Assignment 4 – Seated Figure

Seated figure study 2

The first of 3 preliminary sketches for the assignment.   I used the working blind drawing method and then two further drawn lines over this.  Plus some overworking in areas of the face.   I particularly like the activity or energy of the drawing and the way the face has emerged from the different lines and overworking.

Could definitely have worked much slower on the blind drawing stage to establish a stronger layout for the fiture.

Seated figure study 3

Second drawing using water soluble wax crayons – again I worked in various layers overworking each colour and then used water to blur/fuse them together. Is using water drawing?  I don’t know.   This drawing also has a freshness about it but looses out a bit on the accuracy side.

Seated figure study 1

Final study and dealing with the difficulty of using purely line to create volume in the figure.   Cheated using various inks as well as the main drawing with ink and pen. Again do like the spontaneity of this image but am becoming aware of the difficulty of working these type of methods up to A1 size. The 3 studies are around A3.

Final seated line assiggnment 4

This is the A1 final version of the drawing.   Realised how much line work it takes to build up the volume – i.e. the jumper which I think is successful   The trousers are less so.   Wanted to use another version of line but but short on time.   Some inaccuracies of proportion and placing of the limbs – particular the far – left leg.   Also head not properly placed – neck too long……

He is so nearly there but minor inaccuracies escalate when working at a larger size.   Working purely with line was challenging I found.

The Head

Second week of long pose drawing.   I knew that the position I was in would not produce a good drawing of Tom’s head as it was too much in profile.

Firstly tried a more straight on view:-

Head sketch 1

head sketch 2

The first sketches where I was trying to get the proportions of his head and face.   He has a very long face with small mouth and chin. Realised that this is perhaps not the best angle and so moved to the side and back of the class.   I was struggling to see the detail of his face and its tones from the distance I was from the model.   But decided to stick with this angle as it was the best that I could find under the circumstances in the room.

Tom Head week 2

Tom head initial layer

This was the first phase of the drawing which was entirely with water soluble crayons on pastel paper.   Had applied a small amount of water but in fact it tended to make it messy and obliterated the marks of the crayons which I found most pleasing.

I had wanted to be more experimental but in a classroom situation with limited time I had to make decisions which drew me back to the crayons.

Tom head final

Final drawing after 2 hours.   Some parts of which I really like especially the mood of pensiveness.   I am sorry that this particular angle or any angle with this pose did not allow me to capture his eyes. Nostril facing too large will have to take it down and it may help the overall structure.   Looking back at his photo the face is too long but I think that the elongation has added to its expression in some ways.

The completion of the drawing to this stage has brought up more questions than answering the remit of the assignment.

Reclining Figure

2nd preparatory sketch

In this first study I was using water soluble crayons on wet 300gm paper.   I like the way the colours and tones move together.

1st preparatory sketch

Tried something similar with water soluble pencils in this next study.  Somethings about this I like – the shapes and dynamic proportions of the composition leading towards the top right corner.

graphite outline

Just a trickle of graphite powder – can be very expressive but blurs – some how I would like to find a way to capture the liveliness of these drawn lines – except that this study is supposed to be about tone.

initial colour washes

Decided to work on the wet on wet with the soluble crayons on 300gms watercolour paper. Time is a real factor when you upscale on size.   I am just getting used to this.   This definitely took more than 3 hours to the final piece below.

final version reclining

I like how the big masses of colour work as well as the tonal variants of the t-shirt and trousers.   Along the way it has lost something of the dynamism of the original composition as well as the reclining attitude – but it did take a long time. For the first time I am please ow shape is implied by the colours without having to be explicit with lines.

Research Context

I am not sure that I have particular research for this Assignment but more as the background for the whole Part 4 which has been an on-going exploration. After the last Assignment my tutor suggested I look at the work of various artists some of which I have followed up.   These include Otto Dix, John Currin, Ron Muerk, Hope Gangloff, Tracy Emin, Sam Taylor-Wood, Ana Mendieta – the suggestion was to look at them in order to become more fluid in my approach to drawing.

