Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pinecones revisited

The first drawing I ever posted on my blog was this pinecone—and it's still one of my personal favorites. (You can read that original post here.) Now I'm starting on a second, larger pinecone piece. You see, I've wanted to draw a big, beautiful Sugar Pine cone ever since my son brought several of them to me from the Sierra a few years ago. I hang them in my three dining room windows every winter, and as I was taking them down this week, I thought it'd be a great time to draw one.

I'm drawing it in graphite, which takes less time than colored pencil, but I'm guessing it will still take a while, as I'm drawing it full-sized. (It's about 17" long!) So I've decided to share a few work-in-progress posts along the way. Today I'll show you how I set up my "model".

The pinecone is pretty fragile, so rather than handle it much, I wanted to hang it directly in front of me. This was a challenge right off the bat, until I remembered my new portable easel—perfect!

I know it will get a  bit confusing keeping the different parts straight as I draw, so I tried hanging a grid behind it (I marked up some graph paper) to give me some reference points, but I didn't like that. I ended up positioning a ruler up against one side which is simple and should work fine to help me "keep my place".

So, now I'm all set—time to get underway. Hmmm...I'm starting to reconsider my decision to use graphite for a tonal piece instead of using colored pencil—what do you think?


  1. Hi Sarah - wow, I've never seen one of these huge pinecones. Enjoy drawing it - I think graphite is perfect, there's enough going on with the repeated shapes and learning to see the structure.

  2. Maybe you could do the colored paper with both black and a light pencil? I'm sure however you tackle it it's going to end up gorgeous.

  3. What a great specimen and I know it will be amazing in pencil. I will look forward to seeing it develop.
    Does it close up when it is going to rain or gets cool, our small ones open up by the fire and close tight when cooler...outside. I have drawn them to come back later and it has changed shape!

  4. Wow, that thing is gigantic! I can understand your desire to draw it. Graphite is a great idea! Without worrying about color you can just concentrate on the shapes, lights and darks. And you'll find out whether or not you enjoy the subject! You can always consider this one a study and do a colored version later.

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