Assignment 4 highlights of my tutor’s report and things i need to pay attention to!

“I can see your confidence growing and there are some improvements in this assignment since you first sent it to me in November 2013. 

In the work you have sent there are examples of you trusting the process of drawing more but often you are still trying to make pictures rather use drawing to investigate what you see.  

In the next assignment try and build on the improvements in the two assignment pieces, the exploration and aliveness of the preparatory line drawing and the accurate observation and description of form in the tonal drawing.  

Now I can see more competence in your drawing it is time to encourage you to take a leap and be braver with your materials. For example, in the turquoise preparatory drawing, aside from the colour, there is some interesting mark making in the bedding,  when you mix wet and dry materials and where you have used different kinds of line on top of each other. In the background the combination of line, wash and rubbing is effective.

 234 be more robust apply greater pressure(with a 5B pencil) probably on a larger sheet of paper.

 I especially like the way you have drawn the foot, strong lines and sketchy marks, leaving some areas for our imagination, and the fluid treatment of the object the foot is resting on. Build on this.

8  A good example of experimentation. Do a lot more of this.

8a You have taken on advice about paying more attention to tone and negative shapes to help define form. I recommend you use softer pencils and charcoal more often. These softer materials will help you get a more tactile sense of the objects you draw, imagine you are touching or stroking them. I would also like to see you covering your paper I charcoal and using an eraser to search out the form. 

watch out for very dominant lines that unbalance the drawing.    

Feedback on assignment 

Neither of your drawings showed evidence of strong directional light, this is a shame because it would have given you more contrast and definition to play with.

I am pleased to see that in both drawings you show more confidence about using the whole sheet of paper, by bringing in the background to make it an active part of the drawing.

 Line : In the preparatory drawing you have used line expressively to show different surfaces and the direction of the marks describes the clothing more convincingly than in the final drawing. Overall it is more successful, including the Inaccuracies you have addressed, which give it life.7

5<" Tone : This drawing shows the benefit of your time spent looking. Well done on your sensitive use of tone in this drawing, the folds and creases in the clothes and well noticed and carefully drawn. It is a shame that the bottom of the jeans left leg has a straight edge, this makes it look flat, and you’ve drawn foot as a flat object as well. I wonder what happened here?

Your proportions are improved since your first go at the assignment, and from the preparatory drawings sent in this time, there is definitely a convincing body under the clothing. The open areas in the lower right-hand quarter contrast well with the more dense and detailed upper left-hand quarter. I would have given more space above the model’s head, it’s a little tight there.

 TO DO!!

Much more experimentation with materials, especially charcoal and wet media.

Try collage to increase your understanding of colour relationships and to play with composition. You can also use collage to explore different textures.

 Suggested reading/viewing

Go back through the course handbook and review the examples of drawings reading the projects and exercises at the same time.

Look again at Van Gogh’s variations in mark making, at Seurat’s and Odilin Redon’s use of tone.

Look at the use of line in on page 109 in Colin Press’s figure drawing and page 117 in Phil Steer’s figure drawing.


Assessment potential  

I understand your aim is to go for formal assessment in July 2014. From the work you have shown in this assignment you have demonstrated your ability to make improvements in your work. You will need to make more improvements before you going for assessment. If you review your course work, read my comments in the assignment reports and redo or rework some of the earlier drawings then you have the potential to succeed at assessment.


Things to pay attention to:

More experimentation with a wider range of materials.

Take time and look closely, draw what you see not what you think you know is there.

Try spending more time looking than drawing, and try drawing whilst looking at the objects and not looking at the paper.

Think about touching what you draw, try to imagine the physical properties of objects, the surface and the weight. .

Don’t over-draw lines, avoid excessive outlining or contouring.

Use lines of different weight, length and breadth and apply them with different kinds of energy.

Increase the range of tones you use, aim for some very dark darks.






Assignment four

My tutor asked me to improve on the two pieces I sent earlier so I have been working on them again. I totally agree on her comments and can understand why she asked me to do them again. Looking at my previous work I feel that I had rushed and did not do enough ‘looking’. Also the medium I used was not appropriate at this stage.

items sent :
10 pieces from my figure drawing exercises that I think are the best with an explanation why.

assignment 4, part 1 line drawing and part 2 tone drawing.

