Selection for submission


This piece demonstrates use of colour within a limited palette. I didn’t use much colour experimentation in this unit so this is the only submission piece in which I focused simply on colour. I have submitted some drawings in support of my minimal experimentation into colour, with other still life experimentation using a wide range of media. I was weary of using colour as I wanted, on a personal level, to improve my understanding of drawing materials and techniques.


Drawings of ‘The Pond’ and ‘The Tree’ evidence my experimental approach to combining observational drawing with exploring mark making and line. My use of expression in these drawings portray the way I see this scene along with the developed technique that I seemed to have adopted in assignment 5. Drawing in this way made a huge impact in finally starting to enjoy observational drawing, as I started to understand the ways in which a drawing from observation didn’t have to be perfectly realistic. My understanding of depth and perspective improved, especially evident in ‘The Pond’. Sense of movement and rhythm were also very important to me in these drawings.


This drawing is an abstract representation of a figure, using coke cans and acrylic paint to create it. The aim was to focus on conveying energy within the figure. I was also struggling to get proportions correct in my figure drawing and this process helped me loosen up. A single line felt daunting to me, as there was too much scope for it to go wrong. Having circular marks on the page transforms the drawing into something more rhythmic and unrestricted.


This piece was the most enjoyable, planned and self-fulfilling piece that I completed but it also encompassed everything I had learnt. It demonstrates a deeper understanding of how to create depth in my work, effective use of marks and lines, use of various media and an interesting introduction of tone. It also includes evidence of observational drawing that is a repeated image. I have been able to include a subtle use of colour in this piece which breaks up all of the black marks, but this is also evident in Mehretu’s work.


I was really impressed with the successful outcome of my proportions in these drawings. I wanted to use a simple material to draw my first statue experimenting with various pencil thicknesses. My use of tone in my Gandhi statue highlighted his facial features and glasses. I struggled to draw the hands and they are slightly small in proportion to the rest of his body. The second statue drawing was of David Lloyd George was completed in ink and oil pastel. This time I wanted to keep a focus on tone but explore tone with different media. I started with ink which I laid the basis down for the dark and light tones I then went onto experiment with oil pastel in a way that I hadn’t before. I started to smudge the oil pastel to blend tones and create gradual shadows and highlights. I found that this created a softer feel to the piece and worked well in keeping a form to the statue.


I have selected this piece to evidence my use of perspective and technical observational drawing skills. I was able to complete some preliminary studies which progressed my understanding in drawing angles to portray the correct perspective. (Please see supporting work) Although I wanted to convey this technical understanding I also wanted to add in a little creativity. Developing the themes that I was working on at the time I layered my drawings to create more interest and rhythm.

My two final pieces for assignment 4 have also been selected for submission. These pieces demonstrate my developing understanding of; foreshortening, perspective, tone and my own personal themes (of which I have carried through the unit) of layering, transparency, mixed media and line. I wanted to challenge myself for this assignment and the chosen pose for each drawing reflected this.




Evidence of acting on feedback pointers:

Editing of final piece:

For my final piece I have adapted and planned the final outcome that I have now achieved. When I submitted this assignment I was aware and concerned about putting ‘too much’ into the drawings and not allowing any ‘breathing space’ within the composition. I did not want to overwhelm the paper or the viewer with too much information although when I received my feedback I completely agreed with my tutor that I did not consider up-scaling some of my marks on the larger support. Also the raw, earthy marks and tones that are present in a lot of my developmental stages are missing in the final outcome. The piece was missing the raw physicality movement, the act of drawing I was so keen to portray, so along with up-scaling of marks I also needed to include these earthy tones. Although this movement of physical presence was missing it wasn’t just the idea of putting it into the piece, it needed to be experimented with and planned to sustain the depth and momentum of the piece. As a result of this I explored with media and marks to search for the most suitable composition to maintain the strong emotional links between the marks and movement and also subject matter. I was conscious of not making the marks too heavy, too broad, too dominant that it took the focus away from the finer details of the piece.

