The orchid drawing submitted for Assignment 5 required more tonal contrast and I worked on this yesterday. Specifically, my tutor advised me to address the following:
– work on the edges of the flowers to remove the white paper.
– add marks that describe the surface of the soil
– add more darks to add depth to the image.
I printed off an A4 copy of the photograph that I had taken earlier of the “finished” drawing and used this as a basis for experimenting with mark-making and tone. I then scanned in the drawn-on copy and converted both the original and the worked-up image into b&w to get a better sense of tonal contrasts. Here are all four of those images for comparison. The top row is the original drawing and the bottom row is of the “new improved” sketchbook version.
Colour differences do exist but the photograph exaggerates these – too much light seems to bounce off the surface of the drawing in the photograph. However, I can see a difference in the “real” images and, even here, the differences in the soil texture and tone are visible. The soil is definitely darker and more “soil-like” but the actual soil has more light reflecting off some woody particles so I decided that I would add more light to the soil in the final drawing. The leaves are also more distinct . They are tricky because, while being darker in colour than the flowers, they are shiny and reflect the light quite brightly, so do not appear dark at all in direct light.
I experimented with some different textures in the background but was afraid of overworking this. The background has to be just dark enough to project the flowers forward a little towards the viewer but not so dark that it becomes a focal point. That said, possibly a very dark background is exactly what is required but I am afraid of losing the detracting from the flowers so am not changing this now. Having decided against an intense background (centre right of image), I opted for a lighter ground with a few darker marks creating a loose network in the background (upper left corner)and, through that, a little more depth.
In the final drawing, I added tones under the leaves where the soil is in shade, and where the leaves overlap each other, in stages, checking each stage with a b&w photo until I achieved the required intensity. I am sure that some people would go further with this but courage fails just now. The final drawing below is not well reproduced but it does give an indication of how the build-up of tone was finally achieved, and also of improved leaf texture – more undulation in their surface. There is more depth now compared with the original image (top) and better soil and leaf texture, with depths within the soil itself. I have worked on the edges of the flowers, darkening areas of the background very slightly, in order to bring them further forward. This can be seen better in the actual drawing – this post can only serve to document the process.
The lighting conditions are different but, taking this into account, the extra tone in the final version (below, right) compared with the original drawing (left), is apparent.