Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
I used several different drawing materials in this assignment and used a wide range of techniques in several different studies. I examined several different compositions until I found one that I liked the best and from there I explored different mediums until I found one that I thought was perfect for the finished piece.
Quality of Outcome content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
To me my work in this assignment displayed all of the above qualities.
Demonstration of Creativity imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.
This was the first assignment piece where imagination played a big part in the finished drawing, and indeed the studies and for the first time I can see there is a personal voice developing here.
I have spent the last three weeks getting ready for assessment, preparing my portfolio, piecing everything together and taking a fresh look at my work coursework as well as having another try at any exercises that weren’t up to scratch; this was one of them.
The last part of the course was drawing and experimenting, I’d done plenty of drawing but not much experimenting, so I had another look through Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing for some ideas. Having a fresh look at the book after following the course was very refreshing, but rather than being influenced by any works in particular I was inspired by how the artists had let themselves go and freed themselves from any chains that had previously bound them. This is what I needed to do.
I had just finished having another go at the Quick Studies exercise and was due to do some more experimenting with colour. However, there were a few pages that I couldn’t use due to the black fine marker blotching on the reverse side of the pages, this gave me an idea.
I took out some of the coloured chisel pointed markers that I had purchased earlier in the course and coloured in the back side of one of the quick sketches, first in red then in green followed by a dark blue. Turning over the page I was very happy with the very random results apart from where I had coloured in with the dark blue but there were some light spaces so went over again with a yellow.
I was really happy with what I had created but I wasn’t going to stop there, just like I did in the Doodling exercise in the very first project in this course I freed my mind and let go.
The first few experiments in this fresh try at using colour were basically drawing on the reverse side of, or over the top of existing marker pen studies with either marker or oil pastel but the studies weren’t that great and so I started the next 4 drawings from scratch.
I began the next drawing by laying down random marker lines and then filling in the white gaps with pink, from there I drew a fresh pose from a series of photos that I took on the beach. Then I drew a similar pose on a plain page and then drew within the shape of the body with darker colours.
Both of these drawings worked out great, the first drawing looks like the the model is absorbing sunlight, while the second, even though it was a very similar pose with similar colours, albeit a tan instead of yellow looked very different indeed. This time the subject looked like a tanned figure and to add to it I drew a breath cloud. Thinking about it now they could actually look like before and after figures, tanning and burnt.
I started the next drawing by drawing in circles with the oil pastels and then blending them with my finger. I knew I would draw a figure over the top but i wasn’t sure which pose or how i would finish the experiment. I don’t know why I chose the pose below but it worked out well. To complete the drawing I first sprayed the bottom layer with hairspray then I drew the figure in a fine black marker before filling the figure in white oil pastel and then drawing in the details. I love the way her back glows due to the yellow in the centre of the bottom layer.
In the last experiment I drew the figure with the same fine marker then applied red liquid watercolour around the figure then brown inside but because I had freshly drawn the outline the black of the marker smudged into the red and brown making the figure impossible to determine so I went over the body in white oil pastel then the outline again in black. The end result looks (to me) like a rotting corpse on either blood splatters or rose petals.
I realised that I could never do enough experimenting with colour and I came back for another play, only this time I worked on an existing piece, which turned out to be a bad idea but it seemed to be the start of something that I can could come back to develop in the future and I did.
The collage that I made earlier seemed a bit bare and I thought that I could maybe do something else with it. The last experiment that I did in my exercise book gave me an idea. The red liquid watercolour over black and Iooked like blood or rose petals and I wondered if I could work on that idea over the top of the collage.
The problem was I had no red liquid water colour left and so decided to work with acrylic paint, although not a drawing medium it was worth a try to see what it would come out like. I first applied black acrylic with bubble wrap wrapped round a spray can lid that I could use like a stamp, then over the top of that I applied a layer of burnt sienna, followed by a layer of brilliant red, hopefully this would give me a shadow under the red. It turned out looking nothing like what I wanted it to and so I just kept on playing.
The paint I already applied was just too dark and ugly and so I went over it white acrylic paint and once that had dried or near enough dry I applied ink and liquid watercolour over the top. From bottom right I worked in a clockwise direction first applying green, then blue, red, orange and yellow and let them all drip into each other, finally i went over the figure in pink. The finished picture didn’t look that great but it had potential so I took a photo before it fell apart and unfortunately, got binned. I really lied the way the ink over the acrylic applied with bubble wrap looked like a very colourful snake skin and so I would come back to this.
For the next picture I applied ink and liquid watercolour with a wine bottle cork, this was on an A3 sheet of paper so it looked better than I could possible imagine, I used white gouache over certain parts add light to the figure and the door.
I decided to have another go at the acrylic>bubble wrap> ink technique as I wasn’t happy that I had to throw away the drawing and so I did a little bit more experimenting before trying to have a go at a finished piece. This time the colour order didn’t suit the pose as the lighter colours should have been on the left of the figure. I also made the mistake of applying white acrylic to the figure then going over it with pink ink and marker, these didn’t take well over the acrylic and so I decided to have one last try.
