Introductory Assignment: Analysis & Evaluation

When I scanned through the themes initially, I was drawn to Nature’s Larder, but I noticed that this was related to the fact that I love nature and live in a rural place, so the theme itself was all around me. I wanted to challenge myself and thought it would be more exciting and invigorating to look for other possibilities, hence choosing Iced Landscape as a theme.

I was excited to start the assignment, and was surprised how selecting the objects, photographing them and then observing and drawing their qualities engaged me. I thought and reflected on my work a lot, even when days passed without me being able to get on with anything practical due to my other commitments. I did notice that I did not log or write down a lot of the reflective and critical thinking that I was doing, both when actually working on my drawings and when I was thinking about the project. This is something I need to work on!  I think it was partly not having a working system for doing this. I was resistant to writing notes in a sketchbook, and then rewriting these in a blog.

I explored my mark-making techniques, especially when using pencil. I got the idea to put two pencils together from a book on drawing. I found this really helped me to break out of simple line/outline drawing and it created movement in the objects I drew. It also helped to create depth and dimension to my drawings. I think my strengths were in using this particular technique, as well as the ink drawings I made.

My weaknesses where definitely my use of charcoal and pastel, and my lack of written reflection. I also feel that I could have analysed the artists I looked at in more depth. Although I am pleased that by looking at them, they did inform some of my later drawings. By looking at Katie Sollohub and Michael Griffiths’ work with charcoal, I pushed myself to work with it some more, and mixed techniques to create what I thought was a more successful piece that achieved more of the qualities I was trying to achieve. This is a new skill for me; where I have looked to go out of my comfort zone and push a medium further, and create drawings using a mixture of pen, ink and charcoal. I have also learnt how to set up a blog, although need to now fine-tune and develop this further so that it is easy to navigate, and more importantly works for me as a tool with which to reflect on my work.

I don’t seem to have the patience to create a sustained drawing, and I would like to hone a way of working that would suit me. I did begin to do this by beginning several drawings at once and having 2 or 3 on rotation. I approached this brief in a very investigative way. This meant that I spent only enough time on each drawing to ‘find’ something, after which I tended to abandon it. The more I drew, the more ideas this process generated, so I tended to work fast to try and keep up! As a consequence, many of my drawings may not appear ‘finished’.

I have also evaluated my work in terms of the assessment criteria below:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: The more photographs I took, the more confidence I gained in arranging the objects, and considered viewpoints, close ups, texture and composition I pushed the use of. I do feel that I have some skills from my previous artistic knowledge.  I genuinely enjoy drawing and taking photographs and like to create an aesthetic. The quality of my drawings varied. I did find working with charcoal my weak point. I didn’t manage to achieve a depth that I had hoped to achieve. However one of my final drawings, a larger tracing of many of my previous drawings, did begin to create a sense of image and texture. I seemed to concentrate on contrasts and negative and positive spaces, which is possibly why my ink drawings were some of the more successful ones. Two more sustained pieces, one in pencil and the other a combination of media did achieve some of the qualities I had intended to convey: the juxtaposition of hard edges with a softness and fragility that had come out of my original brainstorm of the theme. My grasp of techniques was a little inconsistent, I didn’t always push the boundaries of each medium.
Quality of outcome: I did consider how my work presented itself, both on the blog in terms of arranging my photos and in my drawings. I would have liked to select and refine the work to send in, but I was conscious that the brief required all work to be shown. Since I had worked on a variety of papers, I chose to bring some of my drawings together on pieces of card to create a more coherent way of viewing the work. I think this is important as it allows the work and the drawings to communicate a little my direction and development.

Demonstration of creativity: I did begin to explore further the uses of different papers. I started to develop a personal voice by playing with and tracing my previous drawings again and again, overlapping and combining the drawings bringing them together into one composition. I felt most creative when I combined elements together: joining two pencils together, or tracing different drawings to make new drawings, or mixing media together.

Context: Although I did a lot of thinking, I didn’t evidence this. I don’t know how much of this is directly shown through my drawings. I need to work on my research and reflection and find a way to present and record my ideas. However I am conscious that at least one of my more successful drawings was as a result of having looked at the artists.



I am still working out the best way to use the blog as a learning log. Really, I think it would have been more practical and useful if I had photographed my drawings as I went along, and reflected and annotated them in intervals, or hand written some notes on the drawings, which is what I naturally would have done if I wasn’t going to keep an online log too.

