Category Archives: Drawing 1

Assessment Result 2

In moving my blog to a this new site and having to do a lot of it manually, I have noticed the poor areas of work which I had skipped over at the time, so perhaps I should have expected the low grading of this course. Some areas were definitely lacking in my work – a wakeup call for me!!

I think there are fewer of these areas in my printmaking work, so am hopeful for a better grade when I submit this for assessment in November. I am also reviewing how I go about my work in my sculpture course, with the aim of achieving a much higher grade in this area of work.

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Assessment Result

Well I passed, but it was a bare scrape through, with a mark of 41%. I didn’t think I had excelled on the course, but I thought I had done a lot better than that! My tutor’s comments that my last piece was “what I think is a successful culmination to your course” doesn’t seem to ring true now either! I am very disappointed with this grade, but at least it is a pass I guess.

It will be interesting to see how I perform on my Printmaking 1 course – I think I did better on this course, but we will see! I am doing work on it now to try to improve what I have (and I will be concentrating more on my sketchbook work in my Sculpture 1 course). If I perform similarly badly, then I need to have a very serious review of what I am doing before I get onto stage 2.

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Assignment 5 – Tutor Feedback

My tutor’s overall comments on this stage were:

You have progressed well and are gaining the confidence to be bolder, more experimental and willing to take risks. All that is good – keep it going as you move on into another course.

He provided some useful tips on moving from 2D to 3D which I will try out.

On the assignment piece:

I think this is a strong and confident piece of work which compels the spectator to engage with the subject. I like the way the more flowing rhythms of the figure are set against the geometry of the background photographs. I like the fact that these also carry personal meaning in terms of your transition from photography to drawing.  I agree with your assessment ref tonal values – stronger tonal contrasts in the portrait would bring it forward out of the background and enhance the depth of the image as well. Other areas needing attention – the head and neck do not sit comfortably on the shoulders and the dark shadow inside the collar gives a detached feel to the neck which should be visible as it goes into the shadow of the collar. The shoulder and arm partially hidden by the easel are flat, lacking the volume of the opposite shoulder.  Could you have given a little more depth and richness to the texture of the jacket by more overlays of pastel? Further studies of the structure of facial features will add conviction to future portrait work, as would some studies of flesh tones. These criticisms do not detract from what I think is a successful culmination to your course.

After a lot of hard work, this is a pleasing outcome to my first level 1 course. No time to waste though, it’s on with my printmaking!

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Assignment 5 – Reflection

I managed to cover most of my aims for this stage of the course and have ended up with an assignment drawing I am very pleased with.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

Materials: I tried out a lot of new materials during this stage and experimented more. Pastels were the medium I used most of and enjoyed, so it made sense to carry on using these into the assignment piece. Working with a coloured background worked well for me in the drawings through this stage so I carried on with that also.

Techniques: I have used a mixture of straight pastel marks and blending the pastel into the background and other colours using my finger / a tissue.

Observational skills: I think I have got the proportions pretty spot on with this drawing and it certainly looks like me.

Visual awareness: I think I have captured the tonal range quite well in this image, and the colours in the face and body.

Design and compositional skills: I like the composition I have ended up with, both in the placing of the elements, and the meaning it has for me.

Quality of Outcome

Content: I think the white of the picture mounts in the background could be worked better to give a denser colour, the boulder photograph in the background could be better depicted, the shadow around the eye is a bit too dark (and from a distance resembles a black eye!), and the right ear is a bit too pink. Overall though I am very happy with this image.

Application of knowledge: I set out to produce a figure drawing in colour and put what I had learnt in my experiments into practice in producing this image.

Presentation of work in a coherent manner: This blog is the record of my work, with my accompanying sketchbook.

Discernment: I think the composition, choice of materials and application of them works well.

Conceptualisation of thoughts: The thinking in this image was around the composition, both in how to simplify the background and give the picture meaning for me – showing me working on a drawing and moving away from just photography as shown by the prints in the background. A greater tonal range was reserved for the figure to make it stand out against a lighter, more even toned background.

Communication of ideas: I think this drawing communicates the idea I had in mind.

Demonstration of Creativity

Imagination: I have produced an image with strong composition, placed the various elements well within the frame and I think used my imagination well.