On the third try I drew the figure with marker and then went over it in pink ink before applying the acrylic this looked patchy as the marker bled into the ink but it still didn’t look that bad. From there I went threw the process of applying the acrylic but this time I added too much white so when it came to painting with the ink over the top it didn’t have the same effect.
When it came to applying the cooler ink colours. I applied a dark turquoise instead of blued which I rubbed off with a paper towel before applying the blue then let the colours bleed into each other. This time the blue dripped over the orange instead of bleeding into each other and so I tried to drip draw the door as well.
Every drawing in this final experiment turned out completely different the first looking like snake skin while the last a stain glass window and even though I haven’t managed to complete a final drawing using this new technique I feel it is something that can be developed further.
The feedback from my replacement tutor for Assignment 5 that said my original quick studies were weak and that my drawings for a fresh try at gesture drawings were a lot better I decided to have another go at the Quick Poses exercise with both of these in mind. This time though, I stayed away from drawing faces and just concentrated on the essential elements and shapes, structure, stance and applied force.
In the first set of drawings I used 2B pencil but this time I used a 5B pencil which is softer and gave me stronger lines, switching to a fine marker for the last few drawings which I then used for more experimentation with colour.
It is never easy to change tutor at assignment 5 but this is the situation that we find ourselves in. The task has fallen to me to give you feedback on what you have produced for assignment 5. You will have to bear with me as I have not seen anything of what you have done until this point.
Due to my tutor not being available until further notice because of family matters I was contacted and asked whether I would need a replacement tutor. So close to the end of my first course I thought it was important to find a replacement tutor. There was an extreme contrast between my previous tutor feedback’s which can be viewed below and this one.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
I see that you have chosen Option 4, the figure. Students can often find it difficult when working from the figure mainly due to preconceptions as to what a drawing should look like and particularly a work made from the figure.
For the most part the quickly made drawings in the quick sketches work are weak; you have generalised far too much instead of drawing what you have seen. This has resulted in some poor understanding of proportion and how bodies engage with the space around them. The interpretation of the hands and feet in this series of work needs thinking about. It is important to make changes as you draw correcting and changing to get the whole operating cohesively. Writing on a drawing what is wrong with it or what needs to be done to it will not benefit you at this stage. Change the drawing!
I agree that some of these quick studies were weak, out of proportion etc and said so in the learning log. Others were strong with a 100% resemblance and correct proportions. What needs to be realised here is that I am drawing figures of a ‘different race’, i.e. If I was drawing Japanese models, legs would be shorter. I made notes on drawings before making a fresh, I was drawing quick and so I thought this was a better approach than spending so long editing the drawing. These notes helped me to capture my thoughts at the time.
Varying the speed that you draw can often open up new ways of seeing as can holding your drawing implements differently or using your ‘wrong’ hand. Quickly executed drawings can be good and bad. Drawings made more slowly likewise. It is the intent and nature of the outcome in reference to what your subject is and the quality of the drawing itself that matters.
Now interestingly the batch of ‘more gesture’ drawings mostly made in pencil are really well seen and interpreted for the most part; working quickly has worked for you here! The works from the female model are full of life and movement; the proportions are very believable as is the weight distribution through the figure and the stances in general. Some of the male studies demonstrate some good understanding of foreshortening through some quite difficult poses.
For me here you have investigated as you have been drawing and it has allowed you to interpret the figure much more successfully through the use of the media itself. This approach has negated some of the repeated faults that your work can have i.e. too large heads and poorly articulated extremities. When an approach is working it is important to capitalise on it and build on both the methods and the look of the outcomes
My idea of a gesture drawing and a quick study are two different things. For me a quick study is a quick study in the style of my ‘would be’ finished piece, if he had looked at the previous assignment he would have seen the quick studies were closer to the way I finish a drawing. However, the ‘more gesture’ drawings were more satisfying and so maybe I am looking in the wrong place to find myself.
It is imperative that you look hard at all times at your subject; look draw, alter, draw again, change, look, you need to build up a dialogue between yourself, the subject and the particular medium that you are using. Different media require different approaches as do different subjects. It is good to build your drawings in this way.
You included lots of work which in itself is fine, however, it is very important to us some objective discernment both as you are working and as you look at a completed body of work. Interestingly the drawing in line of the ‘woman playing with her phone’ is the most successful of this group of works. The proportions are fine and come together and form a believable figure in action. You have this marked as ‘out of proportion’, it isn’t! This tells me you are not seeing things clearly enough as you look; look at this drawing closely and try to recognise how you have articulated the figure in space; how well the head sits; how you have changed sizes of parts of the body as they recede (foreshortening in other words). You have been looking here and not generalising. The shaded version of this pose is not as successful as the line version; it is stiff and lifeless by comparison. I will talk more about discernment later in the report.
