Drawing 1. Assignment 1. chalk on black paper

Previous feedback suggested I try drawing on black paper with chalk. I focused on the ring and shell and tried to fill the A2 sheet. I also used a viewfinder to look at the composition which I found useful.

I used a white pencil to lay down the general shapes and then used chalk to make highlights. I also used a putty rubber and oiled charcoal to put some dark areas back.

assignment 1 - chalk on black paper
pencil, chalk & oiled charcoal on A2 black paper

I was pleased to find that continuing to work into the image improved,  rather than ruined it. I like the simplicity of the final image.I was also pleased that I managed to work on a larger scale .


Drawing 1. Assignment 1. more preliminary work.



I wanted to focus on the reflections and refraction in the metal plant holder and glass pencil jar. I read about oiled charcoal on a fellow student’s blog (Janetdaviesartblog) and thought this might give me the depth and precision I was looking for. I left sticks of charcoal in olive oil overnight and before using, blotted them off. The charcoal adhered better, was less crumbly and made darker marks. It was still possible to lift it with a putty rubber.

I feel like I’m getting closer to getting the light and dark in the picture.

Drawing 1. Assignment 1. preliminary work

This assignment is taking a lot of thinking about. I selected objects representing things which are dear to me, my husband and children. I have a house-shaped bedside table and thought it would be nice to have the objects in the house but this didn’t work, there was very little shadow and it was too squashed together. I tried lots of arrangements and changing objects around but I couldn’t get a satisfactory composition.

trying an arrangement of objects in a house shaped bedside table

Next I arranged the objects on a table. It still seemed cluttered with too many white objects. I cut down the number of objects

out of the house – too many objects


I reduced the number of objects, gave them a black backdrop and used a glass pencil holder instead of ceramic. This made the image more balanced while increasing the interesting reflections and refraction.

narrowing things down

My first drawing was in drawing pen and dip pen and ink with pencil guidelines. The cross hatching was very laborious and the dip pen was quite frustrating. I set aside 2 hours to do the drawing and only got half way. Focusing for 2 hours like this was exhausting. I was glad I had done a full-sized drawing as I felt I learned about working on a larger scale. I was keen to move forward to a slightly different arrangement and technique so I left this unfinished.


I decided that the pencil holder and plant were both a bit too large in the arrangement above so I played around with different cacti and different pencil holders. I liked the scale of this arrangement (below). I chose a viewpoint looking slightly down on the arrangement. This gave the objects at the front some space to show up against the black background. The objects I have chosen are:

  1. pencil/brush – for me
  2. cactus – for my daughter (she loves them)
  3. What if? book – for my son (he keeps taking it out of the arrangement to read)
  4. Why we Run book – for my husband, who runs
  5. The globe – because I love them and it is also a pencil sharpener and represents the earth (our home) and travel/holidays
  6. the shell – found on a beach on holiday. You can wear it as a ring
  7. My wedding ring.


I drew another A2 drawing, this time in charcoal with some chalk for highlights. The drawing didn’t fill the page. I liked the way I could produce the shading on the cactus and the globe. I found it less effective on the shiny cactus pot and the glass container. I could practice doing individual objects to get better at representing them. I like the dark background but might put in a join between the table and the backdrop to make the objects less “floaty”. The light doesn’t make it clear as you can see from the photograph.


I’m left not knowing which medium I prefer to represent my objects. I find working with charcoal quicker and more direct. I’d love to be able to do this arrangement in pen and ink too but it would be a big challenge to grasp the techniques I need.