism to a greater level. One of the benefits of this method is that it removes muddle, much of the confusion, fear of losing control, and the need to rush the completion (which I think you have a tendancy to do).
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Sep-2006/9379-IMG11-1.jpg
Having drawn the outlines of your major elements, you can then ignore those areas to a great extent. Choose a background area in which to begin - a small area - and treat it as though it is a drawing in its own right. Now that makes life easy. It's a tiny drawing that you can complete in, say, half an hour or less. It doesn't even matter if you mess it up because you can just darken it to push it right onto the shade. Just think about what you might see behind that Bindweed if you looked really closely - then draw what you see.

When it's completed move on to the next similar area. Your task is now much easier, because you have the experience of the previous area to call on. Finally, when there's nowhere else to move to, begin the foreground in exactly the same way - a small area at a time - but spend more time understanding and depicting the detail, as it's nearer to you and in full light.

By working that way, there's no need to feel compelled to block in a background (something that does not occur naturally). Instead, you ignore the overall complexity, break the background down into areas, as small as you feel comfortable with, and concentrate on just that one area. Your completed "drawing" then becomes 50 little, manageable drawings that flow into each other to create what the viewer only sees as one complete and complex study.
Mike! Glad you are back!! Now that I know no horrible fate has befallen you I can cross you off my worry list. Hope the lines get fixed soon so you can return to the modern world.
A worrier.. eh?! So am I..... so you can imagine how I felt being cut off from my business for almost two weeks. I couldn't even catch up on my accounts because I couldn't access my PayPal one. Sheeeeesh! I don't want to go through that again! But thanks for worrying on my behalf, Stacy - it helped to lighten the load :D
Mike - Good to know nothing changes! BT Forever....because that's how long it takes! While you were gone I got a bit more done...
BT? I'm afraid you're right, Deirdre. Their service never used to be this bad - or maybe I'm just getting old and not moving with the times :lol:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Sep-2006/9379-IMG11-2.jpg
You have been busy! It's coming along very nicely, and I can see you're resisting the temptation to hurry to get to the real meat :) You seem to be well-suited to this method, and it looks as though you're enjoying it. Incidentally, there's one leaf you haven't drawn yet that I'm watching closely. I made a complete mess of it. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not form a true 3D picture of it in my mind :o So I'm hoping to learn the solution from you :lol:
you've go some major blacks, it's hard to go that black without a shine.
I often hear that said. Never worry about the shine. Graphite is made up of flat plates, which will always reflect light. (Conversely, charcoal has irregular grains that scatter light.) A final quick spray with a matt fixative considerably dull the shine. And, even unfixed, once the drawing's behind glass the shine ceases to be a problem, and the intensity of the blacks increases.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Sep-2006/9379-IMG11-3.jpg
I've been waiting patiently to see this develop... and it's living up to my expectations. You have a great feel for form and lighting. But I do feel that you could increase the contrast. The darker you make your blacks, the more that flower is going to shine out from your drawing. I took the liberty of pumping up the darks in Photoshop to give you an idea of what I mean - although I appreciate that the paper you're working on might limit the maximum achievable density.
I loved this ref for the cup on the daffodil.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Sep-2006/9379-IMG11-4.jpg
Billie, I'm looking forward to seeing this finished! Are you finding it easier to complete the background first? To my mind it makes logical sense - drawing the flower first would totally dictate the tonal range available for the background - it's far easier to engineer the tones of the flower to compliment an established background. Would you have worked this way previously?

mike sibley
09-04-2006, 08:25 AM
Ref: Page 12
Yay! I'm glad it's being extended because I've just decided I want to participate...I really need to get back to basics and this looks like just the ticket for me!!! ..... I did practise on some negative drawing today as well...hey, that's not easy!
...it gets easier with practise :lol: I'm glad you've joined us, Pam. The more I use it the more uses I find for it. And even when I'm drawing positively, I find my negative drawing experience helps me in many ways - just always being aware of negative spaces between the lines I'm drawing is a real benefit.
I'm on a roll so here's my latest update.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Sep-2006/9379-IMG12-1.jpg
Hey... that was worth waiting for, Billie! I love the trumpet - it has a real presence! I'd like to see the work in the petals a little more subtle, but that's just personal preference. It's a lovely drawing.
So have made a start, it is time consuming but I am on the way.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Sep-2006/9379-IMG12-2.jpg
A good start, Les. There's plenty of tooth left in your darkest areas to darken them considerably more. And be careful of leaving near-white highlights in the midground leaves - an overall layer of HB, F or 2H would fix that. At the moment, those false highlights are fighting with the foreground foliage for dominance. With the midground foliage dulled....
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Sep-2006/9379-IMG12-3.jpg
...the foreground leaves will be pushed forward into the limelight.

