Category Archives: Assignment 5

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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