Reflecting on feedback from assignment 3

I started to respond to my tutor feedback from assignment 3, during my completion of assignment 4 but due to time constraints I had to put it to one side and complete assignment 4 to meet my deadline. My assignment 4 is now with my tutor, so I have been able to get a bit of time together to fully respond to my tutor feedback for assignment 3.

During the small amount of time I had during assignment 4, I focused on looking at the artist’s my tutor had suggested to help inform my work and ideas for assignment 4. The artists were: Cy Twombly, Oliver Zwink, Jackson Pollock and Julie Mehretu. I would say that I had ‘dipped my toe’ into Zwink because until now (now that I have finished my assignment 3 feedback actions) I didn’t realise quite how much it was going to impact my work. I tried to understand Twombly in much more detail. I was very interested in understanding gestural drawing and using this in my work. This led me to discover Joan Mitchell’s work, who really impacted on my ideas for assignment 4. Later on in this reflection process I look into Julie Mehretu in more detail underpinning her practice. Now that I have time to reflect properly I will respond to other tutor recommendations that I was not able to complete earlier on in the course. Further points for assignment 3 are; artist’s – Xavier Grau and Henry Moore, drawing from Kaupelis, full hazard referencing all my sources, expanding my critical and analytical reflection, continue to use photoshop, consider less is more approach in your work.

My tutor’s overall comments were fairly positive although I couldn’t help but feel slightly deflated at the amount she suggested I look at or into. I know this is only to better myself but It’s slightly disheartening to see how much I still need to work on. However she noted that ‘it is clear you have made good progress since Assignment 2’ which made me feel I was making progress regardless of what I still needed to work on. During this assignment I was trying to keep my momentum going so I took any opportunity to draw, i.e. drawing on the train to work, which was something my tutor managed to see evidence of and wrote that ‘your studies are now working in synergy’.

It is noted in my feedback that I have been continuing to reflect on my work during research and the exercises which is building on my confidence and decision making. I am starting to reflect critically and analytically which is affirming my drawing qualities and strengths, alongside recognising what needs improvement and development.

There is a developing and embedding of a good sense of experimentation.  A sense of risk-taking and playing with media and process, are being combined with reflection, analysis and setting some aims for yourself. 

A diverse range of media and process evident incl: oil pastel, charcoal, fine-liner, hand / digital collage and ipad drawings.  These have provided a sense of momentum, increased motivation, aided your mark-making and visual language.

I have tried to be more experimental and due to this I have started to enjoy the process a lot more which is obviously evident in my physical work and not just in my written reflections.

Feedback on assignment:

I am keen to develop my understanding of ‘non-traditional composition’ drawing and took a real interest in developing my knowledge of this during assignment 4. I plan to take this learning forward with me for assignment 5. I have continued to take ideas forward of layering and mark making, introducing space since I have reflected on my assignment and changed it accordingly.

My main reason that I decided to rethink my assignment 3 piece was due to this comment from my tutor – There is a sense that some of your prep and sketchbook works, work more successfully as a whole (than the finished outcome).  It is important that you took the risk to scale -up, now think  about what you learned from this and review your approach to the assignment?  I think scaling-up from smaller drawings takes practice and more planning.  Ask yourself how you planned, organised and composed the various sheets of paper to create the sense of ‘movement’ you wanted? Throughout my earlier studies, A level, foundation diploma, my coursework and prep work has always been stronger and more evident in experimental approaches rather than my final outcome. Whilst I was re-considering my assignment 3 piece , if I’m honest, there was no real love for the piece, I felt no connection to the piece and I think that is the reason it lacked planning and practice. I didn’t spend a great deal of time planning and went with the idea I had, although this is how I normally go with an idea, I felt pressured to incorporate so many different ideas into the piece that it was all lost in un-planned chaos. My revised assignment piece, although I feel it is chaotic, it contains a sense of energy and movement that I was so keen to portray in my other piece but was just completely lost amongst other ideas.

