Learning the Art Basics: Lesson Five – Cutlery

Lesson five was all about learning how to draw cutlery.  The actual purpose wasn’t that one needs to become a connoisseur at drawing a knife and fork; no, the real reason why learning to draw cutlery is so important is on account of its shiny surface.  Shiny, reflective surfaces are notoriously difficult to capture accurately and the artist needs to have really understood the importance of values and tones.

This is apparently the lesson students leave until last.  We didn’t know that and as Lillie is simply working her way through the lessons in the order they are given, she just got stuck in.  We were bowled over when she received her third 100% of the course.  Well done, Lil’, you deserve it for all the hard work you put in!

Lillie tends to do a lot of preparatory work for each of these lessons and is producing work I don’t think either of us knew she had in her.  She is making great strides towards her goal to become an illustrator (this would be alongside her jewellery business, which she is still passionate about).  For this lesson she first explored the surfaces of cutlery using photography.  She was very lucky in the day she chose to shoot because it was bright sunlight, meaning the reflections were amazing.  As usual I shall let her note book speak:

She chose her arrangement and took lots of photos, choosing one to showcase in her note book:

Using Ribbet she changed the colour photo to a black and white one, and then applied a pencil drawing effect to it:

She uses the pencil effects to do an upside down drawing (This is a fabulous way to achieve complete accuracy in your drawings – see here for more detail).

She then took some more photography of the cutlery using mirrors in the bright sunlight.  The effects were incredible and really showcased the reflective surface of the cutlery:

She took lots and lots of pictures, choosing three for her final piece:

The third photo she also sketched using charcoal:

I had encouraged her to do lots of reading about cutlery art and in her reading she had learnt that often it is the shapes of the cutlery which is particularly hard to capture:

She lay the cutlery out in a simple form and shook flour over.  She and I lifted it up together to reveal the beautiful and accurate shapes beneath.  She again applied first and black and white effect and secondly a pencil drawing effect:

Lillie is trying to always do some sort of continuous contour drawing or blind contour drawing in preparation for her final piece.  This helps her to build up her observatory skills (your can read more about these types of drawing here):

Having fully internalised these shapes, she began her continuous and blind contour drawings of her final piece:

She is never fully happy with these types of drawings, but she is beginning to understand that they are preparation rather than final sketches, and are being done to help her achieve the results she wants in her final piece:

She then used the pencil drawing effect photo and carefully drew an upside down drawing of her cutlery arrangement.  I took a photo of that drawing before she used it to complete her final piece:

Didn’t she do a great job?

Of course no lesson is complete without an artist study of sorts.  I have always had her study other artists work, ever since she was a little girl.  This time the artist was an unusual sculptor who made huge sculptures out of just cutlery:

She wrote about the artist and stuck in some pictures of his work:

She also focused her study onto jewellery made from cutlery and stuck in a collage of all the different types of jewellery she could try her hand at.  She also wrote about her home-made purity rings she has made for herself, and her siblings out of teaspoons:

I’m such a proud mummy ❤

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