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Jerry (online - Intermediate)
I appreciated the extra time. I had time to think about what I wanted to do and how it didn't quite measure up. It did however force me to try various techniques. I am enjoying reading your book and studying your videos. Your course PDF files are an excellent addition to your book and videos. They need to be read/viewed several times and after a few more drawings I am sure they will answer questions I haven't faced as yet.

Your course was a pleasure. It was a point of sanity in an insane world.

Drawing critique for Jerry - Drawspace Intermediate online drawing course I'm glad you found not only the course but this final exercise useful. It includes much of what we covered and nothing that we didn't.

It's a very commendable drawing in many ways but, like any drawing, it has room for some improvement. That said, this exercise was designed to stretch you, and you rose to the challenge admirably.

The henhouse is particularly well drawn with wood textures that describe the old weathered surfaces very well without it fighting the primary elements for attention. It's tonally very well judged and has a heavy and solid feel about it. You could have darkened the right-hand wall to help make Henrietta the hen stand forward, but I'll return to that. That Henrietta is a little lost is something many artists on the intermediate course have struggled with.

Dog from Jerry's drawing - Drawspace Intermediate online drawing course Robbie is looking splendid - very mischievous and wearing a big grin. My only reservation is a seemingly minor quibble but something that makes a huge difference - adding a key highlight to his eye. That places the maximum contrast in the drawing right at that point, and it's almost guaranteed to drew the viewer's eye directly to him.

Unfortunately, it's a feature you need to establish before drawing commences. Draw around that highlight and stay well away from it. Stray graphite can be cleaned from it later, but if you've drawn on the area, it's almost impossible to erase and return it to pristine white.

Apart from that, he has excellent three-dimensionality, a believable hair texture, and a well-studied white chest with realistic wayward hairs. You could have omitted that "halo" around his back and darkened the inside of the henhouse. And then used reflected light on his back to separate him from the background. Indeed you did use reflected light but the impact was lost by the halo. Also - this is a common error - you should have darkened his rear paw. It's inside the dark interior, and probably in Robbie's own shadow too.

Henrietta is rather lost against the wood. Darker values would have solved that. I darkened her once (#2) and then even more (#3) before she achieved prominence. And, like Robbie, I added a key highlight to her eye. However, your edges are sharp, which is essential to achieve separation. She has a subtle suggestion of feathers, which is just about sufficient, and I do get sense of them being there. That said, over-detailing would be worse, because they'd attract attention away from her expression.

Hen from Jerry's drawing - Drawspace Intermediate online drawing course She has got good three-dimensional form. And a lovely dark eye too, but, as I mentioned, if you'd left it with a truly white highlight, that would have attracted our attention to her immediately. You did seek to brighten her raised foot, which was an excellent decision. It's an essential part of the story. We don't know if she's running or has paused but she does add tension, and implies the only movement in the composition.

Henhouse wheel from Jerry's drawing - Drawspace Intermediate online drawing course The rusty wheel perhaps looks a little too smooth and pale, but it is very well drawn, with excellent ellipses. And I really do like the broken wood that its standing on. This henhouse no longer exists but we have another similar one in use. When it's not standing on blocks of wood the wheels very slowly sink into the ground... until the floor meets earth and it begins to rot. So, I can definitely relate to your invention :)

That brings me to the foreground foliage, which I think is definitely on the right track. Even darker values beneath the henhouse would have offered you even opportunity to create depth. However, you've created a good deal of depth by pushing some leaves far back into the murky darkness beneath the henhouse, which adds realism. Also your edges are sharp, which was essential. It's what the eye expects to see in a foreground element - but also because without them you lose depth. You have to make the layers in the foliage crystal clear.

The foreground weeds are more prominent and nicely varied in shape, but there is not much midground. All your foreground leaves are comparatively similar in value; most don't cast shadows on the others; and there's little to connect foreground to background. Just allowing one background weed to grow forward would create a bridge that helps the viewer's eye to travel between the layers.

Jerry's foreground foliage Jerry's darkened foreground foliage
The foreground grass does its job and you've made very good use of negative drawing to establish a few key blades instead of drawing grass-like lines, and possibly erasing some. As you correctly deduced, we see blades of grass in the same way the we understand hair - it's the dark gaps that define the edges.

I think this is a very creditable drawing and one you should be justifiably pleased with. Thanks for joining me at Drawspace, Jerry, I really enjoyed working with you.