Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 11:37AM
I conducted a pen and ink workshop this last Saturday 16th April on behalf of BAASA (Botanical Artists Association of South Africa).
I asked the participants to bring their own references. Many people did bring beautiful bunches of flowers – but I took along images of my favourite botanical photographer – the Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) for people who battled to find or had forgotten to bring references. Blossfeldt – primarily a sculpture lecturer started taking photographs of botanical forms as inspiration and reference for design studies of nature.
“Blossfeldt's photographs were made with a homemade camera that could magnify the subject up to thirty times its actual size. By doing so he revealed extraordinary details within the natural structure of the plants. In the process he created some of the most innovative photographic work of his time.” - http://www.soulcatcherstudio.com/exhibitions/blossfeldt/index.htm
I gave a brief introductory talk on terminology, materials and mark making used in pen and ink drawing, then projected some slides of my own and my school students’ drawing & the participants then started drawing. I started with warm up exercises – drawing with eyes shut, drawing by only looking at the reference and not at the drawing surface at all; and drawing with the hand you don’t usually use for writing and drawing.
We then moved on to two more finished drawings (some people only managed one in the time we had available) - one where they used dip pens and brush (a more liquid form of pen & ink) and the other where they built up the drawing using ballpoint pens & fineliners and worked highlights in with white gel pens and an acrylic white marker.
The art experience in the participants varied considerably, which made it very difficult to teach this group. Hopefully, they all went away having learnt something.