Category Archives: Assignment 1

Assignment 1 – Tutor Feedback

From my tutor feedback from assignment 1, I have picked out the main issues I need to concentrate on as I proceed through the course:

I need to vary the weight and intensity of my lines.

Ellipses – remember that the nearer to your eye level, the shallower they will be. I didn’t pick up on this (and got it wrong) in most of my drawings.

Perspective – Need to make sure that the parallel lines going away from you on an object on a flat surface will converge at your eye level. I didn’t consciously take this into account in any of my drawings (and again got it wrong in many of them as they were mainly parallel).

Lettering on objects – need to describe the shapes (not the meaning) and they need to follow the shape of the object they are on (particularly relevant to my supermarket shop drawing).

Hatching – need to try to make the marks longer, more controlled and varying in weights, as I have used lots of short lines of the same intensity.

Do either a tonal drawing or an outline, but not both – particularly relevant to my still life of natural objects drawing where I had outlined all the objects in thick charcoal before adding the tone.

Contour shading – need to make sure I follow the form more accurately.

Edges – Need to be aware of the way I describe the edges of objects and what they are adjacent to and make more use of negative space.

There was also a comment on the colouring being out of control and uneven, but I was well aware of this weakness in the drawing – I had got to the stage that it had taken me 2-3 weeks to get to that point and I was also kicking myself for using cartridge paper rather than something thicker that wouldn’t have buckled, so I thought I just had to finish at some point and send it in! It is an area I am aware that I need to work on more, and I will experiment more in stage 2.

Learning log – need to include more material outside the course structure and get excited about it. I think I will improve this as I progress through the course, and when I hopefully have more time after the end of this year.

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Assignment 1 – Reflection

So, how do I think I have done? I’m rather chuffed with the results of this assignment. They are by no means perfect and I still have a lot to learn, but I feel I have improved quickly since starting the course.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

Apart from the paper type, I think my choice of materials was good. My technique is improving, particularly in terms of hatching. I think I chose two good compositions, well balanced and both of which filled the page well. I am also pleased with my observational skills, particularly with the man-made still life, where the longer I worked on it, the more I noticed.

Quality of Outcome

I think I applied my drawing skills, representation of tone and form, etc. well to these drawings. I thought out the arrangement of the objects, viewpoint height and planned the materials to use. The quality of the outcome suffers due to the paper I used in both assignments though.

Demonstration of Creativity

I am pleased with the way these assignments went, I will await my tutors views with interest.


Reflection and critical thinking is my learning log I guess. I started out slowly with this, but think I am getting into the swing of it now. My research is probably not up to scratch yet, but I am sure will improve as I go through the course.

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Assignment 1 – Second Drawing

A drawing of man-made objects was more of my cup to tea and I decided to continue my study of jewellery making objects which I had used as studies in previous exercises.

I decided that the bench vice would be interesting to draw, so picked out a number of objects which would be used in conjunction with this to start my arrangement. I put a piece of silver into the vice, held with a piece of leather to provide contrasting texture. I then added some files, sandpaper and pieces of silver and played around with the arrangement of these objects until I found a pleasing arrangement.

A1b Composition3A1b Composition2A1b Composition1

Due to the shape of the bench vice, the only pleasing options were using a landscape format. I also reduced the number of objects in the frame to give quite a simple arrangement (and because the silver pieces would be unrecognisable as what they were, no matter how well drawn).

Moving on to medium, I was hoping to do this drawing with ink as I have enjoyed my experiments with this in previous exercises. I also wanted to add colour to this drawing in some way. Filling an A2 sheet in this way seemed very daunting given how long my last A3 ink sketch took, but to this aim I tried a preliminary sketch with the intention of filling different sections of it using different colour mediums. However, the first choice I made was acrylic artists ink and this seemed to be perfect for this drawing, so I carried on and filled the whole shape with this to see how it worked over larger areas. It filled the shape well, with fairly uniform colour, so I decided this was the medium I would use for the final drawing.

A1b Materials1A1b Materials2

Also in this image were some experiments on representing the table edge which I struggled with for a while, as well as some colour tests.

My initial misgivings about the length of time this drawing would take were an underestimate in the end and I ended up leaving a few areas out – mainly the shadows in the background and beneath the bench. However, I really enjoyed the majority of this drawing, in particular the depiction of form and shadows.

Assignment 1b

The image is by no means perfect, but I am pleased with the result. I think the needle file case worked very well except for the placement of the lettering where it bends up. The sanding stick worked well. The bench vice also worked well, although it does show that it was worked on over a number of days as different areas are done in different ways and boldness of pen strokes. The sandpaper is the only area which I am disappointed in as I didn’t look at these objects closely enough to represent them well. The tedious process of adding texture to these helped them somewhat, but they still lack form. Another problem with this image is that I have used cartridge paper which has buckled where I have filled in colour with acrylic inks. I need to investigate thicker papers (and maybe stretching?) for future work of this type. I also experienced problems with the ink drying almost the instant I applied it to the paper, so I was unable to get the consistent wash I was hoping for and have ended up with blotchy colours.

Check and log

Did you do enough preliminary work before starting work on your final pieces?

  • I experimented with a number of different compositions and am please with the one I ended up with. I think I also did enough preparation in terms of testing the inks, but obviously not in terms of testing the paper to use.