Experimentation: This is evidenced in the work throughout this stage and my experimentation with pastels evident in my final drawing.

Invention: I worked on the pastel in a number of ways, blending colours with my fingers / tissue, overlaying colours to get the result I was looking for.

Development of a personal voice: I am getting more and more confident in my drawing and as some of my images look like they were done by the same person, I must be developing a style.


Reflection: Overall I am please with the drawing. Some elements could be improved, but possibly not now without overworking the image, so I think I have stopped work on it at about the right time. I also think I have made the right decisions in composition, materials and techniques for what I was planning to achieve.

Research: Most of my research has been done whilst experimenting with techniques and materials through this stage of the course.

Critical thinking (learning log): This post and the others through this stage of the course covers this.

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Assignment 5 – Option 4

The course notes say to review all of the figure studies that you have completed so far for both Parts 4 and 5, think about the progress that you have made and notice the techniques that were the most successful.

I am going to reduce this to reviewing just the colour studies, so part 5 only as that was my aim to look at going into this stage. Through this stage I have tried out some different media, but have mainly worked with pastel. Therefore it makes sense to continue this into the assignment rather than move onto a new medium.

A2 nude in pastelA1 PastelPastel SPP1010282P1010283

My early pastel drawings and quick sketches are not great, but were good introductions to the media.

Self in pastelsPastel topPastel on green paper

My later and more considered drawings were better, with the drawing of a man on green paper being my favourite to date. However, it is not bold and adventurous! Therefore, I think I need to go more down the lines of my pastel self portrait where I used bold colours. I like working with this medium though and have got more confident with it as I have gone used it more.

I did consider trying to add paint splashes, or some other media, but decided to stay with what I know, but try to be bold in my colour choice – how it goes remains to be seen!

The use of coloured paper with the pastels seems to work well, so I will continue with that, although I will use a fairly neutral colour as it doesn’t always work (such as my self-portrait with framing guide).

So, the subject. Although I am going to life drawing class, we don’t often do two week sketches due to the availability of models, and I want to have enough time to complete a drawing I am happy to submit for the assignment. Therefore, it’s either myself or my wife. Although drawing my wife is easiest in terms of measuring (which I find hard to do for a self portrait), my availability is easier, plus my stage 4 drawings were all of my wife, so I should go for something different this time.

Background – I think I will try to include some other elements in the drawing as well as myself, but will have to experiment with what might work.

Compositional sketches:

A5 Sketch 1

I initially was thinking in portrait format, but the drawing board dominated in that format, so I switched to landscape format.

A5 Sketch 2 A5 Sketch 3 A5 Sketch 4

I decided to include the photographs in the background as this fine art course marks my movement from photography into other art forms, so I positioned myself so they worked best in the background and excluded anything else which might distract the attention.

I placed a light to the right hand side of me to shine light onto one side of me, with the ceiling light on also, drawing the curtains to ensure natural light did not feature much, to ensure the light levels and direction stayed constant throughout my drawing.

A5 setup

A5 drawing

Had I gone bold and adventurous? Not really! I had played it safe and got the colours as close as possible to real life. I intended to do that initially and then go in with the bold colours, but then I liked the drawing as it was, so decided to stop. What I couldn’t decide was whether there is enough tonal range in the figure drawing or not? After mulling it over and discussing with a few others on the fine art Facebook group (2 out of 3 agreed), I decided to go back and add some darker tones to the image.

A5 final

I may have gone in too dark around the eye (although it was the darkest area of my face), but overall the increase shadows have helped. I didn’t go in with the more bold blues/greens/purples but I didn’t want to ruin a picture I liked and I am pleased with the outcome.

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Exercise – Self Portraits

A couple of small self-portraits to start with. The first in pastel trying to use bold and bright colours:

Pastel SP

My measurement is out on this drawing with my nose and right eye being the most “out”. However, I enjoyed using the bold bright colours and I am pleased with the resulting image. The use of a coloured sugar paper for the background also worked well with this medium.

