Tag: Pencils

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 3, Exercise 3 Stance


For this exercise I was to look for the line of balance or the centre of gravity in a standing figure, it begins at the top of the skull and passes through the middle of the nose straight down the middle of the chest cavity. With a back view the line starts from the back of the neck on the spinal column.

From a side view this line of balance starts at the back of the ear and travels down to the weight bearing foot.

The line indicating the central axis also helps indicate where the body mass or majority of the body weight is placed. If the figure moves or if the model sits the weight or mass changes to a different area of the body.


Move around the model before you begin to draw to get a sense of where the figure is in its allotted space and to identify its centre of gravity and gesture. Mark the central axis in your initial sketches of the standing figure. Ask the model to change poses every two to five minutes. Draw as many quick poses as you can.

I had just treated myself to a book by Andrew Loomis, Figure Drawing For All Its Worth. He teaches that the main wight is distributed within a rectangle if on two feet, or triangle if on one. I tried this out as can be seen in the pictures above and it seemed to be a good way of seeing where the main body weight is placed, in certain poses it does follow the central axis and divides the body in half.

I did this from photographs as my model wasnt available. I must say I have decided to go on a diet after seeing them. What I took from this is the center of gravity will be more important if you were drawing from your own imagination. It will give a good guide as to whether the figure can balance and the stance is actually possible.


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.

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Part 3, Project 5, Exercise 4 Statues

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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.

Part 3, Project 5, Exercise 1, Sketchbook of townscape drawings

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Developed with pen work and a colour wash .


For this exercise I was to sketch and make, notes focus on one particular building, for example a corner and notice how the other buildings support your main focus.

Make written notes about my sense of the place and appearance . Take note of eye level for the horizon line. Make a detailed study with a 3b pencil in a 10cm square, showing a section of the building. Draw a second 10cm square,tonal study show in how the light falls across the building.

Make notes about light, its direction,  its strength and  the shadows. Note atmosphere people, use of the buildings. Make quick sketches of the buildings to decide on the most interesting view. Draw the main shapes in pencil before committing to colour. Be selective and draw you own unique view of your chose place. Giving a sense of the actual location.

I chose some old mill buildings, and did some quick sketches on site following up with perspective and detail at home. I chose a row of buildings all adjoining, the small drawing with trees was a little room  attached on the end, I think this was the pump house, it is no longer in use and a tree is taking over is broken exterior. I was interested in this building and thought it would be the one I took further, I liked the angle and did a detailed sketch, making notes of the shade from the surrounding trees and the light which fell on the short wall.  I added the side clear of debris but infact there was rubbish along the shorter side obscuring the wall. Oddly I felt the tree  obscured what I wanted to show not so much the rubbish.The mill is in slow decline, unloved and mistreated. It is an interesting site and although used  by various companies it is decaying, with little money spent on its upkeep, it is  alive, but looking tired and unloved. I wanted to show this and felt the little door in the side of the building I past on my way to the pump house, did just that.  I tried various sketches and made notes beside one of the drawings. Unfortunately there wasn’t much light contrast, even thought is was sunny and around 1.45. This part of the site was in shadow thrown across from surrounding buildings. There were not many people at the site, but a number of cars which were to be worked on, and I had to negotiate this to draw the little building.  It was the last of my sketches I developed  further by adding a colour wash and pen work. I tried a light wash but it didn’t work, so I added more layers which gave a more dramatic effect and worked well with the old brickwork and the low contrast. My pen work was too thick, making marks that were too heavy, so in future if I was to do pen and wash I would need a finer nib. I would also be interested in doing further studies in charcoal with and without a brown tint. Once again I learned that sometimes what we think will work well, doesn’t and it pays to do various sketches and not attack a subject with a closed mind. Also that even the most unattractive of subjects can produce a pleasant drawing.

townscape sketches

building photos


Part 3, Project 3, Exercise 2 Foreground, middle ground, background

view for uni


I had difficulty with this as I had to put 4 scans together and the picture warped when applying the water to the watercolour pencils. I had to choose a sketch or photograph establish a foreground, middle ground and background.  Use A3 paper, pencils, graphite and water-soluble pencils.

I chose to use a photograph of an area I return to every year in the Lakes. If I was able to draw it in the field I would have chosen a slightly different  view as the foreground looks little angled due to the rock position. I made a pre-sketch of the water to get its appearance correct, I also had a small field sketch in graphite which I had drawn last year of the same Lake different viewpoint.


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My foreground is the bank of the Lake and just a little of the water. I used heavy marks to show shade and cleft in the rocks and shadow.

Mid ground was water which was hard to depict depth, was drawn using the size of the ripples on its surface and colour towards the bank, you could see the brown surface under the water so it looked more brown/blue in appearance.

Background was just after the start of the land at the back, so I used colour and less detail as it receded into the horizon. On the left, the land was nearer that the right so I included more detail and heavier shadow.

