Summer Still Life

Procreate | 21cm x 29.7cm | 2022

Client: Personal

01. Background

Summer Still Life is the second Cubism-inspired piece after Mice. Since I did most of the research and background in Mice, I wanted to experiment further by breaking the rules of Cubism, such as using a tetradic colour scheme.

02. Approach

Since I followed the Cubism rules closely for Mice, I decided to experiment further for Summer Still Life. I have a few objectives in this artwork, which are:

1. The use of warm colours instead of monochrome browns and greys. I decided to use analogous colours with warm tones. I search for relevant colour palettes from

2. Each object has its colours. There are three objects in Summer Still Life — the bowl, the jug and the oranges. I defined the bowl as yellow, the jug as maroon, and the oranges in the bowl in orange tones.

3. After setting the colour scheme to the objects, I wanted the different fragments from the three items to intersect.

With these objectives in mind, I experimented with this piece to see if I could to achieve them.

Third, I could not understand despite watching the Ehow video. Fortunately, I managed to find an article by Christopher Jones on Medium. He wrote about the fundamentals of light and shadow from different periods, including Cubism. With these articles and video tutorials, I summarise my learnings into these points*:

  1. Despite the fragmented pieces, the object of the painting still needs to be legible.
  2. Light and shadow are crucial in Cubism. We cannot observe the form or depth of layers without using light and shadow.
  3. Grids are essential in Cubism. The grid creates a structured composition, especially for Rules of Third. Despite the irregular fragments, the grid system ensures that its object does not become too cluttered or indecipherable.

With this knowledge, I created a piece similar to Analytical Cubism using monochrome colours. 

03. Process

Since I had explored Cubism in Mice, creating another Summer Still Life was quick. For example, I just needed to trace the object and overlay it with some grids. My grids are not straight, but it is only a guideline to create fragments in the artwork.

I took the colours from ColourLovers.

After deciding on the colours, I began drawing the mice outline. I duplicated the layer and drew lines based on Procreate grid. From there, I started to erase the grid lines or enlarge different elements of the mice.

 I began filling in the colours for this artwork. For Mice, I used tints of blues and purples at the top, and darker shades at the bottom to differentiate the floor and the wall. However, Summer Still Life colours are not separated by the wall and floor but through the three different objects. Hence, the artwork begins with three colours, and I added the tones and shades accordingly.

Once I finished adding the colours to the artwork, I added shadows to create depth and layers to the fragments.

Finally, I added the highlights to show where the light shines on the objects. Adding highlights is challenging because there are too many fragments. In the end, I went based on feel rather than science.

04. Challenges

The first challenge is utilising the knowledge and forming an artwork that reflects me. As explained in the process section above, I took time to research and determine the direction of this artwork.

The second challenge is getting used to Procreate. It took me a while to get used to Procreate as it was my second time using it. I will continue to hone my skills in Procreate to create cleaner work.

05. Final Thoughts

I found that working on a Cubism piece on Procreate is helpful. If I painted the artwork physically, it would have taken too much time to adjust the grid and erase the unnecessary parts.

Generally, I am happy with this work, especially in experimenting with Cubism and Procreate. At least I have begun a piece to continue honing my skills and knowledge though it is not polished.