Category: Fraser Haston (Drawing)

Drawing lesson 8: bottle, boot and sunflower

The drawing course led by Fraser Haston has now finished. All my posts from this course.

For the last lesson we did a still life drawing. The selection I drew was an arrangement of bottle, boot and sunflower, exercising the handling of textures.

I shall be returning to watercolour for my next course, with David Forster at Leith Academy. It has been a year since I last used watercolour, and I’m looking forward to see how I handle it now.


Drawing lesson 6: composition

For this drawing exercise, we composed an image from our choice of magazine photos. We were directed to pick at least 2 photos to use as inspiration.

I mixed a jokey fake photo of the Queen playing cards with James Bond, with a real-life scene of wartime grief to produce either a light-hearted scene of a couple of conspirators playing a nasty trick on their playing companion, or a social comment on those playing the game versus those being played. My intent was the former, and hence a title for the drawing of “Nasty Trick”.

I’m pleased with the composition. Those in the background do look like they are actually in the background (not just smaller) thanks to lighter shading and less detail.

Nasty Trick

Drawing lesson 4: portraiture – it’s not me!

In Monday’s drawing class we had a couple of attempts at self-portraiture.

Portraits are my weakest area – or at least it’s the area that exposes my weakness the most as it is the least forgiving form due to the brain’s built-in ability to perceive faces.

Some examples of my inability can be seen from this course I took a couple of years ago (although they are excellent compared to this week’s “self-portraits”). I thought I might be being too hard on myself as I’ve drawn very few faces so far – a couple of dozen maybe – but in reality it is probably the opposite. I’m probably being too lenient on myself if I want to improve. I know I’ve got to practice, and practice lots.

Excuses in place… here are yesterday’s abominations. I advise squinting your eyes if you must look. I’m sparing you by showing small versions. Are you ready? The first is in pen, the second in pencil.

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Edinburgh street scene

Drawing lesson 3: perspective

The third drawing lesson focussed on perspective – exploring vanishing points in a street scene.

We drew vanishing point guidelines, and our own fictional buildings with windows and doors that followed the guides.

I studied perspective in the past in Michael Mulready’s class. That class was observation based – starting with drawing boxes. In this drawing class we took a constructionist approach, building up a scene from imagination.

Although we were encouraged to use shading, I chose not to do so because I wanted to concentrate solely on the perspective lines aspect of the drawing. Pencil is ideal for this, whereas the charcoal I previously used isn’t so appropriate for producing fine lines. Because I stuck with lines for the most part, my result more closely resembles a crude technical drawing:

street scene wireframe

We then used the rest of the lesson to draw from a photo of an Edinburgh street scene using our knowledge of perspective.

Edinburgh street scene

Drawing lesson 2: shading

In the second drawing lesson I attended 3 weeks ago, I practised control of the pencils to produce shading.

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I drew 5 blocks of decreasing intensity. For this I tried out different degrees of pencil hardness, from soft 6B for the darkest areas, 4B in the middle, and then the harder 2B for the lightest. I found that with 2B I couldn’t achieve subtle shading – the lines were too distinct. We also tried a gradient strip (below the blocks).

This was an exercise in control and can be used as simple practice. It also made us aware of the range of intensity we could produce.

The remainder of this class was spent drawing our hands and some still life props, using the shading we just tried, although this isn’t evident in my results:

my hand

an iron and a boot

Drawing fundamentals

A new term means a new evening class. After trying oil last term, and having done watercolours and charcoals previously, I decided to return to drawing. I hope to improve my grasp of drawing fundamentals as this will improve my ability in any medium.

The tutor is Fraser Haston, who works as a design consultant.

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In the first class last week, as a warm-up I did a quick sketch of one of the other students, while he drew me.

I was greatly helped by the portrait work I did in Michael Mulready’s class. I got straight into picking out the darkest areas (the upper corner of the eye on the left, the side of the node), and then gradually adding more layers of tone – building up the face and strengthening/shifting the areas already covered.

Then we spent some time drawing a couple of bottles. The challenge here was to be able to capture the highlights. I definitely need more work on this.

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