Workshop Plus

WORKSHOPS 2022

UK, USA and Canadian Workshops and Online Course continuations
 

Lucy (STUDIO, October - Foundation)
I don't think I quite reached the record for longest time to complete your homework but probably not far off. I got there in the end!

Rabbit drawing critique Well, you're three years too early to beat the record, but the result was well worth the time you spent on it :)

I've adjusted your photo to what, I hope, looks like your original. I felt the left-hand side was under-exposed, so I altered it to match the right-hand half.

My first thought is that it lacks a little depth. Your blacks are dark and solid, and there's good contrast, but your mid values tend to dominate the scene. That's not unusual when working with a composite composition, and when you're not used to this complexity. That's because you're almost certainly going to concentrate exclusively on a single area, without thinking about how you might treat those around it. Don't worry - the more you draw, the quicker that will naturally improve.

Using cast shadows Another reason for the flat appearance is the lack of cast shadows. Again, that will improve in time, and, again, it's a result of drawing each element without reference to those surrounding it. For example, your rusty wheel doesn't cast a shadow on the wall, despite leaning against it. Or the right-hand foliage. There, you have created a natural cast shadow (arrowed), but you missed many other opportunities. I created a few (such as leaf #5 on #4, and #4 on the stems below it), so you can see how they push some leaves forwards and others back.

And think about depth too. You left foreground values in leaf #1, yet it is four layers deep - behind #2, which is behind #3, and so on to #4 and the foreground #5. At each stage, expect the forward layer to block some light reaching those further back. Leaf #4, as I mentioned, would block some light reaching the stems behind it.

Brick and rust detail On the left side, your rusty wheel has good shaping and a lovely sense of being rusty. The bricks are simply excellent! They are sufficiently smooth to make the mortar look grainy, yet they are obviously brick. And you've invented some lovely details within them too. Your holes correctly have bottom highlights; the holes and gaps are solid black; and I love that chipped corner, that tells me you were thinking "brick" and not "drawing".

You decided to keep that awkward midground rock. It's got good structure and surface detailing, but I think you could have changed it to something more understandable, or even completely removed it. Remember, this is a composite study - none of it ever existed together in one place. The rabbit was 35 miles away from the stone it's resting on :)

Moving across to the right: I've mentioned the leaves and their shadows, but the leaves do have excellent shaping and detail. And the background behind them is dense and dark, which would have given a lot of depth to your drawing if you'd pushed your rear-most leaves back into it. Never be afraid of really pushing some elements right back into the shade. It creates a sense of mystery that is entirely natural. Take a look into a mass of foliage and you'll quickly realise that you can understand the foreground layer, maybe the layer behind that too, but any deeper and you're just guessing. That lack of understanding is what conveys a sense of realism to the viewers of your drawing.

Rabbit pencil drawing Then apply the same thinking to the rabbit, and I think you can create a lot more three-dimensional depth and clarity. Your rabbit is alert and lively, and really well-drawn. It has a good hairy texture that suggests coarseness in places and a softness in others. But, overall, it contains far too much white. I think that's a result of not pushing your foliage back into the shade, which resulted in light foliage that made it difficult for you to make the rabbit stand out.

Contact shadows beneath the paws would have more firmly placed them in contact with the stone and increase their presence. A degree of shading within the ear would have created depth that is currently missing. And the eye is super! That bright highlight gets my attention. But, if you'd banished white from within the hair, that highlight; would have glowed even more brightly and immediately grabbed my eye, drawing me into the picture.

Overall, I think this just needs cast shadows to create more depth, and more thought given to how each element will affect those around it. But, other than that, you should be very proud of yourself for creating such an accomplished drawing.
 
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