Tag: Pastel

Assignment 5, experimenting with textures.

I needed to now look at textures and how to go about using them. It’s not something I have ever really tried before, except for a little collage. I had been looking at variations whilst studying artists and found people often use Gesso and tissue to create a textured surface in which to draw. I felt it may be a good way of producing the effect I wanted. Tree bark pattern is different for each type of tree so taking a few rubbings to get the feel of the marks was one of the first things I did then I tried out various methods on how to create and use the texture.


The first textured work was done using Acrylic paint tinted with watercolour and tissue. It was totally random and I wanted to try out the technique whilst waiting for my Gesso to arrive. I used Charcoal, C. Pencil and Pencil, I liked the tinted background but I feel it will limit the distance in the picture, but I did like the texture on the tree stumps this was effective and felt tactile. So I thought I would extend the texture further back into the picture next time.


I then tried Gesso and tissue to create the background in which to draw, and used oil pastels and coloured pencils to draw on the surface and silverpoint in the background. I felt there wasn’t too much texture  in relation the rear of the picture, so it lost depth, however the foreground was really nice and the affect was how I wanted. The colour was a nice touch, but I  wasn’t sure there was a little too much. The definition on the bark wasn’t good either and  the tree came out looking flat and overworked, so I needed to tone down the overuse of media and try something a little less dominant. I did like the oil pastel in the foreground it gave the whole area a tangled look which was similar to the wood near where I live. Silverpoint did work but it didn’t bring anything to the table graphite wouldn’t in this particular picture.


Next instead of using tissue, I covered the paper with tinted gesso, this was left rough, the brushstrokes giving a lovely textured affect. I really like the deer which is a coloured pencil sketch. Unfortunately for the Assignment I really needed to showcase all that had  learnt in Drawing 1 and this type of drawing wouldn’t show that. However I decided I would to try and better the technique in the future and improve on the above, it is a style I feel will combine with my more photorealistic style and I find it really enjoyable to do.

I then did various experiments using the Gesso and mark making and went through a number of media, both on Gesso alone and on Gesso overpainted with silverpoint paint in increasing layers 1-4.  When mark making I used cocktail sticks, pallet knives, wire, fingers and piping, all worked well enough depending on what texture you wanted, and as I discovered earlier you can get a good effect from the hairs of a paint brush. Most media worked relatively well and had its use, but one thing apparent was there was little change in quality with the increasing layers of silverpoint ground. Silverpoint worked well on the surface but I am not sure I will use it in the final work as its delicate mark feels a little at odds with the heavy texture of the trees.

Assignment 5, studies of deer


Having decided to draw deer I have found two areas where I can draw them in the wild. I was amazed at Dunham Massey how near I could get and how obliging the deer are.  I found it easier than the first deer I drew which were in a field near to where I live, and didn’t like their portraits being done.  The top picture was drawn using pastel and Conte sticks, I have not decided on media, or  if I am using any colour in my final drawing, so I wanted to experiment with a limited palette the drawing was done from a photograph and my sketches. I have sketched two different types of deer, which will explain the difference in their appearance. The Fallow are bigger, the Roe are daintier.

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, Project 6 Exercise 2 Your own face


For this i was to create two interesting images of my own face, I wasn’t to worry about producing an attractive or accurate likeness the aim is to create a believable face with the features in more or less the right place. I did 3 very quick sketches which were not the best likeness then moved onto the first sketch. I cant say it is very interesting, in fact I look terrified. In reality it was more to do with me looking intently in the mirror, so much so I forgot to do the interest thing. I hate looking at me at the best of times, so not exactly my favourite exercise this. My second drawing I did from a photograph hoping I could get a better view and remove the look of terror from my eyes. Err no, that one was even worse. The second picture I did in oil crayons and I am just not used to using pastels oil or chalk. They are very thick to use and I am used to drawing fine detail. The pencil drawing was much easier to do and is a slightly better picture of me. When my daughter stopped laughing at my minute sketches, she felt the pencil drawing was the better likeness. I think in part it was because I am used to the medium and also I found the features were easier to measure correct when working from life. I feel drawing individual parts of the face is easier for me as I am a slow drawer possibly due to my dyslexia, and although my drawing will no doubt always be slow, with all the quick sketching in Part 4 it has built up my speed and I would like to continue drawing like this as I believe it has improved my work.

