Formative Feedback & Response

Formative Feedback & Response

Overall I am pleased with the feedback I have received for part 1, I have been so eager to continue and improve on what I have already learnt I had forgotten to write up my response.

Below is my formative feedback. My response will be in amber. 

Overall Comments

Feedback based on blog

Very constructive way of teaching yourself drawing skills, while at the same time thinking of expression and developing a more personal way of drawing. Good start Naomi.


Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Trainers, baby muslin, Jane Austen…. This promised an interesting mix and says quite a bit about your personality. So despite the restrictions of this course, creativity is demonstrated here in your choice of objects and their relationships to each other. I thought the sliced off section (accidental) of your wedding photo could have found its way into the drawing as quite enigmatic! – I had debated doing this but was very conscious of time. Next time I will try and go more with my gut feeling. 

Your deliberate slicing  (“pizza cutting”) approach works well.


Compositionally and overall I sense that there is too much empty space in relation to the exciting busyness of the bottom section. If you look at your drawing upside down you can perhaps detect this yourself? – Totally agree, again I had debated whether or not I was going to level out the density of tone, but I wanted to keep the tanned toned paper colour, looking back I know it’s too much and would add more depth into my negative space. 

(When you document your work zoom right on to the paper and do not photograph the background setting.  Best to photograph work straight on to avoid perspectival distortion, or place it on the ground and photograph elevated from a chair). I had never even thought of this! but of course I will focus on just my work for the photos. 

There are many things I find attractive about above assignment study –I like it better upside down. The veiling in the empty area contrasts with the floral pattern and the busy dark textures of shoe and watch.

I used the crop tool to see how the balance works out – your drawing has many merits but the black and white contrast is so strong in one area, it is hard for the lighter lines to be seen and heard.

Often it is better to let light drawing be by itself – see below interim stage of gravy boat and mug drawing – a beautiful light contour drawing. And when you work with strong contrasts, these need to be balanced by more confident and louder line work to keep the overall contrast in check. – I did find myself being ‘safe’ and not confident enough to take my shading and depth that little further. I will try to be more confident in my line making and hopefully be able to improve my future work. 

Cropped upside down version – I find this works surprisingly well. Mirror imaging creates a stronger balance but this does not fully off set the dissonance between two different stylistic approaches – one sensitive and light, the other based on strong graphic pattern and contrast.

Projects and Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Temporary drawings
here you produced some interesting photo documentation – and I felt at times that the accidental or found elements created drawings more exciting than the actions you carried out – the bright green colour of the moss in the cracks between the pavement, the top of wellingtons in a nice pinkish colour set off as round form against emerald green moss and neutral grey of the pavement – quite painterly. 


1 Feeling and Expression:

Good comments here on emotions, for example how anger becomes communicated through destructive gesture and how you link this with the damage anger can cause in interpersonal relationships. Calm feelings can be easier assimilated if you listen to calming music or even try some meditation or Yoga exercises, promoting deep breathing. Joy – and the others, the colour aspect does not show very well on the blog- perhaps time to think about stronger colours – wax crayons, felt tip pens and even wet application (brush paint)? Anxiety – I like this page with the clusters of mazes as you communicate a knot in someone’s stomach very well. – I did really struggle with the Calm and Joy pages and I think this was because I wasn’t quite immersed into those emotions. I’ve learnt that emotion has a huge impact upon what you are drawing and continue to remember this as I go throughout this course. 

Good to hear you say that this experimental drawing exercise has made you develop a testing and experimental relationship with a wider range of drawing media. This translates even better into exercise 2 where you explore textures through a variety of media and follow this up with frottage. Check out Max Ernst and Anna Amadio.


2 Groups of objects: this more analytical drawing exercise intends to make you think about organisation of space, and how objects occlude each other (perspective aspects).  I would be careful with the rendering of type faces, as the overall objective in this exercise is about groups, overlaps, and overall placing of objects = composition – so go for the bigger picture here, but let go of detail which is deflecting attention  (pattern, texture and print/ typeface are additional hurdles you can handle once you have mastered composition and perspective). – I did struggle to let go of the details, but I now do think more carefully of composition and layout. 

