At last a piece of actual work from me. It’s been a while and this one has been on the drawing board, slowly being worked on during that time. I’ve wanted to draw marbles for a while as I have seen some beautiful pieces and also they present a few challenges: reflection, light, shadow, circles, curves, bends and colour. I took a few reference photos after buying some interesting marbles and placed them randomly on a sheet of pristine white Bristol Board. So, reference photo to hand, I began my drawing.
After using my grid to place the marbles and lightly drawing out each marble, I began with the red marble at the top; lightly sketching out the white striations and layering yellows then reds. I used masking fluid to preserve the highlights and was careful not to budge it with my pencil tips. In the shadow I added some of the red for the light through the glass reflection and layered greys, gradually getting darker and topping up the red cast where needed.
I added some greys and light blues to the white striation on the marble to show how it bends around the curved face. I also layered a little green under the reds to mould and shape the marble, showing the darker areas.
I then moved onto the green, more traditional glass marble, the clear glass ones with the ‘S’ stripe of colour in the middle.
Now a more step-by-step look at the creation of a marble.
This is the little blue and yellow, solid colour marble on right hand side of the composition. I marked out the blue areas first and coloured them with a base of light blue after dotting on the masking fluid to preserve the highlights as I colour.
As the main colour of the marble is yellow, I picked a dark green as the base for the darker areas of the marble. This moulds the shape of the ball and shows the areas in darkest shadow. Then I layered on the yellows and the blues.
Looking closely at the marble, there are golden striations in the yellow glass, so I was sure to add them into my layering.
After taking off the masking fluid and softening the edges of the highlights, the marble starts to look more rounded, warmer and more realistic. The contrast between dark shadows and bright highlights helps create that realism.
Now I moved onto the shadow and before layering greys, I first put down some blue and yellow as the marbles reflects on the surface. I layered greys over the blue and yellow, gradually getting darker and adding touches of yellow and blue as needed.
The layering continues until I feel that I have a/ layered enough, b/ got a realistic shadow and c/ a very sore hand.
And the finished piece –
‘Marbles’ – 8″ x 12″, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Derwent Watercolour paper.