Sketch: Champagne Bottle and Glass

I wanted to challenge myself by drawing something translucent/ transparent using colored pencils. Using the same materials as last time, I started again by drawing the basic outline of the shapes.

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Before I went in to do the underpainting, I used my kneaded eraser to lift some of the graphite off the page so it wouldn’t interfere with the colored pencil. My underpainting was pretty basic—I wanted to be sure to leave all the highlights untouched (I only partially succeeded at that. I did end up needing to go in with an eraser to lighten up some areas of highlight).

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Next I used directional lines to fill in the bottle, but I wasn’t thrilled with the results.

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I began to use a circular motion with the pencils to really get into the valleys of the paper and create a smoother laydown. I’m still not one hundred percent happy with the final result but I’m getting there. I’m not sure that I like how the colored pencil lays down on the material in this sketchbook though…

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I also had to adjust the top of the bottle to make it symmetrical. This time I added one material, a Prismacolor Colorless Blender Marker, which has a larger end that covers a lot more ground than the blender pencil.

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I decided to have a little fun with the background. I like how purple looks with green but I also threw in some complementary red as well.

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All in all I am satisfied with the final drawing. However, I’m learning that I really need to slow down when it comes to colored pencils because each stroke really matters, unlike with charcoal which is easy to rework. It helps to focus on small segments, breaking the drawing down into smaller shapes instead of trying to focus on filling in the whole picture at once.

I will admit that my “goal” has always been to achieve photo-realism, but lately I’ve been thinking about the fact that if a drawing is identical to a photograph, that doesn’t leave much room for the personal style of the artist to show—how would someone know that a drawing is mine if it doesn’t contain quirks that are particular to me, how I see things, and how I translate them to the page? I am ultimately happy when I am able to realistically suggest objects, even if every line does not match with the still life or photo reference I’m using. Sometimes you might have to step back from the picture a little to capture the effect. and that’s okay. It’s a relief to put a little less pressure on myself for perfection.

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