Biscuit tin and taps bowl: this is indeed successful on many levels; you managed to overcome the dislike of charcoal and created a drawing on a large scale (A1?) – A2. This made the everyday objects appear monumental and dramatic. Your approach to reverse the process of looking and drawing starting with shadows and then working into mid-tone shows off your analytical and reflective thinking well. You could rethink the ground treatment – there might be alternatives, perhaps by working on a coloured buff paper or thinking of other textures or a more solid fill  (you can rub in charcoal with a finger and thereby create a very smooth mid tone – paper with a bit of texture or tooth are more suitable for this).  I agree, I could have spent more time on the ground. 


Exercise 3 – the bowl – here I think you have concentrated too much on line and not built enough on the success of exercise 2. Although good to see that you have tested a range of media. First of all think about placing a single object like a bowl – how can it occupy the space of the paper, what shapes will be left (negative spaces) outside its boundaries, what impact does the shadow of the bowl have on the unoccupied space? Then squinting your eyes to work out highlights and deepest shadow tonal areas. Close one eye. Use a single light source. Work on toned papers (grey, buff or black even) to make you reverse above exercise – so you find the highest point of light and apply that with white crayon or pastel, reverse to sparing out white paper, or using an eraser to carve out the highlight in charcoal for example.


Shadows and reflected light: gravy boat and ceramic mug.  Intuitively you placed these two objects very confidently on the paper and the relationship between negative and positive space is dynamic and exciting – partially due to the organic flow (quite arabesque) of the gravy boat (a good choice of object). I like the mug being cut off at the handle – this slicing off device can be used very well to create more dynamic compositions. Also consider going back into your two most successful drawings on the computer using the crop tool to zoom right into the objects. With the gravy boat this could be quite exciting!


This drawing was stronger when you did not include the shaded tabletop:


Shadows here could contribute to helping to deal with the negative space further, but not a uniformly shaded ground. Below crop exercise (on computer) makes one aware of the space between mug and gravy boat – the way its lip almost touches the rim of the mug, and so the objects begin to perform interpersonal relationships, are characters! – I do struggle with negative space and as a result I feel like I end up rushing this and not make it refined enough, meaning that it ends up looking fairly sketchy and can ruin the rest of the drawing. I am looking forward to working on this in part 2. 


Learning Logs / Research Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

Kaupellis is no doubt inspirational guidance. Line has always been associated with drawing, yet that might make one underestimate the importance of tone. Artists who use primarily tone are George Seurat, Odilon Redon and Dan Beudean. In exercise 3 you make reference to Kaupellis speaking about negative space and tone. This is important to consider.


With your sensitive researching of Odilon Redon’s drawing you observed the space in between two objects (the trees). Your closing remarks are apt:

“Redon used his imagination and feeling to complete his works, you can see that each line and shading he puts into place is done with emotion.”


You used quotation; it would be useful if you could add the source of your research in Harvard referencing style. There is guidance in the resource section of OCA student website on referencing.  You provided a list of sources at end of the research section – excellent! Now reformat this into Harvard. You should be able to download the PDF via the student website – see if this hyperlink takes you there directly once signed in? – I have looked at this and have rectified this for part 2.


I have found your log articulate. You communicate well analytical points and interpretive aspects.


Suggested reading/viewing


Max Ernst: frottage – a master of using textures found collaged to create surreal enigmatic drawing spaces.

Anna Amadio a contemporary approach to frottage with colour and going beyond surrealism or childlike innocence.

Dan Beudean (Vitamin D2 for example or Zorzini Gallery)

George Seurat’s drawings (not his paintings!)

Pointer for the next assignment

  • For assignment 2 I would like to see how you use your sketchbooks  – please enclose in the post with a selection of projects work and assignment developmental studies and final outcomes (aim for more than one final piece – it will be less pressurized if you work on two or three final studies and then let’s discuss which of theses seems most successful?) – Definitely need to do more sketchbook work – have started a second, more personal almost a doodle sketchbook to help loosen up and get my imagination flowing. 



Part 1 & Assessment 1 Conclusion

Part 1 & Assessment 1 Conclusion

After reading the assessment criteria again I feel I should go through each section and discuss what I felt to have been my strengths and weaknesses throughout this first assignment.

Demonstration of technical and visual skill – Throughout this first assessment I have tried to stretch my comfort zone and use materials that I have never used before. I enjoyed exploring the new techniques and improving old ones. I believe I have made improvements with charcoal, however I feel that many if not all the mediums I used still need great practice and use to perfect and understand each of their strengths and weaknesses. I have learnt to look at objects differently in my daily life which will help improve my composition.

