Month: May 2014

Final assessment!

Here is my studio space all ready and set up for assessment!


Adding a dab of colour…

After working on both black and white paper it was suggested to me to try a coloured background.  So I created a multi coloured back ground and a washed background.


The multicoloured background with black figures painted on it had an element of primitivism to it, I really liked this.  Whereas the washed background didn’t feel like it worked as well.


(Click on the images to enlarge them)

Making do.

I couldn’t get hold of a black sheet of A1 until tomorrow so I decided to use my time wisely and make do with my left over white sheet.  I decided to create an inverse of what I had previously painted on a black background, so here it is:

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I do feel that the two would need to be displayed side by side for the painting on the white background to look as good as it can, whereas the painting on the black background stands out well even if it was shown alone.

(Click on the image to enlarge it)


I’ve decided I don’t like white.

When I looked at my collection of recent work altogether something just didn’t look right.  The white background I’d been using to paint people on didn’t seem to fit with my heavy biro drawings of streets, it was almost like they were two different peoples work.  A different coloured background was my first option and I chose black A1 paper.  For my first attempt I used white and grey oil pastel and I really liked the mix of colours, it kind of looked like lots of ghosts.

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I wanted to take it another step forward with the new background, so I decided to try it in acrylic paint.  I used white and two shades of grey and the result was so much better, the figures stood out a lot more.

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Here’s a close up of a section from it:

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Trying to solve order.

I found in my larger drawings I had begun to separate the figures and I’d been arranging them which was against what I had in mind. So I went back to A3 but I really needed to get back to the rushed way I was drawing in my sketch book and when I was picking out key characteristics I’d noticed and focusing on them. The way I went around this was to watch videos of people giving tours around their city streets, this way I not only had seconds to draw the people passing but I could also capture how quickly they were travelling and, in scale, the distance they were from the camera/me. This solved my arrangement problem as I didn’t get much of a chance to look at the paper so I drew them where they were on the screen, even if that meant many areas of crossover.



(Click on the images to enlarge them)

A radical change in scale!

To develop my previous people watching sketches I felt I needed to get them out of the sketchbook and on a larger scale, so I chose to go from A5 to A1.  I began by sitting and taking pictures of people passing me and then going back to my studio and drawing them. This is the result:

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But by changing from life to photos my sketches became orderly and meticulous.  The different source had completely changed the style and I didn’t want that.   So I tried again but this time I looked out of my studio window to draw the people who walked past, this is the result:

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Half way through drawing this it started to rain, so everyone began to put their hoods up. I made the mistake of thinking about this and so I stopped and waited for the rain to finish, when in actual fact I should of carried on as I was recording human nature so shouldn’t have been thinking about the composition. This was another thing I needed to change so I decided to try again and this time I used the people walking past in the background of peoples Disney family photos, a kind of ‘Ghost’ you could call them.

 IMG_7176[1](Click on the image to enlarge it)

Thomas Bewick

Today I visited the Laing art gallery to see an exhibition about Thomas Bewick and his apprentices.  Bewick is most famous for his small intricately detailed wood engravings of birds and animals. I began to look into his work when I was looking at turning some of my biro drawings into engravings. The method he used is called ‘white-line’ engraving, it’s a dark to light technique where the lines to remain white are cut out of the wood block.


He loved the countryside and he was fascinated with fishing, flowers and watching birds and animals; this proved to have a great influence on his work in later life.  On display were some initial sketches and watercolours he did in preparation for his engravings.  The meticulous detail of the feathers was truly impressive and personally has made me reconsider my patience whilst drawing.


thomas bewick


I felt the style of his engravings is not too dissimilar to how I draw with biro.  Although I use a cross hatching technique whilst Bewick use lines. It was a lucky coincidence that his work was being shown in a gallery near me and has helped further my thought process for my current project. This exhibition is on until the 19 October 2014 and is definitely worth a look if your interested in engraving.