For the next image, I started out with a watered down black acrylic ink to get the basic shapes in, then added fibre pen colours mostly in the shadow areas, then added some extra colour using pastels over the top of these areas:

Ink Pen Pastel SP

I’m pleased with this image also and hope to continue to experiment further with different mixtures of coloured media.

Next I moved onto a larger image, working on A0 paper this time. I chose a green paper to try this out on which is too green as it gives the whole image a green cast, but you live and learn! In holding up a plastic frame, I thought it might be interesting to include this frame in my image:

A1 Pastel

The frame may have added interest, but in cutting up my face, it made it difficult to get the proportions and colour consistency across the parts. It also was not a good position to hold for comfort, and in holding up the frame with my drawing hand, I had to remember its position, then put down the frame to draw it in, this has resulted in a right hand which doesn’t look right. I think I was being a bit too adventurous too early on!

Going for A1 cream pastel paper next, I decided to do a head and shoulders only self-portrait. I sketched in the outlines with a white pastel/chalk(?) and then went into pastel:

Self in pastels

I think the eyes are too large, my right ear is too large and my left one not the right shape at the bottom. Some of the colours aren’t what I wanted either, but I had a restricted palette of pastels to work with. I think I’m getting closer to a representation of myself with each attempt though which is good!

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Exercise – Body part studies

Sketches of my eye and nose using various media:

Eyes Noses

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Exercise – Tonal study

I decided to do this study at life drawing class and using Derwent XL Charcoal, a set of 6 coloured charcoals (white and black being 2 of the colours) which are in very big blocks.

I started out sketching in the rough outline to ensure the proportions were correct (which I got mostly right, but got the raised leg a bit in the wrong place). I then moved onto the XL charcoal.

XL Charcoal

I found this medium very difficult to control. It was very soft and I found that the majority of it ended up falling off the paper! This made it hard to get any deep tones and it also didn’t seem to blend in with the other colours very well. I persisted with it and the drawing looks OK, despite running out of time and not being able to add detail to the face and hands (something which wouldn’t have been easy anyway with the huge blocks of charcoal). I am not convinced by this medium and, whilst it may be worth further experimentation, I will leave it until after this course is finished as I am running out of time.

For my next attempt at the following life drawing class, I worked with Unison soft pastels and had much more success. I used a coloured sheet of about A0 size again, but only had enough time to work on the face.

Pastel fullPastel top

I struggled getting the tonal range with only 2 light brown and 1 dark brown pastels to play with, but I am pleased with the results and it does look like the model.

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Exercise – Using colour


My aim is to use colour throughout this entire stage, so all the work for this will fall under this exercise.

Included here is my first attempt at a pastel drawing:

A2 nude in pastel

This drawing was done over two life drawing evening classes and it shows as it is a drawing of 2 halves! The top left (head down to left arm) was done on one session, the rest of the body and background was done the next.

As my first pastel drawing I’m quite pleased with this, but it could be improved in many ways, the main one being completing the work in one session, or at least working on the whole body at the same time so a break is not so noticeable.

A couple of other pastel drawings, one where the proportions work, the other where they don’t!

P1010282 P1010283

A later pastel life drawing:

Pastel on green paper

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Exercise – Line drawing of the whole figure

I tried this on a pose from a drawing DVD. I made faint pencil marks to give me reference points, then drew it in gel pen. I made a few marks I went over with a white gel pen, but they still show through (on the arm and chest).

Line in gel pen

Apart from the mistakes, I think this worked well. Because of that I chickened out of adding in the facial features! I probably should have played around with disappearing lines as well, as the gel pens didn’t allow for variations in thickness.

This section is a bit Sparse, but my aim is to concentrate on tone more than line in this stage of the course.

Research point

Look at the work of a range of artists such as Ingres, David, Degas, Giacometti and Hockney and make notes about their use of line in your learning log.

Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique (1780-1867)

Madame Ingres Mere (1758-1817) 1814 (graphite on paper)

Madeleine Chapelle (1782-1849) 1813 (pen & ink and w/c on paper)

The Forestier Family (graphite on paper) (b/w photo)

Self Portrait, 1835 (graphite on paper) (b/w photo)

Portrait of a Man, 1816 (print)

I like Igres’s free and simple use of line, with his use of light shading but only in small areas, leaving many areas plain white.

