About Those Pomegranates

After reading my last post about chickens eating pomegranates, you may want to ask, “Do you seriously buy pomegranates for your chickens? Do you realize how expensive they are?”

Well, “Yes” and “Yes,” but I really should qualify that first one.

Last fall when pomegranates showed up in stores, I bought then to draw, not to feed to my chickens. It was really a bonus for the chickens when I learned pomegranates where fine for them to eat. (Not all things are.)

At the time I was working through a few drawing challenges I made up for myself involving composition. If I have any areas where “money is no object,” those would have to be first books and second anything interesting to draw.

One of my favorite almost unknown artists is Takashi Shuji from Japan. His pastel drawings are absolutely fascinating. He has never had any formal art training and therefore follows a set of internal compositional rules for what feels “right” to him. Takashi was born with Down’s syndrome.

About Those Pomegranates
Pastel Drawing by Takashi Shuji (with antique brown filter applied)
Pastel Drawing by Takashi Shuji (with antique brown filter applied)

A characteristic of his drawing style is how objects often touch each other or touch the edges of the paper. This makes them fit together perfectly as if there is no other way for them to be on the page. Objects seldom, if ever, overlap to help create depth the way we are taught to do in Western art.

Noticing this “rule” in his style of drawing, I tried doing this in a series of my own drawings of pomegranates…sometimes laid out in rows, as Takashi Shuji might have done…sometimes arranged in a classical Western art composition, but always with edges touching.

What surprised me from this experiment was how making all of the edges touch did not appear as a terrible compositional error. Even with Western art treatment of three-dimensional modeling, this artistic “faux pas” did not stand out as a catastrophe. Perhaps sometimes it is possible to break the rules of tradition?

Below are several of my own graphite drawings. Because these are two different mediums (his colorful pastels, my monochromatic graphite pencils), the same photo filter and matting effect have been used on all drawings (his and mine) for comparison purposes.

One Pomegranate, graphite drawing by the author (with antique brown filter applied)
Two Pomegranates, graphite drawing by the author (with antique brown filter applied)
Three Pomegranates, graphite drawing by the author (with antique brown filter applied)

As far as the chickens and Pomegranates are concerned, they get them only after I’m through drawing them! And of course, I have to draw them whole, cut in half, cut into quarters, pulled apart, and any other way I can imagine.

Even if you don’t own any chickens, you may enjoy drawing pomegranates. The challenge they present has to do with proper shading. Although they have an overall spherical shape (like an apple), they have slightly flattened faceted areas (unlike an apple) which hint at the sections inside the fruit. Balancing these two, I believe, is the key to successfully drawing pomegranates regardless of the compositional approach you select.

8 thoughts on “Just Wondering…About Those Pomegranates

  1. Wow! That’s some incredible art! (Yours and Takashi Shuji’s of course) I’m not nearly as artistically inclined, but I might try drawing something using this unique “rule”. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant! Your drawings and the ones of Takashi Shuji.

    Frankly speaking, I didn`t consider any “rules of tradition” up-to-now. And I don`t think that it is possible to commit a faux-pas in the course of creating arts. In my view, this idea seems to be a contradiction in terms.

    I`ll look for a pomegranate in the supermarket next time…to accept the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I think that the “rules of tradition” may possibly be related when I was in high school and college which was during the 1970’s. Things have changed a great deal since then.

      My thinking at that time may also have been shaped by my instructors were as well. None really had an “anything goes” view of art. If any of my drawings from this post had been put up on the wall during a critique, their response would have been “Very nice draftsmanship and shading, but you should never make objects touch each other or touch the edge of the paper.”

      My study of Takashi Shuji and other artists who would be classified as a part of “Art Brut” helped me to see things differently. I have become a much stronger believer in letting whatever “rules” or ” natural artistic principles” a person has within them guide their artwork rather than having external ones from a “how-to-book” dictate their creative expression.

      Thanks again for your comments. They speak to your own Individuality which shows in the drawings that you share!


      1. I had the great privilege to exercise Karate with a couple of Japanese grandmasters…Their advise: “Relax, don’t think – just FEEL!”
        Thank you for sharing your beautiful drawings and insights ☺.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, you’re absolutely right. I got very valuable feedback that really hit my soft spots…I felt so naked…and I almost lost self-control and almost start crying just because of a brief remark. Incredible and a bit scary this capability to recognize the essence of a personality in the course of a few training sessions. I suppose, the truth is always universal because we are all just human beings with the same basic needs and therefore, the same fears…

        Liked by 1 person

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