The Dark Side of Bananas

tomatoes, pepper and bananaI like to keep life simple and my sketches are usually line first, then colour. And that’s it. But here I wanted to indicate form too. I’m not good at multitasking so could I simplify the process to three discrete stages; line, form then colour? It didn’t quite work out.

Using the Tower Pen nib in the dip pen and brown Noodlers’ Ink, I drew the orange pepper first then added a tonal wash in paynes grey. Blue sits opposite orange on the colour wheel, so I guessed that a wash of orange over the greenish-blue Paynes grey would add form without throwing the colour off-key. The Paynes grey should theoretically work as an neutral shade. It’s not such a bad solution to the problem but the drawback is that I’ve lost the transparency of the orange. I’d like something more luminous.

For the tomatoes I remembered the advice of botanical illustrator Agathe Ravet-Haevermans; lightest colours first. The tomatoes started as an overall pale golden yellow, omitting only the highlight. The calyxes and stalks started as an ochre yellow. I prefer this approach because what I might lose in sculptural solidity is made up for in more luminosity. The white of the paper is still able to show through. A tonal under-drawing of Paynes grey would be more suitable for an architectural subject.

Bananas have long been problem for me. What colour is dark yellow? Again I started with an all over pale lemon yellow and instead of having neutral shadows I looked carefully to try and see the hints of green and sepia reflected in the yellow.

Just the kiwi-fruits left to draw now!