Drawing 1 - Assignment 4 - Tutor feedback

Overall Comments

Your commitment to study is very good and I am impressed with your application, you have taken into account my previous remarks, which will be of use in the long run. 

Your mark making is improving and you are starting to assimilate the application of marks into your artistic process.

Although you have encountered figure drawing for the first time and have seen how focused study can make dramatic differences to drawing the subject, there is work to be done on the figure studies. This is a very difficult section and you are not alone in these first inroads into anatomical study, it is a matter of practice and perseverance. You would do well to go to a regular life drawing class, if at all possible, this will give you practice and lead to a more confident approach, if you are unable to do so, practice with friends and family as much as you can.


  • Make more than one variation
  • Try making more quick sketches (to warm up) before making the larger version.
  • Try different sizes and supports (paper, cardboard etc)
  • Try different and radical mediums that interest you- thread, wire etc…
  • Try to bring to drawing your experimental nature. 

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity 

The simple line drawing of your mother captures a mood and attitude and has a quality about it that puts in mind more painterly works by Francis Alys around the period of 1994. It is the simplicity of form that is the correlation and something that I believe you could think about and reflect upon, particularly as you are interested in textiles. You could also look at the figurative works of Layla Ali which are graphic in representation and culturally interesting. Far removed from what you are trying to achieve here but to see them is to broaden the horizon.

I enjoy the honesty of your approach and because drawing today uses multiple approaches and intellectual positions it is even more important for us to recognize and value the achievements and steps forward that we make (as artists). Even within figurative drawing there is much distance between individual practices, such as Dryden Goodwin's multiple lines and Charles Avery's narrative. So reflect upon what you have achieved here (in your Mother's portrait) with a simple pencil- mood, stance, weight shifted forwards and expression. Well done.

With the figure on the sofa - it looks a bit stiff and contrived, I agree that you have come far but I am sure that you can travel further, It would be great if you could repeat this exercise and as you are drawing think about the form beneath the clothes- there are some good little passages such as the weight of the face and parts of the sofa. Perhaps try using a black ink on white paper or another medium. 

Try not to be too concerned over the accuracy of anatomical detail…rather try to think about the attitude, the overall gesture of the pose… Decide where you want to view your subject from, in your quick sketches vary your position until you settle on your point of view. Drawings can be made on any surfaces and by any means so be experimental, as a textile artist, why not stitch a portrait or try out different ways that drawing can be achieved. It is all possible, which is what makes it exciting. These experiments can be made in your sketchbook or loose.

The lower portrait of your face uptilted shows promise, reflect upon what you have achieved here- now imagine how you could take this forward into a finished portrait, what could you use to explore yourself and the subject of drawing? Keep exploring and continue to use the self as model, you could make some useful insights here for further development.

Try to bring to drawing your experimental nature. 

Sketchbooks Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity 

An improvement in the way you are using the sketchbooks, keep experimenting, testing mediums, scale and so on, before committing to the larger works. Think about how a mark can be translated in size from small to large, what do you need to do to help the translation. 

Look at other artists sketchbooks to inform your own practice, there are many examples on-line. Practice further the individual parts of the face and body, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, feet etc, think about how they relate to each other in terms of proportion.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context 

Suggested reading/viewing Context 

Look at the works of Muntaean and Rosenblum, contemporary artists who use/evoke artistic histories in a contemporary way. Look for artists who really speak about your own concerns. Sally Muir's portraits demonstrate a looseness of touch but her underlying drawing is profound. Also Claude Heathe. Mick Maslen.

Pointers for the next assignment

I re-iterate from your last feedback…Keep exploring the subject, let go the notion of making a picture, when you do this your work really flourishes. Keep this is mind as you go forwards. Be inventive and brave. Let your drawings speak of what you are seeing around you and try to get into more emotional space with them through mark making and through decision making processes.

Pay careful attention to the construction of the image, make many sketches, testers, try outs so that you work through the problems before committing to the larger drawing.

Read carefully the assessment criteria and begin to review your selection-work on areas that have been outlined to you thus far. At the next feedback (5) enclose your selection along with any re-worked pieces via a memory stick with the current work. 

I understand your aim is to go for the Painting or Creative Arts Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. However, in order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback. 

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