Life Drawing – Monday 15/5/17

I have returned from life drawing feeling both inspired and deflated. I am knackered but my head is also full of STUFF! Ideas, sadness, frustration, willingness to draw more, wanting to keep drawing until I actually create a drawing i’m happy with. If I take a moment to think, I have improved my drawing so much. But in the way of drawing from life in 3 dimensional is a different story. Obviously for still life/and interior I drew from lie but a lot of my architectural drawings and landscapes have been from photographs and my tutor today at life drawing, made an emphasis to me to actually GO OUT and draw. A photograph is already 2D so it is easier to draw. I text Dominique to say can we have a drawing day soon to draw from life – statues/buildings/landscape anything. I know the course has been saying to go out and draw but I just haven’t felt confident enough to do it and now I have a friend to do it with! The tutor – Miriam – told me to have a look at Giacometti’s drawings and try to draw more technically – by that I mean draw with straight lines and not curves to get the figure roughly and then add the curves/movement of the joints etc. Think of shapes and straight lines to situate the figure on the page and the angles of the body. Another thing she said was to try and explore drawing with tone – which is something I did for one of my statue drawings.

I really REALLY want to practice my life drawing skills angered my coursework but I just really struggle yo find time. I have a few books on drawing which I’m going to have a read up on whilst on the train to and from work. The parts I will be reading are anatomy/life drawing/technical/architectural etc. I want to learn more and SO want to understand more about drawing – something which I never thought i’d say! my head feels really all over the place with what to do next.

In response to the drawings I produced during the class I was not happy with it at all. I sat down and she said the words I was not ready to hear ‘today we’ll be doing one pose all night’ – my worst nightmare. I panic in the light of doing a drawing for longer than an hour, especially life drawing. But I was ready to take on the challenge. The first mistake was measuring out the proportion of the body. I made the head on my drawing far too large which completely put me off for the rest of the drawing. I was getting frustrated as I was measuring the figure in proportion to my page but I just kept getting it wrong, I could associated the elbow to the chin, the chin to the shoulder, the inside of the elbow to the outside, the angle of the arm, the angle of the stomach to the other elbow, the angle of the face to the shoulder and more! This is how my head feels when I tackle a life drawing and I find it all too much at once. I think this is when my tutor mentioned about not being too delicate about the proportions and mapping in tone to suggest the parts of the figure. The last session I had with her she taught me how to measure with my pencil when doing observational drawings. However today she mentioned that I shouldn’t just rely on that – I should trust what I see in relation to other parts of the body.

In the last 5 minutes of the session I decided to do a quick charcoal drawing – which isn’t great but I feel after a long study of the figure (in the same pose) I was able to be more confident in the angles and proportions, slightly.

10/5/17 – Exercise 4 – Statues

I’m super pleased with this drawing. Gutted about his hands – quite obvious that I need to practice this. I really concentrated on shading the cloak right – continuing to explore and grasp directional shading. I did the face second to last (before the hands) and I was annoyed that I somehow managed to shade the face in a completely different style to the cloak. I think because it is a lot more delicate and such an important part to the figure I was apprehensive in ruining it, working to hard to quickly. I managed to build on the tone and features of the face to which it then finally harmonised with the rest of the drawing. However, saying that I really like the way I approached shading and it reminds me of the type of marks of Giacometti (who’s exhibition I’m seeing this weekend with another OCA student).

I wanted to demonstrate and keep demonstrating how my technical drawing skills have improved but also want to keep experimenting and exploring with drawing. I will/want to complete at least one more drawing – focusing on the figure (not a cloak). I have taken aspects of the instructions in the exercise to then complete some drawings in that style.
focus on negative shapes
silhouette for basic outline shape
think of various angles
draw simply with tone and not line at all
So I need to draw one of these this weekend. This week I have also completed a mind map of ideas for my final assignment piece so I’m hoping to start that this weekend.
draw another statue – using one with ink
start assignment piece
update blog with recent journal entries.

