Tag: sketch

Assignment 5


The journey to produce this picture was an enjoyable one, and I have learnt a great deal in its production. I am still in the experimental stage of using Gesso but on the whole it worked well to emphasize and give form to the picture. The one thing I did find troublesome is the shine produce when using graphite on it. I decided to not to add colour in the end in order to hopefully show I have learnt to use tone and can suggest depth with mark making. The whole picture is drawn with various different marks. To work in fine detail would have taken far too long for the Assignment piece, as this is an A1 so an enormous project for pencil work and I have discussed with my tutor my technique and decided to concentrate on the trees  in the fore, using the Deer to help give some sizing. Most of the Fore is done using hatching, however for large areas I used graphite powder and the rubbing out technique. I applied this to some of the trees at the back and will use it again as it gave a good texture.bark

The tree bark in the fore was first done using the powder then shadows were put in with hatching, then the design of the bark was accentuated with a black polychromo then removed some giving a less blocky look.


I decided to leave it to a black and white project, in part because I have never used graphite in such a large picture, and it was more stable than charcoal or pastel which I had used for Assignment 4. I still have to fight myself to not add a lot of detail, but time would not allow a too detailed approach. Having said that I am getting better at using mark as a  suggestion, even though I do feel my work is still half finished. My choice for the drawing would have been on board and then a covering of gesso but due to weight when posting, I decided to use heavyweight watercolour paper. Fabrino Artistico 300 accepted Gesso but I didn’t want to cover the entire area as I was still having problems with the shine even when the Gesso was rubbed down, any build up of graphite or carbon would cause shine, Graphite powder which I used for the background was ok, but it would not build depth of tone enough so I used a black polychromo pencil to get the darks. The trees were deep in shadow one side and it gave them form. Unfortunately the paper has a cream tint and they highlights were not as bright as I wanted.

To begin with I drew out the scene loosely, then applied the Gesso and tissue to the area I wanted heavier texture. I decided to only apply it to the foreground on this occasion as it would have meant a lot of rubbing down to get the smooth surface and as mentioned above I was still working on getting rid of graphite shine. If I use the technique in the future I may try marble dust or sand in the mix. I used perspective lines to gauge the size of the Deer in the picture, trees were not as essential because they come in so many shapes and sizes, what was important was to start off correctly sizing the nearest Deer with the trees. After that I drew perspective lines to the horizon and matched the other Deer in the picture in order to get it correct. This then helped with the tree sizing behind. I also tried to incorporate the Golden Mean  placing the Deer in specific areas, though there are two in the background which were put in just to add interest to the viewer.



I started drawing at the top of the picture, due to its size I used graphite powder as it covers a large area fast, this worked well on the paper and on Gesso, but the Gesso looked overworked if I tried to get the deeper tones on it. I will use this method in the future and it has its place, but if this had been a finished piece of art I would have worked a lot slower. It is hard to get Graphite detail on watercolour paper so it did work well emphasising distance within the picture. One thing I didn’t like was in certain light you can see the change of surface colour between Gesso and paper. However walking around the room I notice something that artists in the past noticed with texture oil paintings, depending on where you look at the areas that had the Gesso the depth of tone changed, so I think I am hooked at trying to perfect drawing on the surface and will experiment further in the future with its application and use.

Overall I am pleased with my final piece, I wanted to produce a drawing that showed what had been learnt throughout Drawing 1, and I think I have done that. What I did struggle with is letting go and allowing, as they say, happy accidents. The foreground showing the texture was developed using tissue and Gesso, this gives the look of fallen branches and other vegetation. However I had little control over how this looked and had to an extent go with the look and work with it. The trees were different, they worked really well and are tactile, I managed to manipulate the bark better by using pallet knives which didn’t seem to work as well with the finer work. I did put random marks a little further towards the middle of the picture, these didn’t work as they were too small to rub down and I found it hard to work them into the picture. Also I got a little Gesso by accident to the side of one of the trees and found it difficult to make that look natural within the picture.  I think in the future I would like to take this drawing further, I would use Gesso over the entire picture and experiment more with it adding some form of grit and try different supports.

