Part 2. Project 5 Exercise 3. Live animals using line and tone.

Live animals using line and tone.

This was very enjoyable. I was fortunate to be able to go to sketch some six month-old pigs at a friend’s farm, and had a lovely afternoon. They were such characters and wanted to communicate. The noise of their snuffling for apples in the straw and grunting in their sleep was just like pigs are supposed to be! They shifted and moved even when asleep and the flies irritated them.

The photos from my sketchbook have not come out well.

Group of pigs resting
Group of pigs resting
sleeping pigs' legs
sleeping pigs’ legs
Pigs' faces
Pigs’ faces
Standing pig
Standing pig

I took lots of photos whilst I was sketching and once home, selected a group to make a charcoal drawing.

Portrait of a pig
Portrait of a pig
Pigs in Dawn's barn
Pigs in Dawn’s barn

I really like the portrait but wanted to draw a group, so opted for the second photo here. I considered the composition and chose to draw four of the five animals, as I liked the balance better when the animal in the foreground was left out.

Charcoal drawing from photo
Charcoal drawing from photo

I like using this approach with charcoal, giving the paper an initial covering and then adding lines and darker tones, picking out highlights with a rubber.

Then I thought I might try a similar approach using pastels on a coloured paper. I used a bright orange. I was nervous about the choice, but the other option I had at the time was green. I didn’t want the effect to be cold, and hoped the orange would infuse the whole drawing with warmth and give me a good base upon which to attempt the colour tones in the pig’s skin. It was a challenge and I was left with an OK result without much interest in the surroundings.

Although the original sketches and phots were taken in a barn, these pigs are usually “free-range” in some woods. They’d broken out a few days earlier, to my convenience!

I decided to take a walk to a pretty orchard and make some sketches and photos and then to try to incorporate something of the atmosphere onto the work, maybe using the gouache which I have just bought and never used.

I’ve taken a photo of the pastel drawing before attempting the background, in case I ruin it.

Pastel of group of pigs before adding a background
Pastel of group of pigs before adding a background
Knightshayes orchard
Knightshayes orchard
Knightshayes orchard
Knightshayes orchard
Final Drawing of pigs. Pastel and gouache
Final Drawing of pigs. Pastel and gouache

I think the orange is still too strong and the gouache spoilt the work, because I was too literal in the drawing of the background/foreground.

I want to move away from the attempts at realism but I don’t have the confidence, or the ideas, or enough experience of the media.