Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Tutor feedback - Assignment 1


Assignment 1 was before I started this blog and before my year off to have Lily. My tutor at this time suggested that I looked at my drawing below and how it was placed on the paper, leaving a large area on the right empty. This drawing was done to demonstrate texture.

A3 bamboo pen and ink

Looking through my pictures, this was a constant problem when I started the course. I never seemed to plan where-about on the paper the image would be and the objects would invariable fall off one side. I think this is something I have improved and also I have learned to cover the paper more, rather than leaving a big white border round the objects.

Looking at the drawing above I decided the composition simply needed a darker area on the left to make it  more balanced. Although the shadows were going the other direction, I though I could get away with some shadow-like areas under the objects. I used ink and a sable brush but felt this was too "soft" so I increased the texture and tone using charcoal.


I felt the composition needed something else as it was still lop-sided so I cropped the top and bottom and right side. It's still not perfect and the glove is too close to the left edge but it's certainly better than it was.


Approx A4 bamboo pen, ink and charcoal


I found this exercise really quite stressful as I was sure I was going to ruin the drawing but my first attempt worked out OK and this gave me some confidence.

My tutor also commented on some other drawings...


"...The two items in this simple still life form an independent whole, which along with the huge double shadow and sharply observed reflected shapes, suggest a single cohesive form. The slightly eccentric composition works fairly well here; but I can't help wondering what difference, some reference to the negative area in the extreme top right of this composition, would have made to the atmosphere, balance and dynamic of the image? (This may also apply to the second reflections image of the cans)"

I can completely see what he is saying looking at the drawing.

Original A2 charcoal and white conte

Again, my heart was in my mouth when I had to change it though. I didn't really know what to do. After much deliberation I decided to place the objects on a mat or something and give the drawing a bit of distance in the top right by putting a doorway or something.


Changed A2 charcoal + conte

I then did the same with the other drawing he mentioned.

Original A2 charcoal and conte
Changed A2 charcoal and conte

It took all of 10 minutes to do both drawings and I think its improved them a lot.  

Funnily enough looking at them on the screen, I think the second drawing of the can has come out better but at the time I was sure I had ruined it. For both drawings the strong shadow complicated things a bit and I was scared the long shadow of the can would look odd because I've given the objects an upright background at the back which would change the angle of the shadow. I think it's OK though and isn't too obvious.

Natural Forms

For this section I had done a pencil drawing of some vegetables.

A2 pencil


My tutor complimented me on this drawing but commented if I had thought to experiment with the conventional tonal and textural marks with those I'd discovered in the earlier mark making exercises. This is an interesting point that I had trouble answering initially. I think I find these more expressive marks more unnatural to use in an actual drawing. It just doesn't occur to me to use them. Looking at the changes I made to the charcoal drawings above, these marks seem more expressive and less laboured so I hope I have learned to incorporate them into my repertoire. 

He also commented on the huge amount of empty space in my drawing - again. It seems so obvious to me now but at the time I felt this was the way to draw without detracting from the objects. I see now that although my page is A2 the drawing is only taking up an A3 size. This is a shame because I actually enjoy the larger scale. He suggested that a cropped version of the drawing would be better, even to the point of zooming into the centre of the vegetables like this...


This is really interesting and daring but I just feel something is wrong with this compositionally. I can't quite put my finger on it. I love these large scale close up paintings of flowers and fruit etc that seemed to be very popular a few years ago but in this instance I think there's not enough white. The tones seem too dark and complicated or something. I'm also too much of a coward to cut so much away from the drawing!

The other alternative was more traditional (and easier) and just involved cutting off the extra white area that I didn't fill.


Looking back at the original, it's clearly better compositionally. After chopping bits off the first drawing of the glove, I realised that doing this means there's not enough paper left to attach to a mount for framing so this leaves me in a quandary. Do I crop it tightly for the purposes of assessment or do I leave a bit of edging so that I can mount it at a later date? Indeed should I attach a mount for assessment? I'm not sure you can even do this. Something I have to think about. At this stage I'm not sure it's even going in for assessment!

Man-made Objects

My tutor was a bit happier with my placement of this drawing on the paper! It takes up nearly all the paper but as with my others it's still lacking background.

Original A2 Pen and ink

I was so reluctant to change it as I liked it, even though I could see it needed something. This was the most difficult yet! Anyway, I gritted my teeth and gave it a go...

Changed A2 pen and ink

I placed the objects on a table with a mat to add interest. Then I was left with the pure white background which looked too artificial. Rather than put anything too complicated, I put a light wash. I used vertical brush strokes to do this to create a difference from the horizontal strokes of the table. This also gives the impression of curtains (I hope).

This was difficult, but the end result is a finished drawing that can be hung on the wall rather than a study of objects floating on paper. I'm happy with it and glad I had enough courage to make these additions.


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