Formative Feedback for Part 3 / Assignment Three

As with my earlier Assignments, I opted to receive written feedback from my tutor, and I have tried to summarize and reflect on this feedback. I have used italics for the feedback and added my own comments and thoughts in standard text:

Overall Comments

  • Getting closer to working out a relationship with charcoal – still no rubber on the main drawing though with the use of white only partially working as a substitute.
  • Have selected some good subject matter and there are some experimental moments here.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed by the figure in the next assignment. Keep it simple and draw the figure just as you have drawn single trees.

Feedback on Assignment (Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity)

  • Ferris wheel drawing has a nice use of space and the white is slightly reminiscent of Charles Avery. It’s unfinished nature works with the subject as it is somewhere between a naturalistic drawing and a technical plan.

This drawing was one that I started, then lost focus with as the drawing progressed. I’m hoping to see if I can add to it at some point and improve it.

I looked up Charles Avery and was interested to see that in many of his works he mixes the mediums of pencil, ink and even paint for some colour ( I will try to investigate this further, and perhaps use some other mediums for tone or colour for completing the ferris wheel drawing.

  • Canal scene in charcoal is wobbly.
  • Have tried to depict lots of fine detail in line when you would have been better off using the charcoal more senstively and recording things in a bolder way.
  • Water is not well observed.

I noted that I used the wrong medium for the detail that I had been aiming to capture – I also hope to practice a few more observational drawings of water in my sketchbook, and look back at Vilja Clemins as an examples of an artist who can draw water.

My tutor also suggested looking at charcoal drawings of buildings by Dennis Creffield ( as he uses very decisive lines with charcoal.

This exercise was completed with watersoluble pencils, which I was experimenting with. I might have a look at blending the ink a bit better with some darker pencil, and see whether this helps the drawing.

I had trouble when first approaching this exercise, as there was a lot of grassy space that made drawing perspective problematic.

  • It looks as though drawing with inks is something you feel comfortable with. You use it to draw in line capturing fine detail in a manner which resembles illustration techniques.

Oddly, this is something I have only gotten comfortable with through the work I’ve completed on this module – it is a medium I wanted to practice, and I have found it useful when looking at the line based exercises – partly because of the boldness of the lines and discovering that it is possible to create detail in line!

  • Could usefully research others who have used ink and adopt a more experimental approach to it, as there is so much more you could be doing with it.

Suggested links:

When looking through these artists’ work, I was struck by the different ways in which these artists have used ink in their work, while not being solely focussed on line. Keith Vaughan’s work in particular looks like an approach I would like to try when drawing crowds of people, and I plan to do some more research into his art and techniques when drawing both landscapes and figures. Cozens work looked a bit too abstract for me, but I can see how the ‘blot’ approach could be used to depict areas of foliage. Muñoz’s monochromatic techniques used in his Back Drawing series is something I will try when looking at drawing individual body parts later in Part Four.

Sketchbooks (Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity)

  • wp-image-1695616643Second drawing of several trees was a vast improvement as started to be more observant of the actual forms and to create a sense of space.

I found when drawing the trees in this instance, positioning myself in the middle of them helped me recreate the atmosphere

  • Still quite murky and a few good decisive strokes with a putty rubber would pull it back out.

I approached this exercise in a different way, by setting a ground in my sketchbook first, then using a putty rubber to lift out highlights. I think I am still quite hesitant when using this approach, but am working on it!

  • Some sketchbook work doesn’t have enough information in it. There are marks which feel as if you are just putting them in roughly without really looking.

Sometimes, when I have an idea in mind, I have a tendency to rush through the sketchbook stage of drawing, which I have been trying to work on throughout this course. I will continue to work on this, as well as being more observant for the details that would perhaps be overlooked when taking photos.

  • Noted that a sketch is simpler and looser than a more worked drawing but is not less engaged with the subject – need to see a sketch as functional, and vital for capturing key information and developing understanding of the subject and it’s potential with the aim to expanding this in later work.

I can see now where this would have been useful in developing my assignment piece, and will try to place more value on the importance of sketchbook work for capturing information. Interestingly it was sketching that brought my focus to the lamp, that is not included in the photo I originally took of the scene. I will work on spending more time on the sketching stages in my work, rather than trying to aim at a ‘finished piece’ and skip ahead to that!

Research (Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking, Analysis)

  • You are looking at good people but you are not getting the research close enough to your work. You need to ramp up your criticality and try to make connections between what you are discovering and your own work. 
  • Your notes feel a bit passive, as if you are an audience member rather than a fellow artist trying to seek out answers. You have discovered some great artists so pursue these inquiries with more depth. 

I need to work on connecting my research with my own drawing more, and will try to work using some of the techniques other artists use to improve my drawing.

  • Why not try to come up with a few questions that you would like answers to, and find some artists who can present possible answers (as I did with the question – how can I expand my use of ink as a medium?)

This is something I find quite difficult, but I will work on thinking of questions as I research. I would like to look more into the use of charcoal as a medium, as using a putty rubber in particular is still something I am persevering with and would like to know how other artists have approached this problem!

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical Essays (Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking, Analysis)


  • I think the course brief to take up to two hours was probably not helpful in your case. Everyone works differently so you can make your own decision here and extend the time limit if necessary. 

It hadn’t occurred to me that the time limit wasn’t expected, but I did enjoy the challenge of a more limited time on a drawing – in hindsight though, I needed to spend more time experimenting with sketching and materials, including the type of paper I used!

  • Do you think a mixed media approach might have been better in this case?

I think I could have used some other media in this drawing, but also that I could have made better use of the charcoal – I will try using a hard rubber and a mask for defining some of the lines in the drawing a bit better, and look at perhaps using some charcoal or even carbon pencils for a bit more definition.

Suggested Reading/Viewing (Context)

Drawing water:

  • Revisit Vija Clemins

Drawing with Charcoal:

Drawing with Ink

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Think about how you can make your sketchbook more useful.
  • Don’t rely on fine ink drawing to short up your work.

I plan to do some research into how other artists make their sketchbook more useful – I often tend to rely on photography for recording information, and my sketchbook probably doesn’t get used quite as much as it should.


One thought on “Formative Feedback for Part 3 / Assignment Three

  1. Pingback: Research: Drawing with Pen and Ink | Claire's Learning Log

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