I feel the new marks have added a further dimension to this piece along with deeper emotional connections due to the depth that it has added.

Scroll-like knot drawing:

Breaking this drawing down and looking at the lines and parts of the drawing, as my tutor recommended I do, was a great way in understanding and analysing my mark making process to build form. I have been able to select the tools and skills I used to create this drawing to then produce my final piece. I didn’t even consider using the mark making qualities from this drawing into my assignment piece but it turns out that these types of marks were exactly what my final outcome needed to create movement and evidence deeper emotion. The smudging of marks adds a softer aspect to the piece taking away any harsh marks.

Untitled 4

Artist – Xavier Grau

I have now consistently updated my whole blog, all my work from this course, with the correct Harvard referencing!

Response to assignment 5 feedback

I was pleasantly surprised with my tutor feedback from assignment 5. This assignment was a real opportunity to show how my ideas and skills have developed through the course and I was really grateful that my tutor was able to see this progress and my development of my personal voice. It was noted that my tutor can see evidence of my reflection process becoming more analytical which is becoming more useful in my decision making process, this is also affecting how my vocabulary us developing. I have drawn on past experimentation and knowledge to explore an ’emerging visual language’.

It is evident that my personal and emotional experiences at becoming part of my art and visualising these psychological states to respond to a particular space.

Feedback on assignment:

My commitment to this particular assignment is evident through my collation of visual and audio references. I have been able to explore mark-making at an extensive level throughout observational drawings, layering, collage and compositional decision making. My tutor mentions subtle and dynamic examples in my sketchbook.

You have explored your mark-making, composition and layering across your preliminary drawings and collages.  There are both subtle and dynamic examples in your A3 sketchbook The scroll-like tree root and the layering of translucent tracings.  

When it came to editing my assignment piece the below comments were what I had to keep in mind and bring in ideas from past preliminary work.

In your sketchbook ideas there are qualities of differing intense qualities of surface, range of mark-making.  This includes a more visceral, grubby, dirty, earthy quality.  These qualities can get lost when you scale up, which is a shame.  I recommend you think about and test-out how you might re-introduce these marks and qualities when scaling-up.  Have you thought about the size and width of some of your drawing tools; perhaps use some broader brushes or areas of smudging.  the transparent tissue works well in your sketchbook as a veil of colour over your drawn marks.  (Pointers)

I enjoy up scaling my work when it comes to completing my final assignment pieces especially for this assignment as I really wanted to include the ideas of a physical presence in the piece, which would add to my emotional connection to the piece and the place I was referring to. However as my tutor noted I perhaps mis-judged up scaling some of the marks in my drawing, and this was something that I considered when editing the final outcome in response to this feedback.

You have an ambition in terms of testing-out the scale of work, across which you explore ideas.  This evidences your enthusiasm for materials, pushing your visual ideas and wanting to connect with the viewer in conveying ideas.

I have challenged my emotions and personal experiences in this assignment and explored a wide range of media; digital, collage, ink, paint, charcoal, pen and also experimenting with composition, scale and format. You attempted a deeply personal, vulnerable and challenging content in this assignment.  It is good to see you committed to exploring and experimenting across media; digital, collage, a range of drawing media, scale and format.  This assignment shows a developing independence and committed maturity of approach to your studies.

Sketchbooks – Demonstration of technical and visual skills, demonstration of creativity

My tutor found my seaweed/rope drawing quite interesting. There is an interesting and lively connection between the pages of research (Jindra Jehu) followed by some dynamic ink, charcoal and chalk drawing (double-page).  This scroll-like root form pulses with a beautiful vitality.  It is an interesting drawing in itself.  I wonder how you could have explored this form and sense of vitality in several drawings and incorporated this structure and quality into the larger assignment piece?  (Pointers)

Look at the way I have used line and marks to create form and dimension and upscale the marks for the assignment piece from preliminary studies.

Research – context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

I chose particular artists to spark ideas and inspiration to begin the assignment and throughout the assignment. The research I undertook was linked to my own personal interests and ideas to support y developmental drawings and processes.

