Part 5 – Draw and Experiment

Option 1 Mark-making and tone

Exercise: Quick sketches around the house

For this exercise I was supposed to make four drawings in each room of my house, turning 45 degrees for each drawing to get different views.

The exercise said to approach the drawings however I wanted to, as long as I made fast visual notes, observed and reflected.

I made quick line drawings with tonal study in most of them.

Living room

Living room 1


The above drawing was a fast visual note, which has many errors including the asymmetry of the settee – the left side is lower than the right, making it appear deeper on one side than the other.  The table on the left side is not to scale with the settee: it should be taller and deeper and wider.  The painting on the wall is too low, the boots are too small (in relation to the settee) and the corner wall is leaning over to the right.

Living room 5

The drawing above was successful.  Errors include the chest of drawers which should be wider and all of the wobbly lines which should be straight.  Although the wobbly lines are what comes when making quick observations free hand in pen, I think many of them add to the character of the scene.

Living room 3

I was really pleased with the effect of drawing the view out the window, it created a contrast from the light internal scene.  Errors include the angle of the shelves where they meet the ceiling, which should be closer to horizontal.  The distance between the bookshelves and the window should be wider.  The chairs are not very accurate depictions, the closest one to reality being the one between  the teapot and the bookcase (back left) that being said, the one on the front left is at an angle, so there is foreshortening in that particular chair.

The image below has some curvy wall lines, the scale of the table is far too small next to the settee, the window is too narrow (it should be taller) and therefore the line where the wall meets the ceiling is also too low, and the archway ceiling of the corridor is also too low.

Living room 4

In the drawing below the lines of the fridge are wobbly and angular, while the kitchen counters seem to tip forwards because the lines on the top of the counter tops and the stove are at the wrong angle.  But the height and scale are right in this one, which is good progress.  There are also some errors in the decorative top of the cabinet on the left of this drawing.  I was pleased with how I developed different levels of tone in this cabinet.

Living room 6


The drawing below has tonal observations which I think are good for creating depth and form.  The lack of a shadow on oven door looks like an error but in fact it was shiny and reflecting light from different places in the room and therefore not shaded.

Errors include the left hand back corner wall, which should have been further away.  I had difficulties drawing this area in the room at speed.  There should be more cupboard between the bottles and the oven.  The lines on the extreme right are falling away at an unusual angle which is due to me looking from different angles while drawing.

kitchen 2

The clutter in the kitchen drawings makes interesting viewing.  The image below has errors such as wobbly lines on the cupboards and washing machines, the switches are not in line with one another, the jug is too small and the toaster is asymmetrical .  The wall is leaning over.

kitchen 3

Below I used red felt tip to see how that would look.  I asked people what they thought of it and some said they preferred black because red is not easy on the eyes, while someone else said that they liked the red because it is colourful and bright.

Errors in this drawing are the lines of the back wall which are at the wrong angles, the electrical socket is too small, as is the kettle and the stove top.

kitchen 4

Below: quick study of kitchen.  Errors include lines on top right cupboard, lines where the kitchen counter meets the floor, window lines and lines of the cupboard at the back of the room.

Kitchen 1

Bedroom One

This is my bedroom, it is another room with lots of interesting clutter and debris to draw.  Errors include the wobbly lines and the width of the desk should be wider.

bedroom 2

Errors in this drawing include the light switch being too small and warped, the lines are wobbly.  This is a drawing for which I did not use tone.

Bedroom 1

Below: this drawing has a lot of tone and shadows.  Errors include the lines being loose and imprecise, especially for the plug holes at the top of the drawing.  Drawing was made in the presence of several light sources such as more than one overhead light and a window to the right.

bedroom 3

The drawing below has lots of curved line errors because of the doors,  But this was a good exercise to study the angles of the open cupboard and bedroom doors which are open to different degrees.  There is also a view into the next room.

There is a mark in the top left corner which was a mistake, somebody said they think it adds interest.

bedroom 4

Bathroom 1

In the drawing below the tiles on the left side wall should be the same size (apart from the perspective differences).  The back wall is also at the wrong angle from the ceiling.

small bathroom 2

The drawing below is from an above perspective looking downward.  The lines of the toilet brush holder and the toilet bowl itself are not accurate.

Small bathroom 3

The drawing below is drawn almost entirely from the reflection in the mirror behind the toilet (you can see the top of the lid of the toilet at the bottom of the image).  This was interesting to study.  I am standing in the doorway of the bathroom and in the reflection you can see the sink, taps and towel rail just inside.

Errors include the wobbly lines on door frames, walls and mirror.  The mirror is taller in reality, and the hands are too small.

small Bathroom 1

Bedroom 2

For this drawing I used a combination of felt tip markers and graphite 4B pencil.  I think this was effective for observing areas of tone as well as linear qualities.  The bedside light switches are too small, as are the cushions; the horizontal line of the ceiling meeting the wall bends and turns upward.

