For my final piece, I decided to take a photo instead of drawing from real life. My composition consisted of a gold and black Venetian mask on the upper right side of my page, with the ribbon travelling diagonally and sissors on the lower left side, with the sissors having contact with the ribbon. My composition was one of my weaknesses as I did not follow the “rule of thirds”. I choose to go ahead with the composition however as I felt the proportions would be an interesting challenge. I began concentrating on proportions first as they were vital to have as accurate as possible, as it would be difficult to change them after I began shading. I first compared my photo size to my paper size. Before measuring proportions with my thumb or a ruler, I drew dots very lightly on the placement and angle of the mask and the sissors. I left the ribbon till later as I wanted to finish proportions of the mask first. The proportions of the mask were relatively easy until I reached the left eye hole. The left eye hole was slightly more hidden by the bridge of the mask nose. I had a difficult time matching it with the right eye while also trying to prevent it from looking 3D. I overcame this difficulty by drawing the eye as it would have been seen at the angle it was in, had it not been covered by the bridge of the nose. Once finished with that, I simply drew the bridge back in and erased the epicanthic fold corner of the eye hole. My measurements were thus accurate. After using my thumb (to measure proportions) and observing I began drawing the mask and sissors. It took me one entire lesson to get the proportions down, but finally they were accurate.
I then proceeded to start shading. There were various gradations in the photo ranging from pitch black and start white. I started on the darkest areas of the mask that were completely black. I pressed hard on the 4B pencil in order to get the darkest tone possible. After finishing the black areas, I went over them again to further darken them as my first attempt resulted in it being merely a very dark steel colored grey. I soon found that my pencil lines were quite prominent. To get rid of some of the lines, I used a tortillion along all the black areas, and then used a tissue paper as well. After successfully smoothed out my pencil lines, I started filling in the dark greys of the mask. It was difficult to add value and texture with the 4B pencil as I hadn’t had much practice before. I tried testing out techniques on a scrap paper first. I blended the darkest black areas with the areas of grey with a rubbing stump. Doing so added gradation. A difficult challenge for me while shading the mask was to properly shade the parts where it was lightest properly as with so many heavy dark blacks, the mask started looking 2D.
In order to get the effect of the smooth shadows at the eyes of the mask, the ribbon, and the nose of the mask I used a 2B pencil very lightly in straight one way lines and used a tortillon for any pencil lines. This was the easiest part in shading. I then went on to start shading the sissors and ribbon. The ribbon proved easy as I had finished shading the darkest black areas of the mask and simply needed to repeat the techniques I used. With the sissors, I had to use approximately 4 tones. The sissor also had a shadow which was initially hard to shade lightly as I drew a too dark outline. The sissors proportions were definitely another strength. While shading the sissors I also had to draw the effect the flash of the camera had on the metal sissors. There were a few areas where the light reflected back off so I had to be careful to not make obvious outlines and then shade them in. I then continued on the mask slow shading in the various tones. I later had to go back and redarken the right corner of the mask as some lighter areas near the eyes of the mask were drawn too darkly.
I learned that texture needs to be very carefully planned and experimented with as when done plainly can result in the drawing looking very 2D. I experienced this when I had to try and draw the texture of the ribbon around the mask. I think I have significantly improved my proportions. I started using my thumb as I found it to be the best scale when comparing the length and width of objects I’m drawing.
If I had to repeat this project there are a very things I would do differently. Thought I enjoyed drawing this photo, I think I would choose a different compositon next time. The bird’s eye view did provide a fine challenge, however I did not use the rule of thirds which made the white spaces look to empty. I would also improve my shading my practicing various textures and techniques. I found the tortillon quite useful this time as it helped me with pencil lines but also helped me achieve a few shades of tones that I could not with a 4B pencil.