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.
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.
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.