I have to disagree here, this drawing was from a photo as I didn’t have time to do a life drawing in this pose. My girlfriend is only 5 foot and the second drawing is ‘spot on’. I like the first drawing in just line but it is as I said out of proportion.
The tonal studies revert back to generalisation for the most part; you are forgetting to ‘look’ here and are trying far too hard to make a picture instead of investigating your subject. As a result proportions are out again; heads too big, feet and hands and legs too small. Some of the drawings are somewhat kitsch also which is a look you should avoid at this stage in your development.
I submitted drawings here that others would have left out, mainly because the folders I have submitted digitally from my computer contains everything. Below is a photo of a very spontaneous easel drawing that was neither planned out or marked. It shouldn’t have been submitted but it was and as since been omitted from my learning log. However, there are positive drawings in this exercise, that were not generalised, were not drawn quick and were a result of looking. The tutor has nothing positive to say about any of these and that’s annoying. The ‘kitsch’ he talks of is a result of depicting tone using colour, the results were spontaneous not planned.
I will be reproducing this in charcoal pencil.
The work that you did for the assignment piece itself is actually much better. The understanding of proportion is better and the use of tone is quite successful also. The ‘looking at the door handle’ in water soluble pencil looks to be working better than some others as does the more expressive version in watercolour pencil which you have marked ‘Sad Attempt’. The expression that this study has could be pushed even further.
The tutor and I obviously have different tastes, styles and understanding of what I was trying to do in this assignment, the above drawing was not it.
The larger drawing is a reasonable resolution on what you were trying to do. The sense of isolation within the figure is present and the pose supports the idea also. The relationship of the figure to the background maybe needs some more attention to get the areas of the drawing reacting together more.
Maybe the figure looking at the door handle would be sufficient as a concept to carry both the pose and idea. The pastel one maybe over done.
It is always good practice to work on more than one version of assignment pieces; this will give you much more scope to select when the time comes and it will also help you explore your ideas and methods more also. Remember this for the future.
I wasn’t trying to create a sense of isolation within the figure, I was trying to create a feeling of anxiety and fear, which I think the oil pastel, ‘over done’ drawing did well. The larger drawing in Gouache, watercolour and watercolour pencil was a second version of the assignment piece and if I preferred it to the oil pastel would have been submitted as such.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
I presume that you have been keeping sketchbooks through out the course. The more investigative the more useful they will be. Bear this in mind for the future.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
The blog is far too descriptive. You need much more critical comment on what you look at and indeed more of an in-depth comment on your practice and methods. Say more about why more often rather than how. More comparative statements about the quality of your work and how you think that you could improve it. It needs to be less descriptive and more of an analytical tool that you can use in your practice in a real sense.
This should have been pointed out to me at an earlier stage instead of getting pats on the back, is it too late to change?
Generally a learning log/Blog should contain objective and comparative comments on your own work and development. Comments on work of other artists relevant to what you are doing. Evidence of art you have seen, in the flesh in books or on the web – with images, annotated where necessary. The log should also contain the set theoretical studies from the course and your tutor reports.
Look at drawn figure work by Manet and Cezanne to see how they use their media fluidly and openly, Seurat’s drawings are good examples of inventive use of tone. Look at Degas for his use of pastel and inventive composition and Van Gogh for his use of mark making and line. Picasso and Matisse have both made exhaustive drawings in line which would be beneficial to see as would some of Rodin’s work from the figure in line also.
Discernment is going to be very important for you as you select for your assessment submission. You will have to do this as I can see that you have a lot of examples of work some of course more successful than others. You need to pick out the more successful work.
Some of the work throughout a all five assignments will not be quite as successful as others so you will need to select well. Look through all your reports to help you select. Spread all your work out in front of you and remove the less successful ones until you have a coherent group which satisfies the submission criteria. Put the best drawings in as the assignment pieces i.e. re designate them if you need to. Pick out your most successful pieces as support work also. You will find the submission criteria in your course book and check out the OCA website for tips on submission. You need the right balance; not to much but not too little either. Present your work in its best light.
Over the last two months I kept looking at the brief for this final assignment and I was wondering how I could demonstrate a significant amount of new skills I had learnt not just i this last part, part 5 but throughout the course.
My strongest idea was a full figure semi nude sitter in the shadows of a lamp lit apartment I did for a brief moment think about a self portrait stood in the kitchen with the sky and clouds behind me, but in the rainy season that wasn’t a good idea.
I was definitely including the background and I wanted to use the background to create a unique mood, to try and influence the drawing as much as possible. I imagined my subject sitting against a wall with long shadows depicting how small and insignificant she was to her surroundings, like Gerald Scarfe’s illustrations of the main character in Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
As this module was all about experimenting, what was I going to experiment with? What techniques was I going to use? And would I use experimental techniques in my final drawing?
I decided that I would try to experiment more with water soluble media, pencils, watercolour pencils, watercolour paint, and gouache and see where that took me, I bought the book ‘Drawing and Painting with Water Soluble Media by Fiona Peart’ just to give me some ideas.