The background should be providing a suggestion of depth, the midground provides the context (without being distracting), and the foreground provides the attention-grabbing content.
Amazing! Amazing! I can see I will be here quite often, Thank-You for the wonderful lessons.
So when do we get to see some exercises we can comment on? :D Welcome to the only positive 'Negative' element of Drawing :lol:

mike sibley
09-04-2006, 09:03 AM
Ref: Page 13
...I want to show Mr. Sibley that I am using the methods he taught us here for my drawings, even though I "failed" the class. I have truly enjoyed learning this way of pushing the contrast in my work to a higher degree. Thank you, sir, for taking the time with us.
What's this about "failing"? I hope I didn't give that impression? Although I'm trying to not compare different artists work, I don't know most of you well enough to not compare your work to my own ways of working. If that's the case, it's me who's at fault - not you. And I've never been a "That's wonderful" sort of person when I think it could be better... :lol:

As long as you find the method helpful, Suzi, then I'm happy. :clap: ... and it looks as though you do! Great contrast and lovely ellipses. Thanks for letting me see you drawing.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Sep-2006/9379-IMG13-1.jpg
Well, Mike...where are ya? BT must be the slowest utility company in the world.
Very quick explanation: About 10 years ago (I've just found out) one of my two neighbours dug into her flowerbed and damaged the underground cable. Instead of repairing it, BT simply swapped our line to two unused wires in the cable. Over the years they've continued to just swap to more unused wires - never actually repairing the fault, which lets water in in heavy rain. Now, so they say, they have actually repaired the cable :clap: ... and in doing so (I learned this morning) they cut my other neighbour's phone off! :o :rolleyes:

Sumariel
09-04-2006, 09:24 AM
Thanks for your kind comments, Mike. I do indeed find your methods helpful, and am still very much learning the "negative drawing" concept. My mentoress was at my house yesterday, and we were "playing" with the swans. She had not heard of Wetcanvas until I stumbled on the site doing a websearch on color. Her comments about how much this site has been a help for me are glowing.

If I ever get to a point where I can take classes locally, it will probably only be one at a time, as my strength in walking is not that great. This website lets you explore all the factors of fine arts from the "comfort" of your own desk. It is also wonderful that we can learn at our own pace. I really appreciate Wetcanvas and, of course, teachers like yourself that give us such wonderful instructions over the web. Thanks again!!!
Suzi

mike sibley
09-04-2006, 09:49 AM
Hey, I've almost caught up with you all! :clap:

And just for bragging rights...I am going to turn this into prints and have buyers already lined up.
I'm not at all surprised! Congratulations on a job exceedingly well done - prints should fly out the door :clap:

Thanks for the insight into negative drawing. I'm going to do another I think.
Please do. I'm certain it will be a success. I've decided to draw a companion piece to my "Hoverfly on Bindweed" drawing - "Ladybird on Bindweed" this time - and release them as a matched pair of prints. It's a new avenue for me to explore. Previously foliage has just been a supporting actor, never front of stage. In fact, I only decided to include the Hoverfly so I could post the WIPs to my own "wildlife and Animal" forum over at ArtPapa :D

This website lets you explore all the factors of fine arts from the "comfort" of your own desk. It is also wonderful that we can learn at our own pace. I really appreciate Wetcanvas and, of course, teachers like yourself that give us such wonderful instructions over the web. Thanks again!!!
Suzi, I know exactly how you feel. When I turned professional 26 years ago, the Internet was in its infancy. How I wish I'd had the benefits that I now enjoy. In all the years before I got Internet access only one fellow artist ever gave me any advice - the rest just closed up tight. I determine to never be like that. I have a head full of stuff that's doing nobody but me any good, and it shouldn't be that way. That's why I wrote my book, and why I'm here and (I can't not plug my 'other' home :lol: ) at my own forum at ArtPapa. What else but the Net can bring us all together, provide us with worldwide exposure for our work... and all from the comfort of our own homes and studios.

