Vis14 drawing ass 1

For our first piece of assessment we needed to submit 2 completed drawings, although it was closer to five in the end. We were exploring line… marks, measurement, motion. How does a continuous line differ on the page to a stroke or shading? I really don’t feel that I was able to perform this assessment well. At no time did I really employ continuous line (a requested part of the assignment) because I kept struggling to keep it ‘realistic’, something I am not skilled in.

We needed to submit a self portrait and a 360 degree landscape. I felt quite proud of my self portrait, as I felt it encapsulated both realistic styles and my own style (which involves a lot of negative space). I did this one in graphite pencil and enjoyed the control I had.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

For the second piece, I used charcoal – my first time. Ugh, this stuff is hard to work with. By the time I got to the fourth drawing, I finally felt like I was getting a grip on how it works. I used charcoal pencils for these. Was pleased to not try willow charcoal yet. The four pieces were each drawn from inside my bedroom at night. Draw, turn, draw, turn until all four sides were done. I certainly don’t feel these pieces work very well together.

Bedroom at Night - East

Bedroom at Night - North

Bedroom at Night – North

Bedroom at Night - West

Bedroom at Night – West

Bedroom at Night - South

Bedroom at Night – South

Tutor Feedback:

Hello December,

welcome to Open University Australia and to VIS14. I hope that the course supports your journey in drawing and that you enjoy the time spent in working through the projects. You can contact me via email at RMIT and also by including a note with your project works. Keeping a visual diary will help you to resolve and develop your ideas and can act as a memory bridge between one drawing session and the next. Ideas are important to drawing but are ephemeral in nature unless written down. Once documented you then have the opportunity to respond to this initial thought over time. Conversely an idea can be thought through to its logical end and never become drawing. You need both and also a leap of faith to explore it as a visual state. Allow yourself to experiment and try a variety of mediums rather than staying with the medium that you know and trust. This will encourage you to try different approaches that you may not have experienced before and can take you to a new place in drawing. Thank you for your drawings which address the first project.  I will discuss each drawing in turn.

Self Portrait

This is a strong composition which addresses the project. You did not use continuous line/scribble but have used tone to centre the image while acknowledging the environment surrounding the figure.


The mark making is strong and lively. Especially successful is the drapery in the first panel. Each panel is strong graphically with the main interests being tone and composition. In the second panel there are (your?)  lower legs and feet which are too small. Use a pencil or other straight edge to measure the relative scale of these to the surroundings.

You have used a fixative which is slightly sticky to the touch. It should not be as necessary to fix a pencil drawing as it might be a charcoal one but if you wish to then try a workable fixative. This will protect the drawing and allow you to continue to draw if you need to develop the image or have not finished the work in one session.

You are working well. I look forward to your next project drawings.

Kind regards


I replied to her email with this:

Hi Isobel,

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly about my drawings. I just wanted to clarify a couple of things from your comments. The panorama was drawn with charcoal (not pencil) which is why I used a fixative. At my art store, they told me that the fixative is spray adhesive (which is why it was sticky) and I’ve never used charcoals before so I wasn’t sure. Can you tell me what product i should be using instead please? (Obviously, my art store people aren’t very helpful – they also told me to use a pencil sharpener on a paper stump instead of sandpaper).
Also about the size of the legs/feet: The bed is king size and the foot on the left is mine, the one on the right is my husbands (hence why his is bigger). I did fret over the sizing and tried to use elements on the bed to ensure their size was close to correct, but even if that was correct, visually they appear too small. When drawing are you better off aiming for a more visually pleasing result or for a more accurate rendition?
I am glad you liked the curtain panel. That was the last panel drawn and I was just starting to get a feel for charcoals by then. (They are more unwieldy than I expected).
Finally, I find myself more comfortable drawing abstractly rather than accurately. Should I maintain this style in future drawings so I am drawing “with my own uniqueness” or should I aim for very realistic results?

Thanks again,


And she quickly replied with this:

Hi December, I was sure you had used pencil and of course that is why you used a fixative, you need a workable fixative which is much lighter and does not leave a residue. Practise on spare paper and spray with the drawing vertically not horizontally because drops may come from the nozzle. I never sharpen charcoal in any case (are you using charcoal pencils) You can also use a kneadable rubber if the surface is very fine or a white ordinary rubber if not. The scale of the feet will read correctly if they are in proportion. Direct observation is important because it creates a seamless reading. Allow your individual creative approach to remain unconsidered – it will always be there, without your conscious determination. By this I dont mean that you should not follow ideas , of course you would but dont force them and in the main remain true to observation. This way is subjective in any case because we do not understand our world objectively but through a subjective prism. regards Isobel

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