Part 1 – bibliography

Stuart Brownlee – OCA 512319 

Drawing 1 

Part 1 – Bibliography

Barriball, A. (2005) Brick wall. [Graphite pencil on paper] Tate [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 8 May 2015]

Brownlee, S. (2013) ‘Research Point 1 – Chiaroscuro’., 25 October [Online learning log] Available at: [Accessed: 22 May 2015]

Chilvers, I. (2009) Oxford dictionary of arts & artists. 4th ed. Oxford: OUP.

Clarkson, A. (2010) ‘Pablo Picasso: self-portrait facing death (1972)’, Pallimed: Arts and Humanities, 26 July [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 8 May 2015].

Davidson, M. (2011) Contemporary drawing: key concepts and techniques. [pdf] New York: Watson-Guptill Publications.

Downs, S., et al (2007) Drawing now: between the lines of contemporary art. [Kindle e-book] New York: I.B. Tauris.

Lacewing, M. [n.d.] Expressivism: ‘Good art is moving or captures a mood or feeling’. [pdf] Available at: [Accessed: 12 May 2015].

Mayer, R. (1991) The artist’s handbook of materials & techniques. 5th ed. London: Faber & Faber.

Megerle, B. (2010) Birgit Megerle. [Exhibition catalogue] Berlin: Stenberg Press.

Phaidon Editors (2011) Vitamin P2: new perspectives in painting. London: Phaidon Press.

Picasso, P. (1972) Self portrait facing death. [Crayon on paper] In: Collings, M. This is modern art. London: Seven Dials.

Rauschenberg, R. (1953) Automobile tire print. [Automobile tire, black paint on paper] [Online] Available at:  [Accessed: 8 May 2015]

Redon, O. Artist’s Secrets, 1894. Available at: [Accessed: 21 May 2015]

Redon, O. Head of Orpheus on the Water or The Mystic, 1880 [charcoal and black chalk on paper] Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo. Available at: [Accessed: 21 May 2015]

Redon, O. Profile of Shadow, c.1895 [various charcoals, with stumping, incising, erasing, and subtractive brushwork on pale-pink wove paper with red and blue fibres altered to a golden tone]. Art Institute of Chicago. Available at: [Accessed: 21 May 2015]

Redon, O. The Raven, 1882, [charcoal on laid paper] The National Gallery of Canada, Ontario. Available at: [Accessed: 21 May 2015]

Redon, O. The Trees, 1890’s [Charcoal on paper] Museum of Fine Arts, Huston. Available at: [Accessed: 21 May 2015]

Redon, O. Tree, c. 1875. [Various charcoals, stumping, scraping, and erasing, on cream wove paper altered to a golden tone] The Art Institute of Chicago. Available at: [Accessed: 21 May 2015]

Spackman, S. (n.d.) Two together. [Pencil and charcoal on paper] [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 12 May 2015]

Stratis, H. K. (2011) A Technical Investigation of Odilon Redon’s Pastels and Noirs. [Online] The American Institute for Conservation. Available at: [Accessed: 21 May 2015]

Stuart Brownlee – OCA 512319 Part 1 Bibliography pdf file

Stuart Brownlee
14 June 2015





Part 1: Project 2: Exercise 4 – Shadows and reflected light

For this composition, use two objects with reflective surfaces, such as a stainless steel coffee pot and ceramic sugar bowl. The different reflective surfaces will provide an interesting interplay of light and shadow.

Use charcoal, a putty rubber and decide on the size of the composition. Use A1 or A2 paper with a tooth so that you can do bold strokes using the side of your charcoal or conté stick.

Try to fill the paper with your objects. Show the reflected light and shade of one object falling on another and leave as little background space (‘negative’ space) as you can. Look carefully at the shapes, shadows and light before you start drawing. You might find the annotated example below helpful.

Draw the basic pattern of shadow first with sweeps of charcoal and/or hatching marks and spots. The white paper will represent your lightest tonal value, so start with the mid tones and then build to the darkest tonal value, as in previous exercises. Observe the reflected pattern of light and shade and work it into the surface of the object. Lift out the smallest lightest tones with the point of a putty rubber, and use the sharpest edge of the charcoal or conté stick to add the smaller finer marks.


