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This is predominantly a neutral setting to which you could add your 'props', such as tea-time things on the table, or drinks and cocktails. Maybe you could arrange a small fork and trowel, gardening gloves, bulbs and a sun hat, as if carelessly strewn across the tabletop. The setting itself then suggests some story or ongoing action which your choice of objects could reinforce with some success.

The setting of a still-life scene is important if you intend to establish a theme or some narrative background for the objects that you draw. Here are three examples of settings in which you could display your talents.

This scene is set out for you, this time using coloured pencil to suit the lightness in tone. I haven't illustrated anything beyond the conservatory windows, but you could easily show a bit of the garden. The setting is fairly natural, although it actually took time and care to arrange. You could choose different objects and so change the scene's narrative.

In the following picture I have set myself a much more difficult task, with a Pierre Bonnard-esque scene of a table spread with the remains of a meal, mainly fruit and coffee jugs. Using a pen and coloured inks, it is quite a tour de force to produce something as brilliant as the Bonnard painting, with these strong contrasting colours in very hot tones.

I have attempted to produce the lighter colours by making marks that don't totally obscure the white paper underneath, and where I require deeper colours I have scribbled away to build up denser tones. As long as you can maintain the contrast between the darker more solid colours and the lighter broken colours, then this method can work quite well. But it does take time to put in all these small marks, so don't embark on this sort of task without giving yourself plenty of time to complete it. The brilliance of the coloured inks suits Bonnard's strong colour range and the lunch-table setting is a very good vehicle for a still-life composition.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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