Tutor Feedback – Assignment 4

3 - Lying Down - Conte Stick and Compressed Charcoal

Overall Comments

You’ve delivered another strong submission Mark. The determination and enthusiasm you have shown throughout the past four parts of the module has clearly been of great benefit to you as you approach the final part of this module. It is your unerring interest in the subject of drawing and your resolve to advance in the process that will successfully see you through to the end of this course. 

The first exercises looking at quick and long poses display good observational skills. Quick sketches of the figure are a wonderful way of loosening up before approaching longer, more studied pieces and allow the artist to look at the subject in a rapid way, to define what is integral as well as superfluous in the detail of the sketch in the given time and is important for honing the eye and hand. They are well-proportioned and show that you can handle – and understand – the process of measuring well. As these are your first experiments with drawing the figure from life I think you should feel very happy with the results. The more you do the more adept you will become with the process of looking and transposing what you see. Again the longer poses display good proportional observation as well as a good understanding of the portrayal of attitude.

I learnt a lot about measuring proportions from this exercise particularly how many heads distance it was from the crown of the head to the seat of the bum which was approximately 3.5.

The drawings you have produced for the essential shapes and elements exercises show good understanding of how to represent form and your decision to use charcoal was well founded both in the drawings of your girlfriend and in the series of your daughter. Proportion is well observed and rendered and elements such as foreshortening have been approached simply and successfully. You mentioned in the check and log for the proportion exercises that you feel a little frustrated with your abilities to represent a facial likeness in relation to the overall drawing – one step at a time Mark. With your focus and determination I am in no doubt that you will find that you’ll develop your own way to tackle the complexities of facial structure. Like the body it is all about proportion and form but with the face the detail is much more intricate. The ‘tightness’ you perceive when approaching the face is normal for this early stage of your practice. It is the pressure we put on ourselves to achieve a ‘true’ or life-like representation of the model’s features that often hinders progress and ‘puts us off’, especially when you are not only restricted by time but the desire to ‘get it right’ creates a kind of hurdle to what is normally free-flowing creative expression. For these exercises it is not necessary to produce fully formed portraits with intricate detail. Try to hint at the features by using simple tone to describe the shape of the face.

4 - Charcoal on A3 Paper
Charcoal on A3 Paper
1 - Charcoal on A4 Sketch Book
Charcoal on A4 Sketch Book

You have produced a vast array of work for the stance and energy exercises. It is good to see that you are pushing yourself with such enthusiasm Mark and the results show that you have a good eye for the depiction of weight and balance. The line you use in these sketches is particularly appropriate and successful: it is sure and confident and delineates the stance and energy of the poses without forsaking attention to detail such as proportion and anatomy.

I wasn’t as impressed with my energy drawings and so after I submitted my coursework I did some research on Gesture drawing as well as some reading, Force, Michael Mattesi and did a new set of drawings for this exercise, which I did submit to my tutor afterwards so maybe that is what he is taking about. 

drawing 4
New Run at Gesture Drawings

You have approached the structure exercises with great enthusiasm and openness with regards the use of different techniques and media. There are some very slight issues with proportion in some but I don’t think you should be overly concerned here – it’s like you’ve concentrated too closely on specific detail rather than considering how each anatomical element relates and works together by looking at the subject as a whole.

4 - Finished Anatomical Drawing Half and Half
Finished Anatomical Drawing Half and Half

I think my tutor was talking about the anatomical drawing above but I am not too sure. If so then I can say I wasn’t thinking about specific detail, I was thinking about how anatomical elements related to each other. At this stage we were a bit ‘shy’about nude drawings in detail but the choice of clothes for the model, my girlfriend, on this exercise was probably a bit poor and so it didn’t show off the structure as well and so I wasn’t able to.

1 - Sitting, Conte, Charcoal, Conte Pencil
1 – Sitting, Conte, Charcoal, Conte Pencil
2nd Pose 3 - Water Soluble Pencils Better Proportions
2nd Pose 3 – Water Soluble Pencils Better Proportions

In the conté and charcoal drawing of the seated figure, the upper part of her right arm appears too thin in relation to the overall proportion, and in the drawing using white gel ball the arm resting on the door knob appears a little elongated. The foreshortened reclining pose in conté and charcoal however is very nicely observed and delineated in terms of proportion, form and structure. The depiction of foreshortening can often cause great problems and confusion but not in your case. You’ve produced a very well executed drawing here Mark.

3 - Lying Down - Conte Stick and Compressed Charcoal
Lying Down – Conte Stick and Compressed Charcoal

I am hitting the same problems all the time, I am producing my best work on a small scale, I love this drawing and yet I am not sure whether it will get me where I want to be in the assessment when framed.

