Part 1 and Assignment 1: Tutor Evaluation

Open College of the Arts
Tutor report
Student name Emma Hunt Student number 511713
Course/Module Drawing 1: Drawing Skills Assignment number 1

Page  PAGE 1 of 7

Overall Comments

Thank you for sending your final drawings for the first assignment, together with your sketchbook and a link to your blog to see your work for the exercises and research notes.  I can confirm that it was easy to find all of the relevant information I need to offer feedback and you should continue to work in this way.  The areas I have identified for further development in the next assignment are your use of tone, together with the need for more preliminary work, and I have commented in more detail in my feedback.

Formal Assessment

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

Page 2 of 7

Feedback on assignment

It is clear from your notes and sketchbook work that you learned a great deal from the exercises to investigate the use of different drawing media and this reference will remind you of the results of your experiments.   You produced a good range of marks and continued to do this for the exercises in using line and other marks.   The doodles in the A4 sketchbook seem to be very considered and lead to the definable subject of a bird rather than being spontaneous and allowing the marks to move with your thoughts.  The examples of this work in the photos in your blog are more successful and I particularly like the result of dabbing with a chisel edge marker pan.  The tracked marks with broken graphite stick are also effective and show how you can vary tone by applying pressure.

In your observation of basic shapes, the boxes and books are good and the angles and shapes of the stacked books are believable.  I am glad to see that you looked from different viewpoints for the drawing of jars and jugs to see how the ellipses changed when viewed from above.  You made a good attempt at the drawing of a supermarket shop and selected a good range of different sized objects, which appear to be the correct size and shape in relation to each other.  The ellipses of the tin can have been well observed and the form of the cylinder is clear.  A drawing of this subject is good for a day to day opportunity to work in your sketchbook as the objects are easily available.  I particularly like your use of felt pens to produce strong saturated colour.  It is not always easy to build up tone when using colour, especially with a limited range of coloured pens, which means that the objects can seem rather flat rather than three-dimensional.  In future drawings, you should think about the relationship of the objects to the table surface.  You have given a suggestion of the shadow underneath the objects, but they seem to be floating in space and you can ground them in their environment by adding the edge of the table behind them, to create a sense of depth.

Page 3 of 7

In your observation of shadow and light formations on a surface, you used cross hatching effectively to build up areas of shadow and the direction of the light source is very clear.  You have taken time to merge all of the areas of tone to create a series of tonal shifts.   Your tonal studies show a good variety of mark making such as cross hatching and stippling to create the areas of tone.  I suggest that you look at the drawings of Georgio Morandi to examine how he was able to create graduation of tone around the form of the objects.

In your drawing of reflected light, I like your use of grey paper to provide a mid tone with charcoal and white conté pencil.  You can paint pages of your sketchbook in a mid tone colour as a ground for drawing.  Look for examples of other artists who work in this way, such as ‘Woman washing her hair in the bath’ by Colin Moss.  Your unfinished study of the teapot is successful in showing the reflection of the cup.  Be careful with the ellipses to avoid points at the edges.  This study matched the brief more successfully than your second drawing of the plant pots.  If you had ‘zoomed in’ to focus on the pots rather than include such a great deal of background, the reflections would have been easier to see.

You made a good page of studies of different arrangements of the objects and individual items for the still life sketches of made objects.  The blue biro study has a good variety of tone created by your use of cross hatching, although this is much more detailed than required for this exercise.  The more time you spend on a drawing, the tighter it will become.  Your colour pencil studies of individual pieces of fruit for the observation of natural objects have been made more quickly and expressively, with bold confident use of marks.  Why did you then produce a detailed pencil drawing for the final composition?

Page 4 of 7

You admit that you overlooked the preliminary thumbnails to help you decide on the arrangement of the composition and I suggest that you carry out this work in future.  There was no label on the back on this piece of work and I would have assumed that it should be viewed from a different way up if I had not seen the photograph on your blog.  There is a lot going on in this drawing as you included so many pieces of fruit and vegetables.  The direction of the marks helps to describe the form, as seen in your observation of the onions, and these are believably solid.  Ten hours was rather too long to spend on a single exercise and I suggest that you try to avoid working on one object at a time.  If you produce a highly finished drawing of one onion, you will then go on to work in this way throughout the whole drawing.  Try to build up the whole picture by working quickly over the whole paper surface.