I had plenty of low quality watercolour paper to mess around on and but not so many different types of water soluble media but I thought I’d have a go at some of the techniques in the book to see if I could use any in my final piece.
The first technique I tried was dropping salt granules on to a watercolour wash, see above. I had several bottles of Ecoline liquid watercolour so I dropped some in a jar and watered it down. I haven’t done much messing about or drawing with watercolour (probably haven’t been brave enough) so I still have a lot to learn about how much water to use in a wash etc. So I did a wash (the one on the right) in 30+ degrees heat and it seemed to start drying as soon as my brush left the paper, then i started to try and drop single granules of salt onto the wash. They didn’t do much and so I rubbed my hands and let the lot fall over the top of the wash. The result was a discoloured blotch effect that looked like fungus.
I decided to water the wash down some more and start again. this time I sed less salt and as you can see above the results are a bit better. However I wasn’t sure how I would use this technique in the finished piece.
The second technique I used was soap suds. On the left I used a small amount of soap suds scooped up and placed on a watercolour wash, this time with more water added. The results were very different to what she had in the book where she had used them to depict pebbles on a beach, the patterns that mine made (after 2 hour of drying) resembled a cloudy sky.
I wasn’t sure whether it was the paper I had been using or whether my washes were too thin that made my experiments look nothing like anything in the book so I had another try with a thicker wash on a higher quality 200 g/m2 watercolour paper, the results were almost the same.
My girlfriend came round that evening so I decided to stop with the experimenting for the night to do a series of sketches of sketches in water soluble pencil to see which worked best.
My first sketch was a very sorry effort indeed, I did exactly what I’ve been trying to stop myself doing in this last section, misuse the paper. I wanted to use the background but the figure still had to be a good size on the paper.
The second sketch was better but was still not that great and by now I decided that her clothes would be replaced with the orange cloth. The third sketch was a lot better and probably one of the best so far over the last two modules and the face was almost spot on which was an added bonus. However, I really wanted the background to play a bigger role in the finished piece.
The next one was even better but I stopped at drawing the door, even though I knew this one would work it was a different mood to what i wanted to depict in the final piece. To me the pose in the drawing below was warm, welcoming, even romantic like she was waiting for her lover to come home, I wanted a totally different mood altogether for the final drawing.
By now I was working towards the pose that I had my mind set on and the next pose below was pretty close but still it looked like she was waiting for someone rather than hiding from someone which is what I really wanted to show in the ideal pose. Because this was a 100% perfect in looks, proportion, the long shadows and everything else I nearly went with this but I decided to squeeze just 1 more sketch out.
In this last sketch I decided I had got the pose that I wanted, it still looked like she was waiting for someone to come through the door rather than hiding behind it but I decided to go with it in the hope that the medium and technique that I chose to complete the assignment piece would help me to depict the mood that I wanted.
To give my girlfriend a break I decided to do some colour drawings working from the sketch above, the first one was a total abomination. Until now, apart from the Fish on a Plate exercise I had used my watercolour pencils dry, as a substitute to my Derwent colour pencils which I wasn’t keen on the waxy feel of, the awful attempt at being artistic below was a very tired try at sketching with wet watercolour pencils. I decided that was it for one day.
At this stage I wanted to have ago at painting this in watercolour but basically I wasn’t ready for drawing in a painting medium and so I had another go at watercolour pencil to get myself ready for a more permanent medium, this was drawn from the water soluble sketch.
That afternoon I went and bought some Louvre watercolour paints, a jar of white Gouache and some brushes. I still really didn’t have a clue what I was doing with the paints which were in tubes and so I decided to take minimum risks and draw the figure in watercolour pencil and use the watercolour paint for the floor and walls.
After completing the figure with watercolour pencil and wet brush I painted the shadows on the floor with watercolour paint using a brush and then dragged the paint off with the paper with a tissue, I’m not sure if there’s a special name for that technique. I painted the rest of the floor and the walls with a brush but I needed to show the light reflecting off both and so when the watercolour paint was dry I stippled the gouache paint over the top with the same brush. From there I finished the door off hatching with watercolour pencils then going over them with a wet brush.
I wasn’t worried that I hadn’t used any of the experimental techniques that I played around with earlier as this was an experiment just on its own but I wasn’t satisfied with how this turned out, it was stagnant there was no mood to it and I decided to change to a different type of painting medium.
I wanted to make a bigger connection between the door handle and the figure and i wanted to do it with a visible energy field and swirling hatching came to mind and the perfect medium for this would be oil pastel. And so I went from water soluble mediums to oil pastel.
I knew I would need a lot of white oil pastel as I planned to draw it on an A2 size paper and so this was my first experiment at trying to get the lines that I needed without using the valuable white. I really don’t know what I was doing here and it started to look more like a kids drawing from an horror movie.