Degas, Edgar (1834-1917)

Portrait of Ludovic Halevy (1834-1908), from ‘La Famille Cardinal’ by Ludovic Halevy, c.1880s, published 1938 (litho)

Portrait of Diego Martelli, 1879 (chalk on paper)

Dancer (charcoal and pastel)


A Dancer in Profile (chalk)

Degas’s work is very expressive, with a limited palette when working with colour. He often seems to leave in working lines and keep working over them, which gives the figures a sense of movement

Trying a piece in the style of his dancers would be good to have a go at.

Hockney, David (b.1937)

Mark Glazebrook (using a camera lucida)

Dr. Leon Banks

Jeff Burkhart


My Hand

Self Portrait

Hockney often uses very simple lines, with detail in the faces, but the rest of the bodies left as mostly white with only their outlines, with the occasional crease and folds depicted as single lines.


Bridgeman Education:


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Exercise – Quick studies

For this exercise, I have included a mix of quick ink and brush sketches, conté sketches and quick studies from the start of my life drawing classes.

Ink and brush

In an aim to work freely and boldly, whilst also doing an ink drawing direct without doing the “safe” thing of drawing in pencil first. I worked with a brush rather than a pen to try to get the immediacy and boldness. Out of 10 sketches attempted, the four below are the most successful:

Line 1 Line 2 Line 3 Line 4


I tried a few portrait quick sketches using the edge of a piece of Conté pastel (yes, I know it’s not colour, but I was experimenting and only strayed briefly!):

P1010284 P1010285 P1010286

These sketches are more like caricature images and with the last two images, I have captured the old woman from Monty Python!

DVD sketches

I bought Bill Buchman’s DVD ‘Art is an Attitude’ and worked through his tutorials which were interesting.

Some of the better sketches from this are below (some not in colour again, but that was the only conté crayon I had!):

P1010310 P1010311 P1010312 P1010313 P1010314 P1010315 P1010316 P1010317

The course was designed to produce more abstract images of the figure and it certainly does that. I will try using some of these techniques when doing my quick sketches at the start of life drawing classes. Of the sketches, I think the ones which are particularly interesting are the ones with simple zigzag lines showing the angles of the parts of the body – this could be particularly interesting to try to translate into a sculpture.

Life drawing sketches

Quick poses from my life drawing classes:

P1010328pastel quick sketches on green

I quite like the effect of three drawings on top of each other, but it gets a bit confused with five.

Check and log

Think about and write up the challenges you met in doing these studies. Has your drawing improved since Part four?

  • I think the challenge is always in getting the proportions right without having enough time to measure and check what you are doing. I think my figure drawing is improving all the time as I get more confident and more used to believing my eyes!
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Stage 5 plan

Combining all these plans and ideas together gives:

General thoughts

  1. Work in colour throughout and achieve more depth to these images
  2. Try using stipples and dots to depict an image again
  3. Explore the use of bold bright colours
  4. Do more self portraits
  5. Use media that force you away from a dependence on line only, eg, brush and ink/water-colour wash, the side of a piece of charcoal or pastel
  6. Keep on exploring the use of charcoal and similar media, eg pastels (oil and soft), conte
  7. do an ink drawing direct in pen without doing the “safe” thing of drawing in pencil first

Specific ideas

  1. Self portraits:
    1. in the style of Rembrandt’s Self-portrait as a young man
    2. in the style of van Gogh’s, Self Portrait with Felt Hat
    3. As suggested by Betty Edwards book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”
    4. make studies of the individual features of the face – eyes, nose, mouth, etc.
  2. Drawings:
    1. In the style of Caio Locke’s pastel figure drawings
    2. use soft pastel on A2 paper and work lightly from within the pose using the side of the medium (this way you are forced to think in terms of tone rather than line). Continue to model and mould the forms as if you were using clay, at the same time darkening the tones in selected areas to render the forms. (See Seurat’s conte drawings)
    3. Using stipples and dots
    4. Using ink and brush + exploring more different media

I’ll also try to fit in the course exercises, although achieving all of this with only two months left on the course is maybe a touch optimistic.

Well, I’d better get cracking then!