The drapery studies for the clothed figure exercises also show keen observational abilities. The manner in which you have portrayed the lightness and swathe of the fabric by utilising line following form and allowing the surface of the paper to describe highlights is very successful. The subtlety of tonal range in these drawings is also very well observed and this is particularly successful in the two drawings of the reclining figure using white pastel on black paper and the graphite version of the same pose (I must also say here that the face in this piece is beautifully rendered!). There is an undeniable believability in the way you have portrayed how the fabric drapes over the model’s body.

2 - White Pastel on Black paper
2 – White Pastel on Black paper
1 - 6B Pencil in A4 Sketchbook
1 – 6B Pencil in A4 Sketchbook

I shall be producing a finished piece for the exercise above from these sketches and the drapery studies.

You quick sketches for the sitting and waiting and fleeting moment exercises show good observational responses to what can be quite a difficult and pressurised way to work, especially for you in terms of the recent circumstances in Bangkok!

4 - Walking Women in Oil Pastel
Walking Women in Oil Pastel

It is evident that you thrive on these set tasks Mark. The definite evidence of development as you work through the self-portrait exercises is clear. The determined and studied visual research for shape and proportion you have employed for this exercise has surely helped with this. From the slightly tentative first sketches for the ‘Drawing your face’ exercise to the surer, more ‘finished’ pieces in different media, you have once again produced a focused collection of work. I thought the eighth portrait in conté and Chinese white pencil particularly successful with good attention to incident and reflected light. I thought the portrait from memory of Vladimir Putin worked well and was definitely recognisable as the Russian leader. 

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity 

The assignment piece of your girlfriend reclining on the sofa in soft pastel was very well conceived, observed and executed. Once again you have handled the media successfully. The composition is well-balanced and the depiction and overall effect of light and shade makes for a very effective study – a nod to the reclining figure from the history of art, to Manet’s Olympia, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, Goya’s La maja desnuda, the list goes on? A very successful piece Mark!

Tone and Form - Finished Piece Soft Pastel, Green Ingres
Tone and Form – Finished Piece Soft Pastel, Green Ingres

This assignment was a breath of fresh air after the last one but there was a downside though that I hadn’t expected. The soft pastel colours were so bright until I used the fixative what I hadn’t anticipated was that the fixative would dampen it or blow the pastel dust away and allow so much of the green paper to show through making it murky, the upside of this of course is that it gives it a ancient/spooky look.

Tone and Form - Finished Piece Soft Pastel, Green Ingres
Final Drawing

Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays Context

As with your previous submissions you have delivered an honest, informative and thorough learning log for this part of the module. I enjoyed reading the piece on artists’ self-portraits and thought the manner in which it was written was fresh and personal – a welcome divergence from the usual heavily fact-based information we as tutors sometimes have to read! I am also very pleased to read that you are getting a lot out of Berger’s Ways of Seeing.

Sketchbooks 

What I find encouraging about the way you work Mark is that you are rarely put off by new processes; in fact you appear to thrive on the challenge. You confront new disciplines fearlessly and with an open mind to technique and media. The evidence is here in your sketchbooks – the amount of work and the confidence displayed by the inclusion of work you are rightfully happy with as well as pieces you have considered not so successful has been beneficial to the progression of your practice. Sometimes it is the recognition of ‘success’ and ‘failure’ that will drive us forward to constructively face. Your overriding interest in the subject of drawing will stand you in good stead for the final part of this module and your future art practice. I am pleased that you have chosen the option of figure drawing on which to concentrate.

Suggested viewing/reading Context 

I’m sure I don’t need to mention it but try as much as you can to immerse yourself in the work of other artists. I have always found it exciting when discovering the oeuvre of ‘new’ artists, the influence of their work potentially beneficial to my own. A couple of artists you may find interesting are Jenny Saville and Alison Watt.

See examples of their work below:

Jenny Saville Mother and Child (After the Leonardo Cartoon) Alison Watt charcoal on watercolour paper, 2009.
Jenny Saville
Mother and Child (After the Leonardo Cartoon) charcoal on watercolour paper, 2009.
Alison Watt Part of the Phantom series, oil on canvas, 2007.
Alison Watt
Part of the Phantom series, oil on canvas, 2007.

View the research point for Alison Watt

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Assignment 4 – Tone and Form

Tone and Form - Finished Piece Soft Pastel, Green Ingres
Tone and Form - Finished Piece Soft Pastel, Green Ingres
Final Drawing

For this part of the assignment I had to pose my model in a reclining position, such as lying back in an arm chair or with feet up extended on the sofa. That’s about all you can do really living in a one bedroom condominium with not much furniture you can lay down on, the choice was either bed, lay-z-boy or sofa, I went for the recliner.

