Report Assignment 1


Formative feedback

Student name        Clara Maciulis Student number                     513759
Course/Unit            Drawing 1: Drawing Skills Assignment number            1
Type of tutorial (eg video/audio/written) Written

Overall Comments

Thank you for submitting your first assignment. You submitted via your blog. This is a lively start to the course, your drawings are imaginative, energetic and enthusiastic. You have tried out a variety of mediums and surfaces, this is commendable. As you move through the course vary the time spent from quick studies to longer drawings and continue to explore composition.

Yes, this is definitely very good advise. I will start using thumbnail sketches to determine the composition before spending too much time on a drawing.

Assignment 1 Assessment potential

You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment 2. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.

Thank you! I will definitely want to know your feedback on assessment.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

For your assignment piece you tried out many different compositions with different objects, some more successful than others. You are conscious of trying to fill the page which is great but don’t be afraid to let objects fall off the page, as you have seen through cropping images tightly you can create an interesting viewpoint. The roll in the yoga mat for example is the most visually engaging element of the drawing, the viewer already focuses on this so everything else isn’t really necessary,


Your fruit and veg drawing is a successful drawing, your handling of the ink is great and there are strong contrasts in tone. The blue/green colour used in the toiletries drawing is a great choice, I have a sensory response to this as it reminds me of menthol and minty fresh breath, appropriate for a drawing with toothpaste. Although the art materials and crystals have a lot of personal meaning for you, the drawings themselves aren’t executed as successfully. As I mentioned before there is an energy to your work, the danger of being overly expressive is that sometimes your work becomes too illustrative.


You need to be careful of heavy outlines in your drawings, by putting in a variety of tones – from your whitest white to your darkest grey it creates more depth in the image. Within tonal drawings lines are created through subtleties in light – a line isn’t a physical object, pretend it doesn’t exist. The line is an illusion created by the differences in the dark areas and the light areas. If you struggle to see different tonal values try manipulating your light source by using lamps and squint your eyes. This is seen in your reflective drawing piece, although your composition is interesting, I think you would have benefited from working more slowly to achieve the contrast in tonal values. Look carefully.

Thank you- I will work on more definition from tone and less by drawing outlines.

As you have learned ellipses are difficult to draw, I admire your perseverance with this, they are something that just like perspective need to be learned and they will take time to get right.


You have picked up in your blog that you are in danger of almost having a production line going with making drawings, you need to take the time to evaluate your work. Utilize thumbnail sketches as a way of trying out different compositions before committing to the final one.


Reflect honestly and take the successful elements forward to the next drawing.


There is a great dynamism to your ‘groups of objects’ drawing and your ‘shadow, lines and marks’ piece, There is potential in this way of expressing form and tone, re-visit this in the next section of the course. Those sort of frantic marks would have worked well on your coconut texture piece which hasn’t quite captured the essence of the fruit. Use these experiments as a starting point in building a visual dictionary. You can refer back to these when you need to need to produce any drawing in the future and want to remind yourself of a suitable technique.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Your sketchbooks are other worldly and full of imagination, remember these are also a place to record the everyday and the world around you, given your traveling you must see amazing sights that deserve to be drawn! Think of your Sketchbooks as ‘Visual Diaries’ and as part of a wider activity of collecting and exploration.

I am very happy you advised me to draw more from reality in my sketchbook and already started today!! To be honest drawing otherworldly is a way of escaping drawing what I don’t know how to draw, as imagined creatures don’t require accuracy and perspective, so it is avoiding disappointment. But I needed you to point it out, and now I am on the task to use my sketchbook for the surroundings and just start learning what I don’t know instead of avoiding it. Til now it has been like two separate drawing worlds- the sketchbook and the coursework. Thank you for pointing this out!


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

You have carried out a lot of research in your blog, remember it isn’t necessary to give a history lesson on the artists, I am interested in knowing your opinion and your response to the work, reflect on it much the same way you reflect on your own work. There is a guide to looking at artists/artwork here which has useful questions to help direct your thinking about their work. If possible try to visit galleries and see artwork in the flesh.


Try out the techniques of artists you look at and learn through doing. Always ask why you are doing something and what you would do differently next time, what was successful, what wasn’t.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

Your learning log is navigable and your images are clear, your research section is becoming long already, consider ways of organising this so it is easier to get to the relevant sections more quickly.


Perhaps start keeping a bibliography, although you are not required to do any formal academic writing at this stage it is good practice to get into the habit of referencing. OCA use the Harvard system, there are online guides available here.