Shadows and reflected light 1
Shadows and reflected light conté stick

Conté on A2 paper – I didn’t quite manage to get the highlights as I wanted as I found it difficult to use the putty rubber with the Conté stick. No matter however many time I needed the rubber to get a clean edge or tip it smudged rather than lifted the black from the paper – I think you can see the effect of this in the image of the drawing above.

Nonetheless, I am quite pleased with this first attempt and there are some picked out areas of reflected light, including the suggestion of a reflection of the ceramic cheese container against the stainless steel kettle.

There is also an indication of reflected light from the kettle lid against the under side of the black handle, but it could be better defined I think.

The source of the light on the composition is marked with an arrow (top left).

Shadows and reflected light - charcoal stick
Shadows and reflected light – charcoal stick

I decided to try another version of the same composition – this time using charcoal – and changed the ground surface from paper to an A2 sheet of canvas with a heavier tooth.

I took a slightly different stance behind my drawing table in front of the composition to give a different viewpoint. The light source was the same, from the top left.

Working with the charcoal sticks was much more natural I found – layering middle tones, working to darker, picking out highlights with the putty rubber and finally marking in some of the darker strokes.

It was a very enjoyable exercise working with the charcoal – laying down marks and using the putty rubber much more effectively to lift charcoal from the canvas surface to create highlights. I also used my fingers in scrumbling some of the mid-tone areas.

While I am reasonably happy with the conté stick drawing I feel that the charcoal stick one meets the brief more accurately. I get a better feeling of the ‘roundness’ of the kettle in this composition and the darks, lights and reflected lights seem more natural to my eye.

I think that the different angle of approach to the drawing also makes for a more pleasing composition and treats the negative space in a more interesting way than the conté drawing. My last thought is that I made the kettle handle a bit too thick on the left.

It only remains to treat each drawing to a dose of fixative to combat any excessive smudging.

Shadows and reflected light pdf file

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
25 May 2015

Part 1: Research point 1 – Expressive lines and marks

Look for contemporary works where you sense some of the artist’s feeling – where the marks, lines, etc., offer something of the artist’s state of mind. Look for speed, pressure, angles, curves, jabbing marks, disjointed and rough marks, etc. For example, see Julie Brixey-Williams’ drawing loctationotation at

Make notes in your learning log and consider whether art really is capable of expressing emotions. After all, a drawing is not (usually) a human being so how might it act as an emotional conduit between artist and viewer? Is it the image, the medium or the act that brought the art work into being that makes it ‘expressive’ or ‘expressionist’? Or is it all of these and more?

Studio table

Sarah Spackman, Studio Table, 2012 (charcoal, pencil and ink) (Jerwood Drawing Prize 2012 catalogue, p.73).

If you’ve already completed Pre-degree drawing: An introductory course, you’ll have experienced similar exercises intended to help you undo rigid ideas about ‘right and wrong’ ways to draw. Physical and material approaches to mark-making will make you more aware of what drawing can be and how you can embrace it as a way to express your own ideas with confidence. Above all, though, drawing should be pleasurable. So please don’t be intimidated by any of the activities – simply try them, take risks and enjoy the process. Even the most accomplished artist experiences disasters from time to time, so don’t be put off if this happens. It’s all part of the process of learning and of being an artist.

Lacewing, M. [n.d.] Expressivism: ‘Good art is moving or captures a mood or feeling’. [pdf] Available at: [Accessed: 12 May 2015].

‘…we can object that it is too restrictive to talk just of ‘mood’ or ‘feeling’. What is expressed is not just emotion. This misses out the intellectual aspects of art, the ideas that the artist is expressing. We can argue, then, that it would be better to talk of good art as expressing a vision rather than a feeling or mood.’

Expressivism pdf file

Margaret Davidson has observed in her 2011 book “Contemporary drawing: key concepts and techniques” that intentionality ‘…is the over-arching concept in contemporary drawing. It is the one main concept that every contemporary drawing artist needs to understand and use. It is what makes the difference between art with thought and meaning, and something soulless.’ An understanding of intentionality or vision is what we need to learn – to understand ‘…the how and why of drawing, as well as the what.’

Davidson, M. (2011) Contemporary drawing: key concepts and techniques. [Kindle e-book] New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, locations 2540 and 2552.

