Mortar and pestle

With this sketch my intention was to try different marks to tease out form and glossiness of the  mortar and pestle. Also I wanted to make the highlights more prominent. I skipped the tomato as it did not contribute very much apart from a faint red tinge in some reflections which would be fun to do with colour but not without.

As I struggle with hatching I chose that, trying to let the marks convey shade and highlights as well as give information about the objects’ shape. The paper takes care of the midtones, the dark pen adds shading and the white pen the highlights.

Dark grey ink brush pen and white acrylic marker on blue-grey paper.

I am very satisfied with the highlights, they really pop. In the first version on a lighter beige paper the contrast was too weak. With the darker paper it works. I chose a grey pen rather than black to soften the contrasts on that end a bit. The mortar is white so it isn’t actually dark anywhere.

I also like the missing lines where it is up to the viewer to interpret the form. The hatching helps to explain the form, especially where both hatching and cross-hatching were used. I like the shifting between the two.

The lines in the shadow do not really work like this. Partly, surely, because the lines are wonky, but I wonder if straight lines of that length wouldn’t be too stiff and strict. Maybe it would have been better to hatch at an oblique angle. Or to let the lines follow the direction of the light, fanning out from the base of the mortar.

Overall I am happy with the outcome but feel the technique is too stiff and inhibited. I like more expressive marks. Maybe in combination with something more irregular this very strict shading makes a nice contrast – e.g. with vegetables next to the mortar where the greens would be drawn in a different, more expressive way.

The directional hatching can be used to good effect with less precise marks to make a less strict drawing. I did that in the second drawing in this post.




2 thoughts on “Mortar and pestle

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