As you will see from my sketchbook I looked at these and a number of others, Egon Schiele, Frank Auerbach, Piete Peere, and Degas.

I am aware that I have looked at more artists whilst working through Part 4 than I have in the previous parts and am feeling rather overwhelmed by the variety and diversity of the skills.


This has been a really rewarding section of the Module.   I have always loved the figure and am even more enthusiastic about it as an artistic subject but:-

  • There has been so much to take on board in a relatively short space of time.  I have progressed in my drawing abilities and am certainly looking more carefully.   But it is transient sometimes it “works” and sometimes it doesn’t.   I know this is a lapse in concentration on my part hence the challenge of this assignment because of the size of the work and the length of time necessary to work on an individual piece.  I don’t think I have ever done this before (except in the other assignment pieces).
  • In some cases I have been limited by the poses taking place in life classes, the seated pose and the head.   This has meant that I have not been able to dictate the angles, lighting etc.   Tried with the composition of the seated pose I looked at finding a more dynamic closer view but this did not work.   Similarly with the head I was quite far away in the class. This is not to excuse my work but part of my realisation on how much I need to be able to dictate.
  • Some of the styles I wanted to try did not lend themselves to the particular settings.   I like my studies for the seated figure far more than the final piece.   I could not however work out how I could combine these and keep within the “lines” literally of the brief.
  • I continue to be challenged by working on a larger scale using some of the materials and methods I have tried during this part.   Scaling up needs a scaling up of the marks too in order to create greater impact.  I am not yet sure how to do this.
  • Still there is a tendency to go back to tired (maybe tired by tried) and tested methods of working although discovering working on the wet heavier paper was successful for the reclining figure.  Interesting footnote to this is that I wanted to take this further in a long pose class recently but it didn’t work because I did not take enough time to choose the compositional angle and there was too much literally bare flesh to deal with tonally.
  • I have slowed down somewhat but not enough to be able to be consistent in what I am producing.  I am split in this in that ideas come fleetingly and want to be followed whereas drawing is a skill that will need 10,000 or is it 100,000 hours!


Part 4 – Project 1 – Exercise 1 – Drawing Fabric Using Line and Tone

draped chair line

I found this really interesting in that it was very difficult to establish the line and folds of the cloth as it sits on the chair. Particularly as I was able to draw the chair accurately – probably because of all the still life work in previous sections of the course.

draped chair tone

Accuracy and spontaneity are still the juxtapositions that I am finding difficult.   How to look and how to act when it comes to drawing the lines/tones etc.   More effective looking needed as well as specific mark making and less of it. Also not enough variety of mark .

folds study 1

Trying different mark making materials was interesting.    Top left is red chalk pencil which I think is quite successful as it builds up. However I respond to the more textural qualities of the green biro, black pen and water soluble pencil too.

fold studies 2

Top left, conte crayons on black paper I think manages to evoke volume as does the water soluble coloured crayons on the right.   Oil pastels on the lower right are less successful at this scale but might work on larger.


Yet another area to capture with its own specific requirements.   As I work through the components of the course I am more and more aware of how extensive the drawing vocabulary can be.   It could be a life’s work just staying with one type of subject matter or one type of materials.  The choice is endless and it is often easy to loose concentration in the variety of choices that are available.

  • Try to become more and more discerning about what to use and what I am trying to achieve.
  • What do they say make SMART objectives:-
    • S – Specific – What materials, support etc?
    • M – Measurable – What am I trying to achieve, learn, solve etc?
    • A – Attainable – Given this is an exercise, assignment etc not the whole degree how do I judge progress?
    • R – Relevant – Read the instructions and follow
    • T – Timely – Don’t dwell on any area too long. Log the progress/strengths/weaknesses and move on.
  • Find a way to capture learning and apply.

