Part One- Form and Gesture – Assignment one

Using a range of drawing tools create a drawing using a still life that utilizes some of the experimental mark making you have discovered.

In the assignment I was asked to create a still life with a few objects that trigger a response in me. For the past couple of months I have been in Dartmouth in Devon house and dog sitting for a family member who is away. The objects I selected are related to my time here which has also included a family party for my 70th birthday. The objects are, a festive hat given to me by my  grandchildren, a crab shell, a small sea shell, a bottle of red wine and a posy of Alstroemeria in a shell-shaped white vase. I love flowers and these were a birthday gift. I am also very fond of fish and sea food, hence the crab shell and the resonance with Dartmouth with its small fishing fleet.


As I had become interested in pen drawing and hatching I limited myself to using only a Pitt Artist pen size SX which was a considerable challenge working on A2 size paper. I did use a black Inktense crayon with a wash for the background curtains. I was also deterred from using a range of drawing tools as this might have broken the unity of the drawing.

Overall I am pleased with the result. I think the modelling is good and I have made some progress  with hatching and cross hatching to indicate tone and form. I think I need to develop this further as I think the cross hatching on the hat does not show so well some of the direction and shape in the material. In my enthusiasm for the drawing, fired by memories of the fun time at the party, I did not resolve the issue of neatness v free mark making. I was pleased with the bottle mainly done with single vertical lines and the realistic reflections and also with the way the matt black of the Inktense colour helped to highlight the shiny surface of the wine bottle. I found the flowers especially challenging and I think there is confusion between the lights and darks such that the flowers individually do not read well. I was pleased, however, with how the darker negative space highlighted the form of the posy as a whole.

I think the composition works well and I like how it is held together with the shape white table top interlocking with the shape of the dark background. This was a happy accident and for me points up my getting straight into the work rather than working at preparatory sketches exploring composition with hatching samples. I’m not sure that the small shell in the middle of the drawing works. I wanted to represent is partial hiddenness among the larger objects recalling the experience of gathering shells which I had recently enjoyed with my grandchildren.  I did use a camera to play a little with composition but I now think this gets in the way of a more direct engagement with the objects themselves, a continuing honing of drawing skills and that “sense of touch” that Maggi Hambling sees as essential for an artist.

Reflection on Progress Using Criteria from the Introduction to the Course guide

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I have worked hard at developing my skills in using materials with which I had little previous experience ie pen and charcoal. I think sketchbook drawings and the assignment piece show competence in using pen and ink but I need to work more with charcoal. I enjoy using charcoal but have struggled to identify the best surface on which to work. I think my observational skills are good and I enjoy doing blind contour drawings to develop my hand eye coordination.I need to make much more use of sketchbooks. I have a block which is  a strong desire to produce a finished masterpiece each time I put pencil to paper but knowing that is impossible, so not doing anything. I have many empty sketchbooks at home with only a few doodles n the first few pages. This is something I mean to address with a few drawings, at last, per day. I think I do have a reasonable level of compositional skill but this relies more on instinct than informed design. I have also found working on a lager scale, A2 and A1, very challenging and need more practice at this. Filling even an A2 sheet is still daunting.

  • Quality of outcome

I think I have done some good drawings and have gained in confidence. I have attempted to apply my learning of the basic skills in Part 1 to work outside  the exercises eg the drawing of the boats on the River Dart and other objects following Exercise 3. As mentioned above I need to use my sketch books more effectively for more experiments in this regard. I need to develop a better sketchbook strategy in order to visually demostrate preparatory work and learning. After struggling with the template and layout of my learning log/blog I think I have now presented this in a coherent way which responds to and reflects on the exercises undergirded by wider reading and gallery visits. In my blog write-ups of gallery visits I have tried to focus on drawing issues and not be seduced by other areas of art history and criticism

  • Demonstration of creativity

I believe I  have demonstrated imagination in the selction of objects for my sill life in the assignment and in the use of materials have produced, I believe, a striking image. I am not sure about my personal voice. I enjoy trying different things and tend to see all my work as experimental . I think I have shown my passion for art and for playing with different materials and techniques. Kaupelis maintains that, “Truly creative art can only result from divergent artistic behaviour” (Kaupelis, R Experimental Drawing 1980 Watson Guptil New York) At a stage in the course where I am, ‘learning the basics’ divergence is a tricky notion and something I need to think through in terms of my own practice.

  • Context reflection

I think I have demonstrated critical thinking in my learning log in the reflections on exercises and the gallery visits. I have tried to make links between visits and coursework, for example in the Maggi Hambling exhibition.. I would like to extend these critical and reflective skills to deeper levels particularly in being able to make more informed decisions about choice of materials to suit a subject, composition etc in my own work and also to be clearer in the work of other artists about what ‘works’ and why. I also need to build in time to extend my reading of the recommended course and other books on drawing. There has been a lot to take in in starting the programme but I feel I have made a sound beginning on which I can build  in my future work and study.



Tutor report


Student name Ian Stubbs Student number 516343
Course/Module Drawing Assignment number 1

 Overall Comments

This is a good start to the module. There are issues to do with organization and other pictorial issues that I need to mention. Overall there are many positives.

 As you know this first assignment does not contribute to your formal assessment. Its purpose is for you to get used to my style of reviews- for me it shows me the standard of your work as you commence this new challenge.

Assessment potential (after Assignment 1)

 You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment 2. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.

   Please confirm if your aim is to have your work formally assessed. It will change the emphasis of my review. Working for pleasure needs an entirely different approach from working for the degree – as you can imagine.

