Drawing 1 - Assignment 1 - Tutor feedback

Overall Comments

It is clear that this is a very new start in learning to draw, and you have tackled the early exercises with imagination and energy. More quick sketches are needed before deciding on the final composition. Practice drawing through making small quick studies of the objects or subjects. Important: please annotate the exercise clearly on the back of the works.

Still life study of natural forms
Close attention to the overall composition would have benefited you, in as much as I believe you would have resolved the light and shade issues that are apparent in the final drawing. A number of small preparatory rough drawings with a pencil or biro would have helped to investigate the visual matter more thoroughly and then you could have taken this forward with colour studies in your sketchbook. Attention to composition and background is needed, this will come about through practice.

The sketch (final composition) has the beginnings of more vibrant effects in it, but is ‘difficult in the way that it communicates the visual information and therefore it is difficult for the viewer to figure out what it is or what its intention is. Colour chalk is a difficult medium and I think you have tried hard to make it responsive to your needs. More thought about the background and how it is situated on the sheet would have helped as well.

Still life of made objects.
I can see from your preparatory sketches that you are really beginning to look at what is in front of you, observing is half the battle with drawing and you are beginning to observe in a real sense. Again I would advise you to do more rough prep work, small quick sketches of differing compositions, Test out differing mediums such as inks/charcoals in relation to the subject matter in your sketchbook. In this work, the overall composition is interesting as is the point of view good that you have drawn it from. There is some precise drawing but I would like to see you making some free marks such as the ones made in your sketchbooks, once the under drawing has been resolved - this would have made the overall appear less ‘tight’. The background although loose and hardly there is a start, but it could do with work such as blending outwards
from the objects to a lighter tone, then the overall sheet needs ‘cropping’ to make a final image more dynamic. A good attempt.

Basic shapes/boxes and books/jars and jugs.
From the images I can see that you have made a go of configuring the perspectival issues of drawing. It would be a good idea to practice these exercises as quick five- minute drawings, making different configurations each time, and using the composition to it’s fullest. This way you will really extend your drawing ability. Pay particular attention to the perspective in the boxes and books project and also practice free drawing elipses which are always difficult at this stage.

Exercise Supermarket shop:
This tight composition is working- it is quite dynamic and you have achieved a certain depth to the overall image. I would also suggest working more thoroughly on the packets etc, try to realise the highlights and the dark notes/tones this will add more visual dynamics to the overall image. Spend time studying the scene before drawing it, so as to understand fully the light sources. Artist Georgio Morandi spent a long time taking in the full picture in front of him before he began working, have a look at his paintings - he was an exponent of still life. The simplicity of images nonetheless evoke the nature of the scenes that were in front of him.

A lively start, your enjoyment of colour is obvious and fun, I like the real way that you are using your sketchbook, keep this going, add to it, be more experimental within its pages, in this way you will find new paths and be less anxious about outcomes. You would benefit from working with small studies/ partial studies to try out techniques - this will help you with the decision making process. Try out a variety of compositions of the same scene in this way also. Look at the OCA website for other student artists sketchbooks, it can be very informative.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context
Thinking about what you are doing in detail, in terms of context, means that your learning has integrity. Try to look at other artists, but try to look critically so as to open out HOW and WHY they are working in the way that they are/ were, and try to make a detailed study of what might contribute to the visual language that they are using. What does their work mean to your work? How does it relate? What methods can be gleaned? And how might you apply them within your own work? All of these critical thoughts serve to enhance your learning and so improve your drawing. It is also very enjoyable and exciting to see what can happen. Look at the OCA website for advice on what a learning log is.

There are four main component parts to thinking about and discussing a work of art. We need to think about content, form, process and energy.

  • What is happening within the work?
  • What is the subject matter?
  • Does the subject matter suggest a deeper meaning?
  • Is it direct observation, remembered, invented or imagined?
  • Is it realistic, deliberately exaggerated, distorted or abstracted?
  • Describe the content in detail.
  • Describe the Size/Form/Placement (part of a series, particular installation arrangements etc)
  • When was it made?
  • Is it 2d or 3d?
  • How have the basic elements been used in the work, such as line, tone or materials?
  • Is there a colour palette?
  • If so can you work out why and how it is operating?
  • Is it subtle, vivacious?
  • What appears to be the artists’ intentions?
  • Think about, series, lines, rhythm, texture, is it shiny or matt?
  • What is the work made out of?
  • What media and processes has the artist used?
  • Why might the artist have used these materials?
  • Have you discovered any supporting studies/preparatory work?
  • If so, how does it inform the work? What other skills may the artist have needed to create the work?
  • What is happening outside of the work?
  • How does the work affect the surrounding space?
  • Is there an atmosphere created?
  • Does it remind you or evoke of a feeling/time of something else/another art form?
  • Why do you think this work may have been produced?
  • Is there a political/social context apparent in the work?
  • Was the work commissioned?

What is your reflective opinion of the work (given the above investigation) how
does it relate to your own work?

Suggested reading/viewing Context
Egon Scheile, who I believe may be quite inspirational to a more fluid way of working for you. For more contemporary artists and to develop an understanding of what drawing might be look at www.drawingroom.org.uk Also for depth and tone in pastel work study Chardin, 1699-1779 his manipulation of media instilled great tonal ranges into the works, both still life and portrait, oils and pastels. For more contemporary pastel work look at Paula Rego, particularly at the range of objects within the narrative images that she makes.

Drawing Now: Between the Lines of Contemporary Art

Drawing Now: Eight Propositions Drawing Now: Eight Propositions

Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Look at the work of Tacita Dean (re drawing) to think about contemporary responses, also look at Jerwood www.jerwoodvisualarts.org/ And also www.drawingroom.org.uk/

Pointers for the next assignment
The next assignment is observations in nature, exploring coloured media in more depth, so try to take the idea of greater tonal ranges into your explorations. Don’t forget to focus on achieving the composition on the sheet through thorough preparatory works in your sketchbooks. This is a real opportunity for you to work towards improving your drawing and planning of the larger works.

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