For this project, we used three different types of charcoal—vine charcoal, powdered charcoal and compressed charcoal to draw a still life composition of our clothes.
Before starting the final composition, we did multiple practices to prepare ourselves. Firstly, we drew a value scale using the different types of charcoal to familiarize ourselves with the density and color payoff of each type. Secondly, we drew two egg compositions based on a real and digital egg. The last thing we did was taking photos of the clothing we brought in, and drawing out four different compositions. I used 4 different composition techniques—asymmetrical, focal point, no focal point and zooming in.
After all the preparation work was finished, we began our final composition. My composition was similar to what I had envisioned. Though, I ended up removing one item so I could make the composition tightly knit together with items overlapping. This helped make the piece look more natural with no clear focal point. The other thing that was different was the swim suit. At first, I wanted to bring out the galaxy pattern, but then realized having the shirt and swim suit both having a design will cause the shoe to fade out; so I decided to have the swim suit in one color.
Some challenges that came up for me in this project was balancing the values of the composition. This was the most difficult because I had to ensure the shadows and highlights made sense in relation to the position and location of the fabric. Also, I had to balance out the overall value of the composition, making sure everything wasn’t the same color, or else it would mean they were on the same surface, receiving the same amount of light.
During this project, I challenged myself with the graphic text on the sweater. This was difficult because in real life, the text were proportionate, so it was challenging to mimic the text and make it look real while following the folds. Another thing I challenged myself with was zooming in the composition. Zooming in can mess up the proportions especially if the photo was taken at an angle. However, I made it easier for myself by taking the photo from a birds-eye-view, so sizing was the main aspect I had to focus on.
For this project, I applied myself to make my best work and took advantage of class time. I remember in the very beginning I told myself I needed to slow down to make the composition look as accurate and realistic as possible. During class, I took advantage of the time. What helps me ensure I was efficient was making a mental note of what I wanted to finish that day. However, on the days work was incompleted, I would stay in after school to finish them.
Looking at my completed composition, I think I’ve grown and matured as an artist. This project trained my observational skills in identifying all of the Elements of Art, such as, value, space, color and texture. This project also gave me a chance to explore a media I’ve never used before—charcoal.
The 3 Artist Habits of Mind I chose are Develop Craft, Express and Observe.
The first Artist Habits of Mind I will be talking about is Develop Craft. The process of creating this composition required a lot of preparation. In the very beginning, we drew a value scale using the 3 different types of charcoal. This helped me learn the density of each type, and how and when to use them in various situations. The second activity we did was the 2 egg drawings. This gave us a chance to use all the materials to draw a still life. We used more materials including the clay-like eraser, cotton swabs and tissue paper. The final step was to use our previous exploration on compositions. We planned out 4 compositions using 4 different techniques. These practices were very helpful because we were familiarized with the materials.
The three items I chose expresses who I am in an indirect way. I chose the sweater because I tend to wear casual and loose fitted clothes on most days. The shoes and swimsuit I chose shows that I enjoy competitive sports. Swimming, being my favorite and the sport I spend the most time on, and track. I chose this particular swim suit because it’s my favorite suit, and every since I bought it, I would bring it everywhere; from meets in Phuket, to meets in Hong Kong, and meets in America.
In my opinion, the most important aspect of this project was observing. Without observations, the hidden details wouldn’t be seen. The smallest details are also usually what makes the piece look more realistic. A way this was made easier, was printing out our original photo and gridding the photo into 4 quadrants. This ensured the accuracy of where the items were located, but also trained out eyes to observe the relationship between each object and the gridded lines. The photo was in black and white which also helped me see the different values of the clothing.