I chose my walking boots for two reasons (1) they’ve got a bit of character having traipsed a few miles with the dogs (2) we were away on holiday in Cumbria when I started work on this assignment and I knew I’d be able to take them home with me if I didn’t finish the project before we had to leave, which proved to be the case. I worked mainly with graphite pencil because the strong bold lines suited the boots and enabled me to recreate the the folds, shadows and highlights more effectively than the other mediums I experimented with. I added the orange laces and tabs with watercolour pencil to give a lift to the overall picture.
I was also influenced by the fact that I’ve been using a combination of ink and drawing pen quite a lot and wanted to do something different. I’m reasonably happy with the end outcome but the left boot was much more difficult to draw than the right. In real life it has a bit of uplift as if the boots are going to walk away by themselves and despite several attempts I haven’t really captured this aspect which is frustrating as it is the particular characteristic that I wanted to portray.
In this first experiment I played around with a simple composition that I thought might work and used the exercise to familiarise myself with drawing the objects. The left boot is drawn with Conte crayons – this resulted in a good representation of the colour and texture of my boots but I did not feel I had sufficient experience with using this medium to choose it for my assignment. The left boot was drawn with graphite pencil and putty rubber to help to create highlights. I experimented with using frottage for the background using wax crayon over the stone slabs of the floor of the place we were staying in.
Next I experimented with the some variations on the composition including having the sole of the boot showing and a sock tucked inside of one boot. I also tried out a combination of graphite pencil and water colour pencils. It may look as they I had made up my mind about the composition from the beginning… and perhaps I had because I wanted the boots to look as if they were about to walk away by themselves which they wouldn’t do on their side or with a sock stuck inside!
I drew the left boot a lot of times because I was having trouble getting it right but it gave me the chance to try different mediums. This one is oil pastels, layered with different colours and then scratched away with a bamboo pen. I was disappointed that the underlying colours didn’t show through. The background is another go at frottage, this time our bathroom floor tiles. I decided not to use the frottage technique because the complex patterns were overwhelming my drawings.
Two more quick sketches of my boots. Drawing pen, which didn’t work for me in this context and a simple pencil sketch which was fine but I preferred the stronger impact of the graphite pencil because my walking boots are not delicate dainty little slippers!