Part 4, Project 4, Exercise 2, Three figure drawings


For this exercise I had to do  a standing, seated and lounging figure. The aim is to practise making interesting studies of the figure to show I have understood the basic structural principles and my ability to incorporate them using whichever style or approach for my subject. I took time as requested, sorting out a position and viewpoint, walking around my subject also making a few quick sketches, these were quick. I also used exaggerated foreshortening in one picture as I quiet enjoy the almost comedic look of a person when foreshortened. It can be seen used in this way by Jenny Savage and although I dont like the look of all the flesh on display, I do like the concept. I achieved this exaggeration because of the viewing angle. It was impossible to draw this without a photo because of the position I would be in to get the view.  I think the least interesting one was the seated figure which was drawn using graphite. This for me was the hardest drawing as I find the seated figure difficult to do and for the life of me I couldnt get the proportions correct, I went wrong and could not redeem the picture with the trousers being too narrow, and the face incorrect. I moved onto the pastel picture which I think is accurate, my subject is only short and was stood slightly angled to the side , this gave a foreshortened effect on the shoulder and leg to the right of the body. I was pleased with this sketch and liked the energy in the picture even the the figure was still.

The lounging figure was the one I exaggerated the foreshortening on, it was easier to do as when low to the ground the foot became enormous. I used a pencil as a measure and the foot appeared to be half the size of the person, giving this over exaggerated size effect. My subject was twisted to one side which did give the whole picture a distorted view. Possibly it would have looked lest contorted and abnormal if I had positioned my model facing me. I do think this came out well though and enjoyed the process. This was done in pen and wash using Paynes Grey watercolour.

Overall I think I did relatively well, but I do still have a lot to learn in regards to the accurate portrayal of a human. To make sure I was within the size and proportion, I did draw out the figures in heads before I started as I had seen done in a book written by Andrew Looomis, Figure Drawing For All Its Worth. It is without a doubt easier to draw a figure with a mental vision of the naked body shape. It helps with the hang of clothes and the proportions of their body. I also find the position more achievable if I draw a stick figure first. I am getting better and more accurate as can be seen throughout Part 4, as I have a much better grasp of the size and proportion of a human. However it can take various attempts to get these proportions correct on paper, as can be seen above with the seated figure and the trouser legs and feet which are both sized incorrect, being too small.

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 4, Exercise 3 Aerial or atmospheric perspective



ariel view2060
Bedroom Window Tonal Sketch


This exercise is about tonal gradation and how the horizon becomes lighter and less detailed. I had to use  media such as charcoal, soft graphite, conte sticks, soft chalky pastel oil sticks and ink. I used all but the oil sticks.

First I wast to establish the horizon and then plot the basic forms of objects in the landscape, analyse the gradation of tone and if I wanted I could use monochrome to create atmosphere and tone.

I had a day at a nature reserve and thought it would be a good place to draw. Unfortunately things dont always go as planned. It snowed the day before and although clear the next day it was bitter. Undeterred I still went thinking there had to be something I could draw. Reality was, the weather was bitter and higher ground was  not accessible. It made drawing almost impossible. The first sketch I did was of the buildings which at various angles and surrounded by reeds didnt really look good when roughly sketched, which I did in my small sketchbook. I used charcoal for this but due to the situation I found it didnt suit the subject plus I wasn’t high enough up to sketch any distance.

building063 uni

I moved my place and managed to get a little higher this time setting about a quick sketch in conte sticks. This worked a little better but the area hadn’t enough of interest to work without full colour,  it was so cold I couldn’t stand it especially as I was ill, so I packed up my things and moved to a hide.

reserve uni 2


The hide gave me some protection  but I had no height and it was an expanse of flat mud banks and water. There were only two birds in the distance and nothing again between foreground and horizon to suit the remit. This was done in graphite, I applied the pen and wash when I returned home.

reserve uni


None of my quick sketches gave me inspiration, a little disappointed I returned home.