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Assignment Choice

My final assignment and preparatory exercises will be from one of the following choices:

• Mark making and tone

• Observation of nature

• Drawing outdoors

• Drawing figures.

I am to be guided by my own interests, tastes and inclination in finding a subject and feel free to develop my own interpretation. Experiment, be bold and let my intuitive and emotional involvement in­fluence your approach to this final assignment.

Option 1 – mark making and tone

Looks like an interesting option. I could do with experimenting more with mark making techniques and this would be a good opportunity to do this. However, still life drawing doesn’t inspire me and led to me getting behind with my course so that I am now getting towards the 2 year cut off point, so I will pass on this one.

Option 2 – Observation of nature

Ditto to the comments made above re. still life drawing I think – again, I will pass on this one.

Option 3 – Drawing outdoors

This is the part of the course where I started enjoying the course more, but due to the weather / temperatures at this time of year, I would be restricted to drawing from photographs and would not be able to do justice to this stage through that, so again a pass.

Option 4 – Drawing figures

From the above, it may look like I am going for this option as a lack of any alternative, but drawing figures has been the most interesting and rewarding stage of the drawing course for me, so it was always going to be top of the list anyway.

If you look through my submission for assignment 4, you will also notice that I have some unfinished business in this area – the introduction of colour! It wasn’t a conscious decision to go monochrome in this stage, but that is what happened. I also don’t feel I have been very successful in my use of colour so far (perhaps why I avoided it in stage 4), so I would like to remedy that in this stage. I would particularly like to explore the use of bold bright colours.

From my research in stage 4, I would like to try drawings in the style of Rembrandt’s Self-portrait as a young man, c.1628 (pen, ink & wash on paper) , van Gogh’s, Self Portrait with Felt Hat, 1887-88 (oil on canvas) or Caio Locke’s pastel figure drawings.

Also, having now finished reading Betty Edwards book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”, I will practice some self-portraits in the way she suggests near the end of her book.

From my tutors’ comments on this assignment, I have also picked out the following to try:

  • To achieve a developed sense of form – use charcoal or soft pastel on A2 paper and work lightly from within the pose using the side of the medium (this way you are forced to think in terms of tone rather than line). Continue to model and mould the forms as if you were using clay, at the same time darkening the tones in selected areas to render the forms. (See Seurat’s conte drawings)
  • Use media that force you away from a dependence on line only, eg, brush and ink/water-colour wash, the side of a piece of charcoal or pastel.
  • Drawing the basic skeleton over photographs of the figure can be helpful – use magazine or newspaper images.
  • It is helpful to make a lot of studies of the individual features of the face – eyes, nose, mouth, etc.
  • Keep on exploring the use of charcoal and similar media, eg pastels (oil and soft), conte.
  • It would be interesting to do a similar study (line assignment drawing) direct in pen without doing the “safe” thing of drawing in pencil first.
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Stage 5 is my chance to consolidate what I have learned, refl­ect on exercises that I have especially enjoyed and to evaluate my progress. The starting point for this is to make a brief entry for each exercise and assignment undertaken so far detailing successes and problems that I have encountered.

Stage 1

Overall my mark making and texture experiments were perhaps a little unadventurous. At the start of the course, my early still life drawings were clearly not drawn in perspective as the tops of the jars/etc. show. When working in tone and form, I quite like my attempt at drawing a single ball, although the lines used would work better as long complete lines:

Tone 4

However, overall my tone drawing lacked much tonal range and my skills in using charcoal have come on since this stage.

My second assignment drawing was my best image from this stage:

Assignment 1b

Stage 2

Again, looking back I can see that my experiments with colour were not very adventurous also. My line drawings also lack variation in the thickness / use of line. I quite like my drawing of a branch, although it needs better hatching and more tonal variation on the left hand side of the branch:

Detailed Observation

Using stipples and dots to depict an image might be interesting to try again.

Overall, my work in colour is a lot more flat than my monochrome work. This colour image was my most successful one working through this stage:

Aubergine on a plate

My assignment piece was OK, but definitely lacks much depth to it or enough tonal range:

Assignment 2 04

Stage 3

Looking back my landscape sketches all seem to lack depth. I was quite pleased with the sketch below at the time, but it now lacks enough interest and variation for me:


Apart from my image of a single tree (below), my drawings of trees did not work very well.

