P 71-72 – Assignment 2

This assignment is designed to pull together the fine observation and practice that you’ve done on this part of the course. You are free to choose your own subject matter and drawing media but there are a number of important issues to consider if you’re to produce an excellent piece of work. In your work for this assignment, you must demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the use of colour in drawing
  • an understanding of the most appropriate choice of medium for the subject and skill in using it
  • the ability to set up an interesting composition
  • variety in mark-making, depth, contrast, tone
  • accuracy and a demonstrable understanding of form.

While on holiday in late summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to buy a large bag of sea shells which I knew could come in handy for this assessment piece as they were a) natural and b) coloured. There were many different shapes, sizes and colours. I tried several compositions with different shells in different arrangements, sketching them in reed pen and ink.




I eventually decided on eight spiral shells arranged in a spiral – a spiral of spirals. The eight shells were all either shades of orange/brown or green/blue so the palette was restricted.

Even though the instructions said the assessed piece was to be based on previous exercises, as colour was significant I decided to invest in some coloured inks although I had not used them before. These I decided to apply using reed pens as I had used in the first unit. I thought they would make an interesting challenge regarding accuracy and fine detail. I did use some pale washes of ink in places but the vast bulk of the drawing was with the reed pens. I didn’t want to be accused of producing a painting.

Natural light from a window came from the left hand side, but I boosted this with a lamp in front of the window. Together they gave good modelling and distinct shadows.


Eight Shells – Reed Pens and Coloured Inks

(Click on image for larger view)

Check against Checklist:

  • I feel I have shown an understanding of colour by restricting the palette to browns and green-blues. I could have made the shell at the bottom less orange so that it blended better with the others rather than trying to reproduce the actual colour.
  • I like using pen and ink and certainly the markings on the brown shell in the middle of the right hand side have come out well in the coloured inks.
  • I tried various compositions, including a ‘close up’ of a pile of shells with many of them cropped by the edge of the paper, but decided that having them in a spiral reflecting their own spiral shapes was the most pleasing.
  • I think I have demonstrated a variety of mark making, particularly with the two shells on the left hand side. The lower pale brown one was very ‘spiky’ with sharp angles and deep shadows (and was the most difficult of the eight to draw). The one above was very smooth and reflective. I feel as if I have drawn both accurately to demonstrate their contrasting textures.
  • I am pleased that all the shells appear to be three dimensional. I particularly like the two brown shells, one at the very bottom of the drawing and the small one at the end of the spiral. The only one I’m not happy with is the large one at the very top of the piece.
  • Regarding accuracy, I was tempted to upload a photograph, particularly in view of a criticism made about my natural forms piece for Assignment One. There I had very light reeds and teasels in a small ceramic vase. It was suggested that the vase must be out of proportion as it would have toppled over. It was in fact in proportion, and was able to hold the very light contents without toppling. I had not taken a photograph on that occasion to show this.

At the end of the first unit, I drew a still life of natural forms in ink with added colour washes. At the end of this unit, I have drawn a still life of natural forms in coloured inks with some added washes. Progress? Hmmm.


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
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1 Response to P 71-72 – Assignment 2

  1. Pingback: Tutor Report on Assignment Two | The Milkman Goes To College

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