I think I will do my best to organise them thematically, grouping them in terms of the materials and techniques used: A range of pencils, graphite stick, fine liner, ink, charcoal, and conte pastel, mainly on cartridge paper and some tracing and tissue paper.

The first set are of the drawings I made with pencils. I tended to use a range, mainly 2B, 4B and 6B. I tended to use A3 and A2 paper for these.

Outline of the patterns on the lamp in pencil and a little graphite shading
Quick pencil studies of the little knitted bootie
Two pencils together (B and 2B)
Two pencils together (B and 2B)
Tonal and shade study
A study of some of my objects focussing on line, shape, and some texture using F, 2B, 4B and 6B pencil
Original pencil and carbon paper tracing. I had never used carbon in this way before but found some in a draw. I was impressed with how different the reproduction looked, and thought it was even more successful than the pencil drawing in reflecting the qualities of an Iced Landscape.

I also used ink, fine liner pen, a brush and a quill type nib, which the following drawings show. I found I could create interesting contrasts and textures in this way and particularly enjoyed this way of working.

I used charcoal and conte, which I found I was least successful at, although after looking at the artists (see previous post), I was inspired to have another go, this time mixing my media and using both charcoal, conte and pen and ink.

I felt these made much more interesting drawings as I was able to add detail to the tonal qualities which the charcoal and conte produced.

Charcoal, conte, pen and ink
Close up


My last group are drawings made on tracing and tissue papers. I either traced them, especially when wanting to create a repeat pattern for instance, created rubbings, or I used these papers for their own qualities, which I found were appropriate for the Iced Landscape theme. They reflected the contrast textures between the  hard/crinkly, crunchy snow and the fragility of thin ice.

Inspired by artists


Part of the introductory assignment requires me to investigate other artists. I actually looked at them all a while back and they did inspire my working methods, however I have not written up any notes about them until now!

First up is:

Louise Bourgeois

I have long admired her work, so enjoyed looking through the archive. She works with intimacy and has a sensitivity to her mark making. I love the way she manages to approach her subjects with a sense of humour in some of her lines and marks, even if the themes often deal with strong emotive feelings and struggles. She uses line and tone and a variety of marks that make her work personal. She goes beyond  describing something. There is strength and vigour in her marks. I love her drawings and prints. She investigates an idea with a range of different marks. Looking at her work gave me the confidence to work more freely, and to consider using a combination of strong outlines and tone.

Alison Carlier is a very different artist. I found it hard to engage with , maybe because I ad to take the time to listen to a lot of the ‘drawings’. I was also quick to judge it as being typically post modern! But actually, it was challenging me, and on reading some of the transcripts of “The Drawing Attitude“, it made me think and consider what drawing really is about for different artists. One of the points that I resonated with and that is discussed is the concept of thinking through drawing. I think this is so true!

Next is Alex Chalmers with whom I found similarities to Louise Bourgeois’ work since he also seems to investigate on one subject in a variety of ways. I was immediately attracted to his Drawings 2014/15. They made me think of maps. His mark making really inspired me to create a variety of marks. I would describe them as textured and graphic at the same time.

Hilary Ellis

Wow! I read her artists statement first, and immediately connected with her personal interest in surface and repetition, and an interest in the relationship between order and chaos. I would like to see her artworks  in the flesh so to speak, to get a sense of their size and texture. One of her pieces is called ‘Lost in Lace’, which I found interesting to look at, as one of my chosen pieces is some lace knickers, which I have found really challenging to draw!

Rather than looking through all his work, I focussed on Michael Griffiths’ drawings, his use of charcoal, oil pastel and pencil in a very gestured way also gave me the confidence to create mixed media drawings using pen/pencil/pastel and charcoal.

Debbie Smyth works with threads, drawing with thread. By creating outlines made up of lots of threads makes her work both strong and fragile. I found that it created a sense of movement, more so than if she had drawn with pencil or pen perhaps?

I found similarities between the work that Katie Sollohub creates and the drawings I looked at by Michael Griffith. They both seem to work intuitively, their marks and gestures have a liveliness. The way Katie manages to use charcoal to create a range of marks and textures make me interested in using it more when I draw.

I really like looking through Roanna Wells’ artworks. They seem very calm. I liked her sense of scale too, and painting directly on walls. Her muted colour palette

I was so pleased to be introduced to these artists, finding their work exciting and admired how much of it required dedication and persistence. It emphasises how the scale of an artwork can influence how ‘strong’ it is. I do feel that I have only touched the surface and skimmed over many of these artists. I think I was so concerned with getting the practical work done I didn’t spend as long in my investigations. I would actually like to look into them further.