Much as I wanted to, I did not manage to get around to more figure drawing classes. I have been looking at drawings by Hockney, Rembrandt, Sir William Coldstream, Daumier and portrait drawings by Hans Holbein. I read about Coldstream’s method of measuring and making marks. These drawings have helped me a lot in picking out vital shapes, lines and tone. My sitters would not pose for very long so I had to work quickly to get shapes and tone in my preparatory sketches.

For the line drawing, I would have liked to do a similar pose as ‘Sir Trenchard Cox’ by William Coldstream. I like the pose and the way he has emphasised some areas with thick black lines. The clasped hands on crossed legs don’t have detailed fingers, but it’s evident they are hands. The facial features are vague with strong lines to depict glasses, yet the face is recognisable.


My sitter had to keep busy so a mobile phone came in handy. I haven’t been able to work as loosely as I would have liked, need to let go and build on confidence. Also as this is not a painting, I would not have achieved the same effect.

My final piece, line drawing:


For the tonal drawing, I tried various poses. In my previous drawing I lost the head so I wanted to have the head upright this time. This drawing is based on a painting by Titian, ‘Venus of Urbino’. my model is leaning on a folded duvet and pillows. The hands are placed differently. Despite preparatory work, in my drawing I corrected the head one time too many and ruined it. I started afresh. In my final drawing I got some smudge marks in the face which can’t be removed. This was caused by a dirty plastic eraser which I picked up by error instead of the putty rubber. A lesson learnt the hard way.


I used Derwent sketching wash pencils for both drawings. On the line drawing, I enhanced some lines with an art bar. For the tonal drawing a could have added water for a wash effect, but decided to leave it as a pencil drawing. One of the preparatory sketches is done with Derwent art bars.


Both are on A2 size paper. The tonal sketch is on a medium grain paper. The texture of the paper makes the tone hazy. With these drawings , I spent more time on a chair looking at them.

Assignment four – reflections

Assessment criteria/ reflections
Demonstration of visual and technical skills
For the line drawing, it had to be a choice of pencil, charcoal, ink pen or ink. I do not like using markers. I have done some drawings with ink and brush in my sketchbook. I like the lively marks, their permanence and there is no need for use of fixative. It requires a lot of concentration as you can’t erase and correct. Though I don’t have enough experience and practice for perfect brush marks, I enjoy using it and am fairly happy with the results. The sketches were different. When it came to doing the assignment piece, my nerves seem to get the better of me. I get the proportions wrong or don’t get the line in the angle it’s meant to be. I get some parts right and then mess up somewhere so the whole drawing is ruined. Initially when I started life drawing, I was using a pencil to measure proportions, but lately I check the relation of one part of the body with another. I try and mentally visualise the brush stroke before making the marks. The size six sable brush holds a lot of ink so I could make several marks before having to reload the brush. The sitter, Dwij, is always at the table on his laptop so I had many opportunities to work on this drawing. Compositionally it would look odd to have someone on a hard chair on their own, there has to be part of a desk or table. To make it look like a natural pose, I had to loose part of his left leg under the table and only part of his left arm is showing. He always seems to be in track pants.

For the tonal drawing I was going to use Inktense pencils. After the overworked assignment three, I wanted to make sure I don’t repeat the same mistake. After trying a quick sketch in watercolour to work out the dark tones, I decided to use watercolour for the final piece. The main areas I tried to emphasise are the creases in the clothes. I had done quiet a few sketches in foreshortening at the life drawing classes and wanted to use a lying down pose. I did not put much detail in the face as it’s at a distance and again I just wanted to work loosely. Unfortunately I had not read the second page and did not realise I was meant to put in detailed background. Rather then starting again, I hope what I have I done is enough to get a sense of place, especially the pillow.

