Keeping Your Work Clean

Pastels and chalks generate a fine powder as you work with them, so use a sheet of paper to lean your hand on as you draw. This technique is also useful with lead pencils.

Pastel selection for interior

Pastel selection for exterior

Bright pastel colours, either pale or strong in tone, have been used for areas in sunlight.

Pastel marks have been left unblended so that the drawing has a sharp clarity.

Still Life on a Balcony

This drawing is built up of colour contrasts - with bright, vibrant pastels describing the scene outdoors and darker, more subdued hues evoking the shady interior. This pattern of highlights and shadows sets up a series of strong tonal values through the drawing, which also gives a good sense of aerial perspective. The doorway effectively frames the whole composition and leads the eye up easily to the active focal point of the fruit on the balcony.

Gallery of Composition

A DRAWING CAN BE ANYTHING from a quick .doodle in a sketchbook to a highly finished piece of work, yet composition is an important part of any drawing. Composition relies upon a variety of factors, such as the arrangement of shapes and forms and the degree of tone and colour. The more complex a drawing becomes, the more you need to consider how individual elements will interrelate to form a cohesive, interesting whole. An unusual viewpoint or angled composition can also produce an engaging work. You may find after starting a drawing that you want to explore areas beyond the existing confines of the paper, so add an extra sheet to develop the work into a larger composition.

This work has an extraordinary abundance of lines and marks which the artist has built up using a technical pen while actually sitting in the street. The powerful perspective that characterizes this composition is exaggerated by the road that engulfs the foreground and then converges rapidly to a vanishing point in the distance. The large, dissected road sign dominating the right of the picture increases the immediacy of the composition and gives it a less structured feel. A network of cross-hatched marks helps to give the picture tone and texture.

Thomas Newbolt,

Study for the Bandstand III, 61 x 46 cm (24x18 in) In this charcoal drawing the artist has used an ingenious vantage point from a tree so that he almost spies on the figures walking below him. As a composition, the drawing is simple but dynamic, with the figures held carefully in place by the diagonal path and the foliage of the tree that frames them.

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