Individual  Tree

My early perspective drawings were OK, but improved a lot up to my assignment piece which I am still pleased with, despite the lack of sufficient aerial perspective:


Stage 4

Drawing people really grabbed my interest and although a lot of my quick sketches were very crude and have a dependence on line, I produced some pleasing drawings when I had longer to spend on the subject. Attending life drawing classes also improved my work in this stage.


My self-portraits were average, this one being the best one:


And I also enjoyed this study of my hand:


I was pleased with both my assignment pieces for this stage, with the tone drawing being the much stronger image:

A4Line drawing penA4Tone drawing


I think my drawing skills have improved a lot through this course, and looking back it is pleasing to see how I have progressed. In terms of unfinished business/work going forwards, I have identified the following:

  • Try using stipples and dots to depict an image again.
  • My colour work needs a lot more depth
  • My self-portraits need work
  • Try more detailed studies
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Assignment 4 – Tutor Feedback

My tutors’ feedback from this stage is encouraging, but again focusses on some key areas of development:

  • Pushing myself
  • Using media that force me away from a dependence on line only
  • More risk taking

I think the key message to take forward to assignment 5 is the need to experiment more with media and techniques, and take more risks.

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Assignment 3 – Tutor Feedback

My tutor overall comments are that I need to produce more work so that I have a larger body to select from for assessment. He also encourages be to be adventurous in terms of both media and my use of them, taking more risks, experimentation with mark-making and using a variety of media individually and in combination. These are very interesting observations as they are similar to my printmaking tutors advice! I obviously need to work on this area.

On the assignment, he commented that the tones of the far background might be better lighter thereby enhancing the sense of receding space. Definitely something I agree with, but struggled with when doing the drawing as that was where the darker tones were in the deep shadows. I should have done some more preparatory sketches to get these tones right before committing to the final piece. He also commented that he would be interested to me doing a similar study in colour.

I submitted assignment 4 at the same time as assignment 3, so taking this advice forward will have to be done in stage 5.

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Assignment 4 – Reflection

Well I think I’m improving, let’s see if my tutor agrees!

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

Materials: I didn’t debate much on the use of materials for these assignments, my tonal work is strongest in charcoal and I only had pencil or drawing pens with me when completing the line drawing and I prefer the clean lines of pen and it allows experimentation with the line in pencil in situ, before committing it to pen.

Techniques: I think the drawing pens are more limited in achieving a variation of line than dip pen for instance. I have used disappearing lines and did vary the pen thickness at times, but I don’t think I have varied the lines as much as I could have done. Starting with a light charcoal background on the tone drawing I think has worked well and has allowed me to get a good tonal range across this drawing.

Observational skills: I think I have got the majority of the proportions, foreshortening and perspective correct in these drawings.

Visual awareness: I have included some lines dividing the tonal areas in the line drawing, but perhaps should have experimented with how to depict these a little more before committing to pen. In the tone image I think I have captured the different tones well across the image.

Design and compositional skills: I think the two compositions chosen both worked well. Both are in portrait format, which fits the elements of the image in well and I have worked to the edge of the frame. I could have perhaps gone slightly to the right in the line image to include the edge of the chair. I think it works fine being cut off in the way that it is, but if it was an image to frame, this would be cut even further which then may look a bit odd.

Quality of Outcome

Content: There are a few areas I am not as pleased with, namely the eyebrow and lack of line variation on the line drawing and the facial expression and ear on the tone drawing. I am pleased with the rest of them though.

Application of knowledge: I guess the main areas of knowledge from the course applied here were from the measuring the figure, foreshortening in the tonal drawing, perspective in the line drawing and depiction of line and tone. I think my main area to focus on still is my use of varying lines.

Presentation of work in a coherent manner: This blog is the main record of my work, with my accompanying sketchbook.

Discernment: I think the composition and choice of materials works well, so hopefully this shows in the final drawings.

Conceptualisation of thoughts: The thinking in this image was around the composition and (with the line drawing particularly) in how to simplify the detail. I think I chose strong compositions for both drawings and I think my decisions on what to draw and what to ignore also worked well, with the exception of the depiction of the eyebrow and the decision to include the pocket detail in the line drawing.