In “Drawing now: between the lines of contemporary art”, there are eight examples taken from Julie Brixey-Williams innovative project ‘locationotation’, in which she explores the way the human form shares and interacts with space through ‘movement and gesture to explore traces’. The project engaged 52 dancers who simultaneously performed a pirouette drawing using graphite powder on 21 x 29.6cm watercolour paper in 52 different locations at exactly the same time on Saturday 9th June 2001.

locationotation: Deborah Kay Ward, in front room, Islington, London N1, 11.30am on Sat 9th June 2001

JBW locationotation

Downs, S., et al (2007) Drawing now: between the lines of contemporary art. [Kindle e-book] New York: I.B. Tauris, location 1041.

In this pirouette drawing I can really sense the movement of the dancer (as artist) in the space, on the surface of the paper – in fact remembering that this drawing must have been a foot, heel, toe mark-making movement it is surprising to discern what could be the fleeting image of the upper torso of the dancer with head tilted back, face looking skywards and arms outstretched. It’s quite remarkable – what I see here is the energy, enjoyment and exuberance of that single pirouette.

locationotation: Beccy Birchill, on a lino floor, in the warm-up studio, Harbour House, Kingsbridge, Devon, 11.30am on Sat 9th June 2001

JBW locationotation 2

Downs, S., et al (2007) Drawing now: between the lines of contemporary art. [Kindle e-book] New York: I.B. Tauris, location 1089.

In as similar way, this drawing says two different things to me: firstly, the explosion of the pirouette from start to finish is captured beautifully, and secondly, a shell-like image resonant of the coastal location of the studio.

The German artist Birgit Megerle is primarily known for paintings that seem to suggest ‘a frozen meeting point where the histories of photography, cinema and theatre overlap with that of painting. Static and muted, often rendered in grisaille*, they depict moments of non-event that seem heavy with emptiness’. Phaidon Editors (2011) Vitamin P2: new perspectives in painting. London: Phaidon Press, p210.

Her untitled coloured pencil on paper drawing depicting two figures standing still against a kind of macabre background featuring a shimmery skeleton with more obvious skull is like a ‘frozen meeting point’ between life and death.

BM Untitled

The background dance of death surrounds the vibrant young couple and you wonder if the breaking through of the skeleton’s skull into their reality is a premonition of impending doom for one or both of the figures clinging onto their colourful, vibrant life.

The drawing has a scary, eerie quality to it which is evoked for me in the artist’s mark-making, use of line and scraping/ smudging of the drawing medium.

The background seems to be almost sucking at the life-force of the figures, wrapping itself around them in an ominous fashion and they are bravely holding on.

Megerle, B. (2010) Birgit Megerle. [Exhibition catalogue] Berlin: Stenberg Press, p.43.

[*grisaille: a technique of monochrome painting in two or three shades of gray. Mayer, R. (1991) The artist’s handbook of materials & techniques. 5th ed. London: Faber & Faber, p644.]


Barriball, A. (2005) Brick wall. [Graphite pencil on paper] Tate [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 8 May 2015]

Part of a Tate BP Display series “Focus: Slow Looking: Contemporary Drawing”, this drawing by Anna Barriball has sculptural qualities in the depiction of the brick wall captured on the flat space of the paper. For me, there is a real sense that I could run my fingers across the wall, and even trace the mortar between the bricks.

Picasso %22Self portrait facing death%22

Picasso, P. (1972) Self portrait facing death. [Crayon on paper] In: Collings, M. This is modern art. London: Seven Dials, p.263.

Drawn less than a year before his death, this self portrait was drawn with crayon on paper. “A friend, Pierre Daix, tells of his memory of the piece on a visit to Picasso, ‘[Picasso] held the drawing beside his face to show that the expression of fear was a contrivance.’ Then on another visit 3 months later, Pierre recalled the harsh coloured lines were even deeper, and Pierre writes, ‘He did not blink. I had the sudden impression that he was staring his own death in the face, like a good Spaniard.’”

So, what do I see here regarding Picasso’s feeling, his state of mind at the time of drawing his self portrait? Staring eyes, yes probably unblinking, staring death (or the prospect of death) in the face. The stubbly face hair marks and almost cruel lines of old age. And if I half close my eyes I get a skull-like image floating in front of me.