The next point my tutor makes is some parts of the drawing working better than others. I struggled to see this as to me, I felt completely overwhelmed by the whole piece that I couldn’t quite pick up on the smaller details, which is exactly what I think my tutor was trying to say. There are areas of the drawing that work better than others.  Where you have retained an interest and juxtaposition in differing qualities of surface: matt marks against shiny,  dense, velvet smudges against mid-grey grid.  The top left-hand side works better due to these qualities and lay-out.  Review the drawing as a whole and ask yourself which areas work and which don’t work so well….why and how is this? I recommend that you carefully take each piece apart and reposition.  Play around with the placement / compositione.g: rather than a horizontal panoramic, try a central grouping with a couple of sheets either side.  Photograph your try-outs. My tutor recommended I carefully take apart each section of the drawing and play around with composition. I tried this and was completely lost of how to take this point further, which was then when I took the plunge to change the assignment piece altogether and I’m so glad I did. (please see full process of assignment 3 piece edited below)


My tutor mentions that I am ‘exploring a breadth of self-initiated media and process’ of which she says to continue as I progress through each assignment. This comment is received with a sigh of relief as I think I struggle to decide whether to stick closely to the exercise instructions or explore in a way that I feel will benefit my own practice and to continue to progress this way. I am starting to learn to take the exercises as a starting point but ultimately I should draw how I perceive the exercises rather that worrying if I am doing the ‘right thing’. Sadly, I think I lost this momentum slightly during completing my assignment 4.

To name a few examples of interest; coloured pencil ‘joiners’ where you experiment with perspective, tone, cross-hatch, carbon paper drawing of perspective, dense and ghost-like tonal values.  Use of Photoshop and collaging of photographs to create layering of different architectural elements.  A number of good,  methods of playing around with composition, shifting the viewer’s point of focus and creating a sense of dynamic movement.  Remember these methods and processes for future preparatory and final outcomes.  

I’m happy that my tutor noticed all of these aspects of my experimentation and what interested her most. I was then keen to explore these aspects and take them forward when ‘re-doing/re-thinking’ my assignment piece (see response/reflection above).


Research sources included both primary and secondary: not consistently Harvard referenced.  To evidence good practice you need to use academic referencing for all your research.  (see Pointers) I need to make sure that I consistently Harvard reference all my sources. Maybe to make sure this is done as soon as I find some information that may be useful, I Harvard reference it, that way nothing will be missed.

Be careful when using terms or phrases you are unfamiliar with- checking both the spelling and meaning.  For example in the comparison between Dean and Seurat you write:

‘Dean ……… creating an emphirical essence whereas Seurat’s drawing is quite ‘messy’ and full of movement.’  If you mean empirical this refers to experience and knowledge being acquired through observation and experimentation.  (see Pointers). I will track this part of writing down to edit appropriately.

Learning logs or blogs/critical essays:

Be careful not to waste time transferring aspects of your journal, other books etc to your blog. Try and limit the number of files, journals etc.  Practice being concise in relation to your research material- this will help you to focus and hone down what is of use and most purposeful to your development. For assignment 4 I took this on board and used my written journal more extensively than my online blog. However I think on reflection and looking at my blog, as I sent off my assignment 4 coursework, it was very limited in reflection and analysis and I would like to make it more interesting but concise in information about the exercises and my critical reflection – maybe pin pointing parts in my journal and then write up more of a conclusion on my blog.

I need to make sure that when I am analysing artists work I need to make useful connections of how their work will inform my drawings, perhaps bullet point actions I will take forward. I also need to expand on my vocabulary when reflecting on my work and others. I need to be constructive and analytical. This is something I really tried to work on during assignment 4 and made a conscious effort not to repeat phrases. My reflection needs to be more extensive and continue to ask questions ‘why?’ does it make you feel like this? or why does it work? what makes it work? etc. I feel I answer these questions, but only, simply to answer them rather than the reflecting fully in a way that will help inform my next piece of work.

