Relationships Between Objects

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When preparing to work with a group of still-life objects you should experiment with different arrangements. The relationships between forms are defined both by the placement of objects and the negative space between them; these factors will influence the emotional pitch of the drawing. Compare the two drawings below: in the first, your eye is led backward through the spaces between the stones; in the second, it gravitates toward the central structure.

This drawing in colored pencil possesses a real sense of depth; rhythmic placement of the objects and a colored ground create an open environment that the eye can explore.

With the objects closely linked in a block form at the center of the drawing, the eye is confined to their surfaces and does not explore beyond the objects. The result is a solid, monumental composition.

This drawing in colored pencil possesses a real sense of depth; rhythmic placement of the objects and a colored ground create an open environment that the eye can explore.

With the objects closely linked in a block form at the center of the drawing, the eye is confined to their surfaces and does not explore beyond the objects. The result is a solid, monumental composition.

Still life remains a compelling and timeless subject for drawing because it allows for both intimate and analytical explorations of form.

▲ Mediterranean courtyard

A large urn sits firmly in the foreground, appearing almost to fall out of the drawing, which is preoccupied with expressing light and tone. The soft yet dynamic surface quality is created using charcoal and an eraser. Andrew Gibbs

▼ Apples and cherries

This carefully considered view of fruit is immediately intriguing; we sense we are looking down on to the still life as if standing at the kitchen table. The reflective and peaceful quality of the image is achieved by delicate line work combined with smooth application of tone. Unknown

▲ still life study of urn

Intense and highly worked passages of sepia pastel have been built up with great precision to create a dramatically staged still life. Tiny windows of reflected light, which sparkle in the darkness, add further theatricality to this scene. JR Barnett, Norwich School of Art and Design Drawing Archive

▲ Grouped forms

Classical studies of grouped objects explore the effects of light on form, and heighten skills of analysis and draftsmanship. This soft, blended pencil study creates a tangible sense of solidity in the objects; with white objects against a white background, the subtlest tonal work holds the forms of the objects. C. Cobbett, Norwich School of Art and Design Drawing Archive

▲ Still Life with Flowers

Matisse was a master at creating deft yet spontaneous drawings. He is playful with his mark making, forcing the formal elements of his composition to take on animated characteristics and literally jump for joy. Henri Matisse

Objects For Drawing With Curtain

F Draped cloth

This sumptuous drawing made on a fibrous paper meticulously explores the pattern and surface textures of a draped blanket. It conveys a great sense of depth through the intense black shading and tonal work in the creases between the folds. H. L. Wilson, Norwich School of Art and Design Drawing Archive

4 The red shoes

Combining different media is exciting because there's every chance that you'll produce a drawing that is far more than the sum of its parts. In this project, grayscale tone in pencil and graphite is mixed with colorscale tone in red chalk pastel. The result is a surface rich in texture and color that is ideally matched to the subject — a pair of red suede shoes made up of curved, fluid forms. Working successfully in mixed media requires constant reassessment — adding one element may demand counterbalancing with the other, and vice versa.

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