Exploring Drawing and Painting

I chose a freakshake to illustrate for this exercise because they contain lots of different elements, therefore providing lots of scope for texture work. I tend to prefer using mixed media, so for this exercise I wanted to stick with one type for each version but use it in different ways. I felt that this would help me going forward because it will give me a breadth of understanding and ideas about how to use each one. My choice of paper for each one was based on what I thought would give me an interesting or quirky effect.

This was my first version and I think my least successful. I tried to use the colour of the paper to act as the colour of the milkshake and ice cream but I think this has left it looking flat because I haven’t added enough shading for depth. I found biro unforgiving and quite difficult to control in terms of pressure.

I really like oil pastel on acrylic paper, the criss cross grain looks really effective when it just shows through, as seen here on the handle of the glass. The shake was made using pink as a base with some white over the top, smudged in with a blending stump. I like the ‘not quite mixed in’ effect this gave. The fondant fancy was also a pink base with white over the top but I used my finger to blend, leaving it a bit smudgy. I also couldn’t get the white icing to show up over the top. The meringue was a white base with small specks of pink smudged with my finger, this worked quite well. The strawberries were red blended with solvent to create a thinner, flatter colour. To create the ice cream, I used a mixture of white, red and grey to add shadow, all smudged/ blended with a silicone tool. I found blending different oil pastel colours together to be fairly easy, it worked well on the ice cream and bottom of the glass. The Swiss roll was scumbled which didn’t work very well because its layers lost definition. Overall, using oil pastel for a whole illustration is difficult because it is tricky to achieve detail and definition, but I love the blending opportunities and texture it provides.

I really disliked creating this picture! The brush pen I used for the shake left lines on the glossy surface that I couldn’t get rid of, and it was squeaky to work on. The stippling on the swiss roll looks out of place. Colour choice is limited with pens and this really impacted on the picture. The most successful parts of the drawing are the handle and the shading on the meringue, both done in fine liner.

This was done on the shinier side of brown paper and after the photo paper, I thought this may not work, but overall, it worked well except with very watery paint because the paper is quite thin. The shake was layered with thick gouache. I think this and the handle (again!) are the most successful parts due to the dry brush blending. I’m not happy with the ice cream on this version, I don’t think I used blending well enough to create shadow and depth. The meringue is a white base with impasto used for the pink bits, then a little water to smudge one end. As with the ice cream, I don’t think I have added enough shadow here. The scumbling on the swiss roll gives more definition than the oil pastel but it still isn’t quite right.

I quite like the built in shadow the black paper provides against the white. The ice cream and meringue are both created using white watercolour pencil, leaving black for tone. Watercolour pencil shows up quite well on black paper, as shown on the fondant fancy, however a regular pencil doesn’t, as shown on the shake. The white watercolour pencil made a good creamy look on the white of the Swiss roll, but I found it difficult when trying to get the shading right on the handle. The black parts just blend into the background too much.

This paper worked well for acrylic paint. Although not as sturdy, it is similar to acrylic paper in texture. The shake was painted with watered down acrylic, then white was layered over the top. Dry brush blending was used on the handle which worked well. Acrylics are great for impasto which I used on the ice cream and meringue to give them texture. The least successful part is the sponge on the Swiss roll because the scumbling has not made it look grainy enough.

I was quite pleased with how this worked out considering wax crayons are very difficult to blend with, however the shake didn’t work because I couldn’t layer the pink on over the white. I did manage to achieve some blending on the handle and the meringue. The scumbling on the Swiss roll did not work, stippling would have been better.

I really enjoyed creating this. It is the first time I have used solely soft pastel as a medium for an illustration. The colour in the shake is so vivid, it was created by adding the pastel to a water base. Paler pink and white were layered over the top. The texture of the watercolour paper really works for the ice cream and the Swiss roll, but doesn’t work well on the fondant fancy which has a very smooth texture. The edge of the glass and handle were created with a starting point of black, which was then blended using white. Soft pastels are easy to blend but are tricky to get a real definition, particularly on this textured paper.

Despite the unconventional paper surface, I was pleased with this version. I have found monochromatic drawing difficult but I think this reflects my growing understanding about tone. It was created using a mixture of brush and nib.

Again, I think the handle is the most successful part of this picture. I think the scoop of ice cream was also successful because the shadow from the grey paint gives it depth. I created the shake using the paint on wet technique but this gave an unsightly bloom on this paper, so I blended that out with further layers. I used wax resist for the icing on the fondant fancy which works so well under watercolour. The stippling on the Swiss roll works fairly well.

Overall, this has been a great exercise. It has broadened my understanding of techniques that are good for creating different effects. I found it difficult sticking to one medium for each picture, but I’m glad I did because it forced me to use each in ways I wouldn’t otherwise have done. I will continue to use a mixed media approach, but I will do so with a fresher, more well informed hand.