Tag: Charcoal

Assignment 5, sketches leading up to the assignment

I am working my way to the final piece and what I am going to do. I have decided to go with the textured drawing with gesso but have one final experiment to perform before I actually decide on the drawing. I put Gesso over tissue paper and I also applied it thickly to the area and when drying put marks into with cocktail sticks and a pallet knife, it gave a great affect. The charcoal doesn’t adhere to the Gesso as well as coloured pencil and oil pastel as it is so smooth. I over lay some silverpoint paint to try and give a grittier surface but I don’t think it worked too well, so I am going to try a small sketch this time and sand it to roughen the surface. The oil pastel has depth so in my final piece I am going to place the deer through the wood, however I do like the larger deer in the foreground, so I think I will go with a mix. The near branches look better in texture so I will apply it to the foreground.

My final Gesso experiment was done pretty much the same way as before but I rubbed it down with sand paper. This worked well and the pencil adhered well. The drawing which is the middle one above wasn’t best compositional piece I have done, but I was short of time and needed to try the media and technique. It worked well so I am now going to do a few sketches now in regards to composition.

Part 5 Review of previous assignment self assessments.


I have looked through and read my assessments and don’t have a great deal to add. I I have progressed steadily through the course and my best work was Assignment 1. 3/4 and then 2, in that order. I think time, workload and misunderstanding of expectation and personal problems, was the reason Assignment 2 was the least impressive. Assignment 4 I worked really hard at, I spent a large amount of time making drawings and researching artist for this and really felt I had learnt a lot. My skill level is still below that which I would like with figure drawing and I realise I need a lot of practice for my work to flow and to be able to draw a person from memory. It has become habit to draw people whilst I am out and I am surprised how much I have grown to like trying to capture the moving figure.

Looking through my work I would like to use assignment 2 as my starting point and concentrate on my own enviroment. I know I can do better, the subject matter means a lot to me and I have always enjoyed drawing animals. Still Life would probably be the best subject to gain a good mark, but I know I can do that and need to stretch myself. I want to learn and improve my style.

I found great enjoyment in the drawings I didn’t have to worry too much about every detail, in fact I went a little too far with the line drawing in Assignment 4 because I was enjoying the exercise. Working away from the detailed work I do in my private work and using a freer mark will make me, I feel, grow as an artist and bring more enjoyment to the process. I have always used art as a relaxation tool, but on my more detailed work I lose some of that pleasure in my push for accuracy.

I live in a farming area and would like possible to combine Part 3 outdoors with animals from Part 2 so will try and experiment with studying not only the animal but their enviroment as well. To begin I may do some live sketches of animals and enviroment.

Part 4, Assignment 4

Part 4, Assignment 4

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Three final pieces for Assignment 4

Figure study using line. Figure study using tone. Self Portrait using line and tone.

For this assignment I was to complete two large figure studies (A1 size) and a self-portrait (any size). I had to do 3 drawings in total, together with supporting studies experiments etc.

For each drawing consult my preliminary studies. Write notes on the artists that have inspired me to work in a certain way. Be inventive about work and materials and allow around two hours for each drawing.

1 Figure study using line (A1) Seated model in an upright chair.

This study was about drawing a three-dimensional form using line. Take note of the figure and the chair in relation to the whole scene, gradually describing details such as the hand etc using single line or combinations of narrow thick, curved and straight, fractured expressive, gestural, dynamic dramatic and so on.

I don’t like A1 it feels too big for me, in part probably because I haven’t got a drawing board that size, and can’t afford one. This means I have to work on a table and boy it gives me backache, this is especially difficult when using a model as the table needs to be at hand whilst drawing. I had gone back through my work within Part 4 and felt I had done a lot of pure fine line drawings, so decided I wanted to have a bit of fun and use various widths and lengths of media. Conte stick were something I have never used a lot of, but an artist by the name of Guy Denning who is inspirational with Conte and line makes fabulous drawings using Conte. I am not fond of his subject matter as his portraits are a bit depressing, but his application is so energised and he has some very expressive drawings, using newsprint and cardboard as well as paper. I thought I would have a go at cardboard and did a small drawing, I felt like I had lost control of my media, which I am guessing is part of the fun. I did in the end decide not to use it but liked the lined pattern it made and used it for part of the drawing underneath, to give some texture.

