Feedback from Assignment 1 from Tutor Cheryl Huntbach

Overall Comments

Thank you for your submission of Assignment 1. You submitted a well organised and thoughtfully edited portfolio, a supporting blog archiving research and commentary on process, media and range of exercises.

Throughout the feedback I have made some recommendations on approaches to media, process and critical analysis: your work and research.  It will benefit your progress to act on these and reflect on the benefits or otherwise on your blog.

You have a methodical and committed approach to experimenting with different media and recording the process.  

You have made a good start to researching with reference to historical and 21st century research.  You ask questions of yourself and others, exploring a more open inquiry rather than sticking with assumption.

You’re using the blog to track your progress and to reflect upon your use of media and technique.  There is more scope to reflect on the connections between your breadth of research, your own learning and potential.

There are some experimental approaches to exploring tonal values in creating three-dimensional form.  In observing and conveying objects you have attempted to explore and communicate differing surface and material qualities.  You’re noticing and exploring how to communicate reflective and transparent matter.  Good beginings here, regular practice and further exploration will improve these effects.

In some of the drawings you pay more attention to the objects and less to the space in-between, foreground and background.  Here it would be beneficial to revisit some of your research: Morandi for example.

You are clearly reflecting on your observation and acquiring drawing skills with an open, inquiring approach .  At assignment 1 it is very good to see that you are bringing in some personal aims and projects outside of the course material.  

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.

Feedback on assignment

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

An expansive range of monochrome media has been utilised in the preparatory drawings and the final outcome.  

These work best when you’ve explored and conveyed  texture, surface and reflective qualities and form through specific mark-making and handling processes.  You’ve clearly reflected on and learned from the exercises and projects, which you’ve then fed into the assignment itself.

With regards to the preparatory works; you’ve explored differing compositions, mark-making qualities and varied tonal values (especially in the background / negative space).

Some simple, concise analysis on the thumbnail compositions has helped you to make quick, informed decisions.  You are clearly learning about composition from your research and practice.

In future consideration at the prep stage for the range of tonal values: in the background and foreground would also be useful. (see Pointers).  Half-closing eye at this stage may help you to break these down.  Also focussing upon the negative space only to first lay-down tonal values.

‘Lots of things that I’m not sure about in this picture’:  Being ‘unsure’ is a normal and acceptable state of being, especially when learning new processes and approaches.  

You make judgements on your work that suggest you’re dissatisfied with some elements, yet offer no problem solving or alternative approaches i.e: ‘messy’ background, edge of books and image too small.  Ask yourself how you might have planned: the composition, placement on the paper, the range, balance and dynamic of the tonal values across the work?  (see Pointers)

It would be useful to spend some time reflecting on the analysis of what works / doesn’t work- in equal balance.  Then set some aims as to how these might be developed further or addressed.  I suggest that this will be helpful to recognise both emerging strengths and qualities to be further explored, as well as weaknesses to be developed and problem-solved.  (see Pointers)

Some well-observed and sensitive mark-making across the jar and brushes.  You’ve captured and conveyed both a play of light and qualities of transparency in the jar.  There is a both a subtle and simple approach to the ring and shell.

You have approached the assignment with thought and consideration with regard to choice of media, selection of objects in relation to your research and reflections on vanitas genre and also a personal narrative content.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Good use of your sketchbook to make notational prep drawing, with concise analysis of compositions.

It would benefit your development to expand upon this prep.  Set some specific aims of your own around the assignment work.  Pursue the prep by drawing in series before you begin a final drawing, for example:

6 – 8  small, thumbnail sketches to explore tonal values, negative space (in addition to different compositions or viewpoints)- work out the more interesting composition and tones before you start.

4 – 6 small, thumbnails to explore how the object / subject sits or fills the page.  Test out portrait / landscape format.

6 – 8  small loose drawings to explore mark-making qualities in relation to  lighting / tonal qualities- to test out the varying qualities of tone and marks across the drawing.  (see Pointers)

Continue the succinct yet useful notations alongside the prep drawings- these will aid your thinking and visual analysis at each stage of the planning and drawing process.


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

You’re using your blog well to reflect on your eclectic research.  A very diverse range of both primary and secondary sources.

Harvard referenced research.

You seem more constructively critical when analysing the work of others; considering elements that work / strengths and elements that don’t work / weaknesses.  How might you bring a similar balanced analysis to your own work?  Could you utilise the OCA study guide looking at artists… to your own work?  (see Pointers)

The research and inquiry is thoughtful, so now it is timely to think of how you might apply or reflect on the content, context and qualities in your own work?

Set some intentions and aims for your future drawings- applying your research to your work.  (see Pointers)

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

You’ve made a good start to using your blog as an archive for your research, reflections and learning process.  Maintaining this practice whilst feeding your curiosity and exploring the practice of drawing is essential for your development.

You understand that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach to drawing, though there’s a tendency to focus on what doesn’t work: this is a great opportunity to problem-solve.  In addition to not repeating the process or strategy,  consider how you might not do / do something else.  Follow this problem-solving by trying out your new ideas and approaches. (see Pointers)

You are using both trial & error, research and analysis to underpin and feed into your learning.  By reflecting on your blog regularly, this is supporting how you think and also how you draw.

You are reflecting on your learning throughout.  What would be useful is to take these thoughts and insights forward – Set yourself some specific aims to apply to your drawings.  This will help you to develop and deepen your autonomy and personal voice.  (see Pointers)

Begin to ask some broad questions / intentions (as suggested in Research) about what your intentions may be when beginning a drawing (& ask similar questions when reading or looking at others’ work).  Try this approach out and record your reflections on your blog.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context  Research through current and past exhibitions.  Red Drawing Papers no: 128 Cecily Brown’s Rehearsal and Paper : 117 on ‘Small’ are good starting points.

‘FOUND’ Cornelia Parker curated exhibition ( Aug – Sept 2016) at The Foundling Museum.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect and act on the suggestions and recommendations throughout the feedback.
  • Set yourself some specific aims to apply to your own drawings.
  • Reflect upon both what works / what doesn’t work in equal measure- then set some aims to develop and enhance both aspects.
  • Expand upon the preparatory drawings: work across a number of thumbnail sketches to explore tonal values, relationship between object / subject and negative space, mark-making qualities (in addition to composition).
  • Suggested reading / viewing (as above) and reflect on these on your blog.

Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment.   Written or video/audio

Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.



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