Suggested reading/viewing:

  • Cy Twombly (reflected on in part 4 sketchbook)
  • Xavier Grau
  • Oliver Zwink (reflected on in part 4 sketchbook)
  • Julie Meehretu – Jackson Pollock, Joan Mitchell (reflected on in part 4 sketchbook)
  • Carry on working through Kaupelis

Assignment piece edited – thoughts through the process and reflections:

Before I had done anything to the piece I considered it quite striking. The darkness of the piece would catch my attention but the closer you get to the drawing there wasn’t much detail. There wasn’t any interesting aspects to look at. I tried to overcome this problem with the use of mark making from close up’s of organic material but, as my tutor mentioned, I don’t think this aspect of the piece was planned enough and on the actual drawings, the detail looks quite scruffy and considered rather childish. Rather than combine city and rural/organic, I decide to take my time over detail and layer drawings of the city – taking an idea further.

Wednesday 26th July

Today I started with introducing a bit of sculpture to my assignment 3 work – using links to Oliver Zwink and also inspiration from something that I had seen in a shop. I have been using kebab sticks and a glue gun to put together a sculpture to form shapes and angles of which imitate my drawings.

I am overlapping the kebab sticks creating a sense of confusion and a disjointed scene. This process is helping inform other ways of how I can see my drawing develop into something different, the more I add to the sculpture.

I was thinking of cutting the sticks down, to make it a neat and controlled, snipping the ‘sticky out’ edges but I quite like how this adds to the jumbled idea of a city. My tutor recommended to take apart my assignment piece and play around with the composition. I considered and discussed this option with my boyfriend of which I said ‘but its meant to be like this. There is a flow and your eye travels through/across the piece’ and then I thought maybe that is what my tutor is trying to say not to do. Consider the idea of picture making at a deeper level and the idea I am trying to convey in regards to movement, confusion etc. The sculpture I am creating plays with this idea in response to


 composition having to make sense, having to form a pattern or a story as you read from left to right.

– overlapping lines

  • underneath/on top/intertwined
  • i’m noticing that I am not being as ‘precious’ about the lines I am making – i am putting them together randomly but with a subconscious effort to take ‘the lines further’

Whilst forming this sculpture I was learning and understanding how I was putting each part together. I think this has led me to use these skills and ideas to improve my assignment piece and perhaps ‘let go’ a little more and enjoy the process, see what happens at the end. Something I had noted about what my tutor said was to play around with composition. I was apprehensive to take apart my assignment piece but I think it is important to create a more relaxed approach which I feel I have done with my sculpture. Even thought the kebab stick sculpture does look like buildings it has informed a process of how to use angles and lines differently.


I decided that my assignment piece was motionless. There wasn’t any real sense of movement that I was desperate to portray. There is no emotion, no feeling, its bland. I feel this is because the various aspects of the piece are competing with each other. The charcoal is too heavy and dominates the piece too much which then means my pencil drawings are lost and actually look like they are just stuck on, to simply try and get some drawing in there! I wanted the clouds to create a dramatic effect and emphasise the movement in the piece but that idea is completely lost, perhaps there is just too much going on without having enough details to provide interest to the viewer.

On reflection, considering the shiny surface of the pencil on charcoal I had an idea bout reflection and how to add to the chaos. Or do I want to come away from that chaotic scene?

From assignment 4 I developed a strong connection and willingness to understand gestural drawing. Recently I took a walk around the city whilst making mental notes of how the city was making me feel. I was walking through a narrow street with tall high-rise buildings either side. I felt intimidated by this scene, it had a very eery feel to it. I am keen take this idea further in relation to introducing and focusing on shapes, sculpture (Zwink).

I believe trying to introduce aspects of rural landscape was rather rushed in trying to juxtapose the 2 settings rather than trying to get to grips and details from one scene – cityscape. Adding in my own reaction to the city and homing in on a more developed thinking process, I am hoping it will be more successful. My aim now is to use those experiences and feelings (learnt form gestural drawing) to aid my refection process and decision making in changing my assignment piece.

Including and taking forward from aspects of assignment piece:

  • scale
  • shape
  • sculpture. Theres no depth to my piece – can I create this through sculpture?
  • emotion
  • transparency
  • layers

A while ago I bought a book full of maps of London. I wondered if this could be a new surface to draw upon. I experimented with this idea a little, whilst completing part 4. I wanted to use my sculpture and considered how I could incorporate this into my piece. I ended up using white acrylic to cover some of the chaotic map scene of the maps, which I planned to do a light wash but ended up being a very heavy application of paint. However I went with it and tried to take away some of the paint with material and my fingers. Then I wanted to use my sculpture to create lines of my piece. I placed my sculpture down and spray painted on top to uncover the lines left by the sculpture. I was then completely stuck in how I was going to use this sculpture in my work.