I did some preparatory drawings,  to check I had the position correct and just to make sure I did want to go with the Conte, and not an alternative line, in the end I felt I would experiment with Black Conte, Grey and White Pastel, Rubber, Pencil, Willow Charcoal and a non-functioning Biro. The Biro was an after though I had placed the cardboard under my paper in order to get the ridged look and notice when making line using either Conte or the Pastel on their side, it would highlight my pencil marks, so to begin with I used and old Biro that hadn’t any ink, to put in some deeper lines. Now as I added the broader line I could see the finer indentations underneath. I also used a rubber to make short lines within the wider ones. I love the texture Conte sticks give when used on their side, it can be seen within the trouser, and just one application was enough in most areas. Pastel was a lot smoother and less dramatic. The line from the cardboard worked well in certain areas, like the top and lower leg but I worked with it a little too much and next time would be more selective where it was used.

I think I was enjoying the process much too much and went way too far with my line work, because although you can see the lines except for areas the fixative caused runs, it may of created more tone within the line than was being asked for. However in the end after my first concerns and even though the model isnt facially accurate, I enjoyed this drawing and felt I learnt a lot about line and how it can be used and how line forms tone. This drawing did go to the wire in time as I thought I had the legs too long, however after numerous measuring and a fed up model, I realised I was  lower than the model lying on the ground drawing, which had given an element of foreshortening coupled witht he fact my model does have lovely long leg. Now there was a lesson learned.   I would if I did this piece again and not on the constraints of having to show the background, try to do a similar drawing with a suggested background, rather than in full.

2 Figure study using tone (A1) Reclining model

I needed to plan this one carefully with my model dressed in reasonably fitted clothes. Contrasting tones would be a good idea. I was meant to use a strong light but living in a small very deep walled cottage, strong light is not possible, so I had to set up lamps to help. It was suggested I let the light filter across the area of the room in an interesting manner. For this I was to use tone only, and positive and negative spaces.

I wasn’t sure how to go about this one but liked the way Paul Hedley combines watercolour with pastel to create his tonal sketches/paintings. I love working mixed media and after preliminary sketches to determine position, colour and application I decided watercolour and pastel would work. I wanted to work this drawing partly in an impressionistic style and didn’t fully draw the surroundings, it worked to a point but would have worked better had I not felt the need to portray the contours and tonal changes on the bed linen.

As I was going to be using watercolour I needed a paper that would take it and to be honest I hadn’t money to buy anything posh, so used a sheet of Eco paper made from cloth. I hadn’t used it before and it turned out to take the toned washes well, but it didn’t take the pastel without furring. I must admit it give the picture a material feel and I would like to use it in future, as I am sure the fluffing could be used to advantage.

This time to spare me some back pain I used a piece of framing board to rest the drawing on my easel. I couldn’t stretch the paper, but it held the water well without too much buckle. The base tone was just a wash mainly pink/brown, but I added more orange to the top to show the tonal different. I had decided to do the picture in a limited colour wash first and then work into it using pastel over the top to enhance the tone. I also positioned the models legs  in a way it enabled me to show perspective.

Drawing in this loose fashion doesn’t come easy for me and if there had not been time constraints on the drawing I would undoubtedly had to fight the desire to work this picture longer. If I was to take it further and develop the drawing towards a finished piece I would like to try putting less detail in the fore and maybe with a little artistic licence push the bed edge nearer the models rear and placing the model into the golden mean a little more. I enjoyed this piece and would like to take the method further maybe using coloured pencil. Pencil was my first choice but due to the time constraint and size of this drawing, it really didn’t make sense.

3. A portrait or self-portrait combining line and tone

Here I was to create a portrait with believable features in proportion. I was to work with line and tone.

