The background of this Parallel Project in addition to the research element is the sketches which were made primarily when I have been travelling. These sketches /drawings are mostly on A4 sized paper though some travel sketches were also done on A5 and some large studio works were done between travels in the studio. The larger sizes being A2, A1 and concertina folded drawings sized six times A4 size panorama. There are also some tablet drawings done utilising several different drawing ‘apps’ on a tablet with a variety of different styli.
With a few exceptions these were all done on white cartridge paper in an A4 sized spiral pad. There were several advantages of using such a sketchbook. It is a convenient size for carrying around, the spiral allows the pad to be opened flat and pages removed and replaced for scanning. The paper selection allows for working in ink as well as watercolour, though buckling with wetter washes was sometimes evident.
The drawings are mainly done in ink though there are a very few graphite pencil drawings. In the main the drawings are based upon some form of ink. For convenience, quite often I used a biro gel type pen. Other times I utilised fountain pens for drawing in either black or brown ink. There pens were a standard ‘Artpen’ and a ‘Sailor’ bent nib type pen. Some of the inks were water resistant and other were dilute-able. The former was also convenient for the adding of watercolour washes on occasion, whilst the latter allowed for merging and dilution of tones etc.
I have presented three example alongside of the different pen and ink types and these illustrate how each similar but different medium may be worked.
In Hunstanton Cliffs (top) the water -resistant black ink gel pen has allowed for the structure to be laid down using the pen. The pen has additionally been used to create tones and weight to the rocks at the foot of the cliff and within the cliff-face structure. The added watercolour was then utilised to enhance these features.
Littlehampton beach (middle) utilises a non-resistant to water brown ink to create a basis structure in the drawing. Watercolour has then been added to provide tone in the scene. This water mixed and merged with the ink to soften and enhance several areas.
A plain black ink gel pen has been used to provide structure and tone to Falaise Chateau (bottom). This medium is what was used for the majority of the drawings for the parallel Project as well as the two panorama drawings.
My drawings for Parallel Project
The parallel project is supported by a portfolio of mainly A4 drawings in pen/ink [gel pen, biro] some of which have watercolour. These number approximately 100 drawings in A4 sketchbooks, a selection of these are shown below. The complete set of sketches can be viewed at
To lend authenticity of place to some of the works I have utilised raw materials from the site where I was drawing and incorporated these into the work.
The drawing below is of Reculver Towers an old ruined church set on a rocky outcrop of the southern shore of Kent, also incorporated in the ruins are an early Roman fort. Using soil and grass I have overworked the initial ink drawing to both and colour the piece
With my garden as one of my anchor points in life I have done a drawing of that using materials found in place. After laying down a quick structure using a sharpie marker I developed it further using materials from the garden such as (grass, earth, moss, bamboo, laurel leaf, water mint etc. on A3). The scent of grass, earth and mint prevails anywhere in close proximity of this drawing, how long will it last, this piece at the moment certainly has some genius loci, more a ‘scent of place’ than ‘sense of place’; or hopefully inclusive of both qualities.
Reculver Towers (grass and mud on A4)
Garden Materials, (A3, white cartridge paper with black marker, and stains from various leaves, moss and soil, sourced from the garden).
Further to the research early in the course on Jai Redman I have also used ‘water’ from either the subject (the site) in producing the drawing. As noted in my earlier research Redman uses water from cabbage and other source such as ponds to produce his watercolour drawings of objects.
See research in Learning Log: 3-5a Additional Research – Use of extracted object water.
Here I have used diluted ink to produce a silhouette of Alnwick Castle. The water used was obtained from the nearby Cow Drinking Trough of the field in which I was stood.
Another type of site or subject water utilised was another silhouette drawing, this time of Bamburgh Castle using SEAWATER obtained from one of the many puddles remaining after the receding tide had exposed the massive broad yellow beach above which towers the castle.
See section 3.4.3 below
A drawing encompassing a map of the journeys in one year whilst doing the sketches for the parallel project. It notes the journeys, distances and times plus comments on places visited and thoughts along the way during the year.The ‘earth’ colouring in this drawing was produced by taking road dirt from the wheel arches of the journey vehicle to endow it with a sense of place from all the locations we have been to in “1 Year of Journeys”.
1 Year of Journeys
Everyone needs an anchor point. For me its home and family. A part of this is the garden we have built together. The ground we have levelled, the plants dug in, the grass planted and cut with metronomic regularity and the garden pond dug and stocked with goldfish.
This pond takes a bit of maintenance and one of the dislikeable chores being the bi-annual cleaning of filters to remove mud etc from them. This mud is made up of the very essence of the pond. Dead fish, decayed food and vegetable matter, as well as decaying plants and dirt blown in on the wind as well as the corpses of frog and insects that finish their days in this watery grave.
So, the very essence, genius loci of my garden are the pond and its mud.
Saving some mud from these regular cleans provides a medium much like that used by Richard Long to produce his gallery installation enormous mud paintings. Additionally, like Jai Redman it utilises water or a fluid obtained or extracted from the subject.
A2, white cartridge paper over-painted with yellow acrylic with mud source from garden pond, PVA glue added to mud)
In recent weeks I have researched some artists who use modern means to do sketches on location as well as another studio tool.
Much like Hockney and Scarfe noted above, I have ‘dabbled’ in the relatively new work of ‘tablet drawing’. These artists use an iPad and specific drawing apps to do their drawings, however, in the absence of an iPad I have used an Android tablet to do some tablet drawings. Doing these I utilised several drawing apps to ascertain which would be best suited to this medium. I have also used a specific drawing stylus. Initially I tried a standard stylus which works much like the end of your finger and thus gives just as much finesse of line and mark.
David Hockney uses his iPhone and iPad to produce drawings in both monochrome and in colour. [David Hockney Research] . Another contemporary artist using an iPad to draw on is Fraser Scarfe. [Fraser Scarfe Research]. In these works, he uses the iPad as a quick means to sketch as well as more completed and painted works. See below for a couple of examples (Figs 1 to 4) of each of their works on iPad.
My Tablet Drawings
Below is a selection of ‘drawings’ made using the tablet and a stylus to produce both line drawings and coloured drawings.
Further to my research into these artists and for the parallel project I have produced some tablet drawings myself using a variety of different programmes on my Android tablet. In these drawings I have used a stylus specifically created fro drawing and writing on a tablet. This stylus the ‘adonit pro‘ allows the stylus to allows be in contact with the surface and allows the writer or artist to see-thru the tip allowing greater accuracy etc.
‘adonit pro’ stylus
The Advantages of layers in electronic drawing
The advantage of the tablet /electronic drawing is that it can produce a variety of different marks, simulating a graphite pencil, felt tip marker, broad tipped paint brush etc at the click of a button. It a mark is not successful the artist can quickly go back, removing the mark(s) returning to a previous position before either stopping or continuing. There is a facility to have layers within a sketch; this provides the ability to have a base colour change instantly creating a different mood to the sketch.
The same scene can be over or under laid with transparent layers. In this ‘scene’ scene I have transformed it with two under layers. The first of these ‘colours’ the roofs and inserts the sun flow.
The second underlayer colours the foreground and sky.
These layers can be made invisible or allowed to be visible either separately or together. There are a variety of drawing tools and media to use on the tablet apps, though this is often limited if you use the free version of the app.