Observation and Experiment Term 1 in my MA at Cambridge School of Art

The first term of my Masters is officially over as I handed in all six of my sketchbooks nearly two weeks ago now. After a much needed rest I thought I would reflect upon the term and give an idea of the progress I made during it. This project is a foundation to the course and its aim is to get drawing and perfecting aspects of the practice such as tone, line, perspective, shape and colour.

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Port of Boston – Charcoal

I began the term with a lot of debating on what sort of subject matter to go with. The idea of ‘Boston’ was one which I’d actually had in my BA: I thought it would be an interesting subject matter for a reportage project. Many people outside of my course seemed rather confused with my choice of subject matter as it’s not something you’d perhaps associate with children’s books, however that wasn’t the point of the theme. We needed a focus for our drawing and this was very convenient for me as I don’t have access to a car or many interesting places around the area to go. Aside from this I’ve always thought the town’s history was really interesting and thought this would be a great opportunity to do lots of drawing and learn about my home town! I wanted to explore the old and new sides of the town. There are many old buildings aside modern and perhaps run down off licences in the town and a real mixture of characters. I thought this could be very visually interesting.

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Initial Sketchbook Work in Ink

To begin, I went out with some charcoal, ink and pencils. At the beginning of the term I wasn’t too focused on getting colour into the images but more focused on actually getting out and drawing! It’s been so long since I’ve done any observational drawing. The last observational stuff I’d done was probably in my second year in my BA in Norwich and maybe one life drawing class in the beginning of third year. Being outside and drawing in public seemed pretty daunting at first and I think you can see this in some of the initial drawings such as the ones above in ink. A lot of my initial drawings were of the backs of peoples heads or had an unfinished look to them.

Boston Central Park – Coloured Pencil

As time went on I think I started to feel more confident going out drawing and as a result feeling brave enough to use different materials and start to use colour. The image above is one of the local park which I spent a couple of hours on in coloured pencil. I was really happy with this at the time.

Game Market Stall

As the term progressed I was going out nearly everyday and any time I wasn’t at work simply because it took me so long to draw! When I bought a brush pen and started to fill it with watered down ink this really sped up my process. The image above is one of a game stall at the local market which I had great fun drawing and using the pen with watercolour pencil.

Euro booze and foods

As the term started nearing an end I was trying to make sure I’d drawn everything I’d wanted to draw or everything I pictured myself drawing in my head at the beginning of term. I wanted to make sure I’d tried as many new and different materials as possible and started to enjoy combining some materials, particularly gouache. The image above is of a shop I’ve wanted to draw for ages simply because it’s so colourful a midst very grey and concrete surroundings. For this I used my brush pen, gouache and watercolour pencils. This is a process I used a lot towards the end of the term and can be seen in the image below too.

Town Center – gouache, watercolour pencil and ink

As hand in drew closer much of my final imagery focused on the local market of which I visited to draw. My favorite image from the whole term is one of my last seen below of a nightwear stall on the market.

Nightwear Market Stall

Overall I think a real improvement can be seen in my work and confidence throughout this term. However there are certain things I wish I did more of and things which I think still need improving, mainly my perspective! I also wish I had done more drawing at night. Despite this I’m really happy with my progress this term and I’m really excited to begin our next module!