For this I wanted to do a sketch similar in fashion to the old masters, silverpoint was too slow, and has to be done over time, though I did look at sketching with this media and did a quick drawing. I decided to colour the paper to give it a more aged look and after looking at media decided to use coloured pencil and restricted the colours to a white, sanguine, brown and black. I absolutely love the drawings by Rubens and it was some of his drawings that inspired me to have a go. Unfortunately the paper didn’t take the watercolour well, it was meant to be mixed media paper, but it took the pigment in patchy pools, sadly I didn’t have any other paper more suitable, so continued. For the most part it worked well. The shading was light and I kept the tonal contrast as delicate as I could. I would like to carry this style on to a finished piece at some stage. I think there is a need to experiment with the background colour and tweak it as its colour tone was slightly wrong and needed to lean more to the brown than the red. The background being patchy wasn’t as big a problem as I thought and in places added to the picture, and distracted in others. However it does look like me and made me realise how big my jowls had become. Oh dear, there again I did leave out the wrinkles as I wanted to keep the portrait soft, the shoulders and upper chest faded into the background colour.

I have included the preliminary sketches below, and some are interrelated, I tried media out within the 3 assignment pieces and if it didn’t suit one drawing I thought about how it would work with another, so my preliminary work was looked at both individually and also as a whole.

Various drawing specific sketches were done but techniques medias and method were sometimes intermingled.



Part 4, Project 6, Exercise 3, Portrait from memory or the imagination



For this exercise I was to use my imagination and the skill I have learned to draw someone I had seen momentarily – or not at all. This exercise should prompt the question, what is a portrait? Should it show something more about the person than mere physical characteristics and if so what? I was asked how difficult it was to create a portrait of someone from a chance meeting or completely form the imagination.

For me it is difficult, though the portrait of the little boy above came to mind because of pictures of starving children I had seen and been horrified by.They looked like large dead eyed skeletons. This stuck in my mind. I think without all the practice I have done on faces I would not have managed this at all, and I certainly dont think at the moment I could do a portrait from memory. Maybe I would be able to do some of the  features of the person, and possibly be able to get the features in the correct place, but the character no. This is individual and where we all share similarities, we have features which are our own. I can understand why the old master worked on statues before individual people, there is no forgiveness in the execution because we need to capture the personal traits and character of each individual which makes them look like who they are.



Part 4, Project 5, Exercise 1 Single moving figure

For this Exercise I have been asked to draw the moving figure in my sketchbook, a page a day. I have been asked how well I have done. Well ….this was not easy, however I did a number of sketches of single figures which spilled into the groups exercise. What I have done is choose a selection of some of the sketches as there was too many to put on my blog. I have picked the ones that held emotion and memory, I had no difficulty in looking for quality, as I am sure it can be seen I need practice. This exercise was attempted earlier than most of the exercises already posted before it and I think I can now see my work has improved since these they were done.

To be fair figures are not my thing and I found this incredibly hard, no sooner did I start the drawing, the person had moved on. Proportion went out the window in a lot of cases, as to begin with the speed I had to draw actually scared me. Now I may still be gaining the skill but I enjoy it and will continue drawing the moving figure. It certainly makes you learn and quick.  There was no second guessing if I didn’t get the line  down whilst it was happening I finished the drawing, this means there are several part people. I wanted to leave it like this, as it becomes more of a challenge and means I will try to get better, pride hurts, but it does make you want to improve.

Part 4, Project 4 Structure, Exercise 1 The Structure of the human body




For this exercise I had to loosely sketch some of the structures that make up the human body. Look for images online, library and our own body measurements and mechanics;

Looking closely , work upwards, start with your toes, sketching small sketches of  various body parts  until finally reaching the skull.

This is a very open ended exercise and can be time consuming I looked at the bones and muscles including my own body, used images off the internet and in books. Researching the structure of our body properly takes time so I drew an example of each part of the body, some included the muscles, some the bones, the rest the contours and shape. I finished the exercise with the skull, rather than draw it small I opted to do a larger version. It didn’t take long but gave me a little breather from  trying to study all the components that go into making our bodies. I felt the time needed to do this exercise properly would be immense and the whole thing should be treated as an ongoing exercise throughout my career. It is not something you could learn in a matter of hours.

