From Roll-on to Shapewear – My Bodily Journey

From Roll-on to Shapewear – My Bodily Journey is the working title for the Part 5 Personal Project work.

First Review of Drawings & Sketchbook

Hans Bellmer page

“Anagrams are connected to pseudonyms, by the fact that they may conceal or reveal, or operate somewhere in between like a mask that can establish identity.


In this Part 5 of Drawing 1 I am aiming to investigate my response to bodies, particularly mine via diverse media in terms of drawing and endeavouring to become more analytically critical of my own work and my response to the work of others.

I believe that the most effective way to enter this adventure is via my own sketchbooks and notes made during the course so far.  Therefore I have chosen a number of images which interest me at this stage which I will aim to evaluate.

Doll pastels

This fast sketch above was made on handmade paper and with pastels and chalks.   This is one of the images that for me show that less is more in terms of being able to “read” the image without it being a perfect rendition.   I also think that using line and tone simultaneously has worked to give the depth and tone which I have fought to obtain at times during the course.   Tone has often been the most challenging of areas for tendency to keep in the mid-range rather than going for the deep darks and the light lights has hampered some of the images.

Doll free sketch

This is another sketch of the doll which I used in the first part of the course. I believe this was a sketch made without looking in a very few moments.   Although the tone of the lines is the same ie I have only used 1 pencil I find that when I work like this the work is more spontaneous, interesting and livelier than studies where I have taken a long time. One of the comments has been that I need to find a way to take this attribute into the more finished work without loosing the spontaneity.      My challenge is to find devises to achieve this.

doll assessment 2

Above is a part of the drawing which I completed for Assignment 2.  This was a milestone in that I had for the first time achieved an interesting composition which spoke to me through the metaphor of the different items which I had chosen.   Not only that but I also worked through some of the issues in relation to tone and balance which had eluded me for so long.   However this achieved a very static image which has lost the attributes mentioned in relation to the two sketches above.

doll torso

In my sketchbook this strong torso of a doll is achieved by using more dynamic mark making and stronger tones. This is much more suggestive of the body parts revealing their own dialogue.   I am not sure what I mean by that but it relates to the Bellmer quote above.     Being an anagram…..  There is a twist and energy here.

Double portrait

Compositionally I enjoy this life-study made of two models.   They are from the Otto Dix inspired cross-dressing day.   I have achieved the accentuation without distortion that characterises much of his work.

otto dix Otto Dix – Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber 1925

In contrast the sketch below is more contained.   This has been worked on some other handmade paper which I have tried to leave bare but not as successfully as might have been achieved.

My endeavour had been to achieve the textural quality of the stone/concrete statue with its weathering a lichen. It is an example where I have lacked a context for the drawing which would have helped achieve a more grounded outcome.

cherub drawing



This self-portrait achieves some of the lessons which have been a struggle running through the course so far.   Namely there is tone and a much livelier variety of line and mark making.   When it came to the assignment pieces using purely line and or tone I was floundering because I have not yet achieved enough vocabulary within my drawing skills.   This was compounded by the scale of the pieces A1.    The aim of this personal project is to extend the use of materials and supports in order to add to my language.

aggressive head

head line sketch

I have included the two head sketches because the mark making is interesting to me.   The aggressive directional lines as compared with the rather loose thoughtful almost aimless quality of the second sketch.

The Challenge

To stick to the learning points outlined in the response to Assignment 4 namely:-

      Taking ideas from sketchbook to final drawings

…Sketchbook work very strong…keep the same approach if working larger

      Purpose of Drawing

..explore more academically around the purpose of Drawing

      Material Exploration

…there is still some way to go in terms of material exploration

  • try to act exactly the same when it comes to the final work.  Be experimental enquiring and ambitious at the same time.

    Critical analysis of my own work and the work of others

…develop a more established voice when it comes to unpacking my own drawings

  • keep going and remember to really unpack it in written form as you move through.. Underpin this with wider reading. You could expand your narrative through literature, philosophy and experience.
  • write more around this from a personal perspective ….what worked. what didn’t, what you enjoyed and so on…
  • please continue to research and analyse further the visual impact of your own ongoing artists research against your own work with more frequency
  • don’t be afraid to annotate more critically around this as you move through each page.

    The Activity of Drawing

….when drawing:-

  • hint at context
  • consider the form through a series of lines and measurements in the first instance
  • don’t forget to step back and decide when you think there is enough information.
  • devise strategies for success
  • try if you can to work more on tone and volume to allow for a more in depth enquiry overall.
  • …you are starting to ask yourself some important questions around identity

These 5 points seems to sum up the comments from my tutor’s report most succinctly.