Quality of outcome
It is very difficult to convey tone in a line drawing. The nose looks very big, perhaps because there is no tone and detail in the facial features. I nearly ended up drawing six toes on his right foot. I decided to leave the corrections as I was fairly happy with the rest of the drawing. The lower 3 fingers of the right hand are bent at a 90 degree angle as the hand rests on the laptop. The index finger is slightly bent which is why it appears a bit longer than the other fingers. It was very tricky to make the hand appear straight, yet at an angle from the elbow. The base of the chair has five wheels. The right foot is resting on one of the supports at an angle facing the viewer, so the foot appears to be a bit short and the support is not visible.

With the second drawing, my main aim was to get the anatomy and proportions right. I did not want to overwork the drawing while trying to put in tone. The values might not be accurate, as I am still trying to improve on my watercolour techniques.

Demonstration of creativity
I have been using coloured sugar paper in the last few weeks at the local life drawing class. I thought the line drawing would look warmer in the brown coloured paper, rather than white. it absorbs the ink nicely.

The tonal drawing of the model lying on the bed was fun working on, especially as the bed is in a very sunny, well lit area. However, in class there is lots of room to work around a model, at home, it’s not easy to fit in an easel in tight spaces and get the perfect angle you want to work on.

I still need a lot of practice with brush and ink, to achieve better brush strokes. I like using ink very much and hope to continue using it and to improve. On my holiday in August I did many sketches with ink and wash and feel confident to draw. Previously i would never dream of drawing in public!
In the line drawing I hope the viewer can feel that the sitter is at an angle on the chair. The left arm is resting on the arm rest,so the shoulder is higher than the right arm. I ended up putting too many marks for the hair, then I really wanted to. This was because the ear was looking a bit odd. And as I mentioned earlier the nose seems too big, even though I tried to draw it in relation to the rest of the features.
For the Tone drawing, I missed reading about putting in detail of the background and I need to work on my watercolours. I seem to have used too much yellow in some skin areas. I have put suggestions of creases in the jeans and t-shirt, but haven’t depicted them well. I wanted to finish this drawing in 90 minutes with 3 short breaks. After putting In the shadow areas first, as the light would have changed, I worked on the other areas. I did not have enough time to put in much detail on the creases and to indicate their curved form. On looking at the drawing now, the position of the right hip compared to the left and the angle ( the pelvic bone) does not feel right. This did not seem apparent in the pencil drawing. Maybe part of the left side is sunk in the bed, like the head and neck in the pillow.

Assignment Four

Assignment four

It’s been really difficult for me to get down to finishing these drawings. I carried on life drawing classes as I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I find it much easier to draw the professional model in a class as they are not worried about the results. I was getting too worked up about trying not to disappoint family or friends who would sit for me. Days were passing by, I am way past the due date… I finally just decided to hand in my work!

1. Line and shape.
I had set my mind on doing an ink sketch after Durer’s drawing of his wife Agnes. I did several sketches of my sitter in graphite and charcoal on A3 paper using an easel. I finally tried a drawing on an A2 with bamboo pen and ink. was not happy with a few things and tried a some more. I finally settled on a brush and ink drawing. I left out some objects near the head as they were a distraction. I liked using the brush as I could get a variety of thickness and tone in the lines.


2. Tone
After trying a few different poses, I settled on having my model on a bed near a window with the afternoon sun streaming in. I did a pencil sketch on an A3, then a 5 minute sketch using a 1 inch flat brush just to block in tone on an A2 size paper. The final is water colour on a Hahnemule white paper.
The bed sheet and carpet are all beige so I don’t seem to have much colour in the background. I am a beginner in using watercolours but I like the medium very much.


Reasearch point – investigate some artists self portraits.

This research has been an eye opener and very helpful to understand the various reasons artists do self portraits. Reasons to show emotions, sorrow, look for identity, improve skills, portray reality and imperfections,etc.

A portrait that blew me away is by Giovanni Bellini of the Doge Leonardo Loreda, around 1501. Though it’s not a self portrait, I will mention it because it’s incredible detail on the face and clothing.


This self portrait by Michael Landy looks simple, but it’s drawn precisely and tightly, every hair and fine detail of the face. The portrait is intense with each mark made carefully. There is no tone but you can still feel the depth of the features.


I like Maggi Hambling’s style. It has an ethereal quality that reminds you that you are in this world temporarily, makes you think of life and death. It also resembles waves of a stormy sea.