Sunday 14/5/17

So I started my second statue drawing today. I approached the drawing by marking in the black/darkest parts of the statue and creating a form of the statue simply by using tone. It started out well and I began with ink.
However at the weekend I had gone to the Giacometti exhibition and the Tate Modern Bankside Gallery again. At the Bankside Gallery there was an artist who was there to talk about her work. She had sketchbooks along with etchings and other works. We chatted for a while and I asked her a few questions. Her subject matter is mainly trees but she also completes landscapes drawings. A lot of her sketches were mainly silhouettes. It looked like they had been done in charcoal but she said she completes them in oil pastel to get mainly a really strong black.
Going back to the exercise drawing I thought that maybe using oil pastel would be a good choice for me to get a striking black tone. So after I had completed the drawing in black ink, I then decided to experiment with oil pastel. I was so keen to not use line and simply use tone but my form and proportion of the figure was completely off, I could especially not get the face right – which was really annoying me. At the Giacometti exhibition I noticed a lot of his drawings were full of mad lines and marks filling the entire figure. I tried and tried to re-draw the figure to get the correct proportions – which ended up being similar to Giacometti’s style – but it was no good. So I decided o draw in pencil first to manage the proportions of the figure/statue appropriately. I was so glad I did this and gave it another go. I then covered any traces of ‘lines’ and simply worked with tone, using black and white oil pastel. It was interesting to see the comparison between the two drawings. But also how I can now feel confident to improve my drawings, and I can see how I am improving and I’m so pleased I can now realise what to look out for when observing and relating that to my drawing action.


Figure 1. Powell, A. (2017) Gandhi Statue [Photograph] In: Possession of: Powell, A: London

Figure 2. Powell, A. (2017) Statue 2 [Photograph] In: Possession of: Powell, A: London

7/5/17 – Exercise 3: a limited palette study

I have tried to vary scale by adding extra drawings. I think the drawing has a sense of humour associated with it – something I wasn’t planning on doing – but this was something my tutor picked up on with my assignment 2 piece. I’m a bit disappointed it doesn’t look very good – perhaps I need more layers? Think I might experiment with this idea to take the drawing further and I will be linking current ideas and themes for my work in this part of the unit.


Maybe have something going on in the foreground and background? But I have realised that I cant really draw over what I have done now (as I put much too pressure on the colours when drawing) – maybe I can add the foreground & background with layers of tracing paper?

I also realised that the larger images/drawings need to be in the foreground and smaller in the background, which means I cant layer anything in front of what i’ve already done as its too big! So I decided to add extra paper to my sketchbook to create space for background drawings.


So I added the layered images after colouring the main drawings. I think my understanding of using coloured pencils has widened – if I’ve learnt nothing else from this exercise. Which I suppose was kind of the point. I learnt how to layer the colours but also how to create tone and depth in the drawing. I was quite pleased with a lot of the smaller images in relation to my colour understanding.

I added in shades of normal HB pencil to create darker tones – which I know is adding in an extra colour..?!?!

I’ve added all the extra drawings now. I’m still not pleased with it but I feel like I could carry on forever and still not be happy – I think I need to move on now.


Preliminary drawings and ideas for exercise – ‘study of townscape using line’

1st sketch – varying scale and working on perspective, line and mixing different aspects of the high street together.

Notes & reflections on drawings & the exercise notes – pencil drawings 5/5/17

Mood – the mood is gloomy. I find the high street quite an ‘alien’ place as we haven’t lived here long so it doesn’t quite feel like home yet – although I do really love where I live. I have really focused on getting the angles of the lines correct which then meant my perspective was correct (even though i’m still not amazing – I have learnt so much and I am finally applying this learning to my work. I was mainly taught these skills from just one life drawing lesson – and that one life drawing lesson I attended has completely change how I approach drawing – its AMAZING!  – I’ve never actually been taught HOW to draw and its really opened my eyes to the drawing and observation world).

It was a dark cloudy afternoon at work when I went out and took the pictures. I think the highs street seems quite ‘boring’ which is something in contrast to how I have been working and layering my drawings so far. I think the way I have taken the photographs creates a more inspiring and creative way to draw a townscape. I’ve really enjoyed working with this idea as it has also enabled me to play around with scale which is another aspect of the work I have been doing.

I’m really pleased with the lines and angles and ‘correct’ measurements I have drawn. These are some of the first drawings I have been pleased to show. I worked hard on perfecting the angles, measuring them with my pencil as the drawing progressed. They are just simple sketches but I took my time over them. However I did feel very precious over them as I had spent a long time correcting them which meant I hadn’t really experimented much with other media.