It is clear from your studies of negative space that you have a clear understanding of this concept and there is another exercise to explore this in the next assignment.  Look for examples of how other artists use this in a drawing, such as the drawing of ‘Vase of Flowers in a Garden’ by Eric Ravilious on page 22 of the course book or in this Edward Burra watercolour painting of ‘Honesty’.  Here you can see how his observation of negative space has created a complex image without the need for a great deal of detailed drawing of the plant itself.  You show good experimentation in your use of different media to describe texture and I particularly like your use of rub away drawing and frottage.  Your page of notes with ideas for techniques is good and you should also explain how you used these in your assignment drawings.  I can see from the photograph in your blog that the slate drawing produced good results, although this will be both fragile and heavy and you should bear this in mind for future work.

Page 5 of 7

For the first assignment drawing, it is unfortunate that there is only one preparatory colour drawing of roses.  This does not appear in the final drawing and I would be interested to know you decided on the items to include in the arrangement of natural forms.  Try to make several small thumbnails drawings to consider ideas for the composition.  A detailed A4 study is not a thumbnail, as these should be small, on a similar scale to the squares you made for the experiments with texture, and you should work quickly to plan the outline of the shapes of the arrangement.  Your finished drawing fills the paper well and I am pleased to see that you are working on a large scale.  I particularly like the way in which you incorporated the grey colour of the paper into the drawing, using this as the shadow of the flowers on the wall.  This links the foreground and background and provides colour harmony throughout the drawing.  You included some interesting shapes and the smooth glass texture of the jug is a good contrast with the natural form of the flowers.  The drapes in the fabric also create interesting directional lines in the composition and perhaps this would have been even clearer if the shadows on the fabric were as dark as the shadows on the jug.  What do you think?  Some of the flowers, such as the pale purple flowers in the centre, appear to be a little flat compared to the rest of the floral arrangement and I suggest you keep looking at your use of tone in future work, to help to create a sense of depth.  This was a good first attempt and you have achieved good saturation of colour in the pastel.

In your second drawing of the collection of made objects, there are exciting possibilities in your use of frottage on such a large scale.  I hope you will continue to experiment with this way of working, as this is a very individual approach to the brief.  Although you are spending the required time on the assignment drawings, you are missing the valuable stage of the preparatory studies.  You explain that this was a deliberate decision due to lack of time, but I think you would find it helpful to consider the preliminary work in future, as an essential stage of the development of your ideas.

Page 6 of 7

I particularly like the way you have drawn with the rubber to show where the light is reflecting on the glass bottles.  The position of the back edge of the table is rather confusing, as the left hand bottle appears to be hanging over the edge.  The ellipses are good and the form of the bottles is well observed.  As in the previous drawing, I suggest that you consider your use of tone.  Perhaps if there had been a darker area on the wall behind the bottles, this would have provided more depth in the view and brought the bottles into the foreground.  Do you agree?  It is encouraging to see that you were prepared to take risks with this drawing and weren’t afraid to lose the initial drawing when using frottage over it with charcoal.


The A4 sketchbook you sent to me is clearly laid out and the contents page is helpful.  There is evidence that you have torn out a page and I would advise you to leave all of this work intact.  The sketchbook is a working visual diary rather than a book of drawings and any study which has not worked can be just as valuable in your learning process as a successful one.   As well as the course work, you should also keep making observational day to day studies in a small sketchbook, as this will help you gain experience and confidence in your drawing.  You made good studies of Jacob Kramer’s bronze of Epstein, showing how you can move around an object to find interesting viewpoints.

Learning logs/critical essays

You produced some good practical work in the style of Patrick Caulfield and I am pleased to see such an extensive range of work in your research notes, which shows that you are giving serious consideration to this element of your course.  It is especially good to see you look at the work of contemporary artists for ideas and inspiration and you should continue to work in this way.  You are lucky to be able to attend so many exhibitions, which gives you the opportunity to look in detail at the mark making of other artists.

Page 7 of 7

Was your ink copy of Gillian Carnegie’s ‘Black Square’ completed from a photograph or in the gallery?  The most effective writing is your personal response to the work you see, rather than biographical information found in books and websites, and your notes on this drawing are a good analysis.  Keep using the assessment criteria as a basis for self evaluation, as this is a practical and useful work practice to adopt.