Clarkson, A. (2010) ‘Pablo Picasso: self-portrait facing death (1972)’, Pallimed: Arts and Humanities, 26 July [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 8 May 2015]

Automobile tire print

Rauschenberg, R. (1953) Automobile tire print. [Automobile tire, black paint on paper] [Online] Available at:  [Accessed: 8 May 2015]

I didn’t manage to make a temporary drawing using a wheel/tire in the warm-up exercises. However, I managed to find this example of an artist extending the line beyond the flat surface into real space, illustrating the dynamics of the line itself. Featuring in Gallery 6 of MoMa’s online resource ‘onLINE: Drawing through the twentieth century’, Robert Rauschenberg pioneered this new form of making art, blending performance elements using manufactured objects. In this case, “Rauschenberg instructed fellow artist John Cage, an avant-garde composer, to drive his Model A Ford in a straight line through a pool of black house paint and down a long strip of paper. The result is a print in which tire tracks form a direct record of the car’s [the manufactured object] movement down the street.”

web Two together  pencil and charcoal(1)

Spackman, S. (n.d.) Two together. [Pencil and charcoal on paper] [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 12 May 2015]

Sarah Spackman’s drawing still-life ‘Two together’ uses pencil and charcoal to create a painterly perspective to the drawing of the desk, desk-top, paper, bulldog clips and background enclosure – darker, blended mark making in the foreground, gradually receding to fainter suggestions of the physical space. There is a looseness about the drawing that is pleasing to my eye and, while it is a fairly simple uncluttered composition with the eye drawn to the darker clips sitting atop the white space of the paper, it does express a kind of duality: in one sense paper and clips lying on a well worn/worked desk [physical]; and in another sense ideas of randomness/creativity (the raggedly stacked paper) and tidiness (the crisply drawn clips) [intellectual].

Research point 1 pdf file

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
24 May 2015


Part 1: Project 2: Exercise 3 – Creating shadow using lines and marks

Choose a simple single object to start with. Work in your sketchbook using four drawing tools such as pencil, ballpoint pen, dip pen and black ink and drawing pen. Divide a page into four and try to make four distinct grades of tone using crisscrossing lines – hatching – and spots. Try marks close together or further apart, short and long lines, curved and straight, large and small spots and stipples, etc. Don’t worry about neatness or accuracy.

Once you’ve practised a range of small lines and marks, arrange three or four objects and make a very quick and loose line drawing. Don’t draw obvious outlines; use just enough line to indicate the objects’ three-dimensionality, then work fast, using the hatching and/or spotting techniques to create tonal shadows that will make the sketches more believable as objects.

Creating shadow using line and marks 1Creating shadow using line and marks 2

Creating shadow using lines and marks 3Creating shadow using line and marks 4


1. Half closing your eyes will help you eliminate most of the detail and see the range of tones.
2. Use slightly longer lines, cross-hatching, different amounts of pressure, etc. to create the impression of shadow. Unless the object is suspended in the air, its cast shadow will always be joined to it and emerge from it.
3. Avoid outlining shadows – either before or after drawing them. If you look at shadows closely you’ll see they have a sharp or soft edge, but no outline.

As you’ve probably realised by now, a flat area will never be evenly lit: the part closest to the light will always have the lightest tones and there will be some gradations of middle tones, however minimal. Look carefully at a flat surface such as a table top and see if you can identify the gradations of tone. Some light sources provide a more even tone, for example a fluorescent strip light or sunlight on a surface outside.

Review your work for the previous two exercises. How difficult did you find it to distinguish between light from the primary light source and secondary reflected light? How has awareness of tone affected your depiction of form? Make some notes in your learning log.

Process and Critique

Creating shadow using lines and marks 1
Creating shadow using lines and marks 1

A simple box shape, drawn from a standing position with pencil, biro, graphite and a nib pen. I think that I managed four distinct grades of tone in the pencil (lines) and graphite (spots and lines) sketches. However, I found it much harder to achieve this using ink, maybe just about with the biro, but not at all with the nib pen and ink as I found it difficult to control the flow of ink off the nib and control of the weight of the nib on the paper.