The second experiment was with much lighter colours using more of the white and trying as many different techniques together to see which one worked. From this it was obvious that the only one that was going to work and join everything together was circular hatching, or at least that’s what I call it, like a vortex drawing, spiraling out from the door handle connecting everything, or spiraling in.
I bought some dark grey Ingres paper and taped it to my largest drawing board with masking tape at the corners. I was still drawing from previous sketches including the latest watercolour/watercolour pencil drawing.
Two hours in and something was beginning to form but it was more like the blurred image in a dream than anything else. I started with black for the hair plus pinks and various oranges for the skin, cloth and skirting board then white circular swirls for the walls and floor, with the white lines further apart for the darker shaded areas to let the grey show through. I wasn’t hatching in the same circular motion for everything but I kept going over the top with white to give the impression of doing so and only two hours in I was already on my second stick of white oil pastel.
The next day and a few hours in and the picture was looking a bit too light as I added more and more colours to the vortex including pinks, yellows, greens and blues, I liked where it was taking me as long as i could darken it eventually. The figure looked unnatural and out of proportion and also two far away from the door but I wasn’t worried, I knew eventually she would be right where I wanted her. The most worrying thing at this point was that the door handle was too low and had to be lifted up and that was the starting pint of my vortex so everything had to be reworked.
After about a good few hours it was proving to be a very long process but knew the end results would be worth it. by now I had got everything marked out and re-positioned the door knob and I was starting to draw in the shadows which would tell me if the figure was too far to the right or not on the paper…It was. What was niggling me at this stage though was if I should draw the face or leave it blur as at this stage it reminded me a bit of Francis Bancon’s work, still blurred between the point where the face was and where I had moved it to.
It took me a few hours longer to finish the drawing and as you can see between the drawing above and the drawing below a lot more work went into this piece, moving her even more so she was in a more natural position against the door but that’s not where all the work went. No longer is there any grey from the paper showing through the oil pastel, the darker parts are darker layers of oil pastel on top of the lighter ones and the shadows took at least two hours to correct.
I would say in all this piece took me the best part of twenty hours to complete. No sure if it was all drawing though, there was a lot of thinking during the process, as with any lengthy process like this I tend to get lost in my thoughts as I step back and look at the drawing from different angles.
I chose to do something completely different with her face, so far I’ve only managed to get my girlfriend’s face right with a pencil or water soluble pencil, I wasn’t taking any chances and used the face to help me create the vortex effect, instead of just circular hatching, all the way to the door handle.
I started off this part of the course with a fresh try at drawing with energy as my attempts at gesture drawing in Part 4 – Drawing Figures where rather crap and so I read more of ‘Force’ by Michael D. Mattesi. So with a Chinese marker, larger sheets of drawing paper and my new found knowledge of applied force and road of rhythm, I set out to create more quick and dynamic figure drawings. Not only were these energetic drawings a vast improvement on any of my quick figure drawings in Part 4 but they were a great inspiration for the next few exercises.
I had been struggling in the Quick Poses exercise in the last module but the Quick Studies exercise in Part 5 was a breeze due to the fresh practice at energy drawings and also applying what I had learnt, unlike the hairy sketches in Part 4 the quick studies in this part were smoother and with a new found confidence I drew faster and faster sometimes getting the drawing time down to 3 minutes.
After researching how famous artists used line I took that new found confidence and applied it to the second part of this research where I had a go at using line in the style of famous artists. The results weren’t that great, I’m not sure if drawing in the style of Klimt or Schiele resembled the two artists’ work but I was pretty happy with drawing in the style of Hockney, Ingres and Giacometti, particularly the last two artists.
I’m not sure whether I did enough drawing with colour in the using colour exercise but I do feel that I did ample experimenting with mixed media particularly the collage work which I was quite happy with, producing the drawing below was particularly satisfying but I may have to go over the hair in black.
This drawing in oil pastel below gave me some very interesting ideas for Assignment 5, which I will reflect on in the next post.
I was trying not to get sucked into producing nudes for the rest of this module but that’s the direction I felt I was going in as I knew there was so much I could do with the nude figure and so many drawing tools I could use for them, I was especially happy with the drawing below in hard pastel that I produced for the Tonal Studies exercise which I will also send off for assessment. I love the way that I used contrasting colours to build up the tone and form of the sitter with very fluid hatching.
This module gave me enough ideas and time to reflect on the type of piece I wanted to produce for Assignment 5, I knew I wanted to produce a full figure drawing, I knew the sitter would not be totally nude as I wanted to draw folds in cloth again but what I hadn’t decided on was if it was going to be an expressive figure drawing or analytical study or what medium I would be using for the assignment.
The first drawing I did for this exercise was a portrait of my daughter. I felt guilty that I have used my girlfriend as a muse for most of the figure drawing exercises in this course and so I decided to make it up for it with a tonal portrait of my oldest daughter.
For this portrait in pastel I used mostly diagonal single hatching on a dark blue Ingres paper. I am really happy with the finished drawing but I seem to be having the same problem with positioning as I didn’t draw an outline first I just went straight into building up the picture with hatching starting at the cheek.