Suggested reading/viewing


Artists who use a looser, more unfinished approach worth taking a look at are Ginny Grayson, Yann Kebbi and Edouard Vuillard’s drawings. Look at the likes of Rembrandt, Albrecht Dürer and Gustave Doré in terms of the potential of cross hatching.


‘Contemporary Drawing from the 1960’s to Now’ is worth having a look at, as is ‘How to Write about Contemporary Art’


John Berger’s Ways of Seeing can also be found in video form on youtube.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Try to do more sketchbook work
  • Continue to explore media and surfaces
  • Look at the work of other artists critically

Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.

Tutor name Joanne Mulvihill-Allen
Date 22 May 2016
Next assignment due 15 September 2016



Assignment 1

Assignment 1

While traveling I carry quite sparse luggage , so the inventory of personally meaningful things to sketch is quickly done. My yoga mat- my faithful companion on every trip, my  favorite mint green happy headphones for closing myself off in a world of music ,  a small loudspeaker to listen when I am not alone, and now recently lots of sketching material. My clothes and toiletries feel easily replaceable, so not interesting.

Yogamat and towels

Of all these objects, my yogamat is definitely the most personal one. I practice yoga most every morning, no matter where I am in the world. Everything in my life is ever changing and very free, with different schedules, which is beautiful and sometimes really hard. But since 10 years now- rolling out the mat and practicing is the start of my day wherever I am.

This particular mat is 3 years old now, so it has seen many countries and many hours of sweating and breathing. One little corner is missing because kitten Shakespeare chewed it off, and there are claw marks too. But now- how do I do a composition with the yoga mat? Its a really ungrateful shape.IMG_2880

And the accessories : well used soft towel and a very special sweat towel purchased in Mysore, India- not very obvious shapes. I add my mala and risk some trials.

A3 sketching paper. I start by using a new pencil, Conte pastel, in purple! I am so happy to have found these pencils, look like charcoal pencils, but colorful! The texture is very dry and rasping against the paper though, my movements are not so fluid.


I am struggling both with shapes and tone here. I add black charcoal for the darker parts.

I decide to try sketching a more detailed simple pencil sketch. A3, pencil 3B and 6B.


I am happier with this drawing. The composition is more harmonious and fills the page, and  I can feel the texture of the objects better.

Now I decide to try something more experimental- ink on newspaper. Also because I don’t have any bigger paper than A3. First I cover the page lightly with rather transparent white acrylic, just so the pictures especially don’t become to obvious. Then I draw with black indian ink.


I didn’t realize , that because of the acrylic paint, the paper doesn’t absorb the ink, so it flows quite freely and it is practically impossible to control the tone. But I still think this flowy messy version looks good. I like the idea to draw on newspaper and will explore that further.

Here I post one more sketch on the same subject and on newspaper I did now back home again. I was really happy to discover that I have a newspaper from Mysore, India, In Kannada language, which is much more relevant for the subject- I have very fond memories from practicing at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute there four times. Now the newspaper from Mysore- daily practice, daily paper, rolling out the mat.


I covered the pictures lightly with white acrylic again, then draw in pencil. Then I shaded some parts with a fine liner pen to create some more sense of texture. And then shading, smudging erasing a willow charcoal stick. I used a white charcoal stick for the highlights.

Art materials

Suddenly I look at my drawing materials and realize- these are objects that trigger a response! I love them all! I love  having discovered how much pleasure drawing gives me, and how this too is something that I can easily do anywhere in the world. They look good too- so here comes a composition of drawing materials.

I continue exploring the newspaper background, lightly covered with acrylic, but this time I use a black charcoal stick instead. Then I smudge some parts and add highlights with an eraser and a white charcoal stick.IMG_2907

I am happy with the composition and with the character of the newspaper as a background.


Here I try the same composition on brown wrapping paper, using a “Venetian red” (!!) charcoal stick. I like the brownish color on brown background.

I am tempted to try one more drawing of this with the beautiful green gold ink I now have, but decide I will save that for some composition where both bottle and “feather” are not figuring as models.



Home again: I am feeling into what objects in my house trigger some special feelings and a surge to draw them.
I have just been away from home for 6 weeks straight, so it is quite easy to feel what objects I am really happy to see again. It is a new way to look at my home and I enjoy this process!

Crystals and wood

My “altar” or crystal corner is full of my favorite stones and sticks from all over the world. I love bringing a stone or crystal or piece of wood from the places I visit, and they all tell a different story. I am also attracted to the idea of drawing some irregular shapes so it is not so obvious when my ellipses are crooked 🙂 This definitely calls for a play 🙂 In the house, I have a big painting of Ganesh on driftwood behind, but the difference in size does not look good for the drawing. So I will choose a smaller piece of driftwood in the background, a lotus flower shaped candle holder, some frangipani flowers from my garden and a snake shaped stick.

