Drawing 1: Assignment 1

From the beginning of this module, I have known that for my assignment, I wanted to represent a collection of toys.

I researched artists such as Joyce Pensato, Peter Jones, Liz Markus and Jeff Koons, and analysed their style and themes. All four of those artists are linked to toys in some way, or cartoon characters.

In my sketchbook I tried representing some of those toys, experimenting with different media. I tried pencil, charcoal, watercolour, pen and Conte stick. I tried combinations.

I gathered together a collection of my son’s toys from a cartoon called Five Nights at Freddy’s and made a drawing in charcoal and watercolour. I was going to submit it for this assignment, but decided not to, as I wasn’t a hundred percent happy with the outcome. I felt it was too busy and fussy.

So I gathered together four toys, all soft, stuffed plushies. A large Mickey Mouse, an old teddy, a purple rabbit, which I had documented in my sketchbook, and a Five Nights At Freddy’s small toy.

The room was quite dark, as it was evening, so I used a ring light to the left of the group, which caused quite a variation in tonal properties.

I used a stick of willow charcoal, broken into smaller pieces, to create the drawing, blending areas with my finger and layering to build up intensity of the shadow areas. I went back over some of the outlines. I worked carefully, taking extra care not to smudge the drawing with my hand as I was working. I laid a piece of clean paper under my hand to prevent the smudging.

Once the characters were complete, I added a shadow below them. If shadows are omitted, it makes the characters look like they are just floating, and are not grounded.

I feel the drawing was a success. It is dramatic and has a good tonal range. The figures look ‘real’ in that their proportions are correct, and they have substance and presence.

The subject matter is appealing and everyone should be able to relate to it. It is reminiscent of childhood, and hopefully that will trigger nostalgia and not sadness. I Was attracted to the theme as I have a child with Autism, and he is very attached to his teddies. They are like a part of the family, and this made me feel an emotional link. It was like documenting a part of me, something I love and am attached to.

I was highly influenced by the work of Joyce Pensato. I love the darkness of her style, the way she portrays cheerful characters in a dark manner. I also loved her expressionistic style. I felt as though this, being a drawing course, required a most subtle rendering of my subject matter, as the task was to use the elements and skills I have learned during the first part of this course. I will try more abstract renderings in my sketchbook, as I continue to explore different media and styles.

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