Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Feedback from Assignment 1

Tutor report

Overall Comments

You have submitted a good selection of work for the first part of the course, which evidences good progress and appropriate reflection documented in your Learning Log.

Throughout your exercises you have demonstrated an experimental approach to the work; often beginning with the structured process recommended in the course book before continuing in a direction which is more personal. For example, the use of thread in the temporary drawing or the collage material brought into your assignment work, which I will discuss later. This willingness to experiment and consider the relevance of the exercises to your own interests suggests you have great potential for developing your individual practice.  

The exercises with expressive marks do evidence the beginnings of experimenting with the variety of marks that can be made with a particular media. However, this could be developed to give you a greater vocabulary of marks to work with. For example, as well as experimenting with pressure and positioning of the medium, smudge with your fingertips; draw over the marks with an eraser or score the paper first to leave indentations that remain as you draw over the surface. The more variety or marks you can make the more lively and engaging your drawings will be. Julie Mehretu is a good artist to look at:

Untitled (brigade) 2005

You have identified in your Learning Log and I would agree that some focus on your use of tone would be beneficial. You have made good progress over the course; from the initial drawings that appeared to have little contrast in tone to the ‘bauble on plate’ drawing where you used a fuller range of tones including the addition of white to add highlights. It is worth noting that even if you can’t observe a full range of tones from white to black it is often necessary to use the full range in order to create the illusion of form. If you are working in graphite it is better to use a full range of grades to get the desired effect. For example, a sharpened HB can give crisp and accurate lines and indent the paper but is less effective for creating tone. Having a range of grades 2B, 5B, 9B etc. alongside this would allow you to create a variety of tones and marks. Don’t be tempted to use one grade for the whole drawing as this will really restrict the possibilities for developing the drawing.

It is good to see that you have attended life-drawing classes and continue to draw and experiment outside of the course requirements. The more you engage with drawing and reflecting on the resulting work the quicker you will make progress. 
I believe that you are intending to submit work for assessment in order to work towards a textiles degree. As you are probably aware assignment 1 is used as diagnostic and is not part of the assessment work. When you submit assignment 2, please let me know if you are definitely intending to put your work forward for assessment; I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment criteria.

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

It is good to see that you have revisited your assignment work and made several further drawings based on your reflections of the first. There is great improvement in both your technical ability and creativity in the series of drawings you subsequently created. 

You experimented with composition and this has led to a more ambitious composition that has challenged you. The development of this is evident in your supporting work. The horizontal format drawing is particularly successful as it draws the eye across the surface through the linking of the three objects. The tonal quality in this drawing is greatly improved and you have considered the background so that the drawing is balanced and convincing. 

A rapid way to experiment with composition is through the thumbnail sketch. For example, a series of 15-20 small boxes drawn on one page of your sketchbook, which you fill with every combination of your chosen objects you can think of. You can afford to be very quick and ‘loose’ with these thumbnail sketches; they do not need to be ‘perfect’. Below is a visual example of the use of thumbnail sketches to develop composition:

Texture through mark making is another area that you could develop through experimentation in your sketchbook. Observe the textures of objects around you and try replicating them in your sketchbook. You can develop this through both observation of textures and getting to know the media you are using and what it can do for you. It takes time to build this up but it is worthwhile as you are building on the vocabulary of marks available to you when drawing. It would be worthwhile experimenting with mixed media to develop textures etc. as a means to tie it to your textile practice.

In your final drawing you have been inventive with your use of collage, which adds contrast and interest. It is good to see the development of your work to this point where you have simplified the information to focus on the various forms of the objects. The use of the yellow paper to highlight the original colour of the chair and add tonal range is very effective. It may be the digital photograph, however, it is difficult to see any detail of the chair legs. It would be worthwhile drawing into the chair further to bring in some further highlights, perhaps using white or grey within the objects on the chair to bring back some of the form.  
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity 

It is clear that you are experimenting with composition and drawing outside of the projects within the course. It would be good to see you sketchbooks at some point in the course to see what you are capturing and experimenting with.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays 

You use your blog effectively as a means to capture your thoughts and developing work. You have reflected on relevant artists referred to in the course and sought out other appropriate artists. To develop your critical thinking, reflect on the work of others and then relate to your own work. For example, ask yourself what is successful/challenging about a particular artwork and then use this to reflect on a piece of your own work; or use it as a focus when starting a new piece.
Suggested reading/viewing 

TRACEY drawing and visualisation research is a really good resource for drawing and is accessible online at: 
The Drawing Research Network is also accessible from that link and details drawing events, exhibitions etc. that are currently taking place.

The Jerwood Drawing Prize Catalogue Archive is a really good resource for contemporary drawing too: 

Pointers for the next assignment

Action points:
  • Build up your vocabulary of marks through further experimentation with media
  • Use a full range of tone within your drawings from white to black to help render form
  • Use thumbnail sketches as a means to rapidly explore composition
  • Pay attention to texture and experiment with recreating your observations in your sketchbook
  • Work back into your assignment drawing to bring in further highlights and tonal range
  • Use your reflections on the work of others to critique your own work

Tutor name
Deborah Harty
Next assignment due

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