*Deirdre*
09-04-2006, 10:08 AM
Ref: Page 11

Incidentally, there's one leaf you haven't drawn yet that I'm watching closely. I made a complete mess of it. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not form a true 3D picture of it in my mind :o So I'm hoping to learn the solution from you :lol:


Awwww...that's not fair...give me a clue at least!:p Is it the one to our left of the rusty pole, just beneath the lowest white flower?

Fozbot
09-04-2006, 12:02 PM
thanks Mike for your encouraging words on my daffodil progress! i've completed and scanned it properly. i've lost a little detail on the petals but this looks pretty close to RL. i like your advice re: less detail on the petals. makes things much easier. i loved doing the bg first! i like to 'fill up' my paper when doing a drawing but have always had problems w/bg's, especially out-of-focus bgs. your idea of imagining what's back there, drawing it in and then toning it down to suit/enhance the subject/subjects in the foreground is brilliant! why didn't i think of that?:rolleyes: i haven't sprayed this w/fixative yet. i'll wait to see what you say before making things permanent.

KSH
09-04-2006, 12:12 PM
Mike - thanks for the critique. I haven't read thru all the thread since you've been back - I'll have to catch up on that and I haven't done any more on my drawing :-( but do have a question. You had said you thought I could go darker still and an example was given using PhotoShop. In PhotoShop of course everything went darker - is everything to go darker or just the background?

Striver
09-04-2006, 03:52 PM
Mike, thanks for C&C, finally today I should get a few hours for what I want, so will try to puch this one on. Funny after a fews days away from it I am nervous to pick it up again.
However have made a big big stride forward in doing the little I have, thanks to you and the others.
Cheers
Les

Striver
09-05-2006, 12:25 AM
Oh, all this concentration and I fell asleep, getting dark now so quick photo of where I am.

Nice one Billie

Les

Fozbot
09-05-2006, 12:27 PM
thanks Striver.:) your's is looking amazing! i'm going for a more complicated bg this time...so it seems. actually i love ladyslippers and didn't really look at the bg that well before starting.:rolleyes: right now this is more a "let's find Waldo" game than a wip. can you see the ladyslipper?:lol:

Sumariel
09-05-2006, 01:14 PM
It will look great, Billie, as yours always do when you are done. I was trying to find some silly thing to reply, like an illustration of someone running with a lady slipper yelling, I found it! I found it! But, no luck, so encouragement will have to do.
Suzi

Striver
09-05-2006, 01:32 PM
Ta, Billie you must be a glutton for the pencil or is it self flagaration (is that the word)
Enjoy
Les

Fozbot
09-05-2006, 01:33 PM
thanks for your vote of confidence, Suzi.:) encouragement is always welcome. it would've been fun to see an animated graphic, tho.;)

that's what i've begun thinking, Striver. ooops..well it's already started. might as well continue and see what emerges. i think 'masochist' would an appropriate word. i don't know how to spell flagelation either.:rolleyes:

Judi1957
09-05-2006, 07:20 PM
Been away for a while Mike but I think I was about the only one who played hookey while the teach was out.:eek: :evil: :D :angel:
Back to working on this now. Thanks for the links and the advice!

Wow-
Les-great job!!
Suzi-great job on the table!
Billie-:eek: :eek: Awesome dafodill! You are on a roll-UPHILL!
Les-Looking grand!
Mary-Fabulous work!!!
Teea-Love the frog!
Jeanette-Looking beautiful! Congrats!
Azulparsnip-Nice work!!
Bernice-Wonderful!!!
Connie-You are getting there!
Dee-Marvelous!
Danna-Love it!
If I missed anyone-my apologies-thats what happens when you go AWOL.:o

Posting a lil more.

Fozbot
09-05-2006, 07:32 PM
a little more?!http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y71/fozbot/gifsmiliejawdrop.gif that looks almost complete, Judi!!! the work you did on the iron is incredible!:thumbsup:

thanks for commenting on my daff, too.:) i'm still looking at your drawing! i can't take my eyes off it.