Suggested reading/viewing

For the next assignment, you will develop your observation of nature and gain further experience of the elements you explored in the first assignment.  Find examples of work by all of the artists in the course book and let me know if there are particular artists you like, which will help me to suggest further examples.  Keep trying to find contemporary artists such as Lara Scouller, whose pastel drawing ‘Owl in Flight’ shows how she used this media quickly to capture the movement of the bird.

Pointers for the next assignment

You have made a good and confident start to the course and I hope you will continue to devote this amount of time to your studies.  The essential work to send for Assignment 2 consists of the still life drawing as described on page 71, together with the preliminary work, a selection of your work for the exercises, and some examples of your sketchbook and logbook pages as photographs in your blog.  I will suggest a target date of 31 August for the second assignment and if you have any questions please let me know.


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter

One comment

  1. My Response to assessment for part one:

    Formal assessment:
    Yes I do want to get formally assessed and gain credits towards creative arts degree.

    Feed Back on assignment:

    I agree the doodles in the sketch book are too considered and there fore contrite. I was thinking more about illustration than fine art I think. I will endeavour to free up my style and let lose with the drawings becoming more experimental in my approach to mark making.

    I am pleased my tutor pointed out that allot of my drawings leave the subjects floating in space. I know see how this looks unfinished. I will endeavour to add at lest a hint of the back drop n future to ground the objects and give a sense of real space (depth).

    I agree that my work on the section looking at reflections could have been more successful. Perhaps I should revisit this subject to make a more thoughtful study time permitting.

    Although the biro study of mouse and cap is to detailed I am pleased with it. As I got into it I felt compelled to complete it with care and attention. What can I say! Some times the drawing just takes over and tells you what to do. I’m sure you know what I mean.
    As for the quick and expressive fruit drawing I am was happy with them too and had intended to continue in this style for the drawing of natural objects. However once I had pencilled in the basic shapes I again felt compelled to dive right in to the detail. I was thinking of Frueds meticulous plant studies as I progressed with the marathon draw. In future I will make sure I stay more on brief. I feel I have that detailed observation out of my system for now any way.
    I feel I must defend the drawing by saying I am glad you did not know which way up it should go. As I viewed it from look right over the top of it I will take that as proof of success.
    I agree I took far to long on it and take on board the point of working on a drawing as a hole, like a painting, my produce a more pleasing result.

    Assignment one:

    Made objects – I am pleased my tutor noticed all the different media I have used. I will continue to try to be experimental. I will not be using slate again or any thing else unpractical to send again. (hopefully!)
    I will be spending more time on preparatory studies in the future. I am pleased you liked the experimentation with the ink and footage. I will try to revisit this as I think it maybe has potential to expand on. again with this I didi not add back ground. Will do in future.

    Natural Objects – The reason the first rose drawing rose dose not appear in the final drawing is because too much time elapsed and I had to start again with fresh bouquet. If I use cut flowers again I will try to manage time better.

    Take your point with the thumb nails. Small and very quick to consider composition only.
    For the shadows on the cloth I try to keep them as close to life as pose. They where lighter than the jug shadow. I do feel the cloth and also some of the blooms, such as the lilac stock you mention needed more work. Perhaps in future I should put finish in front of dead lines.
    I will focus on using tone to produce depth in work to come. I am glad you felt the picture had a sense of colour harmony, helped by the grey tone paper. I put a fair bit of thought in to that. as I have been known to create crimes against colour in the past.


    Must make more studies. Perhaps I should aim at at least one drawing from life a day. Even if it is very quick. Can use it to practice my tone.

    Learning logs & crits:

    I hope to continue to work in the same way. Looking at other artist work historical and contemporary and keep visiting exhibitions.
    The ink study of Gillian Carnegies ‘black square’ unfortunately was done from a photo and not at the gallery. I hate drawing with other people looking over my shoulder. Reminds me of spelling class in school. I don’t mind drawing alfresco so much. But in galleries people always want to be nosey, I do it myself..
    I am so glad to read I am not expected to produce so much historical back ground on the artist. Just responses to there work. This will save me hours of research and more time for drawing.

    Suggested reading and viewing:

    ‘Find examples of work by artist in the coarse book’ – I’m assuming this is the drawing skills folder. I will look up examples of their work and identify ones I particularly like.
    Also I must get back to doing a bit of reading from the course reading list.

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