Do your large drawings give an accurate interpretation of the still life groups? If not, what went wrong?

  • Yes I think they do. The bench vice has a few varying styles due to being worked on over a number of drawing sessions, so is not wholly consistent.

Did you make a good selection of objects or did you try to include too much? Would you change the arrangements of objects if you were to start again?

  • The sandpaper is the weakest area of the drawing as I don’t think I concentrated enough on representing their (limited) form, or maybe they just weren’t interesting enough as objects?

Do your drawings fit well on the paper or could they be improved by working on a larger sheet of paper?

  • As before, I don’t understand this question, but I think I fitted everything onto the paper well. Given how long this drawing took, I would hesitate before attempting a similar drawing on a larger sheet of paper.

Did you have problems with drawing or find hatching too difficult?

  • I was quite successful with my hatching in this drawing although need to think more about the direction of this before I start as I didn’t always get this right. I didn’t have too many other problems with the drawing though.
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Assignment 1 – First Drawing

This was to be a drawing of natural forms. Given I chose a wet day to do this and we don’t usually have any fruit, I had a choice of vegetables or vegetables! So, after raiding the fridge, I set about trying to work out a suitable composition.

I wasn’t overly inspired by the thought of drawing vegetables, which is probably why it took me a while to get around to doing this drawing. I also didn’t think there would be much problem arranging them, as a pile of vegetables is a pile of vegetables isn’t it? However, on setting them up, it did take me longer than I thought to obtain a pleasing arrangement.

I picked an aubergine, a carrot, courgette, pak choi and some oyster mushrooms. With the reflective surface of the aubergine, the leafy pak choi and the delicate, almost furry mushrooms, I felt this gave a good range of surface textures and shapes.

I tried them loose, which didn’t do anything for me, then on a plastic chopping board. Then I remembered the brief of natural forms and thought that the plastic chopping board and knife didn’t fit with this, so changed to a wooden chopping board and raised the objects on a box to give a lower viewing angle.

A1a Composition 3A1a Composition 2A1a Composition 1

I then tried a portrait version, but it would only fit in a square format without having to raise the viewing angle to almost a birds eye view, which also made the composition very boring, so I settled on a slightly raised up selection of objects, drawn quite close up to increase the interest and perspective.

I then tried a comparison sketch in pencil and charcoal, as I fancied experimenting with charcoal more in this assignment. The aubergine I drew here convinced me to go for charcoal in this drawing and I then tried a quick sketch of the other vegetables in this medium which confirmed my choice.

A1a Charcoal2A1a Charcoal1A1a Materials comparison

Not having to think about colour in this image, I then moved on to the actual drawing.

One thing I knew was going to be my weakness was the correct placement of the objects in the frame, so I drew out a grid on a transparent CD case to help me to place the initial rough locations of the objects. This was a lot harder than I thought it would be as the slightest variation in where I held the grid made a big variation in the layout. However, after a while I roughly got to grips with it and I used this to mark out the main shapes on the page in pencil. I then started to work on it in charcoal, using a stick of willow charcoal.

Assignment 1a

I think some areas of this drawing worked really well. I am pleased with the aubergine and the mushrooms in particular. I didn’t get the shape of the pak choi base correct, but didn’t notice this until too late in the drawing. I also couldn’t get the leaves to look like leaves. I should also have experimented more with different thicknesses of charcoal as this was all done with the same stick. Also, I think the image as a whole is very dark, but that may just be the nature of working with charcoal? I could only get light tones by smudging, and struggled to get any really dark tones, especially as I couldn’t fix the charcoal to the page without having to rub a fair bit off, even after applying a lot of fixative spray.

Check and log

Did you do enough preliminary work before starting work on your final pieces?

  • Not quite enough, I should have experimented a bit more with different thicknesses of charcoal first. I should have also returned to the sketch book when I struggled with representing the pak choi leaves.

Do your large drawings give an accurate interpretation of the still life groups? If not, what went wrong?

  • Mostly yes, the shape of the base of the pak choi went wrong, but the other shapes all worked quite well.

Did you make a good selection of objects or did you try to include too much? Would you change the arrangements of objects if you were to start again?

  • I think this selection worked well and I don’t think there was too much. I don’t think the courgette is necessary visually, but it is to hold the pak choi at a better angle. I maybe didn’t need all the mushrooms, but overall I think I made a reasonable selection here and would stick with this if I was to start again.

Do your drawings fit well on the paper or could they be improved by working on a larger sheet of paper?

  • I don’t quite get this question, surely the drawings fit well or don’t, no matter what the paper size is, the scale just changes? Having said that, given that I worked with a medium sized piece of charcoal for the whole drawing, maybe I should have used a larger sheet of paper, but it would have been easier to use a smaller stick of charcoal in some areas. I was also daunted enough by a blank A2 sheet, without tackling a blank A1 sheet just yet!
  • If the question is more about fitting the objects on the page, then I am pleased with the way my image fills the page.

Did you have problems with drawing or find hatching too difficult?

  • I had some problems with the charcoal. Firstly in representing the leaves of the pac choi and secondly in representing the full tonal range of the images (I didn’t use hatching in this image). I’m sure that if I work more with this medium I will discover more ways of working with it though. I think a more textured paper would also have been more suited to charcoal as I had problems fixing it to the smooth cartridge paper and used about half a can of fixative in the end!
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