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.

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 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 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, Research point effect of foreshortening

mum 2

For this Research I was to try lounging on a couch with a mirror facing me from the foot end, then draw my body as I saw it in the mirror. My feet should be huge in comparison with the rest of my body. This effect is called foreshortening I then had to find any images were an artist has used foreshortening to create a particular effect.

Jenny Saville is a good one for this as she uses foreshortening in her figure drawing which accentuates the flesh.  This can be seen well in this painting called Plan.


Also there is the Grid reference illustration published by Albrecht Durer where he depicts someone looking through a string grid and transferring what they see to a drawing surface which had a grid on.


Part 4, Project 2, Exercise 2, A longer study

model 1139


For this Exercise I was to find a pose my model was comfortable with and they could hold for an hour. Draw small marks onto the sheet of paper indicating the outermost points of the figure. This is to give me confidence that I get the proportions correct. I would like to put a cough in there as, I would not use the word confidence. it helped but I still feel I am a mile away from feeling comfortable with drawing people accurately. I dont want the posed picture so I asked my model to sit relaxed and just chill out. I think she did me proud especially as this is not her day job, and although not strictly a teenager now gave me the look I was after.

I think the I managed the characteristic of the pose well, and although the models weight looked correct, I feel my proportions are still not accurate, the arms a legs are slightly out of proportion.  I  think I need to practice more drawings of people at speed,  I work relatively slowly and would have got things accurate with time, but if I was to take too much time I would fall behind.


Part 3, Project 5, Exercise 3, Limited palette study

2nd attempt mill

For this exercise I was to use a limited palette of  no more than 3 colours. Traditionally these are deep brown, sanguine (red brown), black and white, but I was to decide what colours would suit my subject. I could use coloured pencils or conte pencils. The colours I chose were black, red brown, and pale blue, the white in the picture was from the white paper I used. The brown and blue pencils used were Faber Castell polychromos, and the black Derwent Coloursoft and Polychromo. My picture was to be chosen from the previous exercise and developed into colour.

I was afraid of drawing this as I don’t find perspective easy, but having finished it I am pleased with what I achieved. I know the perspective is not completely accurate but I very much enjoyed drawing the Mill and it came out better than I thought it would. I wanted to try out using Golden Mean and made my chimney the main subject. I liked the way Edward Wesson managed to draw his main subject in detail and surrounding subjects as an impression and wanted to try something similar. I also had to think about the fore, middle and background of the picture, as this was part of the exercise.  My buildings at the front of the picture were just an impression and I feel it worked well, on the Golden Mean the chimney and the front of the mill buildings were the nearest to me when I drew the sketch in the previous exercise, so I drew them in greater detail and they acted as the fore of my picture. Next my middle ground is the buildings leading off to the left of the paper as they were further away from me, these were drawn with less clarity. The background was shown by drawing the trees very lightly to the rear of the buildings, this gave depth to the picture. I omitted cars and other modern items to keep the picture more aesthetic, to add to the nostalgia and the time frame the Mill was built.

I wasn’t keen on the paper I used for the exercise as it was very grainy, and I was trying to achieve a delicate pastel look. It took several layers of pencil to achieve what I wanted and I tried a technique which I had seen before but never used. First I applied a fine layer of colour then using kitchen roll rubbed it into the grain of the paper and then dabbed with a putty rubber to remove shine, this kept the pencil looking fresh and not as overworked as it can sometimes look when many layers are applied. I didn’t quite achieve what I wanted as the picture was still grainy, but it worked better than I  thought it was going to.

If I was to take this drawing further I would like to repeat the process on another type of  paper and see if I can achieve a smoother finish, also I would like to perfect perspective. This exercise wasn’t easy as the Mill buildings are on many levels and cambers.