Creating shadow using lines and marks 2
Creating shadow using lines and marks 2

My four objects were a box, an upside-down tin, a clear plastic pot and a wooden ink rubber stamp. I used graphite pencil for this drawing and I think I managed to control the weight of the pencil on the paper more successfully and loosely, laying down differing grades of tone using lines and marks of varying pressure and styles of application – straight and curved lines, cross-hatching and what I can best describe as ‘squiggles’ (top of tin can). The main difficulty I found was trying not to outline the shadows, particularly with the larger box.

The light source for both drawings was a 13w side lamp clipped onto the right-hand side of the backing board.  I probably made the right-hand side of the can closest to the light too dark in tone, although I think the other objects deal with this better. Both in this and the previous exercise I found that identifying the impact of the primary light source and the resulting shadows was relatively straightforward. However, capturing the effect of secondary reflected light was more tricky, although the relationship between the left-hand side of the tin can and the right-hand side of the box shape has a suggestion of reflected light. Likewise, in Exercise 2, the light seeping around the back and front of the candlestick from the right does have an effect on the surface of the cheese dish top.

Creating shadow using lines and marks pdf file

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
19 May 2015


Part 1: Project 2: Exercise 2 – Observing shadow using blocks of tone

There are many ways to evoke the impression of ‘real’ space and the use of tone is a basic drawing skill that will help you do this. Essentially it’s the depiction of light and dark on a surface that offers the impression of three dimensionality – and sometimes mood.

To start, place two pale simple-shaped objects together and position a lamp so that they are lit from just one side. (You can use natural light if it’s a bright day.) Observe the main areas of light and dark. Make some quick sketches in a large (A2 or A1) sketchbook, mapping out the broad areas of light and shade. Use a conté or charcoal stick on its side to achieve thick bold strokes; break these into shorter pieces unless you’re working on a very large surface (A1 or larger). Also make sure your surface has sufficient ‘tooth’ to capture the pigment – smooth and shiny paper won’t work. Next, block in all the gradations of tone. Look for variations of tonal value. Essentially this means the degree of lightness or darkness. Begin with mid tones, then work in lighter and darker tones, lifting and pressing down across the surface as you work. Pause and take a long view to fully observe the pattern of shadows over the whole surface of the picture plane, then look for the smaller details, the interlocking shadows and the negative shapes between the objects.

You may find that light is reflected from one surface to another and interferes with and complicates the shadow cast from the primary light source. Try to find the tonal gradations that the reflected light causes. Try to get all areas of tone to work together in a series of tonal shifts. Fill the entire sheet.

Observing shadow

OCA student, Leyla Bilsborough, Charcoal drawing

Process and Critique

For this exercise I chose a composition including a cheese dish and a candle stick
holder that I had previously made on my lathe, with a candle on top.

For the quick sketches I used an A2 fine grain paper and a black conté stick to try out marking down the shapes and the scale of the objects in relation to one another.

I think I managed to get the feel of the object shapes, light and shadow, but drew it too small in relation to the A2 paper – as you can see I sketched additional versions of the cheese dish, candle and part of the stick holder. The paper was also too fine for the conté to hold well to the texture:

Observing shadow using blocks of tone 1
Observing shadow using blocks of tone 1

My next effort was much more successful I feel. For this I used charcoal on an A2 canvas weave block. I made the whole composition in a much larger scale, filling the surface in a more pleasing way. I also found the charcoal to hold really well to the surface of the canvas weave.

The other thing I noticed in making this drawing was that as well as getting down
and dirty with the charcoal, blending and making marks with my fingers as well as with the sticks themselves, using a putty rubber made picking out highlights easier and enjoyable. For both drawings I used a 13w side lamp to illuminate the
composition which brought out quite marked areas of dark shadow:

Observing shadow using blocks of tone 2
Observing shadow using blocks of tone 2

Observing shadow using blocks of tone pdf file

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
19th May 2015

Part 1: Project 2: Exercise 1 – Groups of objects

Choose at least six objects of different sizes and shapes. Some of these should be three-dimensional forms made from rectangles and cylinders – a paperback book, a cereal box, jar of coffee, tin of beans, etc. – and others should be less regular in their form, for example a net or loose plastic container.