Ideally I should have done the next drawing in pencil, maybe on a thick watercolour paper but I decided to go with charcoal on a large sheet of paper. The proportions are good but other than that the drawing is quite sloppy.
I did the next drawing in pastel on a beige Ingres paper using the colour of the paper as a neutral tone for the chair and the upper body. The drawing looks slightly out of proportion and indeed it is, but only slightly I was drawing with the board on the easel, I spent most of the time drawing while holding the easel tilted towards me to try and avoid this.
This is a photograph that I took with my phone of the drawing on the easel tilted back while I was working on it. You can see the difference in proportions.
The next drawing was also a quick one but this time from life in Conte Pencil and White Pastel on eggshell (I think).The outlines are probably too strong tho and it may have been better to build up the background and so I continued to draw until I had a drawing I was satisfied with.
This time I chose pastel pencil for my medium and beige Ingres paper and working from a photograph I drew with flowing hatching that followed the contours of the body building up the tones with about 8 different colours. The results were great but again the positioning was still not so great and so I decided to improve on this by starting a new drawing, something that I can send of for formal assessment.
Working mostly from the last drawing until I got to the face that is I did my best to position the figure on the A3 paper so I could fill as much as the paper up as possible, it was definitely an improvement. The proportions of her breasts and bum in the last drawing were probably more realistic though as I went with the flow in this last drawing. The face is a lot better but I was warned by my girlfriend not to mess about with it and to leave it as it was and so I did.
A Fresh Try at Tonal Studies
Unhappy with most of the tonal drawings above and buy know getting slightly bored of using pastel on Ingres or charcoal I decided to have another go at the exercise and began researching other possible techniques and mediums.
Firstly I looked at lifting off charcoal rather than drawing with it and after completing the drawing below I decided that this technique was suitable to drawings of parts of the body rather than the whole figure.
I then did a quick tonal study from a photograph in 6B pencil, this was great for hatching and I was able to build up the form really well but it I still wasn’t satisfied knowing that I could find abetter medium for these tonal studies.
Researching the Old Masters
I remembered the studies in red chalk by the old Masters and so I decided to take a closer look at some of these drawings. I looked at drawings of several old masters including Bernardino Gatti, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo focusing on studies of the figure rather than portraits.
In several of the studies the artists seem to show light with white chalk and show shadow with darker chalk but it was quite clear to me that it was possible to depict light and shade by layering the one colour. However, because I already decided to do the next set of tonal studies on A3 drawing paper so I could draw on my lap I decided that red chalk wouldn’t be precise enough on A3 but a Sanuine Conte pencil would be an excellent substitute.
I decided to commit myself to one drawing an evening for five evenings spending at least an hour on each tonal study. The fully nude poses in my quick drawing studies helped me to get the proportions better than the semi naked poses above and so I went with very similar poses for the next group of drawings.
For the first of these drawings was probably the most difficult of the poses and took the longest time to draw. I used a black conte pencil for the darker tones, this was probably out of insecurity than anything else, so to was the drawing of the bed between the legs not believing that I had got the shape of the legs right.
The next drawing was better, this time I stuck to Sanguine and more precise hatching, the light source came from above and there was a lack of shadows but the pose worked well and until this point this was my best study so far.
For the next pose was easier as I didn’t have to draw the details in the face. The proportions of the head look slightly out but this is due to the hair, the back of her head is actually flat like alot of Chinese and South east Asians. I liked not having to draw the full feet but getting the soles of her feet and toes right was still difficult.
For some of the quick poses she was sat in the chair and I actually drew the chair, for the next drawing I left the chair out and glad I did. This study took almost as long as the first in this series to complete but drawing the shape was the easiest, most of the time was spent building up the layers of colour. This pose worked best for me and once I had drawn the outline I knew spending time on it would be rewarding, this became my favourite drawing to date, it actually reminds me of some of the red chalk drawings of the old masters.
For the final drawing I chose a standing pose from the back with a V shape between the arms I drew something similar in the quick poses exercise and I knew that by choosing this pose I would get do depict muscle tone which is one of the most appealing features of the red chalk drawings by the old masters. The foreshortening of the feet made this a difficult pose though and I had to redraw the legs due to not getting the proportions right the first time.
I really enjoyed working on the last five studies in Conte, this can’t be said for the first set of drawings in this exercise which I believe now were ruined due to rushing myself trying to get this 5th and final part of the course done quicker for an earlier assessment.
It was really worthwhile to come back and have another go at this exercise with a clear mind, a better choice of drawing materials and a better choice of poses.
More Tonal Studies – George Seurat
On advice from my tutor I looked at the works of George Seurat, I was familiar with his paintings but not his charcoal and Conte Crayon studies and so I browsed through Georges Seurat, 1859–1891 by Robert L. Herbert to take a closer look at some of his works and to give me some ideas on how I could approach this exercise differently.
