Because of the proportions of the cup, I started the handle too far to the left and needed room for the width of it. The real cup is one of those giant soup bowl cups, I love it full of coffee. I did the shaded sanguine background first. I tried doing a loose tonal texture in the golden tan from my small 12 color Color Conte set, and got it into a nice rectangle on the page in a 4" x 6" sketchbook. I decided the tan was not the color I wanted and borrowed Kitten42's Sanguine Conte crayon to do another layer in Sanguine before drawing anything, then started doing the cup and placed it too far to the left. I put in the sugar container (What are those called? It's not a sugarbowl) to balance the composition.
I was very proud and loved the drawing. I ran off and posted it and the other three here and then at my DeviantArt -- and only then realized that the drawing had a major composition flaw.
It was "kissing." This is the fixed version:
This is the old version, pre-fix, so you can see what I did to it:
I had just described "kissing" in one of my eHow articles on art, the Easy Rose article, as a definite no-no because it breaks composition -- if it were a story, it would be something that broke suspension of disbelief. That's the best way I can put it. It's like the object is trying to move out of the picture and not quite making it, reminding you it's only a picture, the background doesn't continue into the world of the picture.
So today I spent most of the day thinking about a few minutes of work very carefully extending a textured background that took mixing too colors and smudging just exactly enough to match the rest and not leave a seam. I'm very proud of the results, because they just demonstrate my point about "kissing" perfectly and might be worth an eHow article by themselves! I almost put the old example under a cut, but realized that was the point of today's art and that two images probably wasn't too much. Enjoy!