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Crayon Still Life Drawing by Hanna Bordewijk

Hanna Bordewijk
Some of My Favorite Things

Crayola crayons, Caran D’Ache Neocolor II crayons, brown oil pastel
16″ x 13″


“My last art course was in grade 9 and I loved it, but choose the sensible science path for the next 35 years. Now I am ready to start and enjoy what my daughters enjoy so much: making art. This is my first attempt on a still life and my first renewed experience since grade school with crayons.

I am so happy to have stumbled across this website while looking for art instruction. I learned a lot from this course, but also from the critiques I have been viewing.  Yet in my eagerness to get started, I made my first mistake. I didn’t have the lighting sorted out. When I set up my things it looked all good, I was aware the light was coming from 2 places (natural light above-behind and left) but I liked the shades I got. Then when I was half way done, I really started regretting not having set this up in the spare bedroom with a spotlight from one side, as I was running into difficulties with the shading.

I have learned that I am too much a nit picker, I can’t seem to let go freely, so I might want to work on that. I also would want to keep in mind to work on everything a bit, and then go more and more detailed, as Prof Lieu had explained in the course. It wasn’t until it was too late that I found the right hand side too empty. I struggled the most with the shawl and the least with the hat.

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7 responses on "Hanna Bordewijk"

  1. There is so much to enjoy in this piece! Much has already been said about the excellent crayon textures you’re using, but I also love the highlights in the bottle and on the bell – such well-placed highlights can really bring a sense of realism to a still-life like this.

    I agree that lighting can be extremely tricky! Sometimes your decision-making process around this should really just be dictated purely by what you can understand… You would think just observing a lighting situation and trying to capture it as accurately as possible would be enough, but it’s often extremely difficult to pull off if you can’t wrap your head around where a certain shadow is coming from, or which object a block of reflected light is bouncing off of.

    It’s worth moving your set-up and starting over if you give yourself that kind of control! This is, after all, the whole advantage of drawing from life.

  2. Awesome! I think like everyone else so far, I’m really responding to your use of texture. You seem to be embracing the way a crayon makes marks, not fighting it, which is wonderful. In particular, I am all about that wood paneling (or is it wallpaper?). I feel like you loosened up and enjoyed yourself there, and I love the detail of the bug coming into the frame on the right! The detailing on the chair and the scratchiness in the shawl are also lovely.

    Based on this piece, you might like Meena Hasan’s POV paintings which also embrace the texture of everyday objects, and have a real cozy feeling. I think you could experiment with different kinds of contrasts. You can do light and dark, but there’s also saturated (bright) vs unsaturated (dull) color, cool vs warm color, and textures vs smooth/flat surfaces. When you’re setting up your still life, you can play around with these contrasts like a puzzle before going in to draw. Feel free to do several thumbnail sketches in color if you’re not sure of the composition yet!

    What a way to jump back into making art! Congratulations, I can’t wait to see what you make next!

  3. I am amazed and thankful you all took the time to give a response to my work (and thank you for posting my work!). This is a great way for me to learn and try and improve, I can now dive back in with the suggestions given and take them to heart for my next project. I am also looking forward to other people’s work, I find that is really helpful as well.

  4. Hi Hanna! You achieved a wonderful sense of movement in the backdrop cloth, there’s a great sense of flow in how you’ve articulated it. I love the way the orange box in the front is so carefully nestled within the folds, and the way the cloth overlaps in front of the bell! Nice job on the wine bottle, there’s a rigidity to the bottle that makes the texture and reflective quality of the glass really apparent.

    I would recommend thinking about how you can get the background to push further back in space. I love the coarse texture that you created in the background, the graininess is very representative of a wooden wall. I think though, because the wooend wall is so engaging, in some ways it’s stealing the show from the objects in the foreground, which by comparison are a lot more delicate. I would recommend darkening the wooden wall slightly, and also making the colors more muted so that they don’t compete with the objects in the foreground.

    In general, don’t be afraid to pump up your darks too! You have lovely highlights and mid tones, but the darkest section of the drawing really is at the bottom of the wine bottle. More pockets of intense darks would help make the drawing more dimensional.

    I’m so thrilled to see you jumping back into artwork, so exciting! Hope you keep going and would love to see you submit for a critique sometime in the future!

  5. It’s so wonderful to read your statement and learn that you’re getting back into making art!!!

    I love that your picked objects that allow for so many different color and texture explorations in this piece. All the vibrant reds, greens and blues really draw us in as viewers. Moving forward, it would be great to see these colors working together some more. For example, would some of the red from the hat, and blue from the fabric, be seen on the bottle or on the bell? Maybe the blanket’s shadows would have some warm tones to it!

    Your statement mentions how you want to work on working more “freely” and I think a great way to begin this is with textures. For example, you could challenge yourself to create looser marks that make that fuzzy hat SUPER fuzzy, and that glass bottle really slick and shiny. Annie makes a great suggestion in thinking about how textures vary from one object to the other, which will create wonderful contrast between textures!

    I can’t wait to see what you make next! Keep making, keep exploring, and keep challenging yourself!

  6. Hanna! Wow! This is wonderful. I love hearing your story about getting back to art. This is a wonderful job using the principles from the Still Life tutorial. I think for your next piece, as you mentioned, creating a dramatic sense of lighting will be a fun and exciting way to play with color, light, and shadow. I respond immediately to the texture of this piece. The color mixing paired with the treatment of materials creates a very unified piece. I would love to see what might happen if you experiment with different textures within the piece. Thinking about how each object has its own individual texture is a great way to practice this. For example, if the bell is metal, how might that texture be treated differently then the fuzzy hat? Does it have a different type of reflection or shine, or glow from the materials in the actual object?

    So excited to see you continuing to make more art! Great work!

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