three leaves




The perennial leaf returns, this time as two quick pen sketches and one in gouache. I wanted to see how different styles of drawing affected the process and the final result.

The first sketch was a simple fountain pen outline with dilute drawing ink for shading (Winsor & Newton Peat Brown in a waterbrush).

The second used a Pentel Brush Pen for part of the outline and also for the darkest shadows. Now the pen had two roles: outline and shading. Extra shading was applied with the dilute ink as before, but now the black ink of the brush pen presented a problem: do I describe an edge with a black line as I did with the fountain pen, or do I make the drawing more painterly by using black ink only for the shadows.

The final gouache painting was in some ways the easiest as none of these decisions about edges or shading had to be made. The paint was mixed to match the hues and values, and laid down in a copy of the shapes in front of me. In other words, no translation had to be made. There was no need to question whether to use a black ink line to draw an edge that was facing the light, for instance, which is where I became confused in the second ink brush sketch.

Drawing with ink seems to need a different ‘eye’, a different way of processing what I see, compared to a more literal approach when using paints. I find the simple ink line needs much more thought before it can be laid down.

2 thoughts on “three leaves

  1. Ed Mostly

    It’s very interesting to see the difference when you focussed on shading/form rather than line.
    Drawing using line seems more ‘sketchy’, but can be trickier to get right and is less forgiving to correct/improve.
    And although we’re very used to reading and interpreting line drawings there aren’t many real ‘outlines’ in the world around us…
    Great post!

    1. Jim Post author

      You’ve managed to combine the two approaches in your drawing of the back of Marlborough Buildings by careful choice of pens and pigments.
      Those buildings are just as quirky on the inside: in a rented top floor bedsit in that block I remember having to walk uphill from one end of the room to the other.


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