The first assignment with the SBA Diploma Course is entirely in graphite. I have never worked with pencils before - in fact rarely drawn at all until I began this journey. I bought the recommended pencils - Faber Castell 9000 series and did a tonal strip to become familiar with the characteristics of the grades.
The first part of the assignment was to do a line drawing with no unnecessary detail - as you would prior to commencing painting. I chose a Lily because it had graceful curves and flow - something I wanted to show in my drawing. Now that the hard work was done I was disappointed not to be able to go on and paint it...
The second part of the assignment was a subject including flower, stem and leaf - stippled to show tone. Have never 'stippled' before and I found placing endless tiny dots on a line drawing to show tone a very meditative experience. I chose a hibiscus from our garden and worked quickly as the petals were drooping. I can imagine using this method again as it was very relaxing.
The final and most time consuming piece was a continuous tone drawing - showing all the grades of pencils used - from 4H to 8B - the lightest area being white and the darkest being black. Choosing a subject can be the hardest part of these assignments because you know how much time you have to put into producing results and you really want to feel the subject will allow you to reflect the requirements needed. I chose an Allamanda cathartica - a very pretty plant and I could see before starting it had a great variation in tones. It took a lot longer to complete than anticipated and by the finish my poor Allamanda had dropped all its flowers and the leaves were turning yellow - it loves the sunlight and probably didn't appreciate being in my studio for a long period of time.