Other bedroom 4

Below there are errors in the desk lines and the wall lines.  The cupboard is narrower at the bottom than the top.

Other bedroom 3

This drawing below has a lot of contrast.  The errors are that the lines of the cupboard lean to the left at the lower half, the socket on the wall is too small and the radiator is at angles to the windowsill.

Other bedroom 2

The drawing below has a good sense of space which is because of the shading on the walls.  But the bedside table, picture and lamp are lacking in detail and accuracy, and the lines of the walls are loose and inexact.

Other bedroom 1

Main bathroom

I really like this quick study even though it is full of errors.  The toilet bowl is too small compared to everything else in the picture, the angle of the right wall is not as it should be, and the towel rail is of a range of widths when is should be exact and symmetrical.

big bathroom 4

The drawing below is the corner of the room with the bath in it.  I did more drawing with pencil this time and this makes the contrast incorrect.  The taps should be larger and so should the plug hole.  The lines are wobbly.

big bathroom 3

I like this drawing below.  The lines are all wobbly, the taps are once again too small and the left sink bends away from the wall on the right side.

Big bathroom 2

The drawing below tips over to the left with nearly all the horizontal lines and has wobbly vertical lines.  The right sink is smaller than the left.

Big bathroom 1

Check and Log - Copy (3)

I am pleased with my line drawings and use of hatching and cross-hatching.  I think it was very successful.  Also successful were the drawings where I combined black fine line marker with graphite pencil.  This helped to add another dimension and a different layer of tone.

One of the challenges I encountered was drawing straight lines freehand.

Living room 5


In drawings like this example above, you can see vertical lines on the left and right of the drawing (the walls and the chest of drawers) are jaunty and wandering.

I am not happy with this drawing below, I think partly because of wobbly lines and partly because there is not enough detail or shading.

Big bathroom 1

I like this study below because, even though it is messy it shows you the room with the open door, looking out into the hallway and through the doorway into the other room.  There is not much shading, as I gave myself a time limit for this drawing, but there is a range of little details explaining the personality of the room.

bedroom 4

The drawing below was not very successful because the shading on the cupboards was not effective.  It was a very dark area, so possibly I should not have added detail to the cupboard doors, or perhaps I should have added black pen to show darker areas.

It was a quick study, I am pleased with the jars, bottles and kettle on the work top.  As a line drawing I would be pleased with it, but the tonal aspects of this drawing are not successful.

kitchen 4

I liked drawing lots of clutter and objects, in my room and the living room.  I think that makes a drawing interesting.

Exercise: Composition

Four quick preliminary sketches establishing shapes and mapping tone.  I used soft pencil as it was one of the suggested mediums.

This view is facing south from the living room, and it creates good contrast and geometric shapes.  There is some foreshortening in the chair and the table.

Composition 1

The drawing below is the East view, through the kitchen from the living room.  There is foreshortening in the counter top and draining board, of which you cannot see the top surfaces.  It is also my first drawing in this exercise which is portrait format.  This gives it more opportunity for vertical lines.

composition 3

The image below is the West view from the centre of the living room, with the windows to your left.  There is foreshortening in the corridor and the chair.

composition 2

The view below is another West view from the East side of the living room, with some foreshortening in the chair furniture and corridor.


Below is a south view drawing with coloured pencils, developing composition ideas relating to the foreground and the background.  Using coloured pencils adds warmth to the image; the colour depicts a different element of the view and the character of the room.

coloured pencil composition study

Below is an east view in pencil, continuing to develop ideas to do with foreground and background.  I think that having objects close up as well as in the distance makes a dynamic composition.  The foreground is interesting, while the middle ground puts the foreground in perspective, leading your eye to the background.  It makes for an interesting picture because you can fit a lot in.

Living room 2

Below is another west view from the east corridor looking through the living room all the way to the dark place which is the west corridor.  This is another portrait format drawing, this format works really well for this view because there is more to see vertically than horizontally.

Living room from hall way

At this point in the exercise I thought I should loosen up and relax, because I have started to become precious in my pursuit of accuracy, and my quick studies have become long, careful events.  So I decided to try a different approach, using a selection of media and working freely and quickly.


The above drawing is made using ink and brush and is an east view of the living room.  This was actually a really productive exercise because working this quickly you really record what you see.  Each drawing is very different from the next.  It is a good way to really get to know a view, to break it down to its basic pieces.  Shapes, lines, areas all boiled down to their simplest forms.  You record what you notice in the first second, without over thinking or analysis.