For the first image, work on a surface (A2 or A1) that seems appropriate for the image you want to make. Be imaginative and don’t assume you have to use a bright white sheet of paper. You might want to use a sheet of brown paper or an unfolded newspaper as your support, for example.

Try to make your composition as natural as possible. A supermarket shop with the objects still in the trolley or spilling out from a carrier bag makes for a very different feel than a highly posed scene. Using just one colour (charcoal, conté, oil stick, ink and stick, etc.) and bearing in mind the previous exercises, loosely describe the group of objects. Don’t forget their weight, transparency, shine, etc., and don’t forget the spaces between them and the things they are resting on or against. Remember that writing on labels will curve around cylindrical objects and elements half hidden inside bags will jostle for space.

Fill the sheet with drawing. Imagine you can see through the forms to the spaces inside. Try to evoke some kind of expression in the marks you make and in the relationships you create inside and around the edges of the forms and the picture plane.

Groups of objects from course notes

OCA student, Sally Pennington, Sketchbook drawing, 2012

Process and Critique

Reference photo – studio table with objects, ink bottle and drawing sticks (forsythia branch that has a hollow centre into which I cut a nib):

Group of objects
Ink and drawing sticks

My chosen objects are:

Copy of Vitamin D
Copy of Drawing Projects
Copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Drawing
1 x open metal tin
1 x ‘Pencil’ pencil case
1 x open clear jar
1 x (empty) bottle of Tobermory whisky
1 x bottle stopper
1 x set of teeth mould (mine)

Group of objects in ink
Groups of objects in ink

Unsuccessful first attempt with the ink on A2 paper. I found it difficult to get the ink to flow with my home made sticks and as you can see my idea of scale was way off the mark. However, I intend to come back to trying ink again with this same composition.

So, I gave the drawing another go using green ink. This time my tool of choice was a nib pen which turned out to still be a bit of a challenge to keep loaded and create clean lines. I then tried out a Rotring isograph pen with the same green ink and several grades of nib (.70, 1.0, and 2.0) – very scratchy on the paper and no easy flow. In frustration I picked up a charcoal stick and set  to it to finish the drawing. You can still see green ink peeking through in places:

Group of objects with ink and charcoal
Group of objects with ink and charcoal

My second attempt on A2 paper was more successful, this time using a green conté stick for mark making. Scale and perspective a bit better I think although the ‘pencil’ pencil case in the can is wrong – it should be lying up against the edge to accommodate its full length properly in the tin can.

I haven’t really used conté much before and found it a bit tricky to use to get clean lines. My other observation is that the drawing could have been larger in scale on the paper while still leaving sufficient negative space around and between the objects:

Group of objects in conte
Group of objects in conte

Third, and most pleasing effort to me, I chose a graphite pencil to capture the objects and space as loosely as I could manage. I think the scale is better and the sense of depth is there with the light sketching in of the table top leading into the backdrop.

I found working with the graphite much easier to control and I managed some thicker, darker as well as lighter lines. I was quite tempted to do a bit of shading, but decided that wasn’t the real point of the exercise.

I know I am a fairly untidy drawer – no real precision here – but I kind of like the fuzzier, less ‘clean’ approach to placing down marks on the paper:

Group of objects in graphite
Group of objects in graphite

Groups of objects pdf file

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
19 May 2015





Part 1 Sketchbook work

I tried out some pencils and charcoal pencils to get a feel for making different kinds of marks:

Soft pencil marksMedium pencil marksHard pencil marksSoft charcoal pencil marksMedium charcoal pencil marksHard charcoal pencil marks

As a next task I made several sketches of dancers over the period of a day at The Shed in Evanston, Ross-shire:

3 dancers2 dancers2 dancers 22 dancers 34 dancers

I found it very tricky to keep up with the movement of the dancers and the individual moves were repeated a number of times, which is the only way I managed to capture them with any real sense of positioning and movement.

Out and about in the field next to our house, turned my hand at trying to draw a couple of trees that caught my eye at the top of the field:

Tree sketch 1

I used graphite and a selection of coloured pencils for this quick sketch which took me about a half-hour. I liked the form of the twisted limb on the left-hand trunk, the bowl where the trunk on the right had lost a limb and the overall dynamic of what I saw in front of me. The tree line recedes up the hill behind the barbed-wire fencing, with front row being held ‘safe’ from deer within the two fences – it doesn’t really work as the deer can skip over very deftly.