The next day I decided to draw an aerial  view from the window of one of the bedrooms,  I was able to sit quietly and concentrate on perspective and tone. After having attempted quick sketches the day before I could see this views content was more suited to the exercise, so I decided to work in my A4 sketchbook, but draw in pencil first. I had to have several attempts at the perspective before I felt confident enough to fill with tone. The village is an old one and many houses built in stone so I wanted to give an aged look. I love the drawings and paintings in minimal colour like this one by Harold Riley http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/harold-riley-figures-by-the-church-5338938-details.aspx  especially this one of Peter Rubens http://www.peterpaulrubens.net/the-battle-of-anghiari.jsp and some of the old pastel drawings.  I chose three shades of pastel and charcoal. I loved the affect and felt the tonal gradation worked well but I still have a long way to go with perspective, I find I get bogged down with angles and forget the drawing.

I liked this exercise and found it challenging. I have learned just because things look good by eye they don’t always make a good picture. Plus getting bogged down in perspective can stop you seeing the picture as a whole. Another thing  I learnt was to put in the vertical lines first, as this helps get the perspective correct. I made a mistake of not doing that with the conservatory and made a mess and had to redo it.


roof shot
A difficult picture to get




Part 3, Project 3 Composition, Exercise 1 Developing your studies




For this exercise I was to review my preparatory drawing from Project 2 and select the elements I would like to include in a larger drawing. I chose one of a bench I had drawn but wanted to enlarge the scene. I really like the drawing done by artists which have subtle colour within their tone and wanted to try and do something similar. I love Rubens and Isobel Rae.




I have drawn various rough sketches  my first in graphite which was difficult to do, once again it was pouring down with rain and sketching on a pavement in the pouring rain with cars splashing through puddles as you draw is not fun. I am seriously thinking of investing in weather proof paper and a shield. I took various photos on separate days but couldn’t get the shadow I wanted as it was so dull.


bench qs1035



I followed the initial sketch with several, starting with Charcoal and then using various techniques at applying colour under the charcoal. The sketches were done from memory so are not accurate. I tried applying the pastel adding water then covering in charcoal it was too dark, so I tried applying pastel on top of the charcoal, and applying the pastel under without any water, rubbing it well into the paper without fixing.  I liked the effect where the pastel was rubbed without fixing best, charcoal was then applied over the top then as with all the sketches I lifted the leaf shapes out with putty rubber.

The final sketch shows development from the the first drawing I did a few weeks ago which was quick and more of a line drawing with minimal tone and no colour. I practiced various marks and laid down quick blocks of pastel and charcoal lifting the lighter tones and adding the darker. I feel the bushes at the very back behind the bare branches are successful, giving depth to the picture. Also I tried to keep the bench within the Golden Mean and I find its position pleasing, a focal point from which the eye can move around the picture, helped by the circular rows of stone which lead the eye through the composition. I applied tone using charcoal along the edge of the leaves to make them stand out, but if I was to develop this sketch more, I may try to draw in some leaf shapes instead of just using the lifting technique. Also I feel the colour of the leaves  of the bushes just behind the chair are too dark still and if the posts were not in the foreground, it would not be as well balanced. I think the slight touches of colour worked well in the rest of the picture as it added interest. Also the lifting of charcoal and edging in a darker tone worked well in showing the twigs that are coming off the tree on the right, it gives the area an interesting texture.

As can be seen from the above photograph of the area, I omitted to draw the bin and a lamppost in order for it to look more picturesque.