*Deirdre*
09-05-2006, 08:02 PM
Judi your's is awesome!:thumbsup:
I've been rushing the WDT in order to carry on with mine...I've done anothe 3-4 hours...but nowhere near done yet!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Sep-2006/33616-mikes.jpg
It was also my WDE this weekend...so I've been over there mostly!:o
I have been looking at all the wonderful work going on here, even if I haven't had time to comment!:wink2:

Sumariel
09-05-2006, 08:07 PM
OK, Judy, it's a good thing I don't need my mouth to type, my jaw is still on the floor, that is just plain good.
Suzi

Striver
09-05-2006, 09:02 PM
Hi , all looking good
Managed a couple of hours but have to go out, perhaps i can get a bit more done tomorrow but uncertain time now until next week, so here is a progress piccy.
Cheers
Les

*Deirdre*
09-06-2006, 12:17 PM
I've done a bit more toning but not final detail...but I wanted a photo taken in daylight with no flash burns!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Sep-2006/33616-mike3.jpg

Judi1957
09-06-2006, 12:30 PM
Billie, Dee and Suzi-TY:)

Les-looking great-lotta ggod darks going on there!:thumbsup:

Dee-That is rockin! :clap:

Fozbot
09-06-2006, 01:15 PM
Les, this is looking reeeeal good!:) got the darks goin' on well, too.:thumbsup:

Dee, you've done a great job creating depth in this.:) the work on the backs of the leaves is stellar. you're doing this in such a large format! does that work any better than doing it smaller? i've found myself w/my nose practically ON the paper trying to draw details.:(

Sumariel
09-06-2006, 04:22 PM
Deirdre~You are an education, just reading your posts! I did not know they called them flash burns, but, since that's what they are, the term makes sense!
Thanks,
Suzi

mike sibley
09-06-2006, 06:28 PM
Awwww...that's not fair...give me a clue at least!:p Is it the one to our left of the rusty pole, just beneath the lowest white flower?
Could be...... :D

I'm not saying -- It might look perfectly OK to you so it will remain my little secret :)

mike sibley
09-06-2006, 07:05 PM
i haven't sprayed this w/fixative yet. I'll wait to see what you say before making things permanent.
Fix it! :) I think the previous scan may have had me believe it could be more subtle, but this looks good. The trumpet really seems to popping forwards!
You had said you thought I could go darker still and an example was given using PhotoShop. In PhotoShop of course everything went darker - is everything to go darker or just the background?

Sorry! I was short of time so I just altered all the darks. If I'd had longer I would have just burned the blacks. I was referring to the deepest tones - I'm sure they can go darker still. I can detect pencil lines in there, so there's still tooth remaining. You could also try burnishing the area with a sharpish 2B applied in small circles, which will get right into the tooth. The blacker those darks are, the more your whites will shine.
Mike, thanks for C&C, finally today I should get a few hours for what I want, so will try to push this one on. Funny after a fews days away from it I am nervous to pick it up again.
That happens to me too, Les :) If you can work out in your mind exactly what it is you want to achieve with the alterations, that should help you get back into it. Failing that (I know it's not easy) just touch your pencil to an area that doesn't matter too much, do a little work on it, and before you know it you'll be right back into it. Personally, I always leave a little bit unfinished each day, so I can start easily the next day. I didn't used to do that. About 10 years ago in April I put my pencil down having completed one of two dogs.... it was October before I could bring myself to start it again. So now I never finish anything at the end of the day :D

Your updates looking good! I think you're going to find this method easier and more useful once you apply it to something of your own - I get the feeling that you're too tied up with copying to really be able to experiment. Try something of your own when you've finished this - I think it will help you a lot.
Been away for a while Mike but I think I was about the only one who played hookey while the teach was out.
I wouldn't have known if you hadn't told me! :D Welcome back! Your rusty iron is looking great. Maybe a tad light in the bottom half, but that can be adjusted later if it needs to be. You've got a good feel for that rust texture. I love drawing it!

Billy -- Looking great! You'd benefit from using a hand-guard though :) I find white paper is always whiter if it's clean - erasing never quite restores the same brilliance, so your flowers may be dulled a little. But I love the wide tonal range you've created.

Judi1957
09-06-2006, 07:55 PM
Thanks for the critique Mike-I agree- a tad light on the bottom-getting right too it.:angel::cat:

Striver
09-06-2006, 10:32 PM
Right on the ball Mike, very true.
Les

KSH
09-06-2006, 10:45 PM
Thanks Mike for clarifying. I'm still rather slow on getting this done but did manage to work on it some tonight. I've darkened the darkest blacks and started on the iron. I really like working on the iron - it's fun to see how it turns out.

Everyone's doing such a great job on this - can't believe some of you are almost finished.