I drew this picture using graphite and then applied a few layers of watercolour pencil, then a wash. This action removed my actual sketch marks in areas, so I lost the graphite detail, some were put back at the end, with graphite and coloured pencil.  I don’t like the texture watercolour pencils give, probably because I haven’t mastered the technique to use them.

I feel I managed to fulfill the brief, but if I was to take this drawing further I would chose another part of the Lake, or add a boat or two to emphasize the middle ground even more and give the picture some interest.



















Part 3, Project 2, Exercise 2 Sketchbook Walk

I was to do a walk in my local area and make 4 quick sketches without using a rubber, work rapidly but don’t erase mistakes just draw over them and incorporate them into the sketches.

I was to make written application were appropriate:

The time, weather conditions and direction light and shadow.

The main point of interest such as a building gate or group of trees.

The division of space into foreground, middle ground and background.

Pattern and textures, repetition of large and small shapes, tonal , tonal values etc. across the scene.

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Picture of Stocks at between 12 and 1pm. Sun was high, day sunny, so no really long shadows. Point of interest was the Stocks, which where in the foreground, mid ground were the large thick trees behind, then the lighter trees on the hill fall into the background position. There are a lot of dark shadows to the left side of objects but the were not in mass, the picture was dominated by rectangular shapes.


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Tree on a bank at a road junction between 12 and 1pm, no long shadows except for those seen on the bark of the tree, the day was sunny. Shapes were non-repetitive curving and angular. Point of interest is the tree,  the road and wall were mid, and the evergreen trees in the distance. Because of the size of the tree against the background there was no real horizontal division, but the tree sat vertically in the middle of the page.

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Hay and fields about 2pm back of the trees in shadow the sun coming from front left meaning all branches are in silhouette, the day was sunny. Various different types of shapes and mark, shadow was heavy on the objects. Main subject, tree and circular bale. These occupied the center front of the picture, due to the nature of the tree the mid, vertical line was the main focal point along with the bottom  and top third horizontally.

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Seat at road Junction 12 to 1pm shadow was evident behind the seat but because the whole area was in shadow there was no real shadow to work with. Heavier shadow appeared to the left of the subject and to the side  of the cobbles facing me. The main subject was the bench and the curved platforms,  which gave contrast of shape against the rectangular shape of the bench.

I was pleasantly surprised given the speed I drew these pictures that they came out looking relatively like they should. I failed though on tone and next time I would like to better this by using more shading.











Part 3, Project 1, Exercise 3 Study Of Several Trees

This Exercise was about the study of several trees showing my ability to be selective and simplify the scene. It is for me one of the most difficult aspects of drawing. I chose to do a drawing of various trees and bushes from an area near home. First I sat and did a sketch in graphite. I wasn’t sure how to simplify the Rhododendron and the underlying Bramble but settled on drawing a rough version of the large leaves and just suggested the vegetation underneath with hatched shading then used cross hatch and hatch shading for the leaves.  The distant trees and vegetation were far more complex than I could draw so I simplified the whole scene by omitting various Brambles and greenery, leaving just the most prominent in view, depicting them with just shape and shading.  The holly in the top left was really straight underneath and gave a great frame to the picture, my mark was different here as I found the leaves better scribbled, as I did with the Beech Tree leaves but the scribble was less angular for these as they had less sharp edges. I haven’t used a viewfinder before and found it an absolute boon for selecting a scene and helping perspective. To suggest distance I drew the trees furthest away much smaller than in reality and kept the pencil work much lighter. This was in contrast to the nearest large tree that lost it major branches due to being above the viewfinder area.My highlights across the whole picture were suggested through leaving areas free from mark or making the mark less dense, or lighter in tone.

I then decided to do the whole picture again using Watercolour pencils and a water brush. I bought these pencils ages ago and didn’t like them and had a problem with being able to get the effect I want, often the end picture looking too linear and blotchy. I first did a little studying on how to use them properly and found the lighter their application the better and doing several washes better than using one heavier application. I used a similar technique in drawing the scene as described above. Apart from the light shading the difference was more how I used the material rather than how I portrayed the trees and leaves,  although I did omit one tree which I found distracting.  The nearer and larger Rhododendron leaves were draw with more form than the beech leaves which were scribbled, as were the holly, where the scribbles were more angular. The simplified bushes and trees to the back were suggested by shape and line as with graphite but I washed them over with the water pen. All in all with both pictures I used the same type of mark making, but with the Watercolour I gently infilled with a light and even application of colour, then followed it up with a water wash.

In this exercise I learned there are many ways in which to use different marks to depict leaves and branches, a viewfinder is a very good tool to have, and how to apply Watercolour pencils.

I was shocked that I managed to simplify the scene, as at first I wasnt sure how to, but whilst sketching I found if I drew in the most prominent, I could see how much of the vegetation  to include to balance the picture.