I was amazed at how he had managed to capture tone and wish I had come across these works earlier. I picked a handful of drawings out that really appealed to me, these were the darker drawings and the reason for me doing this was that I wanted to use a white conte stick on black pad drawing by candlelight, I have been doing some paintings by candlelight and I felt that I could gain some influence from Seurat’s works.
Working in white conte stick the first drawing I did was very sloppy, however I did come back to this a bit later and add a bit of colour, it still wasn’t a tonal effect what I was hoping to achieve, the next two drawings were a lot better.
For the second drawing my girlfriend was i a seated pose facing away from the candle, with her face in shadow it was easy to capture the silhouette of her face, The third drawing was not so easy as I sat her facing towards the candle and with the light shining on her face on these small sheets of paper it was very difficult to capture her correct facial profile.
The fourth study was much heavier and darker, this time mostly in orange, red and brown pastel. Facing towards me it was easier to capture her facial features, they are not perfect but I am happy with the overall effect of using these colours, that were very close to each other on the spectrum on the black paper. I feel that if any of these studied look like they have been influenced by Seurat’s drawings then this is it.
Facing towards the candle, the 5th study was worked over and over again to get the proportions right, this compressed the layers of pastel which made the drawing looked aged and effect that I think looks really great but I didn’t manage to capture in the photo below.
I took a break from colour for the sixth tonal study to have another go at drawing her facial features in conte, I hadn’t managed to depict them in earlier sketches and so I drew a closer to her at an angle to get them right.
In the earlier studies with conte and pastel I had chosen to warm colours this was influenced by the orange-red tones of some of Seurat’s studies, for the final and probably most difficult drawing I chose cooler colours.
In my tutor feedback recommended that I look at 2 new artists the English artist Jenny Saville and Scottish artist Alison Watt. After a quick glance at some of their art work I decided to look at the paintings of Alison Watt first.
Alison Watt OBE is a Scottish painter, born in Greenock on 11 December 1965. She studied at Glasgow School of Art, graduating in 1988. Prior to graduating she won the John Player Portrait Award and as a result was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Queen Mother. Her first pieces to become famous were bluntly painted figurative canvases, more often than not female nudes, within light filled interiors.
In 1997 in an exhibition entitled simply ‘Fold’ she introduced fabric alongside these figures for the first time. In 2000 she was offered a solo exhibition at the Scottish national Gallery of Modern Art and was the youngest ever artist to be given this chance. This exhibition was called Shift and it consisted of 12 huge paintings that featured just fabric.
I’ve looked at many of her paintings and I wanted to say something like this ‘her early paintings seemed to be of the piece of fabric as a whole, the creases, the folds and the patterns that they make all on one canvas, painting cloth as a hyper-realist (if that makes sense) but it seems as though as she has developed, she has taken the same approach to painting fabric as Georgia O’Keeffe did with plants, flowers and other natural forms, moving towards painting more abstract with almost sexual qualities. In fact some of Alison Watts paintings echo the painting style of O’Keeffe.’
Looking at Alison Watts’ Paintings it seems like her earlier paintings of figure and fabric helped her to see something in the folds, their beauty, energy, individuality and even sexual characteristics with each individual fold expressing something different.
The colour of the fabric in the paintings is something we take for granted in photos. We just see white because that’s what our eyes tell us it is, white fabric. If we look closer at Echo above for example, we can see blue, orange, pink and all the other colours that make up the light and shadows.
I had already thought about how I could draw a white door for example using lots of different colours and I think this maybe something I should try in my final assignment.
For this exercise I started off working with the model and from there I moved onto sketches. Last weekend was a big public holiday here in Thailand, mothers day, the Queens birthday which was actually on the 12th but the Thais have 4 days holiday.
I had previously tried to draw in the style of Alberto Giacometti; although I wasn’t too impressed with a lot of his work, which I had said in a previous post made me feel uncomfortable and a little anxious, I did like some of his work. and I rather enjoyed drawing in his style in the second part of the research point which I think reflects in the first piece for this exercise below. The ability to create a 3D form from squiggles is just too appealing to me and oil pastel felt like the perfect medium for this drawing. I am already starting to think about my final assignment and this was basically a practice piece for the upcoming assignment trying to produce an expressive (maybe), erotic nude, with some type of cloth covering part of the figure.
The second piece should have been bigger, also in oil pastel I tried to produce an expressive drawing with a different technique rather than a different medium. The technique I chose for this was a very contrasting technique to the squiggles above, horizontal hatching. The pose was also very different, this time the model wore no cloth at all and was laid down with her head towards me. The problem here though was trying to produce some shadow below her head to show that her hair is actually spread out across the floor, as looking at the finished piece below it looks like the head is floating.The other problem with this drawing is that the figure should fill the plane however when I was drawing the figure was happy with the outline and therefore I didn’t want to change it. So I filled the paper with furniture.
At this stage I had an idea for the next piece. Firstly I uploaded the several photos of different drawings to Facebook so I could print them off at work later that evening and see which ones look best ripped or cut up as a collage.