Tree sketch 2

A simpler sketch further along the tree-line. The indented trunk where tree damage has occurred caught my eye.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
19 May 2015

I was out and about last month at Plodda Falls in Inverness-shire. It is located just outside the hamlet of Tomich, near Cannich and close to Glen Affric. Tomich and the Guisachan Estate is the ancestral home of the Golden Retriever breed of dogs. The Forestry Commission of Scotland manage the area around the falls and replaced the original wrought iron viewing platform overlooking the falls. I made a graphite pencil sketch of the new wooden platform:

Plodda falls viewing platform
Plodda falls viewing platform

Earlier in the month I had been in the area and made a couple of quick sketches, this time using coloured marker pens:

Plodda falls log
Plodda falls ruined cottage
Plodda falls ruined cottage

Last week I bought myself a full set of Derwent Graphic 24 pencils – 9B to 9H. This is the first set of pencils like this that I have ever owned and I made a quick try out in my sketch book of the range of 20:

Pencil exercise
Pencil exercise

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
31 May 2015

I made some sketches today in my concertina book of pages to continue to get to grips with my new pencils. I decided to try out some line and shading sketches of shapes and forms:

Sketchbook line shape and form
Sketchbook light and shadow shapes and forms
Sketchbook light and shadow shapes and forms
Sketchbook values
Sketchbook values

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
1 June 2015

Looking at space and perspective, I sketched the following three pages:

Sketchbook illusion of space and depth
Sketchbook illusion of space and depth
Sketchbook linear perspectives
Sketchbook linear perspectives
Sketchbook aerial perspective
Sketchbook aerial perspective

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
3 June 2015



Part 1: Project 1: Exercise 1 – Expressive lines and marks

This exercise will help you begin to understand how to make your marks express a feeling, using single words as a starting point.

You’ll need:

• four A1 sheets of paper
• a range of materials including charcoal, ink and a stick (a sharpened twig, wooden chopstick or similar)
• greasy conté sticks, oil sticks or any other tool that will leave a varied mark depending on the speed and pressure that you exert – use one colour only, either black, dark blue, or dark brown.

Fold each A1 sheet in half (A2) and then in half again (A3). Unfold the sheet and tape it to the board or table top by the corners using masking tape. You’ll have four (A3) panels on each sheet.

In the corner of one of the sheets write ‘calm’, on another write ‘anger’, on the third write ‘joy’, then decide on another feeling for the fourth sheet. Create non-objective images, so no words and no figures, only lines, marks and abstract shapes within each rectangle. Bear in mind that the edges created by the folds are all that separate one image from the next. This will help you to become more aware of composition and negative space.

Spend a little time trying to inhabit one of the emotions (memories associated with the feeling may help) and when you feel sufficiently calm, angry, etc., take one of your drawing tools and try to translate the feeling into one of the panels. When you’re confident that the image works, change your medium and work on the next panel, still using the same word/feeling as your driving force. Keep working on the same sheet, changing the medium as you move to the next panel. When you’ve completed your first sheet, put it to one side and reflect on how you felt when working. Simply jot down a free flow of thoughts and words, similar to the way you engaged in a free flow of marks and lines.

Allow sufficient time between sheets to allow you to engage fully with the feeling required. The feelings that prompt the drawing shouldn’t be forced or faked, so if you don’t feel ready leave the next feeling sheet until another time.


Expressive lines and marks – set up and material

Without A1 sheets I instead taped up 4 x 4 x A3 sheets of the drawing board and laid out the materials to use:

~ Calligraphy black ink – with paint brush end and mahl stick end for application
~ Charcoal – various sizes
~ Black oil pastel
~ Black contė stick

Set up and material

My chosen feelings were joy, anger, calm and fear. I didn’t plan in any way and I had no specific images in mind before putting mark to surface, trying to be as spontaneous as possible, although I found that as the free-form of the drawing developed I did seem to intervene and direct with intention. Here they are in the order I drew them:


Oil pastel drawing thoughts: life, opening up, growth.
Charcoal drawing thoughts: positive action, change, hope.
Ink drawing thoughts: reaching out, engaging, making contact.
Conté drawing thoughts: euphoria, crazy, happy doing.