Lisa Stoke’s portrait here isn’t about looking alike but about emotions. she is expressing intense sadness she was feeling. An inner turmoil and sorrow.


Again this is not a self portrait, but I like Das Berlinner Zimmer by Owen Normand-winner of the Young Artist BP award 2013. I like his choice of colours, the way green from the wall is reflected in the eyes and the unusual angle of the face. The judges remarked: thoughtful work, contained in a quiet stillness that was impressive of a young artist.


Stuart Pearson Wright refers to his own paintings as ‘pseudo portraits’ presenting a subject’s ‘inner state’ rather than just an accurate record of their outward appearance. His self portraits are largely to narcissism but also to heal the vacuum of his identity as he was born by artificial insemination and never having known his father. By inhabiting different male archetypes, he tries to expose them as a metaphor of life as theatre. He is fascinated by masculine role-models as seen in film, art history and advertising.

When you look at self portraits of Kath Kollwitz, you see expressions of blatant emotion. She was tormented by poverty, social misery, death of her son Peter. She often used her self as a model to draw poor mother with hungry children. She kept portraying them again and again as a safety valve, to help her make life bearable. Quote: all my work hides in it life itself, and it is with life that I contend through my work.



One of the reasons why Vincent Van Gogh painted so many self portraits would probably be that he could not afford to pay models and he did not get many people commissioning him to do portraits. This could be a valid reason or when he did his self portrait something more got through, he witnessed definite moments of his life. His portrait with Bandaged ear, his back to the easel and a Japanese print could state that he was going to overcome that incident and carry on painting.
In a letter to Theo he explained that painting self portraits would help him develop his skills as an artist. Quote”I purposely bought a mirror good enough to enable me work from my image in default of a model, because if I can manage to paint the colouring of my own head, which is not be be done without some difficulty, I shall likewise be able to paint heads of other good souls, men and women”.

In this portrait of himself, in ashen tones, the swirls in the background almost makes you feel that its a hallucination. The colours are similar to absinthe. There is a lot of energy in the marks.


You can follow the change in his style of painting over the years by looking at his self portraits.

Anita Taylor’s All or Nothing- layered marks sculpt her body. She has drawn and erased, drawn again, leaving her lightest marks at the deepest level of the image and applying darker marks above. This order of light below and dark above give the impression of luminosity glowing from within.


Portrait from memory

Some initial sketches of P.J., a lovely calm lady who always seems to have a serene smiling expression.



Lost in thought


Here is my drawing from memory in Creta crayon


Here is an improved version in charcoal.

Check and log
Which drawing materials produced the best results? Why?
I preferred using water soluble ink and pencil. The ink is very easy to use and gives you the subtlest tones, from solid dark to just a hint of colour. It’s permanent, yet can be modified with some water.
I haven’t been using charcoal much because of the dust and the need to use a fixative.

Does your self portrait look like you. Show it to a couple of friends or family members and note down their comments.
The watercolour one, my mum thought that looked like a younger me. The ink and the pastel ones, there are some resemblances.
I looked at so many portraits of artists and tried to figure out how they managed to get them to look like the person it’s meant to be. I think all the features, shape of the eyes, nose, head need to be accurately depicted to get any kind of resemblance.

Did you find it easy to convert your sketches into a portrait?
The sketches were fun to do, especially as I was just quickly putting down what I saw and not particularly worried about trying to get a resemblance. I don’t think I got the proportions accurately. Also I found it hard to draw by looking into the mirror. Every time I looked into the mirror, the to the paper to draw, I seemed to have lost my place when I looked back into the mirror. Also the image is inverted, I.e. Left side appear as right and vice versa, while as drawing from photographs, the image is not inverted.
I need a lot more practice. What I did so far has been an eye opener and an enjoying experience.
I think I feel more relaxed about how I look.

Were your preliminary drawings adequate?
The preliminary drawings helped me get shapes of some of the parts of the face, but were not enough to help me get the portraits to look like me. I took lots of photos on my iPad, close ups of eyes etc which really helped me.
The sketches I did for the portrait from memory, especially of individual features helped tremendously. I think that would be the way forward to improve on getting a likeness.a>
An improved portrait in charcoal