Whilst researching Redon, I noticed how he was able to seamlessly mix his medias without disrupting from the overall feel of his work. I attempted to capture this in my fragments and gain a fluidity between each medium to help the picture flow.

Quality of Outcome – feel I have struggled with this as I have not always been able to be direct with my communication, yet this first section gives great examples of questions that I should constantly ask myself throughout my work which will help improve, how and what I am trying to say.

Demonstration of creativity – During the exercises I feel I very much stuck to the brief and did what was asked of me. I did not experiment or use my sketchbook as often as I feel I should have. I will hope to use my sketchbook more regularly and be more experimental with ideas so that I can hopefully access more imagination and creativity.

The assignment I let myself have a bit of freedom – the 8 fragments were inspired by Picasso’s cubism movement of giving a new view point of reality. As I split my page I noticed that it gave a shattered glass effect which gives a more impressionist view – although the items represent me there is something slightly distorted as though you can’t quite grasp everything about the artist from the drawing and hopefully want to learn more. As I studied Redon throughout this course I learnt he used symbolism to represent his meanings. I wanted to try and incorporate this into my final piece. I had decided to leave the negative areas blank as I wanted the focus to be on the composition of my objects and as a result the background photo was removed – but the reason I chose 8 sections was to try and symbolize the 8 years that I have been married. To look at this you wouldn’t know but I enjoyed putting this hidden meaning into my creation.

Context Reflection – I have struggled with art terminology when it comes to reflect upon my work. I appreciated the opportunity to research other artists and many techniques. I do feel like my sketchbook this has been very minimal and I need to encourage myself to do more research. I have found the learning log enjoyable as its a good opportunity to reflect upon the work I have done, however I feel that in order to improve this i need to increase the time in which I do my research.

I have relished this first opportunity to ‘dip my toe’ and have gained a greater desire to continue and improve myself.

Shadows and reflected light

Shadows and reflected light


I chose two objects, a stainless steel gravy boat and ceramic mug. I thought I’d continue the theme of kitchen items throughout the exercises even though this was started subconsciously.


A2 cartridge paper – willows charcoal stick

I started my quickly sketching the rough outline of the two objects. I tried to begin with the mid tone of the gravy boat, however the reflection of the wooden table was creating a challenge to show the curvature and depth of the boat so I began to add lines and shading rather hesitantly.


Despite the challenges created by the gravy boat I continued and thought more carefully about where I could see the shadows and reflections that were reflected upon the surface. I quite like the warped reflection of the mug on the surface and think it adds one of the best ways of demonstrating depth to the shiny surface.

Surprisingly I found the mug more difficult to shade, looking back I realised that I had made the mid tones too dark and whilst trying to correct this I struggled to include highlights or great depth to the surface of the mug.


Final Piece

I used a putty rubber to create some of the highlights in the mug, however because of my heavy hand I had a difficult time with this. I spend quite a lot of time adding and erasing charcoal and I never quite was able to get it to a place I was happy with it, so I made a judgement call and decided to stop before I entirely ruined it. I then added in the surface of the table. I feel this helped ever so slightly with the many mistakes I had made. I’m not happy with the shading of the object shadows as I seem to have made them too separate and they don’t actually connect.

Overall I found this exercise a challenge. I had a little more confidence using the materials that I chose, however I can see that in places I could have been less conservative with my marking whilst in others I could have taken more time and thought more carefully where I was shading. I have noticed that I don’t always take the to really think how I will begin a project and jump right in. Going into the assessment I will remember to use my time more wisely, slow down and really look at what and where I would like to place my marks. I hope to be able to use lines and texture like Odilon Redon to show my objects as well as convey a sense of how I feel about them.

Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon was starting his career when ‘impressionism’ was newly established throughout the world of art, however Redon did not conform to this, he believed it was still too determined by the nature of what was seen. Redon enjoyed drawing and painting within the movement known as ‘symbolism’, where things drawn within in his art was symbolic in meaning.


Figure 1 – Odilon Redon – Two Trees, 1875. Charcoal on paper – image 49.5 x 63.5cm

Redon worked majorly in charcoal and etching. He very rarely if ever used colour in his art as he liked to give a dream state feel to his work and it is debated even to this present day that we do not dream in colour but in black and white. It wasn’t until the 1890s that Redon began to experiment with colour and paint which then dominated his pieces for the rest of his career.