Not really sure what the exercise is asking in regards to the final drawing?!? But I wanted to practice drawing precisely and I feel i’ve really worked hard in accomplishing that. It says to complete the study in black pen. Do I draw again in black ink?

Rather than just simply layering the drawings try and formulate some sense of depth and perspective for the townscape – linking in Julie Mehretu but also finding the focus point for the drawing.

Julie Mehretu seems have a centre point/focus point in her drawings. The exercise information said to find a centre point. Having a look at the example of the students work for the exercise in the OCA book, I don’t feel she considered a centre point for her drawing, which was something that was concerning me for my final drawing.

I am now writing this after my drawing is complete so I would like to think about editing this drawing to link in clearer with Julie Mehretu’s work!

So for the final drawing I traced all my preliminary drawings and then used ‘carbon paper’ to place them all together in my A2 sketchpad. I was really pleased how it turned out. I thought of the drawings like photo joiners and tried to join each one with the next. I tried to position the drawings in a way where there were parts of the paper not covered and the drawing not dominating the paper too much. I wanted to create calmer parts to the drawing than others, also to gauge some sort of order & ‘journey’ of the town. I really liked the blue that the carbon paper had left and felt like it really linked in with a ‘blue print’ from an architectural sketch. However, I noted that the exercises had to be in black ink or pen so I went over the lines in black fine liner. (I wish I hadn’t as i think it was a lot more striking as a piece in the blue). I’m really pleased with the overall effect however I feel very precious over it and not sure whether to add ink to the pice – i might do some quick experiments on the drawing in my sketchbook. I’m also not sure if it needs more layers and if the blank part work!?! I’m rather interesting in adding some blocks of cool into the piece like I did for the large scale drawing with layered cellophane.



Figure 1. Mehretu, J. (2013) Kabul [Graphite and acrylic on linen] At: (Accessed on 28 December 2017)

Figure 2. Mehretu, J. (2012) Mogamma: Part 1 [ink and acrylic on canvas] At: (Accessed on 28 December 2017)

Figure 3. Mehretu, J. (2011) Aether (Venice) [ink and acrylic on canvas] At: (Accessed on 28 December 2017)

Figure 4. Mehretu, J. (2007) Black City [ink and acrylic on canvas] At: (Accessed on 28 December 2017)

iPad drawings 

When I haven’t had my sketchbook on me I decided to experiment with iPad drawings. I have noticed  it is becoming quite popular with artists. The most recent change has been with the unconventional recent work of David Hockney and his exhibitions containing iPad drawings. Here are some doodles/photo collaged drawings I completed. 

The above photo contains the idea of organic and manmade material. Something that is underlining my work so far.  


Practicing measuring whilst drawing

I’ve been drawing still life set ups to practice the relationship of space between objects and lines in relation to each other, and also correctly capturing the size and shape of the  objects against one another. This was brought up in my first life drawing session that I had where I was advised to take my time in measuring  out parts of the body to ensure the correct perspective is reflected in the drawing, as opposed to rushing in to expressive drawing. Once I have learnt the basic skills then I can draw with more expressive techniques. I feel that I have come a long way on this course and every time I draw I am constantly asking myself is that object or otherwise in relation to that line, are they the same height, do they have the same perspective? All of these things I wouldn’t have questioned about the process of my drawings before and even though I may still not be the perfect artist when it comes to drawing, by the end of the course I have still learnt and will carry these skills to continuously question when drawing.

Thoughts whilst on the train – 4/5/17

First of all I have just read a student email which mentioned a tutor had asked a student to look at another individual’s work. The reason for this is that she had a very personal and interesting link to her research. I had to look at the blog and it was very interesting to read. It made me think about my previous art work, prior to starting my degree at the OCA, which had been very reflective and related to personal issues. I feel however that my current work has lacked this and this used to be my ‘forte’, my complete and utter reason to work was to relate it to personal experiences. Although I miss this and wish I could combine it again I find it difficult to relate ideas to this unit so far. I am enjoying carrying through a theme in the work and for the moment that is what I have decided to focus on and explore.