Monday, November 3, 2014

Indian Corn

I've been wanting to do an Indian corn drawing for a long time, (is it politically incorrect to call it Indian corn?) but other than this one for my little heart series, I hadn't taken it on. For one thing,  I couldn't get excited about the composition. I didn't want to do the usual tied cluster of three ears, and a single ear just kind of sat there.

I moved the ears around, attracted to the contrast between the neutral, papery husk and the jewel-like kernels, but the husks were all flattened and askew:

Then it dawned on me: You can soak corn husks to soften them for corn husk dolls and tamales, so why not for a drawing? Just a few minutes in a bowl of water and the husks were as pliable as fabric (not to mention sort of a rose color). I coaxed them into the arrangement I thought might be interesting, and laid them to dry.

 As they dried, the husks moved a bit (and lost their rosy color), but they ended up looking much more interesting and natural-looking than when they started:

I played around a bit with this composition that I had in mind: I took photos, cropped, rotated..and finally it looked right—well, at least it looked right to me! It may still need a bit of fine-tuning, but I need a break from it before I can see just what to tweak. Here's a look at the progression of things:

Things went well until I got to this point: How much white could I leave in those from husks? I thought they were interesting left mostly un-rendered for contrast. I ended up scanning the drawing and playing on some b/w copies trying different ways of finishing up.

And, last but not least, here are the pencils that I used on this piece:


  1. Wonderful! I love the composition, and I was thinking that before I even read anything about what it took to make it happen. Good job!!

  2. Beautiful! I'm reading your blog for a few years now, and it is always such a joy to see your fabulous drawings! Thank you for sharing!