Graphite Still Life {Learning the Art Basics}

Graphite Still Life

This lesson was a simple graphite still life.  And honestly, I think if Lil had just done the still life that would have been okay.  Thing is, she has me as a mother, and being art and all….well I can’t seem to help myself, I must tinker!  This means what should have been an quick and easy still life became a mammoth exploration of mark making, observation and pop art.  Yes, you heard right.  Pop art.  How on earth did I get from a graphite still life to a study of all things pop?  Well, read on, it’s not too huge a leap, I promise 😉

Setting Up the Still Life

The first thing Lil needed to do was to design the still life and take a photo.  We both learnt a lesson here.  For Lil’s first still life (in lesson three) she had chosen all sorts of items with which she had an affinity – mainly art and craft related supplies.  For this still life, she decided to choose items which reflected her twins interests – yes you guessed it…books and writing implements:

Graphite Still Life

Study of the Values

She went on to Ribbet and changed it to a black and white photo and carried out a study in values.  This was particularly important for this still life on account of it being so dark.  Next time she will definitely try to find items which have varying tones to make it easier to draw:

Graphite Still Life

She did a quick continuous line drawing, followed by a contour drawing.  I think she will probably do this as preparatory work for each lesson she completes because it really does train her to better observe that which she is drawing:

Graphite Still Life

Again, using Ribbet she turned her photo into a line drawing, turning it upside down and doing an upside down drawing of it.  Lil sometimes struggles with her drawings and this technique (as explained in Lesson One) has helped her so much.  After she had done the drawing (I took a photo of the drawing and stuck it at the top of the page below), she then used it as the basis of her graphite still life.  Although she struggled a bit because everything was so dark, we were both really pleased by her final piece:

Graphite Still Life

And really that should have been that.  But I had to meddle (because I am very good at meddling and I do it with with much gusto!).  So I had her doing a mark making exercise, which turned out surprisingly well.

Mark Making

As you can see, she cut her original photo into nine pieces, labeling each with a number.  Then she cut up a blank sheet of paper into nine corresponding sheets, chose some mark-making techniques and redrew the whole still life, one square at a time:


Pierre-Yvette Riveau Artist Study

For each lesson I try to find an artist who specialises in which ever medium or type of art Lil is studying.  It was hard to find a graphite artist who was inspiring, but I did eventually come across Pez.  Pez is a modern day artist who lives in Paris and uses graphite as his primary medium.  His art has political-social undertones, and each piece has a strong message.  We both LOVED his work:

Pez considers himself a graffiti/pop artist, which of course led very naturally into a study of pop art.

Pop Art

For this study, Lil used her twin photo with a couple of tone effects:

as well as applying similar effects to her’s and Charlotte’s still-life, in addition to playing about with a puzzle effect.  Quick, and great fun:

And that’s it.  We are waiting for her tutor to mark it.  Meanwhile we will be starting on lesson five, which is a still-life of cutlery.  Yes.  Cutlery.  Let’s see how much meddling I can do with that 🙂

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