Clearly Tricky

During my little jaunt to the V&A museum in London, I visited the Glass gallery, where they hold collections ranging from the earliest surviving examples of glassmaking to the most contemporary pieces. I always enjoy marvelling at the glasswork, not least that such delicate pieces have survived intact, in some cases over the many centuries, but also at the creativity and variety of shapes employed by the glassmakers. It’s always surprising to me how sophisticated the ancient techniques for glassmaking were.

This collection of Roman glasses was a small part of a long cabinet of Greek and Roman examples. The shapes of the vases seems to be timeless, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar examples being produced even today.

Funsize Roman vessels ink & tombow

The particular challenge here was to try to convey the transparency of the vessels, which I found especially hard, as not all were clear glass – for instance, the decorated vase on the left was opaque but luminescent. The lighting, which was from downlighters in the cabinet, reduced the amount of highlight on the glass. It was an interesting problem. I found that adding the shadows, especially for the stemmed small bowl at the front, helped to suggest transparency. Once again, since I was travelling light, this was done in fineliner and Tombow blended with a waterbrush pen.

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