I bought three packs of different coloured paper, orange, yellow and peach (I think) I then printed the picture out at 9 copies to a sheet to see which looked best. I decided on drawing 2 above and the photo below shows how it looked printed out.
The net day was my birthday and I spent the afternoon getting creative:
The next challenge was to create a collage piece using the printed sheets of paper for the cloth draped over the model. I chose to do this drawing on watercolour paper and to draw the model in watercolour pen.
Firstly I drew the whole shape of the model with cloth draped over her in pencil and then with a black pen I drew around the shape of the cloth so I could see it through the paper enabling me to draw shapes in pencil to be cut out. Unfortunately the lines made by the black pen were too wide and so I had to make the shapes bigger to cover up the lines around the left arm which now looks withered.
From there I started to cut out and glue on small pieces of orange paper to depict the shadow in the folds of the cloth but I decided that I would probably mess up and and instead to finish these details in an orange watercolour pen with the darker shadows in green. After I finished with the cloth I finished of the shoulders, head, arms and knees, the vibrant lighter colour pens really made the darker colours stand out. I think because of the thin left arm the knees look two fat, this is my only regret here.
For the next piece I chose sepia ink with a dip pen and brush as my drawing tool of choice, I originally wanted to do a different coloured wash over the top but decided against it as I loved the plain and simple finished piece too much.
For this exercise I started out in my sketchbook with a Rotring drawing pen and with my model in a seated position on the sofa I decided to start off with a continuous line drawing without taking my pen from the paper. The result was pretty good even though the face has no real resemblance.
The second drawing wasn’t a continuous drawing but it was quick and the results were almost the same. Like the first drawing it was quite small and off centre so I included the sofa to give it some balance. I have yet to choose a pose that I am happy with without including a background, maybe this could be a challenge for the 5th assignment.
The third drawing was of the same pose but this time more care and time was taken and because I messed up on the right arm and corrected it with shadow I tried to balance it out by adding some shading in other areas.
For the next pose the model was laid on her back, curled up grabbing her knees, I started out with a continuous line drawing to see how could I would be at drawing this pose on the first try. It had to be corrected as it was a very difficult pose to try and complete a drawing of without lifting my pen off the paper.
The next drawing was messy, it was all going well until I decided to go over some of the lines again and picked up the wrong pen so then I thought I would experiment by adding charcoal.
From there I went back to drawing with a 0.3 drawing pen, the drawing below may look like I have tried to draw in the style of David Hockney but this was drawn before the last research point ‘How Artists Use Line’ with no particular artist in mind. Everything was going well until I had a problem with foreshortening on the arm but because I liked how the legs stretched back and so I decided to do a larger drawing on A3 paper.
The second drawing was a bit more than a line drawing as I decided to add more detail to both the figure and the room. I probably should have took my time and got it bang on but it is a project that I can come back to at a later date.
For the next drawing I went back to a seated pose but this time my model crossed her hands over each other on her lap. Her head looks out of proportion but I believe it’s because I have drawn her eyes to high which has made her face look longer. With this drawing I started with the V between her arms and worked up, then worked my way down again. I use block shadow to describe the shape of her body.
The next drawing was done at work from an existing sketch in the Quick Poses exercise, total failure so I decided to do a couple more drawings on the same sheet just to mess it up completely.
The final drawing before going onto research how other artists use line was the ink on A3 drawing below. It was ink on drawing cartridge paper, totally forgetting what I had learnt about drawing with ink on watercolour paper for best outcome.
After the last research point I came back to see how researching how other artists use line would affect my line drawing. The next drawing started off as a line drawing but then I went further trying to produce a drawing in the style of Edgar Degas, something that I wasn’t very successful in doing in my last bit of research ‘using line in the style of famous artists ‘. I had since stocked up with some beige eggshell paper so after drawing the line in Conté I got carried away and added some tonal values in white pastel, unfortunately I zombified my girlfriends face but I was quite happy with the rest of the drawing.
From there I went back to basics and produced the following 2 lne drawings in my sketchbook with a 4B pencil, what is usually the easiest medium for me to use, after drawing with the pen was the most difficult but I think this was down to the fact that I was aware it could be corrected and because I wanted to fill the paper did so very often.
The next drawing was an attempt at drawing with ink again on A3 cartridge paper which kept blotching every time the nib stopped moving and then I realized why, I was drawing on the wrong type of paper so I switched to watercolour paper for the next two drawings.
The next two drawings were shoddy attempts, on both drawings I started with the arm on top and worked my way down then on to the legs, on both drawings I messed up when I got back up to her belly.
I really liked the feel of the nib pen on the watercolour paper and so I have set it in my sites to do a decent ink line drawing before the end of the course.
Where did I go wrong?
Well, I think I am still having problems with positioning the figure on the paper as to fill as much paper as possible. I also am still having problems with foreshortening and also,I think, choosing the best pose for the task at hand.