A3, and finally I draw in golden green ink:


I am really disappointed by how difficult it is to control the tone with the ink. The whole image is kind of striped and boring and disappointing. I don’t really see how to continue this, so I will start again. A3 sketching block and the beautiful Venetian red charcoal pen.


Again, I am disappointed, it’s quite boring and as much as I love the objects, I decide that this is not really worth continuing in this way.

New day, new trial. I am logging this out of order, this is my last drawing for Assignment 1 as I am handing it in tomorrow. I decide to try the driftwood, candleholder and crystals again.


I like this composition better, it is more dynamic, especially the shadow of the candle holder is interesting. I changed the frangipani for some bougainvillea. A3 sketching paper and a whole range of black media that I find most fitting for the different textures : pencils 3B, 8B, fine liner pen 01, 04, black Indian ink, charcoal sticks, then white charcoal and some white acrylic touches for the highlights ( as the white charcoal is not really visible on the ink).

Bathroom ceramics

My bathroom- ah these little precious details, that makes it so good to be home again 🙂 The soap dish and toothbrush cup are in ceramic and already have artistically irregular shapes, so again the drawing of shapes doesn’t have to be so perfect. I love coming home to my own bathroom 🙂 There are a lot of small things here , that make it my space. The soap dish and toothbrush cup were the first things I bought for this house. The cup is chipped, and normally I would throw out a chipped cup, but this one survives every clearing attempt. It is a handmade ceramics cup in the shape of a crumpled paper cup, and a matching soap dish. And a piece of loofa, a funny shape.


I start with a charcoal willow stick drawing on brown packing paper. I think something is missing in the background , so I add my Balinese basket containing my jewelry. I try different versions with necklaces hanging out, but decide to keep the shapes really clean and simple.

A3 sketching block with a green Conte pastel pencil, and then adding purple to the shadow. Also white for highlights:


When after sketching here for ever, I stand up to get a drink,  I notice that the light looks more interesting from the back.

I choose to draw this quite quickly on another newspaper , with the willow charcoal stick, just to try it out.


Here the shadows are a big part of the composition.  I would probably crop the image by the low black bar. The newspaper is upside down, which I chose to make the characters of the page less important ( and it is in Chinese anyway), but it adds a slight irritation so next time I will turn the page right.

Fruits and vegetables

I know this is really not an original idea for a still life, but I definitely felt super happily triggered going to the market today and finding all the amazing organic fruits and veggies I am spoilt with here! I ate half a watermelon before starting and had to restrain myself for hours to not start on the small papaya too:)


First I draw very light outlines with a 3B pencil and then go straight to drawing the tones with black ink and a brush. I want to avoid getting too fixated on the outlines. I find it difficult to get the right tones with the ink, its often lighter or darker than I want. But in essence I am happy to try this new approach.


I was planning to continue with a fine liner pen, for the details, but decide to go a little rougher and lighter with a charcoal pen instead to keep the happy and not so perfect style of the ink.


I use a soft black charcoal pen and smudge for the darker tones and a harder black charcoal for the details.  Then I use a white charcoal pen for white lines , especially on the watermelon as I cant erase the ink. The highlights do not shine enough with the white charcoal, so I add some touches of white acrylic paint instead. I quite like that the composition looks a little sloppy, maybe like spilled out of a bag. And I am happy that I managed to fill the whole page. I have to learn how to control the tones of the ink better.

I try the same composition on another page of a newspaper. I like this page again as a background because it is so evenly printed with little Chinese characters and figures, without pictures.


Here I just spent much less time, I wanted a more rough and spontaneous sketch. I think it is all too even in tone. I highlighted some little details with white acrylic paint again, but I didn’t want to cover too much of the newspaper. The result is messy, but I like that it reminds me of the market, and maybe wrapping produce up in this paper.


What have I learnt during this chapter?

Work on a satisfying composition BEFORE launching into hours of shading. No more objects floating on the white page, please 🙂

Log drawings more often and before sketching many drawings repeating the same mistakes, because often something became apparent when having to comment on the drawings- like a boring composition for example, or not using the whole page.
Use small periods of time- it may not be as satisfying as having large cozy times sketching to music, but it is still worth it.
Spend less time doodling crazy eyes in my sketchbook and more doing the course material. This month was a little extreme as I was travelling so much and it feels easier to just doodle something publicly than studying shades.
Look at surface and texture- not only outline.
I want to work more on both shapes and texture and am happy that the next chapter leaves room for that.
Reflective surfaces are interesting and not as scary as I thought.
And there is just so so so much to learn!!!