I have enjoyed and feel I have learnt a lot with my sketching in this project, my mark has become loser and more confident. Its difficult for me to explain, but I feel a greater freedom in my work and less pressure on myself to make every drawing look perfect, allowing a freedom in my application to develop more speed in my work and allow me to explore my subject and technique, not just copy it.

bench qs2036

bench qs4038

bench qs3037

Assignment 2

Final drawing for Assignment 2.

mallards uni

This assignment is designed to pull together the fine observation and practice done on this part of the course. I could choose my own subject taking into account these factors;
:the use of colour in the drawing.

:the most appropriate medium for the subject.

:composition and context.

:mark making and contrasts of line and tone.

:accurate and expressive depiction of form.

:experimentation with idea and material and method.

I started with an idea that I wanted to draw the resident Jackdaws in the manner of Isobel Rae, I really lover her simplicity but ability to project emotion within her pictures. Unfortunately the minute I wanted to do a study, they were nowhere to be seen and I was left with the two preliminary sketches done. I could have waited and within a fortnight they were back feeding outside, but I was short of time. Having decided to do birds I stuck with that idea and whilst at a Craft Show did a study of a Dove, I wasn’t sure on the first background and changed it which can be seen if you look closely at the picture, I felt the rays of light falling on the bird gave it a majestic glow and was a good idea, but it lacked colour. One thing needed for this Assignment was colour so I decided not to go further with the Doves.

I felt a little disheartened and thought a still life may be a better idea, and did a quick sketch of a semi-ripe Pumpkin and Nasturtiums. I tried the design on another piece of Fisher 400 paper, using Faber and Castell, and Derwent Coloursoft pencils. Two types of background were tried on a couple of strips, one in Chalk Pastel the other using the above pencils. Surprisingly the Chalk worked better, giving me the smooth gradation of colour I was looking for.  I was going to do 3 different sized Pumpkins with a thread of Nasturtium running through, but felt doing another still life didn’t stretch me, I wanted to move away from my realism and try something a little less precise. The bird idea had capture my imagination so I sat on the idea for a couple of days.

Drawing Ducks was a decision made out of access really I knew where they were and could study them with ease. I did think about drawing just the females, but when I got to Brockholes there was a cheeky pair, with the most amazing facial expressions. I must say having said they would be easy to study, these were the only two near enough, all the others had gone onto the river and were too far to be useful. Drawing the Drake was a worry because the colour, but I think he came out well. I spent some time when home running through my sketches and pictures deciding on composition, paper and media. In the end deciding on 3 Ducks drawn on Fisher 400 paper. I had tried graphite, charcoal, Conte, Chalk Pastel, Faber and Castel, and Derwent Coloursoft. I ended up using Chalk Pastel, Conte, and Graphite. After trying several Pastel Papers I chose Fisher 400, it was quick to cover and gave great clarity of colour. I had never tried this particular paper until doing the room sketches, surprisingly it really is a good paper to apply mark and detail, as can be seen in the sketch of the pumpkin. It’s not good for the fingertips however. I drew the water with far more colour than I intended but I think it suited the subjects well, complimenting their own colouring. The drawing was made with free strokes of colour using various marks, and although not as loose as intended, the detail was created with more suggestive marks than the fine line work I usually do.

I was pleased with my drawing and felt I covered all the above points except composition, here I felt I could do better, I had thought the strong colour of the drake would outweigh the two brown hens, even though he was placed further back, but it didn’t and I had to add stronger colour to the water in front for balance. If I was to do this picture again I would probably move the drake forward and make him the same size as the hen. I think the birds were too close for the size difference and it didn’t add to the depth of the picture. I was pleased with the expression on the faces of the birds which I was aiming for, also the fact I had a reasonable picture of an upturned hen, which was done from my sketches of a distant bird on the river.

Overall I think this Assignment went relatively well, however given the chance again I would still choose to draw the Jackdaws rather than the ducks.

Pictures and sketches relating to this Assignment

:Assignment 2 page 1 Assignment 2 page 2_edited-1duck photos uni