The drawing above I added coloured pencils to, and some collaged paper from the inside of an envelope.  The different colours were added very quickly, but they do represent different areas of the room, furniture, spaces, shadows etc.


Above you can see was first drawn in coloured pencil, followed by ink wash, followed my more pencil to fill spaces of colour in.


The drawing above is made in semi-continuous line, with different colours to help organise the different layers of silhouette and simplistic line drawings.


The drawing above is a dramatic drawing of the hallway leading to the door, with negative space surrounding it.  This creates a focal point which helps you to concentrate on one small part of a view, and sort of change the way it is perceived.

Working fast and loose and letting the media lead me really helped me to open my imagination to the possibilities of the exercise.


The image below is another compositional study in 4B graphite pencil.  It is a portrait format drawing focusing on line and tone.  The shadows are quite dramatic because I am facing the window.


For the drawing below I used coloured pencils and graphite, exploring hatching and tone as well as colour and line, this was a valuable experiment, drawing attention to certain areas of the image and creating dynamism.  This is also a portrait format drawing, and I am really pleased with it.
img474Below is a study made using limited palette oil pastels.  The objects in the foreground have context, while the background is more ambiguous and abstract.  This drawing is more simplified than graphite drawings tend to have been, and is an example of an alternative approach to composition.  I am really pleased with this image.



Check and Log - Copy (3)

I enjoyed this exercise and thoroughly explored my ideas about composition.  I liked experimenting with putting different objects of varying quantities in the foreground with the room in the background.

img473  Living room 2





I tried out using oil pastels, which had a fairly unpredictable, stylised outcome (above), coloured pencils, inks and graphite pencils.  I really liked using coloured pencils, they worked very well with graphite, adding brightness and detail to certain areas, creating a focal point and a sense of depth. (below left)

Coloured pencils also worked really well independently, creating really interesting images with line, shape, tone and colour. (below right)

img474          coloured pencil composition study

I had fun experimenting with media, blocking in areas with ink wash, working fast and loose.  This was useful for breaking down a view to see it in blocks of space, shape and line.  This helps you to see the structure, outlines and format.

I found it valuable to try a range of different compositions in landscape, portrait and square format.

Exercise: Tonal Study

Soft pastel.

Soft pastel on textured coloured pastel paper. A3

I made this pastel study (above) using soft pastel dark blue.  I used hatching and smudging to blend with my fingers.  Because of the time of day there was lots of natural light in this drawing, making the darker areas more striking.

This exercise didn’t suggest using ink and wash, but I wanted to try it out anyway.  The drawing below is an A4 quick study of the areas of tone in my view.



I have been looking again at the introduction to Option 1 – Mark-making and Tone, and I made some pencil studies just looking at how objects and forms relate to each other.



I like the thought that objects and items in a room or corner “create their own mini environments with their own particular formal and tonal interest”. I feel I would like to focus on that thoroughly, on a smaller, closer level.  It is easy to get swept into drawing a whole room with large empty spaces of wall or floor being the focal point, when the relationship between smaller objects or forms is fascinating also.


Below: two expressive tonal graphite drawings, A3.

DSCN2961 - Copy DSCN2966

Check and Log - Copy (3)

For this exercise I first made an A3 drawing in soft pastel, followed by a drawing in ink with wash, and two graphite drawings, as well as some small studies.

I was pleased with my soft pastel drawing because the medium was good for blending mid tones and connecting different parts of the drawing.  To be critical I think there needs to be darker tones, and lighter highlights, possibly with a chalk or white paint.

Soft pastel.

I was pleased with my ink wash drawing also because it has a dramatic light and atmosphere.  Ink wash is good for drawing a shadowy room because it show how natural light moves and has an uneven surface from travelling through trees and windows and all sorts of things.


In my first graphite drawing I used rubbings of a wooden table surface to draw the surface of the table.  This was really successful.  I made this drawing in an experimental way, looking at the darker areas and lighter areas and not working closely with detail.  I think it creates a dramatic image.  I returned to the mark making exercises in the earlier part of the course to help open my mind.

DSCN2961 - Copy


My second graphite drawing was layered with graphite, I covered most of the page in graphite and removed layers and replaced graphite.  I used dotted lines and scribbles to develop layers of tone, and used my fingers to blend.  This was a really good way of creating complex surface texture because you can partially erase marks.  I was influenced by Frank Auerbach’s drawings.


Exercise: Line and wash

Ink and watercolour wash on a page from a map book (A3)

Ink and watercolour wash on a page from a map book (A3)

Ink and watercolour wash on A2 cartridge paper.

Ink and watercolour wash on A2 cartridge paper.

Felt tip and watercolour wash on A3 paper.

Felt tip and watercolour wash on A3 paper.

Line and wash drawing on an old road map.

Line and wash drawing on an old road map.

