mugs and drawing ramblings

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A couple things today: photos of pots and drawings

mugs

Abby made some lovely pots to give away to people, and asked me to photograph them for documentation purposes. The mugs below were my favourite of the bunch, both to photograph and as mugs.

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The flower mug photographed really well, because it’s a simple shape to work around and because it’s not crazy reflective. The blue mug, however, was a different story. Its hourglass shape and highly reflective glaze meant that there were 2 sets of catchlights to worry about, one in the top and one in the bottom curve. It took a few tries, but i was finally able to take a photo from just the right angle to avoid having the intense softbox reflection you can see in the shot below.

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reflection galore!

drawing

Since I’ve started getting more and more into it and letting myself fail, I’ve started experimenting. The two most recent things I’m curious about are bokeh rendering and trying to capture highlight and lowlight values in a more photographic way.

bokeh

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bokeh practice

Bokeh is a strange concept for drawing, because when you draw details, you look at them. That means that nothing is ever out of focus for the artist while [s]he is drawing a scene. If you look at the masters, everything is pretty sharp and depth of field is usually presented as atmospheric perspective where the farther away objects are lighter and rendered with less contrast. So I’m trying to replicate how lenses render out of focus areas, starting with copying photographs. Next step will be to try to simulate depth of field in my mind as I draw a live scene. That should be loads of fun!

shadows

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Once i started playing with bokeh rendering and copying photographs, I started paying more attention to what is rendered by the camera and how I draw. I don’t know if i’ve ever really though about the absolute dark and light values of a scene I’m drawing. I mean, sure, the darkest values are black and the lightest white, but all of the inbetween values are sort of a free-for-all. If you look at most drawings there’s lots of blacks and lots of whites, creating very high contrast scenes that you will never be able to capture with a camera. What I’m doing - starting with copying photos, again - is to try and accurately capture those values. This is hard for the same reason as bokeh rendering. As your eye moves from element to element in an observed scene, the pupil adjusts correcting the ‘exposure’ and letting you see both the brightest whites and the darkest darks. This is what HDR photography is trying to do: to fake that continuous adjustment and recalculation that your brain does and mash it into a single image. So what I’ve been working on is looking at a scene and trying to identify the ‘exposure’ as I draw it.

Anyway. That’s enough rambling for today. Let me know if you have suggestions or comments!