Posted in Assignment 1, Assignments, Coursework, Part 1

Assignment 1


Key Points

• convey feelings
• believable shapes
• use of tone, using light and shadow
• a few objects that trigger a response for you
• ordinary, funny, practical or ornamental or a mixture
• Set them up in a space so that they create interesting shapes and angles
• good light hitting the objects at an angle
• make the tones on the object obvious and the light and darks clear
• Look at the spaces between the objects as well as the objects themselves.
• Take the two experimental mark making sheets that you did exploring texture and gesture and pin them up nearby
• Working on a sheet of A3 or A2 paper, and using a range drawing tools, create a drawing using your still life that utilizes some of the experimental mark making that you have discovered.
• Use a focus on the original impetus for the selection of the source objects to help you make decisions about the drawing as you proceed .
Write up:
• why you picked the objects
• reflecting on the drawing that you have done
• what you think went well and what did not, and why
Reflection on Progress
• take a look at the assessment criteria for this course
• Review your work using the criteria
• make notes in your learning log
• Send these reflections to your tutor, along with your drawings, sketchbook, supporting studies and your learning log or blog url.

Subject thoughts

I thought through the potential of a number of possible subjects, including:
• Carving tools – good for reflection, tone and texture with significant personal meaning
• Astronomy kit – again this has personal meaning but the forms are probably to regular and man made for this piece
• Toys/Clothes from my children – potentially interesting as a subject, but collecting a set together might be a challenge
• Memorabilia from our marriage and/or Holidays – we’ve collected quite a range of things over the years and they’ve got clear personal meaning for me
• Sailing stuff – having recently sold my boat due to insufficient use the parts that are left are somewhat nostalgic to me

img_5362Thinking about it over time, there is significant scope for texture in memorabilia from different holidays from our Honeymoon through to more recent ones. Having been to Greece a few times this would seems like a good start point for consideration. I tried a basic concept sketch, and a list of possible items that might be included, and decided that I liked the idea enough to run with it.

On that basis the next step was get some of these items together and put together a composition based on a selection of them. If that is the approach then what medium and surface might be appropriate? Given some of my more successful texture examples were in Graphite stick and pencil I initially though that would be a good place to start. That might give some scope to try experimenting with frottage in the final image. This could work on the rock for example.

I initially rejected ink, as in fineliner partially because it is quite a slow medium to use at size, and I quite like the idea of trying this at A2 initially. I rejected charcoal partially because I’ve used it quite a bit of late, and it wouldn’t allow a Frottage experiment.


I got some of my favorite things together and started with some A4 composition sketches, moving items around and thinking what to include:

From this I decided on a portrait composition initially, with fewer items and relying on the blanket for some of its texture and interest. On further consideration also I thought “a range of tools” worthy of further focus. The idea here is to be flexible and (to a degree at least) playful in reaching an outcome. Different surfaces may want different treatment and medium. I decided to try for an approach that would really stretch me: a) Use colour, and b) mix mediums with both pastels and drawing inks.


Given more time I would have done a number of preparatory drawings and experiments at this point. After all my intention was to work in a way that I’ve never tried before. I shifted from A2 to A3 and decided to go for it and see how it worked out. In process terms I started by layout out the page in light pencil. This allowed me to refine the position of the forms and think though the composition in a little more detail. During this stage I ride to define the shape of some of the ellipses – one of the many things I need to practice.


I started the definition of the objects by trying some frottage with the rocks on the paper using a graphite stick. The idea here was to add colour and depth to the pattern later on. My next step was to apply an ink wash where the blanket was to go for everything to sit on. This was a starting lesson. I’d chosen a lighter paper than might have been ideal, and should have stretched it. In these stages I really wondered if I’d bitten off more than I could chew.  Some more preparatory drawing would have helped the outcome here, but I decided to carry it on through to completion.

I found blending the drawing ink and pastel interesting. In many ways it was successful, as the blanket and knife sheaf (mainly ink) have a different feel from the pot, rocks and wall (mainly pastel). The drawing process, however, was a challenge. Spraying the image with fixative, for example, fixed the pastel but meant the ink pens didn’t seem to work as well.


All things considered I’m reasonably happy with the end result overall, despite its many flaws. I wasn’t going for ‘photo realistic’, and some of its flaws are predictable. The fleece blanket, for example, doesn’t have as much ‘feel and texture’ as I would like. Some of that comes from a need to work more with the drawing inks. As a medium I’m finding them quite limiting. Getting a range of tones seems to require a mix of watering them down and intermixing of different inks. Sort of a cross between fineliner and a mixable medium.

The pastel was a mixture of conte stick and pastel pencils, which works fairly effectively. it allows for a more subtle range of colour and shading than the inks. At least than the ink as I’m using them at the moment. I’m sure there is undiscovered scope there for future experimentation.

The handle of the knife has definite scope for improvement. It doesn’t have as much of a ‘shiny wood’ look as I would like.


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