*Deirdre*
09-07-2006, 01:14 AM
Could be...... :D

I'm not saying -- It might look perfectly OK to you so it will remain my little secret :)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Sep-2006/33616-102.gif :lol: I have got another candidate...but I SHAN'T tell!:p

*Deirdre*
09-07-2006, 08:29 AM
Mike...this is addictive...you should post a hazard warning at the top of the thread!:evil:
Another 3 hours...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Sep-2006/33616-mike6.jpg
And I don't know why those two black bits are there...they won't be next time!:evil: I can't believe how long it's taking me...I'm usually faster than this! Honest!:eek:

mike sibley
09-07-2006, 10:31 AM
I'm still rather slow on getting this done...
No rush........ mine took me 35 hours :D
I really like working on the iron - it's fun to see how it turns out.
That's why I enjoy drawing rust so much.... I just don't know how it's going to turn out :) I just begin at point A and work to point B inventing pits and flat areas as I go - lots of 'happy accidents'!

mike sibley
09-07-2006, 10:42 AM
Mike...this is addictive...you should post a hazard warning at the top of the thread!:evil:...Another 3 hours...
I know.... but if I'd told you right at the start you might never have begun :lol:
One of things I really enjoy about working this way is that I get to complete a drawing every 30-45 minutes! I can pat myself on the back for a job well done, then move on to the next. This method helps me to overcome that "I must get this finished!" problem - because it's no longer one big drawing.....
I can't believe how long it's taking me...I'm usually faster than this! Honest!:eek:
...there you go....... what did I just tell you :D

Why this need to rush? :confused: Any drawing will take as long as it takes - and I think a hurried drawing always suffers.

mike sibley
09-07-2006, 11:06 AM
Deirdre Now might be a good time to stand back and work out how you're going to approach the ironwork. Using this method you have the flexibility of being able to engineer the tones used for the rust so that it stands out from the background - or blends in where you want it to.

If you've dulled all of your highlights so far, you can use small white highlights in the rust to give it more presence.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Sep-2006/9379-IMG16-1.jpg
The top of the iron bar is cylindrical. The left hand edge will be in full light, so you can use light tones to separate it from the dark background. To the right of centre will be your core shadow - making this quite dark will signal that this is a dark object and that the other areas are sunlit. But, of course, this won't work for the right hand edge, which will be easily lost if it's too dark. So you can use a little reflected light to lighten it sufficiently to again separate it from the background. In this drawing, because the rusty surface is so uneven, you can take real liberties - using a dark edge where it appears in front of light areas, or reflected light catching the edge where it overlays dark areas.

As you go lower, you may want it to be less intrusive, so you can gradually darken it; push it into the shade, and dull any bright highlights.

You see? Great flexibility. If you'd drawn the background last, as is commonly done, you would not know any of this while drawing the iron. Probably it would look perfectly OK until the background went in - then it would either fuse with the background where it should stand out, or you'd have to begin reworking the iron with an eraser, which always destroys the sharpness of the detail.

*Deirdre*
09-07-2006, 11:14 AM
WoW...there was I...Wondering which bit to tackle next:confused: ....ESP or What Mike?:D Thank you so much...very clear explanation! See you in 3-4 hours!:wink2:

Judi1957
09-07-2006, 12:07 PM
No rush........ mine took me 35 hours :D


Now I feel better! I always think I am such a snail!

Fozbot
09-07-2006, 12:24 PM
here's my latest update. i have no idea how many hours i've spent on that BG.:( i sure hope it looks good on the screen.:rolleyes:

ummm...it looks better IRL but this is pretty close. at least i finally found the flower!:D

*Deirdre*
09-07-2006, 12:42 PM
It looks great Billie! I wouldn't expect anything else from you!:wink2:

Fozbot
09-07-2006, 01:07 PM
thanks Dee! one favor...if i ever post a ref w/a really complicated BG could you please shoot me? thanks.:)

*Deirdre*
09-07-2006, 01:37 PM
Have no fear... it just so happens ....I have the equipment!:evil: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Sep-2006/33616-new_2gunsfiring_v1.gif :lol:

Fozbot
09-07-2006, 02:03 PM
i knew i could count ya!:thumbsup:

*Deirdre*
09-07-2006, 02:06 PM
:lol: We aim to please!:lol: :o

Robin Neudorfer
09-07-2006, 02:29 PM
Why this need to rush? Any drawing will take as long as it takes - and I think a hurried drawing always suffers.

So True!

Dee and Billie... you two make me smile.