I am finally beginning to understand artists work at greater depth.  Regarding your research on Carol Heft; you make some insightful and crucial reflections on her juxtapoisition of ‘a strong understanding of observational drawing’ in combination with the more speculative, ‘loose and full of marks’.  There is something here for you to consider and take forward.  

My tutor continues to encourage me to commit to regular observational drawings alongside developing my ‘lively rich visual vocabulary’. This is something I find really hard to do as I struggle to find time to sit and complete an observational drawing, however this is something I am going to need to challenge myself to complete going forward to improve my drawing skills (which is something I feel has developed since the beginning of this course but it needs to continue to develop). Perhaps I could commit to a drawing class a couple of hours a week.

My ‘quality of research is deepening’ and involves primary and secondary research. In this assignment i have been able to reflect appropriately and apply this to my sketchbook work and write about in my blog.

Learning logs or blogs/critical essays – context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

I have really considered my use of vocabulary when reflecting on my work and analysing others so I was pleased that my tutor identified this.

My tutor also picked up on the fact that I have been considering the audiences views and reactions to my pieces. Good to see how you are now considering; the relationship between your visual language, what you want to convey and how this might be read / interpreted by an audience.

Suggested reading/viewing – context

  • Xavier Grau
  • Space and Place, The Perspective of Experience. Yi-Fu Tuan (2011)

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Would like to see you explore the form and qualities in the scroll-like root (A5 sketchbook).  
  • As you progress it would benefit you to commit to regular observational drawing; alongside your developing lively, range of visual language.
  • Think about the scale of the drawing tool: brush, stick, stump of charcoal etc, especially when you scale-up your drawings.  You will also need to scale-up some of your marks by using much broader brushes, thicker, broader drawing pens or markers.  These will then bring a contrast to the slight and scratchy marks and introduce a sense of depth.
  • Consistently refer to and use the academic referencing for all your research

(red = tutors comments)

Assignment 5 reflection on assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

I honestly feel that my technical drawing skills have improved immensely, especially from the very beginning of this course. I’ve started to realise that there is so much more to drawing than putting pencil to paper. It is about seeing and looking, how a line fits onto the page. My observational drawing has improved through simply observing to a greater depth and taking time to measure accurately. In regards to the final drawing I feel that I have really been able to demonstrate careful consideration in regards to my composition (something that I really struggled with in still life) which I now consider as just as important to putting line to paper. This is evident in my decision making process whilst completing my final piece and my continuous reflection process on my visual outcome. It has tested and stretched my ability of how different marks can represent different meanings within a drawing. I have explored technical and visual skills using a range of media that perhaps has been extended in previous assignments. I wanted to focus more on what I considered worked well in previous assignments and how these materials would work with the subject matter I had chosen. At the beginning of this assignment I completed a few observational drawings where I experimented with oil pastel, ink, tissue paper, paint, charcoal and fine liner but I also explored different techniques and ways of using these materials to create an effect that had a connection to what I was drawing, for example, one of my first drawings was of the tree trunk where I wanted to experiment with texture and line. I used tissue paper to create a relief surface and stippling to create delicate detail on the trunk. For the pine cone drawing it was more about creating the correct shape with the media I was using, to master the overall form of the object. As I continued to develop my thoughts I sub-consciously neglected the mediums that weren’t working, or that I felt would not be best suited to what I was trying to do. For example, I wouldn’t use charcoal for a really detailed line drawing. The final stage of my development was working with different thicknesses of fine liner and felt tip pen (which I introduced colour with). I took forward the idea of drawing with ink to introduce colour along with collaged curves and photographs. My continued inspiration and referencing point was artist Julie Mehretu. However other artists such as; Jindra Jehu and Carol Heft really opened up the possibilities of drawing to me in this assignment and how I could portray my own response to a place.