We were instructed to dress the model in contrasting clothes,light top, dark pants etc. she wore the same white top as in the first part of this assignment but this time put on a pair of dark blue stretched pants.

Tone and Form - 1st Drawing a study in Marker Pens
Tone and Form – 1st Drawing a study in Marker Pens

My first quick sketch was in marker pens, using the same Chisel tipped marker pens that I used for both the using Markers and Dip Pens exercise and the Patrick Caulfield Research point. Even though they are nice and vibrant I decided against using them for this part of the assignment after just a quick study of her face and upper body.

Tone and Form - 2nd Drawing Conte Pencils on Ingres Paper
Tone and Form – 2nd Drawing Conte Pencils on Ingres Paper

I liked my self portrait in Conte Pencils on blue ingres paper so much  that I thought it would be a great medium to have a go with for this part of the assignment. But after a small 30 minute sketch with these on a A4 size sheet of the same blue ingres I decided they weren’t blending well enough for my liking. Also the pose that I chose for the drawing which was looking at her from the front and just slightly to the side didn’t show her form off as much as I should be doing in this part of the assignment.

Tone and Form - 3rd Drawing Compressed Charcoal A3
Tone and Form – 3rd Drawing Compressed Charcoal A3

The next drawing was in compressed charcoal on A3 paper this time I sat on a chair almost to the side of her with my light source (my bendy lamp) placed on the floor and facing her from an angle slightly to her left.

Although I was happier with both the medium and the angle, I wasn’t happy with not being able to hatch over small areas with a clumsy medium, she needed to be bigger or at a more ‘full on’ angle so I could see more of her.

Tone and Form - 4th Drawing Fine Marker Pens
Tone and Form – 4th Drawing Fine Marker Pens

The next study was in my A4 sketchbook with fine nib marker pens, although her face turned into some kind of cat woman the four colours that I chose worked well together although I did mess up on the arm of the chair but this was about describing tone and form and I still wasn’t satisfied that reclining poses in this chair was were allowing me to do that.

I gave up on it for a couple of days so I could think things through, my bed was against a plain white wall so I didn’t think the background would be interesting enough in there so I thought it might be worth drawing some poses on the sofa, However I had already used the sofa twice already in the three drawings exercise and essential elements  and I needed a pose that would fill more of the paper.

Two days later I was washing the covers of the sofa when my girlfriend came to visit again. As the sofa covers were in the wash I had a yellow quilt over the white cushion, my girlfriend was wearing a blue striped shirt with white collars and pink trousers and the three colours looked great together.

I placed the light sauce on the glass table in front of the sofa so I could create some nice shadows behind her and did a quick 20+ minute drawing in ballpoint pen. After a bit of tampering with Tipex I was satisfied that this was the perfect pose for this assignment.

Tone and Form - 5th Ball Point Pen
Tone and Form – 5th Ball Point PenT one and Form – 5th Ball Point Pen

For this drawing I wanted to use a medium that I had only experimented with before, soft pastel. I chose a dark green ingres paper but I didn’t think it would make a difference to how the picture looked as I thought I would be covering every bit of the paper with pastel, this changed as I started hatching realizing that the green of the paper still showed through the pastel strokes which changed the mood of the drawing to how actually imagined it.

Tone and Form Final Drawing Before Fixatives
Tone and Form Final Drawing Before Fixatives

I completed the whole drawing using hatching and soft pastel except for on the hands and face which I left to last and completed the details in pastel paper.

Tone and Form - Finished Piece Soft Pastel, Green Ingres
Tone and Form – Finished Piece Soft Pastel, Green Ingres

Things I am not happy with…

Well I completed this drawing at the end of the month and with hardly any money left I chose to use hair spray as my fixative. I would rather have just framed it behind glass as I thought it was very vibrant before I started spraying away. Nonetheless, it had to be fixed as I presume they have to be sent to England for formal assessment. For now it looks good, the hairspray has aged the  drawing and added some character but can it be preserved like it is.

 

Assignment 4 – Line and Shape

Line and Shape Finished Drawing

For the first part of this assignment, assignment 4 we were to produce a final piece using line and shape.  Instructed to take particular note of the proportions of the figure we were to describe details such as hands and facial features and find ways of describing the folds of the clothes with line rather than tone. As I have done in the other exercises for part 4 I asked my girlfriend to model for me and so I could get a good sense of form I asked her to wear shorts and a sleeveless white knitted top.

