Thursday, 7 December 2017

Notan Workshop


Notan by Richard

What a stimulating day we had with Vicki Norman. You can find out more about Vicki's art and the workshops and holidays she offers by visiting her website https://www.vickinormanstudio.com/

Vicki had us rapidly produce lots of thumbnail sketches in only two or three tones. Notan is Japanese in origin and aims at harmonic relationships between dark and light. Light and dark give structure to an image and notan is an aid to getting simple clean design.

Most of the participants followed Vicki's recommendation of using Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pens in black and one in Cool grey 6 (N60). My attempts used graphite sticks which were quite hard work and, as you can see from the image on the left, did not give the even black coverage that's really needed.

Viewfinder
Vicki gave each of us a viewfinder in neutral grey. That served two purposes: (1) we could draw a line around the inside to define edges for our thumbnails; (2) we could use it to crop what we saw whether that was an image projected onto the screen or a scene in the real world.

You can read more about Notan in Arthur Wesley Dow's classic book on composition. This is available as a free download in several formats from Project Gutenberg. The link is http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/45410


I've been playing around with images using IrfanView (a simple and free computer program for viewing and converting digital photos). This lets you convert images to greyscale and reduce the number of tones if you wish. I opted for two and three tone images. The images on the left of the block below are from a colour photo I took in Bolzano in Italy. Those on the right are from my painting of the scene and show I have not achieved as much contrast between the extreme light tones and the mid tones.

Photo on left - painting on right
Richard Hyde


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