Quality of outcome:

I was so adamant that my outcome was going to be of good quality and I can confidently say that I think my final piece was one of my best quality pieces that I have produced throughout this unit. However I do believe that I could have added more to the drawing, I was almost too concerned that I was going to ruin the standard I had got to, to then add too much and loose its simplicity. Erasure and ‘breathing space’ was in the fore front of my mind whilst completing the final piece. It was really important for me to remember the importance of composition, so that the viewer was able to drift in and out the piece and for the piece to have movement. I found myself looking more closely at Mehretu’s work each day, each week, to discover and unravel her works so that I could master her techniques. I discovered her first layer was simple and delicate. Her use of line was almost graphic and planned carefully. The most important thing to notice was that Mehretu’s first layer was a repeated image of which I later had completed experiments in Photoshop to imitate this process with my imagery, trees. The simplicity of the marks was an important first layer so that the following layer would then add the ‘chaos’ of movement and emotion. I feel I managed to complete this to a high standard with a fine tipped pen. Once the first layer was down I was able to experiment further with line and refer back to my research drawings and development work to link in marks related to emotion to create movement. I really took my time to make decisions throughout the process of completing this piece, so that I could convey the true emotions I was feeling and the chaos in my own mind.


Demonstration of creativity:

I have been able to continue themes of layer and line to develop my creativity in this assignment. I enjoy working with line and it has been a central focus within this unit. I have demonstrated creativity by using a wide range of resources to develop my ideas and aid in my decision making process. Photoshop has been a real influence in regards to selecting what has worked and what hasn’t, especially for my final drawing. The attachment of emotion to my chosen landscape is crucial as it forms the feeling of the piece. The emotions visualised, demonstrate greater depth of creativity as I had to get into a particular frame of mind to be able to visualise the core feelings attached to that emotion. I think my composition shows intense creative indication between each aspect of the drawing, as I have carefully placed all lines and marks so that the piece flows and creates a sense of movement and the highlights the importance of the subject matter. The angle and position of the coloured curves are imperative in developing depth and perspective in this piece.



I found that I had started to use my sketchbook also as my journal. I found that when looking back at images of my drawings, my ideas continued to develop and my critical reflection also started to kick in. I found myself writing all these thoughts down into my sketchbook which made it easier for me to work less sporadically and more systematically. One point that I hope to improve on for my next unit is to make sure that I keep my online learning log up to date. I find that I collect lots of ideas and drawings and get too carried away with the process, to then find myself a little lost when it comes to uploading my work. I feel that I have kept drawing as much and as best I could to get a wide range of research images to work from.

Artist Statement for Assignment 5

Combining movement, emotion and trees in landscape looking at Julie Mehretu as my main focus and then other artists such as; Jindra Jehu, David Tress, Adrian Berg and Carol Heft. The materials I will be using will collectively bring together all techniques and skills that I have developed in this unit so far. My experimentation will be extensive in regards to mark making techniques and developing my own voice in response to research of artists and preparatory drawings. Layering, perspective and depth, line and mark making will all be key aspects in this assignment, to reflect my chosen title of ‘The Outdoors’. My research will be focusing on one particular landscape which holds many sentimental memories which evoke emotions of loss and joy that dictate how I feel about this place now, following the sudden death of my father.

The reason I have chosen to continue developing work with inspiration from Mehretu is because I believe her works are so complex with many un-answered questions (for me as a viewer) and I want my work to spark the same desire and depth in my drawings. I would like my piece or pieces to consume the viewer, for the drawing and viewer to become as one. My aim is to portray my emotions through this piece so that other feel it too. The skills I will use for this is layering line to such an extent that the drawing becomes unrecognisable from a distance and it is only when you come close that you become fully engaged with the piece. This is like understanding death of a loved one. Within this piece you are experiencing the loss of those joyous memories that are forever fighting for a return. Other aspects such as collage are also another factor which I would like to bring forward. The idea of this landscape being represented in a 2D form in a photograph that is then torn/cut up – destroyed – to emphasise my feeling of loss when I am in this place, but slowly piecing back together the memories.