Line and Shape 1st Drawing Ballpoint
Line and Shape 1st Drawing Ballpoint

I started off by making sketches in line in my sketchbook. After the first sketch I realized that the face was going to be a problem, as I stated earlier I found it quite difficult to draw my girlfriend’s face and as this drawing was going to be in soft pencil, pen or some other permanent medium then I had to get it right the first time. The next drawing was of her face, not in line but in tone at first and from there I tried translating the key features of her face into a line drawing.

Line and Shape 2nd Drawing
Line and Shape 2nd Drawing

I asked her to change pose for the second drawing. This pose was very elegant, it made her neck longer and her legs more womanly, at this stage I thought it would be a pose I would come back to for the finished line drawing.

Line and Shape 3rd Drawing - soft pencil
Line and Shape 3rd Drawing – soft pencil

During changing poses for the next drawing her son called her, I thought was a pose I could use and so I asked her to stay in that position, with phone to her ear for the next two drawings in both conte pencil and charcoal pencil.

Line and Shape 4th Drawing conte pencil
Line and Shape 4th Drawing conte pencil

I decided that these two mediums (charcoal pencil and Conte pencil) were a bit too sloppy for my liking to be used in the final line drawing and so I decided on using either Drawing pen, ballpoint or soft pencil.

Line and Shape 5th Charcoal Pencil
Line and Shape 5th Charcoal Pencil

The next sketch put me off using pencil, it would be too easy to start hatching and messing the final drawing up, drawing pen or ballpoint would be much cleaner.

Line and Shape 6th Drawing Soft Pencil
Line and Shape 6th Drawing Soft Pencil

Going on the fact that ballpoint can look a bit too scratchy at times though and was probably ok for smaller drawings not at A2 size I journeyed over to Silapakorn University shop to buy a 0.3 and a 0.5 Rotring pen, both of which I would use for the final drawing.

Line and Shape Finished Drawing
Line and Shape Finished Drawing

The pose I chose for my final drawing was a fluke, she was trying to find the pose that I drew in the second preliminary sketch when this pose just jumped right out at me. It had everything, legs, arms, shoulders, elegant neck and goof hand positions.

Firstly I drew in the outline in an H2 pencil so I could erase it later, I was afraid that I would make too many mistakes drawing with pen first as I always seem to mess up [when the pressure’s on]. It turns out that this was a good decision, I had no problem drawing the legs, waist and hands but when I drew from her elbows up to her head everything was out of proportion and it made her look like she was leaning forward in the chair rather than sitting with her back against the back rest. I did take photos of the process to compare but sadly I deleted them by accident.

After I had corrected the proportions and completed her full outline, I quickly sketched in the door and shadows on the wall and floor, I really only had one shot at this great pose so tried to draw everything in to its proper place just in case she was getting uncomfortable or needed to go to the toilet.

The Face

From there I went over her whole figure in a 0.5 Rotring pen and then drew in her face in 0.3. With her face I kept it simple, initially in pencil I drew in a lot more details but when it came to going over her face in pen I just left in the key features. With her chin raised and slightly looking up I managed to capture the parts of her face in a way that created the best likeness, small nose almond shaped eyes and juicy top lip.

Hair

For the hair I used three pens, both Rotring pens and a fine marker to create a sense of depth.

Hands

In this pose the hands were at a great angle and very simple to draw, again, like the face I kept things nice and simple, drawing hands from the Bidgman’s Guide to Drawing from Life earlier in this part of the course was a great help. I used block shadow as well as some hatching on the hands to create a sense of three dimension.

Clothes

Thinking of drawing techniques to describe the creases and folds in the clothes was a hard one and so I settled for block shadow and short pen strokes for the knitted top and block shadow and squiggly lines for the shorts. The shorts, however turned out looking like silk Thai boxing shorts instead of cotton, 70s style boxer shorts.

Background

For me there could only be one type of background and it had to be detailed and either in charcoal or soft pencil. I went for 4B and 5B pencils. Charcoal may have been a better medium for adding depth to the drawing but to draw in the reflections and shadows on the floor that I had in mind it had to be done in pencil.

Things I am not (quite) happy with in this part of the assignment..

I probably could have done a lot more experimenting but with line and different backgrounds but a busy seven days a week schedule holds me back sometimes. Some of the exercises can be done on the go but this was something I wanted to do while the model was in front of me and not from a photo.

On the left arm (her right) I have taken the line too far over at the joint which has separated the forearm from the top of the arm, Because I am aware of it, it looks bad but I don’t know how others would see it.