Ink drawing thoughts: blow-out, are you listening, shouty angry.
Conté drawing thoughts: it’s just wrong, no, why?
Oil pastel thoughts: mad as hell, getting less angry.
Charcoal drawing thoughts: red mists (do you get red charcoal?)


Oil pastel drawing thoughts: horizon, sea to sky, waves and clouds.
Charcoal drawing thoughts: middle ground, safe.
Ink drawing thoughts: horizon, fast, running, action, happy.
Conté drawing thoughts: horizon, where I am, out there.


Ink drawing thoughts: Curtain of fear, hidden, apprehension.
Conté drawing thoughts: What’s behind all this?, horizon.
Oil pastel drawing thoughts: Beyond the horizon, taking over, influences.
Charcoal drawing thoughts: Where do I fit?, will it stop?

Expressive lines and marks pdf file


Thinking about the materials used to make the marks, I enjoyed the fluidity of the ink, obvious lines but with the ability to drip and run onto the surface. The conté and charcoal I found quite similar in their ability to drag and create dark and lighter tones as well as being able to use a finger to smudge. I found the oil pastel the least satisfying in mark making with more fuzziness about the marks and harder to get clean lines. Blending was also quite difficult.

My last thought is that I maybe could have tried out some different qualities of surface paper, including rougher woven surfaces. I feel the drawings are all pretty much 2 dimensional on the smooth white paper surface.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
5th May 2015

Warm-up – temporary drawings

Exercise 1 Warm-up – temporary drawings Try some of these unusual drawing activities. If you can, ask someone to photograph or film you working. You can then look back, see yourself drawing and jot down your thoughts after the temporary drawing has gone.

• Squeeze and drip washing up liquid into the sink.
• Drag a stick in the sand.

• Pull a bicycle through a puddle and create marks with the wet tyres.
• Go outside at night with a small torch or sparkler and wave it around.

These are just a few ideas to get you used to the idea of drawing as something fleeting, expressive and playful. You may want to find other ways. Remember to document your activities and reflect on what you’ve done in your learning log.


Temporary drawing – washing-up liquid: 1 kitchen sink and several kinds of fluid for drip drawing – from watery to thick – thick, viscous stuff is best.

Washing-up liquid drawing video clip

Temporary drawing – sand drawing: I set up a temporary small sand pit in my studio for this and filled it with fish smoker dust to act as sand. Levelled out, I drew first on dry ‘sand’ then on wet. Wet is best.

Video marks in the sand video clip

Temporary drawing – engine oil: 1 sheet white A3 paper + 1 oil can with old engine oil – recycling or what! This was the best fun – I really like that old red oil can.

Drawing in oil video clip

Temporary drawing – night torches: 3 x torches with yellow, orange and red filters fitted over the lenses using white tack to secure. A wee bit of spectral dancing here – silence, wind noise and colours moving. A bit tricky managing 3 torches at once!

Torches for drawing   Night torches video clip 

Warm-up temporary drawings pdf file


I was a bit apprehensive starting this warm-up exercise as I had never done anything like it before. But it turned out to be quite a lot of fun experimenting with different materials as drawing tools – sticks, liquids, oil, torches – and different surfaces – sand, paper, night sky.

I have been reading Margaret Davidson’s “Contemporary drawing: key concepts and techniques” and am intrigued by her observation regarding the relationship of the surface to the mark:

“However, in both modern (1900-1950) and contemporary (1950 to present) drawing, thanks to Seurat, artists have a choice between making a drawing that is based on or about the image, or making a drawing that is based on or about the surface/mark relationship.” Davidson, M. (2011) Contemporary drawing: key concepts and techniques. [pdf] New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. Location 324.

I think all of these warm-up drawings definitely illustrate the latter aspect of making a drawing. There are no ‘images’ as such is any of these drawings, at least nothing that is particularly meaningful or obvious. What you see here are marks placed on various types of surface ‘canvas’ – eating into the sand, or sliding around the paper, or moving in the darkness – all of a temporary nature and more about the surface/mark relationship than about trying to capture or create a distinct image.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
4th May 2015