On a side note:

The very act of drawing is such a physical representation of emotion that I started to develop a stronger understanding of the subject I was drawing. Trees are such an important part of life and in the metaphorical sense of trees signifying life.  The connection of trees and human life is so strong and apparent to me that it was something that could not go un-noticed and was going to have to be highlighted for the final piece. This is finally when trees become my sole focus for my final imagery. The links between both species (human and plant) became highlighted to me from my book – The Hidden Life of Trees.

I have used not only artists to inform my decision making process but also personal reading that has so actively although delicately, entered into my mind to inform my drawings during this assignment.

Final drawing reflection

I had decided, through many unsuccessful Photoshop experiments, that I was going to use a number of repeated images layered on top of each other to create a more distorted but soft image. This was going to form the basis of my drawing, my first layer. This first layer is in fine tipped pen to create a more graphic approach to the drawing like Mehretu does in her architectural buildings. I was then keen to combine ink, colour and aspects from my emotion drawings (which cover the emotions – joy and loss). The main points that I picked up on in my joy drawing was the curves and circular motions of the marks created, whereas in my lost drawing I subconsciously created strong, vertical lines and let the ink drip down the page without having any control over it. I applied the ink in swift, circular movements and allowed the ink to run without directing the liquid onto the drawing. This use of ink is really subtle and gently shows some of the emotions behind the landscape. I also used the ink to visualise my sound recordings of the wind. Learning from my mistakes I decided to plan my drawing more extensively. This time I cut some curved lines to which I then planned to collage onto the main piece. I wanted to portray movement in this piece and started to attach curved, circular coloured lined. This is to incorporate energy into the piece and demonstrate aspects of joy. The colours I chose related to the landscape – greens and blues.

I stopped adding to it at this point as something wasn’t quite working. Looking at the piece more and more I noticed that I hadn’t created any sense of depth with these coloured curves, which was something I was definitely keen to portray. I wanted the viewer to be consumed by the drawing and swallowed into the piece. I had another look at Mehretu’s work and how she uses her coloured lines to create depth. After talking with a family member we decided that these marks needed to be more exaggerated. Thankfully my original coloured curved lines were placed onto the main piece with ‘blue tack’. I was able to edit accordingly so that I could create a more acute angle for the curves. By doing this, the piece was completely transformed and immediately depth was created in the piece. Once I was confident with the type of mark I was going to create I started preparing the new curves to collage onto the drawing. These were then painted in earth colours.

The final stage of the piece was adding the next layer. This layer was about adding the final details, bringing together all my visual research adding rhythms that had been visualised and observational details from my chosen landscape and other natural, organic places in London. I couldn’t decide if to continue adding to the piece or to leave it as it is. I’ve been trying to work on ‘less is more’ and I always find that I tend to ruin the work by taking it a step too far, so I decided to leave the piece as it is for now and have some time away to come back to at a later date.




Final outcome process ideas:

What materials can I use to layer my image, to show depth and make the layers softer in the background. (Like in Mehretu’s work there seems like there’s a piece of film over the first layers.
Tracing paper?
I completed a little experiment exploring this and how I would make use of the tracing paper to show this.
Mehretu’s more colourful works create a stronger response for me, in regards to energy and movement in the drawing. I have discovered more issues to put right but also some that have given me some answers. I need to try further experiments to develop an answer of how to co-ordinate the coloured lines. I would like these lines to imitate the wind and sounds of the chosen landscape. I need to practice getting some depth into the piece with my use of marks, the smudging on the first layer needs to be erased as it makes the actual drawing unclear and harder to distinguish. I’m keen to add some block collaged shapes to the drawing. The colours that I will use need to be linked to the landscape and more natural. I wonder if this could be coloured ink which would add to
the flow of materials. I was starting to become a little concerned with how I was going to add depth and also make the first layer more subtle. This is where I decided to bring the tracing paper back into my drawing to experiment with. However when it came to completing my final piece I was aware of the quaility of the finish and reflecting on the final outcome I decided not to use tracing paper on the final drawing.