Part 4, Project 3, Exercise 1 Basic Shapes


For this I had to arrange my model at a slight angle in a chair for an hour or so, consider the angle of the central axis that runs through the seated figure. Notice twist or bends and block in basic shapes. Look carefully at which planes of the body are receding and which planes of lines are parallel to the edge of my picture plane. This is to help establish the bulk of the drawn figure in relation to the space around it. The model had to be drawn from several positions remembering to measure  with each pose. I was to Identify the possibility of foreshortening and make written notes.

For some reason I didn’t do this one well. I have begun timing my drawing. and these were all done withing 10mins except for the boys which I did from an old video. I freeze framed this and took 12 mins. I did this as my model was short of time and had a bad case of the fidgets. I think to a point that is why I had difficulty and proportions were not correct, the more straight on views had some foreshortening in the thighs, on one side view there was a little in the far foot, but to be honest an hour for 5 or 6 drawings is still fast for me. I feel a little like a driver who has got his L plates and is just starting to go solo. Not because of my drawing inability, but my inability to draw at speed under pressure. The picture I drew in Charcoal of two children, was far more accurate than the ones I did of my model. Having said that they did sit still within the frame and that might be the reason. I re did the front position drawing a second time as this looked more like my model was getting up out of the chair. I used a line almost stick like and then fleshed out the shapes, this worked better. I still think I am not blocking in shapes as well as I should. All in all I think I need much more practice at the human figure, especially foreshortening and front view figures, which could probably look better from a different view maybe lowering my viewpoint and foreshortening the thighs a little.

Part 4, Project 1, Exercise 1, Fabric and form

For this exercise I was to throw a piece of clothing or length of plain fabric across a chair to make folded and soft layers of fabric and then, using an appropriate medium for each make two 15 minute sketches, one using line only and the other concentrating on tone. On the line drawing I used graphite and darkened the line where the fold area was in shadow. For the tonal drawing I also used Graphite Pencil one 2b and worked the tone by applying more layers when needing shadow.

material folds line drawing

material folds with tone

I then had to loosely divide a large sheet of paper into 8-12 cm squares and draw 5 minute sketches of different parts of the fabric. Look at the shapes cause by the folds.

I used various media as was suggested choosing, Chalk Pastel, Graphite Pencil, Pencil and Ink, Watercolour Pencil, Wax Pastel, Charcoal, Ball Pen, Felt Tip.

5 min farbric drawing

The approach to how I drew the folds and shapes, was different according to the media I used but all started with a line drawing in Graphite first.  I thought I would find the media that could be smudged, or blended in some way would give the best effect and largely that was correct, however each one had its merit depending on the effect wanted. The Ball Pen  had a pleasing linear effect which I may use in the future, and the Felt Tip actually looked better than the others when viewed from a distance. Out of all the media I felt the Wax Pastel was the less pleasing which surprised me. This could be the way I applied the Pastel, or it didnt work well within a small area, so I decided I would try Wax Pastel on a larger drawing. It was applied very quickly and still worked loose. I liked the effect and may try a similar drawing again but be more precise with application and spending longer in achieving the affect I am looking by trying a more layered effect. I certainly feel used in such a loose way a bigger drawing works better.

material folds 3123

Part 3, Assignment 3.

well uni
Hollinshead Hall Holy Well, Tockholes.


I was to draw an outdoor scene of my choice finding a view that included some natural objects trees, shrubs, pot plants, garden plants. I had to show my understanding of arial or linear perspective showing depth. It also had to offer the opportunity to draw straight lined objects as well as items drawn from nature: buildings walls, fences gates and so on.

I was to set myself plenty of time. Do preliminary drawing in my sketchbook to experiment, try various medias, and use an A1-A2 sheet of paper . Spend anything up to 2 hours drawing this. Well I think I did everything else but the drawing took 6 hours. 3 hours to prime the paper with the cream background and the line drawing. Then 3hrs to apply the layers, which I had to spray and dry before working over them.