This charcoal drawing above – ‘Two Trees’ is a great example of this dream like state he used to convey in his drawings. He uses large amounts of shading to give this work a darker, mysterious yet intriguing feel overall. He demonstrates great technique in the finer areas, such as the shrubs on the ground and on the trees. By using a huge range of tones to his lines his conveys the rough texture of the bark that you can almost feel. Although this work in named two trees my eyes are automatically drawn between the trees and gives me a sense of wonder of what lies beyond what we can see. He is able to succeed in this by his shading and use of textures that draws the eye in and engages the brain to imagine.


Figure 2 – Odilon Redon – Fear, 1866. Etching – sheet, 25.4 x 32.6cm image, 11.2 x 20cm

Although a different medium to the ‘Two trees’, ‘Fear’ is just as striking. he manges to uses harsh lines to convey a very bleak and hostile environment before the rider. His use of the angles, and dark lines he uses to show the choppy sharp shapes of the landscape does make the viewer feel unease and possibly fear of what else lies ahead.


Figure 3 – Odilon Redon – Melancholy, 1876 – charcoals, guoache, pastels & chalk – image 36.8 x 35.7cm

‘Melancholy’ is a mixed media piece, but Redon continues to master both the shading and technique to help give you a sense of great sadness and lack of purpose the woman may be feeling.

I have chosen to look at three of Redon’s work, with each drawing he has used a different medium, he shows great skill and understanding of his tools and materials by being able to get similar effects throughout each piece. His use of lines is crucial in helping convey tone as well as a 3 dimensional perspective of three very different landscapes. Though showing great detail in his technique and understanding, there is something simple to each of his drawings. I feel this is a way for Redon to help convey what he wants to say as well as leaving enough to the imagination for the viewer to be able to relate or connect to his work. When describing his process Redon said:

 “I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.”

Redon used his imagination and feeling to complete his works, you can see that each line and shading he puts into place is done with emotion. It is hard not to see the passion he had in every stroke. Redon is a great example to look at whilst going forward with my work. He is able to get the shape of his subject as well as emotion onto the paper, with his cross-hatching ans shading that I wish to include into my process and hopefully show in my further work to come.

Creating shadows using lines and marks

Creating shadows using lines and marks

Robert Kaupelis writes, ‘there is no doubt that line is the basic element in the majority of drawings. After line, the most important drawing element is light and dark.’



In this exercise I chose a basic cereal bowl to copy in four different mediums: 5B pencil, Indian Ink & dip pen, Biro pen and ink pen. The bowl I chose was a very dark grey so in order for me to really distinguish the darkest parts I squinted my eyes and chose to just do the darkest areas using techniques such as cross-hatching, lines and the occasional scribble to give the depth and definition to the bowl. I enjoyed using these different materials, however looking back on each sketch I can see that all the lines and marks used to create the shadows were all too similar. I felt I needed to extend out of my comfort zone and try different mark techniques.


As a result I used a biro pen and experimented a little more with mark making before I moved on to the second half of this exercise. I enjoyed letting loose a little on this page and intend to extend my shading techniques that beyond lines and blending.


Upon further study of Kaupelis’ book ‘Experimental Drawing‘ he talks about negative space and how artists see the background and the subject matter as one continuous entity. I tried to add this into my drawing of three eggs. Instead of drawing the basic lines on the eggs I lightly shaded the area around the eggs.


I then restrained using basic lines to begin with and started by using marks to enhance the darkest parts of the eggs in the hopes to give them a more 3 dimensional shape. I found this exercise a little more difficult as I had no foundation line to work from, as a result I feel that I have over worked my cross-hatching and the eggs no longer look so uniform but have taken on an abstract form to represent what I had seen. I worked quickly and feel I could have slowed down my technique and thought a little more of where I was going to place my lines. Overall I enjoyed this exercise as it encouraged me to think and act outside of my comfort zone. I will continue to push myself and explore new techniques throughout future projects.


As Robert Kaupelis says at the beginning of this post finding the light and dark – the shading as it will is a fundamental part of drawing. Looking back on the last two exercises, I have come to learn the difference between mid tones and the low tones. I have spent more time looking at the shading as its own individual drawing that eventually helps make up the bigger picture. I feel that this has enhanced my drawing technique for the better so far and hope to continue to work of this and develop it more so that I am able to give a better, more realistic representation of what I am drawing.

