Be Bold

Wednesday, 8th February 2006

Sheffield from the welcome shelter of the station concourse


The Tone of this Town

When I was working on location in Sheffield yesterday, I made a first attempt at adding a wash of diluted Chinese ink to a Rotring Rapidoliner drawing. When I looked at the drawing later, I realised that the washes had dried out several tones lighter than they had appeared when wet. For example, the chimney and narrow end of the building in the middle of the drawing should have been a real 'plum' of dark tone, which I think would have set off the paler tones.

Mock tudor buildings, like the large public house in the foreground, are sometimes referred to as 'black and white' but, of course, it wasn't really black and white: compared to the brightest tone in the picture - the patches of sky visible through the cloud - the walls appeared as a pale shade of grey.

Bricks in the Wall

4 p.m., greenhouse

I need more practice with a simple subject and more time than I had yesterday, when, literally, I was aware that I had a train to catch.

Today, even though I know what to expect and I mix my washes darker, I'm still convinced that I've lost half of my drawing when I add the final wash to the shaded side of the bricks. You don't see that interesting gradation in tone, which is a good equivalent of the tones of these unevenly fired old bricks, until the wash starts to dry out.

I realise that you've got to be bold, if not reckless, when applying tonal washes.

The initial drawing of the bricks was made with a Staedtler Mars Professional, 0.35 tip. Next Page

Richard Bell,