Part 3 – Project 5 – Exercise 2 -Townscape using Line


So rather than using 2 adjacent pages I used my concertina sketchbook to draw the two views.

Above and below is the view from the Road Bridge across Shoreham Harbour and the Adur river. I am really drawn to this long view and particularly the right hand shore which has lots of banks and houseboats.   This is in strong contrast to the left-hand shore which is very built-up and is particularly emphasised by the drilling rig which is temporarily repairing the sea wall.


The view above and below are the alternate view from the pedestrian bridge looking inland towards the South Downs.

I chose this view to concentrate on as it more clearly fitted the brief of townscape.



The final drawing in a variety of media is not as accurate as I would have hoped.   I like the foreground much more than the buildings which seem rather crude though quite accurate. Not sure why the rig seems to lean over – maybe it was the angle I was drawing?


Project 2 – Still Life – Intermediary Reflection

Exercise 1 & Exercise 2

Between the 2 exercises it was a case of being able to create some aspects of the drawing easier in one i.e. Exercise 2 was easier to produce tone and depth using the colour and build up of the cross hatching than with just one media, pen and ink.

However the variety of mark making in Exercise 1 was more interesting, diverse and inventive than with the coloured drawing.

Definition of the objects and their relationship to each other is more effective in the coloured drawing.  However some transitional detail in the line drawings particularly the 2nd one of 3 stones has intriguing passages.

The difficulties of choosing just line or tone are usually in those transitions between one object and another or the background/table.   Also in creating individuality of the objects like with the 3 stones in the line drawing.

Colour initially seems easier but allows me to get lazy about looking at what is happening in relation to tone – shadow etc.

(However at this stage I do need to re-do exercise 2 based on the actual instructions).


Exercise 2 – Still life in tone using colour

Actually slightly cheated as I used 4 different colours if you include white!

Found it much easier using colour rather than just line to build tone. Although I am aware I can become lazy by relying on the colour to do the work and my inventiveness with mark making tends to suffer because of it.

Creating tone with just line needs greater precision I think – it is easy to overwork a particular area and then the whole object can become too messy and confusing.

I would like to be more dramatic and dynamic when working with colour – particularly as I tend to choose coloured pencils. Need to think about trying more with pastels but past experiments have not been successful because I tend to loose the precision.



Project 2 – Exercise 1 – Still Life Using Line

Project 2 still life - line drawing 2

This was generally a difficult exercise for me.   Chose 3 round objects:- a melon, a tennis ball and a small round pewter (silver reflective) vase.  Worked with ink and a stick on Khadi paper.

I had previously tried a number of experiments in sketchbook on using line both in white ink and black ink on different papers.

Composition –  I don’t think this is very successful but had tried different placements and was trying for something more “contemporary” . However I do like the variety of marks  particularly on the melon and tennis ball which can be achieved. After a while I got into more experimentation with mark/line than being effective about being able to build up the tones and drawing the composition together.

I am interested in the pewter vase but it does not “read” as what it was/is.

Project 2 still life - line drawing 1

Moved on to depicting 3 stones gathered from the beach. Each are interesting in themselves and drawing the objects together makes the composition more effective but still not that interesting.  Tried so many placements where I could see the contrasts in the types of rock: 1 chalk, 1 flint, 1 smooth with variety of tones.

Again drew with ink and stick on Khadi paper – all laid on a piece of paper which had folds on it.  Actually think that the folded paper added quite a lot to the piece and helps with definition. Altogether it is a more successful piece of drawing and the media suits the subjects to an extent but not entirely.

Learning: Could spend more time on this type of drawing but perhaps using different materials combined.

Project 2 - still life line drawing 3

Final piece using the same 3 stones + 1 more and used a drawing pen with washable ink.   This was on plain white paper.   Composition less successful – is there something about odd numbers and composition : 1,3,5 etc.

I suppose this is a bit of a cheat by using water to create tone.   Some of these stones are really interesting and could achieve a better outcome.   Not sure that the use of line for this project works for the subjects I have chosen.