I decided to be brave and took drastic action to better my assignment piece. I completely agree with my tutor and felt that the piece was rushed and I wanted to incorporate the new artists my tutor recommended I look at from my feedback. I cut up my assignment drawing. I took my tutor’s advice about ‘editing’ parts out and continuing to be selective with my own work. It was quite interesting as in some parts of the drawing, it was difficult to see where one building began and the other ended, so I found myself cutting up shapes rather than buildings, which in itself was the first step in mixing the composition up. Immediately I felt this was so much better. Firstly I like the idea of a collage, and the buildings were placed together but they didn’t necessarily fit together, so I was able to get my head out of it having to be in order. Secondly the white surface really stood out against the dark drawings but they work in harmony – when you are confronted with the blank white space to then move your eyes over to the dark drawings and visa versa.

Once I had stuck these drawings down I decided to turn to photoshop for some inspiration to help with some decision making in regards to layering gestural marks and introducing colour. Not sure about the layered kebab sticks although I feel it adds further detail and a relief effect that the drawing is not so flat. I took some photos when considering how I could use the sculpture with my drawings but I decided to use the sculpture experiment as way of helping me to think differently in regards to capturing shape and line in my drawing in a gestural, free flowing way – to go with the process.

Thoughts whilst completing these experiments:

  • should I cover all the white?
  • should I cover some of the white?
  • when drawing the gestural line it was hard to control on the computer which made me consider perhaps drawing with my left hand in my piece to create a more unpredictable line – link to the workshop I attended.
  • how do I create the gestural line? – draw feelings as I walk through the city. I’m liking the lines and colours but think the drawn original images look like they are literally stuck on and need to be integrated into a new piece?!?! the new surface.

Further experiments:

Introduce colour by adding shapes filling in the gaps (link to Zwink’s work). I am keen to keep with the collage idea and layering of coloured card throughout the piece. Collaging this way has allowed me to make the geometric shapes of the city more apparent. I am starting to visually see and understand what my tutor meant by planning more, so far I’m really glad I re-did the piece. I was considering to introduce shadows to make the drawing look more 3D but referring to mehretu’s work, she uses perspective to gain a sense of depth in her drawings so this is what I plan to do with my layered drawings.

The piece looks so much more animated – it talks!!!! This is what I wanted to convey by movement!

My next step was to combine my ideas of transparency into the piece. I decided to pay closer observation to Mehretu’s drawings and did a small pastiche so I would understand her work on a deeper level and see how I could use her processes in my work. I discovered that there was a lot more to Mehretu’s work in regards to technique and skill that I first thought. Copying another artists work really uncovers a lot more by just looking at it. I noticed how the lines connected with each other, how she created depth and questioned how was I going to use depth in this way with my own images. By doing this process I realised her drawings were a lot more intricately put together. I’ve really enjoyed getting to grips drawing this way and I think my head and hand are finally starting to work together in harmony.

Once I was happy with this process I then put together several pieces of tracing paper to complete a larger scale overlay which was to be layered on the base of the work. I combined aspects and took inspiration from Mehretu’s work, working with my own imagery of cityscape.

The piece was completed with collaged images and paper (maps, card and my own drawings), fine liner, felt tip pen and coloured pencil.

Overall I’m really pleased with the energy in this piece, I think it portrays the madness of city life and I have been able to include my own themes/ideas of, transparency, colour, collage, shape and line. I love that I have been able to introduce colour in a slightly more abstracted way, using shape, layers and collage. I wonder if there could be even more to the piece. If some of the shapes were extended beyond the shape of a rectangle, if all of the white could be covered, if there could be more drawing on the tracing paper? I wonder how much I could push this piece…IMG_9835

(please see sketchbook for artists related to this post)


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