Overall I was pleased with this exercise, probably because it came out better that I thought. It could of looked messy and cluttered but I managed to simplify the scene. In the graphite drawing I omitted some bushes to the front of the evergreen trees, these I added in the Watercolour Pencil sketch as they gave more contrast. I also omitted a tree in the colour sketch as I fount it distracting. The thing that I could do better within these drawings, is to make my mark more uniform and place them more accurate, plus I should have kept my pencils sharper which give a more professional look to the whole drawing. I have copied a few of Leonardo Da Vinci drawings in the past, his mark looks effortless, but after doing the study I realised they were placed very accurately within his subject, to give his shadow and form.



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Part 3, Project 1, Exercise 1 Sketching Individual Trees

I had trouble finding a suitable tree to study the foliage as it is winter, pouring with rain and cold. However I did find an interesting Oak Tree which I decided to draw in Charcoal, I had never used Charcoal until starting this course, but love the tones that can be achieved when using it. As I didn’t have any foliage to draw, or very little I decided to sketch in the tones of the tree starting with the outline of the tree shape as required and building its tone and definition over 4 pictures, indicating all but the main branches with  increasingly finer marks. I had never used this method before and found it useful as it gives a good indication where to place the branches. Seeing the negative space between  each branch also helped with accuracy of placement. Drawing this reminded me of, The Grey Tree by Piet Mondrian, where he experimented with drawing trees and the negative space between. I started this as a quick sketch in situ, but had to move indoors to finish the drawing, and felt in drawing it I had learnt a new technique.

As this was not exactly as the Exercise had asked, I went out the next day and looked for a tree with at least some leaves. I found one in a neighbours garden but had no idea of its type. I decided this time to draw it in pencil. First I drew the outline and in the second drawing drew hatched areas where the leaves were on the tree. In the third picture I drew the trunk and main branches and followed it up with the forth drawing by representing the leaves with scribble outlines. The third and forth pictures were drawn in the studio.  I found this exercise really helped with perspective and highlighting the areas of negative space within the tree. If I was to do it again I would like to try varying my pencil strength to show dark and light tone.

Having enjoyed this exercise I decided to attempt another drawing of a Poplar Tree, well at least I think that is what the tree is. For this drawing given I had no leaves again I could only partially use the technique learned and drew a lollipop tree to capture the shape, then drew the branches in pencil, before returning back home to overlay the pencil with ink, adding some tone. I had sketched some of Leonardo Da Vinci drawings in the past and seen how evenly his lines of shading were placed and tried to be a little more careful in my placement. I am still not as controlled as I want to be, but felt I was heading in the right direction.

What I felt I did well with these exercises was I had begun to loosen up my style helping me experiment a little more with my style. What I didn’t think worked well was applying scribble to my leafy tree as it looked one toned and I would try and use heavier or more dense scribble in the darker areas in future.

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Tree 3209

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Part 5 Pets and other animals Research Point

At this point I was asked to look at contemporary artists who include animal in their drawings. They can be imaginary or real creatures. I have to make notes on their materials, methods and ideas and test some of them in my sketchbook, then reflect on what I have discovered in my learning log. An example given was of Portuguese/British artist Paula Rego who often positioned animals and humans together in her paintings, creating mythical narratives firmly based in her own culture and personal history. I chose 3 very different artists:-

Caitlin Hackett

Is one artist I looked at she draws animals depicted alongside humans, her work is mythological in nature, but its drawn not only from myth, but modern day man and his pollution of Earth causing mutations in animals, she reminds us we too are animals. Her work is very thought provoking and reminds us we are destroying ourselves in the very process of living. Much of her work is produced using ballpoint pen, coloured pencil, and watercolour. She doesn’t normally do preliminary sketches but starts with a mental vision, then does a loose pencil sketch which she continues to develop, then she uses ballpoint progressing to the finer details, after finishing that layer she then infills with colour from pencil and or watercolour. Keep The Memories is one of my favourite pictures, and makes me feel no matter what we do to destroy our Earth, in the end we will not beat nature.


Rebecca Koller
Is a coloured pencil artist who illustrates wildlife in a photorealistic way. She started out by painting Murals, her passion for animals and conservation has led her to produce work that combines her life’s passions to create some beautiful pictures. Rebecca’s illustration of a Red Back Spider is one of my favourites it gives a menacing message that as beautiful as it is the Red Back Spider is not to be messed with.


Iso Rae
She is an Australian artist who made some extraordinarily atmospheric drawings of World War 1, several showing pictures of horses. The drawing called A Farewell shows a viewpoint of behind the scenes of war, and was drawn using charcoal, pencil and wash, the highlights in the picture create a feeling of life. I found this a surprise, such a small splash of colour evoked a mental vision of people going about their everyday duties, whilst a serious looking meeting took place in the cover of night. The scene was drawn on dark paper which adds to the atmosphere. I am not usually a fan of impressionistic work but she has captured an atmosphere within her work I can feel.



Above are my Sketchbook Drawings, each in a style of my chosen artists. I learnt that art can be made using many medias, none of which is correct but each giving their subject a very different look and atmosphere.  In my personal view I feel my favourite art often has some passion from the artist, in that they draw what is important and gives  meaning to them personally. This passion flows through to their own work giving the viewer a sense of how they feel and adds something to the work which wouldnt be there otherwise..