Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I'd really planned on participating in Illustration Friday this week, but I just had to draw these gorgeous cherries that I bought on Sunday at our local farmers' market. They were next to the usual Bing and Rainier varieties, in a bin labeled "Big Reds"—and they're delicious.

Since I'm enjoying a lazy summer day, I thought it might be fun to share a bit more of my set-up process, since it can make or break a simple still life, at least for me.

I like to draw sitting with a drawing board in my lap, propped against my desk. I like the flexibility of being able to move it and turn it around while I'm drawing. So, I usually set my "models" up on the desk itself. (You can see by the pits on the paper towel that I ate one of my prospective models.)

I chose some cherries that I thought were interesting, and moved them around until I liked the arrangement.

When I'm arranging multiple objects, I take a little viewing frame that I made from a picture mat and thread and look at my subject through it. The frame is divided into thirds both directions, so that I can use the "Rule of Thirds" in making the final composition. (Wouldn't my high school art teachers be proud?) This gives me a framework in which to draw a rough sketch (really rough in this case):

(Sometimes after the sketch is done, I'll scan it and enlarge or reduce it as desired before tracing it onto my final paper on my lightbox.) Then, the little viewer's work is done, and I just draw, looking at the subject; I don't use reference photos except when drawing something that moves around lot..like my chickens!

Here are a couple of work-in-progress shots:

I'm often tempted to forgo the shadows, and just leave objects floating in the white space, but I went ahead and added shadows. Do you have a preference?

Off to try and think of something "secret" to draw for Illustration Friday—and to snack on some more cherries.