 Feedback on assignment

1-You do need develop your own personal voice. Please use another sketchbook as recommended- a smaller book for everyday sketching. This is for practicing your skills.  You need to build up resources which might be of use later. You need to experiment and explore different ways of looking – using different media and generally improving your technical and creative skills.
As a singer needs to practice scales every day to develop his technical skills and his hearing so an artist’s needs to develop his seeing- his visual sense.

2- The larger sketchbook is for experimenting with different ways of seeing- using collage- collecting images and generally developing your own personal voice.

3- Preparatory drawings need to be completed at this stage of your learning. These drawings should be in the same proportion as your final drawing and enclosed within a rectangle

Even if you decide upon your composition immediately you should experiment with the arrangement of your objects – if only to confirm your first decision. You need to evidence your thought process – how and why you came to the solution you did.

4- Preparatory drawings should be completed in your larger sketchbook. Your final drawing submitted on a separate sheet of paper.

The organization of your work is crucial – it evidences the stages of your work and clarifies the different sections making your progress clearer and more accessible and more professional.

Your finished still life drawing in the drawing book.

First of all you must consider the whole surface of the paper. The background has not been considered as part of the design. As a first still life the objects are balanced and you have chosen interesting shapes.

Do remember that art is not about creating a likeness – it is about interpreting the outside world. So realism is not necessarily part of the process. A photographic likeness is not what you are seeking.

First draw only what you see- not what you know is there from previous experience. This might sound rather obvious – it is not. So much of our information comes from what we have learnt beforehand – drawings only what we see is very hard.

I think this drawing could have been continued to find a greater range of tone. Perhaps you could have used a white chalk to represent the lighter tones- or use an eraser in a positive way. Try and look for these elements in the objects that contribute to the solidity – the three dimensional quality. Look for patterns – textures- etc. Do remember to work the whole surface.

Preparatory drawings would have been useful to explore different arrangements etc.


The pencil drawing of the pepper grinder and coffee pot.

Again work the whole surface. There is a sensitivity in your use of pencil – do increase your range of tone. Look at the actual shape of the shadows – look closer- observe more. Be aware of ellipses – they determine the structure of round objects.

Your compositions are all based on the horizontal line dividing the paper at right angles to the surface of the paper. Do vary this- be adventurous- consider a different view point- a different angle – perhaps looking down or looking up. Consider the scale of the objects ion proportion to the size of the paper. Be aware that your objects need to be “grounded “- not perceived as floating.

The pen and ink drawings

The horizon is parallel to the picture plane- do be more adventurous with this issue. However there is a subtlety to your mark making. You work freely with ink but you have sometimes made life harder for yourself by taking on such a large scale of object and using a small fine pen.


Assignment 1- The still life with the bottle and shell.

You have experimented with different material- and seen patterns and textures of the shell.

Again the line between the width and the height lies in a parallel to the surface of the paper.

The background has just been suggested in a very heavy way of using the black ink. It overpowers the delicacy of the objects in the foreground.

Again the whole arrangement should be considered.

Do try and observe the roundness of the forms and investigate what makes the objects seem solid and three dimensional.

The size of the paper overpowers the objects which could have been larger in scale. The surface of the table has also not been considered.


The garlic

– a good beginning- – you have seen the texture of them and seen the light areas well. There is a robust quality to the garlic and you have managed to reproduce a feeling of solidity. Do not worry about neatness – there is a freshness to this sketch – especially the garlic on the left. It is a shame you did not continue with this sketch and create a more interesting composition.

You either draw with charcoal which is quite a lusty medium or you go to the complete opposite and use the finest of pens!!

Project 2 exercise 2

The drawing on the right hand side is the strongest.-especially the jug. – Do be aware of edges – these are very important as they determine the quality of the inside of the object.

You have already demonstrated a concentration- an awareness of form and design. You experiment with different materials.


You need more sketchbook work. This is very important. You must practice drawing more.

Your linear drawings are interesting – the quality of line and the shapes you have created.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

This needs more work. You need to be more analytical about the artists that you have mentioned. Try and find illustrations of their work. In your own words write about why you think their work is significant- or why you disagree etc. etc.

Learning logs account for 20% of the marks in your formal assessment. It is crucial that they are of a good standard.

  Suggested reading/viewing.

Have a look at a book called “Drawing on the Right side of the Brain “by Betty Edwards. Try and find some art criticism by John Berger.

Have a look at the work of Cezanne and Moprandi.

Pointers for the next assignment

Try and be more inventive with your composition.

Try and start using pastilles – there is a fluidity to these materials and they are so versatile.

If you continue to use pencil- use the whole range of hardness to softness.

When you use an eraser positively make sure the mark is clear and accurate .Do look at the exact shapes of shadows and the reflected shapes of one object when placed close to another.

Many of the issues that I have brought to your attention will be easy to implement. Others will require attention and a deeper level of observation.

Each assignment requires 80 hours of work – all in all with 5 assignment – 400 hours.

Do make sure that you take on all the issues that I have brought to your attention. The quicker you do then the quicker the progress you will make and the more satisfying your drawing will become.


Tutor name Hilary Beauchamp
Date 9th March
Next assignment due June 9th 2017


2 thoughts on “Part One- Form and Gesture – Assignment one

  1. I love it, all the different marks and the tones, the contrast in light and dark. I can also relate to the sketchbooks, not using mine at all really as I tend to just sketch on large sugar paper, which is good for charcoal, anything that has tooth really.

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