Check and Log - Copy (3)

I have used hatching and cross hatching to shade areas in my line drawing, as well as washes of colour.  For this drawing I worked on a page from a road map book, which added another layer of linear qualities.  I was pleased with this drawing because I think that filling in parts of the drawing with colour and leaving some areas just with black pen creates a good effect.  And I like the outcome of working straight on with pen, and having mistakes left under corrections, for all the world to see.  This was another experiment with composition, having objects on a table in the foreground; the wash of colour helps to divide foreground and background.

Ink and watercolour wash on a page from a map book (A3)



This image (below) is less successful.  I am happy with the limited palette washes but I think that portrait format is not very effective for this view.  There are lots of scale errors in this drawing too – the picture in the background is not wide enough and the little table is much too small.

Ink and watercolour wash on A2 cartridge paper.

I am pleased with the drawing below, it has wax resist, ink pen and watercolour wash.

Felt tip and watercolour wash on A3 paper.


The drawing below was a quick study made with ink and brush on a map.  I am pleased with it as a preliminary study, although I think the middle ground and background don’t have enough contrast.

Line and wash drawing on an old road map.

Exercise: Experiment with Mixed Media

Watercolour line drawing (Approximately A3)

Watercolour line drawing (Approximately A3)

This is a very exciting task which enables you to look at the emotional side of a space, the personal context and things.  I have not been working with a title but some of the examples in the textbook (“my clutter” etc.) have been in my mind.

Pencil crayon using expressive marks.  Size approximately A3.

Pencil crayon using expressive marks. Size approximately A3.


Red pen - drawing without looking at the page (blind contour).

Red pen – drawing without looking at the page (blind contour).

Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour.  Approximately A3 paper.

Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour. Approximately A3 paper.

Oil pastel.  Approximately A3 paper.

Oil pastel. Approximately A3 paper.

Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour.  Approximately A3 paper.

Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour. Approximately A3 paper.

Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour.  Approximately A3 paper.

Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour. Approximately A3 paper.

A4 watercolour oil pastel and pencil crayon drawing.

A4 watercolour oil pastel and pencil crayon drawing.

Watercolours and oil pastels with flicking paint.

Watercolours and oil pastels with flicking paint.


Pencil crayons and oil pastels with watercolour wash.

Pencil crayons and oil pastels with watercolour wash.

Oil pastel line drawing with watercolour wash.

Oil pastel line drawing with watercolour wash.

Negative space drawing.  Watercolour and coloured pencil.

Negative space drawing. Watercolour and coloured pencil.

Check and Log - Copy (3)


For this exercise I explored the different media opportunities and referred back to ideas in the first part of the course about mark-making.

I used watercolour and brush for the drawing below:

Watercolour line drawing (Approximately A3)


I am really pleased with this drawing as it has a delicate quality from being all made out of different coloured lines.

I used pencil crayons and felt pen to make further drawings, exploring the media options before combining them together.  I made a blind contour drawing which was good for describing the character of all my clutter in my bedroom (red pen drawing below).

Pencil crayon using expressive marks.  Size approximately A3.  Red pen - drawing without looking at the page (blind contour).

Here you can see I have used oil pastels and watercolour to draw my room.

Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour.  Approximately A3 paper.


I found it really exciting to fill in some areas with washes and leave others just white paper and line (see below).  I explored different colour combinations and made quick expressive drawings, loosening the accuracy to capture the essence of the room.


Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour.  Approximately A3 paper.


I found dark blue oil pastel worked really well with yellow watercolour, and blended in with blue watercolour.


Mixed media oil pastels and watercolour.  Approximately A3 paper.


I was really pleased with the image below.  I used pastels, pencil crayons and watercolours and the different media worked really well together, creating contrasting textures because of the nature of the different media.


A4 watercolour oil pastel and pencil crayon drawing.


The drawing below was mainly focused on colour and shape.  I experimented with flicking to apply paint, which had an abstract outcome, definitely worth revisiting, although not entirely successful in this instance. Although, having said that, I did find it useful as a learning exercise, and in this drawing I worked in oil pastel on top of watercolour, (instead of adding a wash of watercolour over a pastel drawing) which was good for layering and a new and different effect.


Watercolours and oil pastels with flicking paint.


For the drawing below I used oil pastels and added a wash of black to get a negative effect image.  The drawing is flawed as far as accuracy goes, (for example the bed is wrong) but as a method of media combining and observing the personality of a space I think it is very successful.


Oil pastel line drawing with watercolour wash.


For the drawing below I used a fine line pen and watercolours.  It is a negative space drawing.  It is successful, although the angle of the bed is again not correct.

Negative space drawing.  Watercolour and coloured pencil.


4 thoughts on “Part 5 – Draw and Experiment

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