Communication of ideas: I think the choices made in composition and the materials used make this image (mostly) work well, it is only the facial expression on the tonal image which communicates a different message than I was intending.

Demonstration of Creativity

Imagination: I guess that seeing the composition of an image, placement of elements, working out what to include/exclude, simplifying elements, etc. is the evidence of imagination.

Experimentation: This was mainly in trying out different compositions for the tonal image and different ways of depicting features with the line drawing.

Invention: I’m still not sure what to put under this heading?

Development of a personal voice: I am pleased that with charcoal I have been able to move away a bit from the detailed studies I thought I was getting drawn into – there is hope for me yet!


Reflection: Overall I think these drawings went well. They could be improved in areas, but I think I have made the right decisions in composition, materials and techniques for what I was planning to achieve.

Research: Most of my research has been done whilst working through this stage of the course.

Critical thinking (learning log): This post and the others through this stage of the course covers this.

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Assignment 4 – Tone

A2 drawing in charcoal.

As instructed, I posed my model in a reclining pose, lying on a sofa, with contrasting toned clothes and strong light one major light source from a lamp.

This drawing was also done whilst on holiday, but there were many more options to position the furniture and model (with the light source a little more fixed as it needed to be on a table). My initial sketches to try to work this out:


I experimented with armchairs or sofa and the position of these in relation to the background, ending up with the final composition of lying on a sofa looking up the model and cropped in closely.

A4Tone photographI used pencil for the sketches, but went for using charcoal in the actual drawing as I have had the most success depicting tone in this medium.

I started out by laying down a light background of charcoal as I find it much easier to work on this as it allows you to rub out lines easily and use a putty rubber to bring out the highlights.

A4Tone drawingI am very pleased with the way this image turned out, the main problem is that my wife looks like she is crying! I got a little detail into the face which looked right (if sad), and decided not to fiddle with it in case I messed it up. I also didn’t want to keep labouring the detail here as to get it right might require small detail in a drawing more about shape and tone. I think I have also got the ear a little too far back on the head as well. Overall I like the image though and think that the light from the lamp has worked really well in bringing out the shape and tone.

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Assignment 4 – Line and shape

A2 drawing in pen.

I posed my model (my wife) on a hard chair (with a cushion for comfort) at a desk reading a book with directional light from a lamp on the desk. Photograph of the image setup:

A4Line photographI did this drawing whilst on holiday and would normally have tried various arrangements to determine the best location for the drawing, however this was clearly the best location and setup to be had, so I went straight into the drawing.

I started out by drawing in the table, lamp, window (and view from it) and curtain before I sat my model down to reduce the amount of time I needed her to pose for. Then I added in the rest of the image with her sat at the table (with the view gone with the daylight). Even doing this, I needed two sessions with my model and the drawing took a lot longer than 2 hours (probably more like 6).

A4Line drawing pencilI explored a number of options of how to depict the drawing in line alone, but made most of these in pencil on the actual drawing before drawing over them in pen and erasing the original pencil lines, so have no record of them. The key area I explored in a number of ways was the hair and how to depict it.

A4linesketch1These rough sketches in my sketchbook showed that drawing in too many lines would make the hair look very dark, messy (I would have been neater and used continuous lines in a final drawing, but it would have still looked a mess I think), and too different from the other lines in the drawing. So I went for a much simpler depiction of the hair.

My final piece:

A4Line drawing penI am pleased with this and it does look like my wife. I did draw in a couple of extra pen lines which I removed by drawing over them with a white gel pen (mainly on the window lines), but the only area which I definitely should have tried first before committing to pen was the eyebrow which I think looks odd drawn as an outline.

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Miscellaneous sketches

Sketches from life drawing classes or practice sketches which didn’t fall under any course headings:

HandP1010055 Quick charcoal sketch P1010060 P1010057P1010089portraits013portraits011

In the second to last sketch I messed up the eye when I tried to add it in without reference to the person I was sketching. The last sketch was also an interesting one. I was actually trying to capture the gaunt look of this woman, but have made her younger and prettier!

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