Observing shadow using blocks of tone

Observing shadow using blocks of tone


The two items I chose again were from the kitchen, they were a biscuit tin and a tapas bowl. I chose these two items as they were both spherical in shape, however their materials, sizes and colours differ greatly and I wanted to try and experiment to see if I could convey this with just charcoal whilst drawing the eye to the shadows and light that give them their depth.


White A2 drawing paper, materials used: Pencil, willow charcoal stick

I first started with a quick sketch of the items and the using my charcoal I blocked in the darkest shadows with their rough position and shape. As you can see my subject matter was taking a break from their position (as I kept knocking the table they were on). I was quite nervous to block in the darkest sections first as I am always wanting to start light and work in darker, however once I’d blocked in the shapes I found it a good starting point to start adding in my mid tones, with the intention of leaving the highlights the colour of the paper.


As you can see in the picture above I started to add the mid tones. I noticed that as I observed the biscuit tin the low tones of it were quite curved in nature whereas the mid tones seemed more opposite and were much more vertical, so I found it quite testing to shade and smooth them together to create a continuous blending of the shape whilst maintaining the integrity of what each tone was showing me.


Final Piece – Material: willow charcoal stick

Looking at the final project I am pleased with the outcome. I feel I was able to maintain each tones integrity whilst still adding the depth to the shape of the biscuit tin. I found the lip in the tapas bowl somewhat difficult to keep changing the tones of shading on a narrow surface whilst still getting a continual curve in two directions.

The double shading created by the tapas bowl onto the biscuit tin was quite satisfying to complete as it’s such a contrast to the light colour shown by the lamp’s reflection, it didn’t start to look like a completed drawing until this was added. You can see on the lid of the tin there is a slight reflection of the lamp that I struggled to include and as a result didn’t spend too much time on it as I was worried I would spoil the picture.

I added slight marking to show my objects were stood on a pint table however I wanted the main focus to be the objects themselves so my adding of the table was light and quickly done. This was the first picture I enjoyed drawing in willow charcoal stick. Normally I have avoided this medium as I have struggled to show real control. I know I have much more work to do in order to mater drawing in charcoal but I am pleased that this exercises has given me such a confidence boost that I will hopefully continue to use charcoal for my other work as well as spend more time on perfecting the reflection of shapes that bounce off my subject matter.

Groups of Objects

Groups of Objects

Whilst reading ‘Experimental Drawing’ by Robert Kaupelis there is a chapter on organization and making things work together. I thought this chapter was very useful for this exercise as it discusses in length, how to place objects and ‘make things “work together”‘. I tried to use the information I learnt in this section and apply it into my drawing.


Sketchbook page, Material: hard graphite stick.

I chose 6 items: Cereal boxes x 2, a book, a glass, baking syrup and a bunch of oranges in a net. I tried a few positions of the objects and then roughly drew the compilation I was happy with in my sketchbook. I tried to imagine all the objects as see-through as the glass to get a sense of the relationship between the lines and how they connect. It wasn’t until I’d finished the sketch that I felt the baking syrup seemed out of place and a little too separate and that the large box was a little too 2D for my liking. I remembered that Robert Kaupelis spoke about proximity of the objects can help pull these lines together.


Final positioning.

I was really happy with the positioning I chose for my sketch, I feel the proximity of the objects knit together better and gives a bigger sense of intimacy, as though all the objects belong together.


A2 paper, Materials: HB pencil, Conte charcoal pencil

after roughly sketching the objects position on the paper and when happy with the proportions I started to add depth and bring the objects to life with the charcoal.


Finished piece: Conte charcoal pencil

I found the net over the oranges and the transparency of the glass particularly difficult to convey. I tried to do as little improvement as possible and leave mistakes on the drawing to help train my eye to more details in the future. I feel I could have added more depth and separation between the baking syrup and the glass. Also decided that the closer items I would apply more pressure when drawing to try and convey with as little detail as possible they were closer than the Bran flakes.

I discovered purely by accident that where I had chosen to arrange the items lines from the fireplace and the table they were positioned on, though simple lines gave more depth to the drawing, so decided to add them to my drawing.

Overall despite my recent introduction into charcoal, I have enjoyed this exercise and discovering that there is more to the relationship between the lines and curves of objects than simply copying what you see. I will continue to keep in mind the way the proximity of the objects and their shape help develop each other and create an overall better sense of what the artist sees.