I began by spending a lot of time wandering around  the area of Hollinshead Hall where there are ruins, the only building that had been rebuilt was the Holy Well House. I decided in the end to concentrate on the well and spent ages trying to decide on the best angle to draw the building that would fulfill the criteria of the assignment. I took a photograph of the wider area and a couple of sketches. I also did one of the ruins and stonework, it was  the sketch of the ruins that made me decide they would not work. I then did various sketches to decide which media to use. I decided the limited pallet charcoal and pastel worked best, none of the others gave the atmosphere I was looking for. I love the old masters drawings,  I find  this one by Peter Paul Rubens amazing giving the sense of age and atmosphere,  I wanted for my drawing. I have looked at it many times over the last year for inspiration.http://www.peterpaulrubens.net/the-battle-of-anghiari.jsp


One thing  that occurred to me whist trying out the various media, is that, after doing the drawing a couple of times, I didn’t feel the need to refer to other sketches or the photograph much. I was relying from memory and my work was being made with a freedom I haven’t had before, steering me away from a more intense photo realistic style, and I like it. I  feel this could be built on by doing a few more preliminary sketches in the field in future, as I feel the time spent analyzing my subject, instead of copying it, is what is giving me this freedom.

The photograph does nothing to show how eerie this area feels whilst you are there. It is said to be haunted and I must admit I can understand why. I wanted to portray this feeling and decided to try a misty affect in the background. I had to work this several times in layers. I did the first layer added trees, then reworked it 3 times to give it the misty look, the trees lay faint between the applications. I didnt want a block colour I wanted the background to show through to add to the depth. The background was achieved by placing a layer of chalk pastel on paper, I then sprayed with water and rubbed the pigment into the paper. As it was drying I wiped a lot of the pastel off with kitchen roll. That gave a slightly rough but fainter colour, not quite as faint as I wanted, I think I would have liked it lighter as with the sketch I did, but I stupidly didn’t try it out on the watercolour paper before I started the picture.

I used charcoal for the building and white chalk for the highlights and door. Various techniques were adopted for the stonework and lifting and smudging helped with the tone and texture.

My favourite part which I think worked well is the shelf running around the right side, I am not sure what this is, but it looks like it could have been a seat, maybe where people would queue for the Holy Water. I lifted lighter areas to portray the ledge and the leaves of wild plants growing in the damp. It worked as it gave a suggestion of form, giving the eye interest. I didnt like the chalk highlighted areas as much as I thought I would and if I was to do the drawing again would probably restrict this to the door and the misty affect to the rear which worked well because it portrayed the eerie cold atmosphere I wanted. It also worked well in giving depth to the picture, lessening the tone of the receding tree line and lightening the background.


well picture uni

in the field hollinshead100

ruins hollinshead101

ruins hollinshead ps102

ruins hollinshead ps2103

ruins hollinshead ps3104

ruins hollinshead ps4105

ruins hollinshead ps5106







Part 3, Project 5, Exercise 4 Statues

war horse statue done
Drawing of statue of the War Horse Warrior on the Isle of Wight
Wicker statue of a rabbit and eggs
Statue of a soldier.
mary statue
Marys statue from a local church


This exercise was about looking at statues to hone my drawing skills. Decide what interests me and try to make them interesting. My first statue of the war horse Warrior was drawn from a photograph I took a few years ago on the Isle of Wight. I photographed it with the intention of drawing it one day. I used oil pastels which were difficult to get the fine details I like the metallic affect though.

The wicker statue of the Rabbit was a statue put up in the local town around Easter I wasn’t sure what media to use but found pen worked well. I didnt try to draw the wicker accurately just the impression. I must admit to this being my favourite drawing. It was quickly don’t, even the dot affect, I feel it shows a progress in my work as I can see from all the statues I am moving away from my rigid approach to art which was evident in Part 2.

The soldier is a quick pencil drawing it looks a little untidy, I still need to get greater control at speed. I think I also need to look at drawing faces better!

For Mary I used charcoal and because she was white I placed her on a imaginary background, she was actually high up on a dark church wall. I added the rays to give a spiritual feeling to the piece, but am not sure it was really suited I may of been better leaving it dark. Mary herself was largely drawn using an eraser. I produced the lights and the tones using a rubber and removing various degrees of charcoal. Again I think I need to practice faces as she doesn’t have that gentle look you associate with religious figures.