Project 4 Developing design ideas


Stage 1.

For this first exercise I had to play around with black squares to create some interesting arrangements, I used smaller black squares than stated in the instructions a I didn’t feel it was necessary for them to be 3cm x 3cm – it just seemed to use up way too much room in my sketchbook! The top two arrangements are supposed to look static, but still interesting, the bottom two should show movement – I think the bottom left one is my favorite, it somehow feels more easy on the eye than the others!

I did the ‘lines’ section at 12cm x 12cm as suggested, the top one is supposed to be peaceful, whereas the bottom one is supposed to show tension – although I think maybe broken lines would’ve portrayed this better.

Stage 2 – Looking for shapes and drawing.


I found this picture of a river delta in a magazine which really caught my eye, using a small viewing frame I picked out a few separate areas and tried to copy the shapes with pencil and graphite sticks to using flowing lines, outlines and blocks of tone. I then tried ripped up magazine paper to create the feeling of the flowing water and rocks.

Exercise 1.

Using the same photo I then created 4 more drawing. The first concentrates on the surface texture in a small area of the pictures, showing the flowing channels of water – to me it ended up looking a bit like veins and arteries joining up and branching out. The next picture is really just a colour matching exercise where I just tried to capture the beautiful colours in the photo, I feel I should’ve used more of the golden-yellow colour as it is so prominent in the photo. The third and fourth picture’s are where I tried to capture the main shapes in the photo. I first tried using paints, pens and collage but wasn’t happy with it, so I then tried again using a sharpie felt tip pen which I feel shows the flowing lines much more clearly.

Exercise 2.

The part of the photo that speak to me the most is the beautiful flowing feeling from the top left corner, so using water-colour paints and plenty of water I tried to capture this. I initially used a thin wash of paint for the underlying yellow colour, then I dribbled paint down the paper, before washing it away again repeatedly before finally dribbling some darker paint over it. The results were totally unpredictable and I really enjoyed the entire process of making it.

Exercise 3.

I then had to make 3 more pictures based on the last one. The first one is done using pastels on black card (a dry media), the second is a collage of magazine paper and the third is done using acrylic paint (a wet media). For the third picture I started off by painting a light wash of colour across the background, then scraped thicker paint across the surface using a knife. This was close to the effect I wanted to achieve with areas of white roughly breaking through, but in other places it was too rough and scratchy looking – I wanted the colours to flow together more smoothly so I had a second go using my fingers to move the paint around instead, it was fantastically fun and messy, but the colours merged together too easily to produce an even grey colour, I think the results I really wanted are somewhere in the middle between the two paintings.

Exercise 4.

For this exercise I found a textured glass perfume bottle, brightly coloured paper clips and some glass marbles. I started off by making a few simple pencil sketches, before moving on to trying to capture some of the colours using paint splodges.  I found it difficult to capture the surface texture of the glass bottle so tried some collage and watercolour paint left to dry with cling-film pressed on to it – which I feel came the closest. I then tried mixing acrylic paint and polyester thread with PVA glue to make something resembling the marbles with colour trapped inside them. I really enjoyed this so I worked it up into a bigger picture, using layers of paint, PVA and tissue paper and drawing over it with a sharpie pen when it had dried.

Stage 3 – Selecting from your drawings.


For this stage I spent time looking back through my drawings and chose a few small areas to look at in more detail. I tried reworking the selections in different colours and media to see what effect it had on the shapes. My favorite has to be the third line down which is taken from a sketch of an owl, I especially love the pink one done with sharpie pen, it looks so different from a realistic sketch and I like that!

Stage 4 – Developing design ideas


I had great fun with for this stage selecting some of my previous sketchbook work to re-work in a new media. All the original sketches were done in pencil, so I decided to add colour to all of them this time whilst playing with the scale of the patterns in some pieces. I worked in acrylic paint, oil pastel, sharpie markers and metallic paint pen for these pieces.

In my sketchbook I spend a lot of time drawing figures, so using some of my sketches for inspiration I worked up this piece, it is much bigger than all my other pieces at about 70cm x 45cm. I think the large size helped me feel more free to experiment as there was such a large space to cover. The final piece uses pencil, acrylic paint, sharpie pen, oil pastel and collage. My favorite thing about it has to be the bright blue colour – especially on the leg, I’m not sure why but I feel particularly happy with this bit and I think I’d like to spend more time playing around with large blocks of colour.


  • Did you manage to ‘make space move’?
    I think I managed to achieve this, but more through texture than placement. I can see how placing an item very squarely and centrally in a picture would make it seem more static, and that by moving away from those qualities you can create more interest in a piece. My mind still like to place a drawing in the centre of a piece of paper though, but I think making a more interesting and textured background to work the piece on can create movement too.
  • What are your thoughts about the drawings you did in Stage 3?
    The repeated drawings from Stage 3 made me realise how totally different something can look just by changing the colours and media used. I especially liked the owl’s eye redone in pink pen, you wouldn’t really have any idea what it originally was without the other drawings for reference. This is an interesting concept to explore.
  • Were you able to use your drawings successfully as a basis for further work? Are there any other things you would like to try?
    As shown in Stage 4 I was able to use elements of my original sketches to create different pieces of art. I especially ejoyed creating the painting/collage of the woman, taking it from a simple pencil line sketch which I do a lot of, to something quite different and colourful in the end. I would like to try this subject again but with a very different feeling – maybe light and blurry pastel colours, making the piece feel more angelic and innocent.
  • Now that you have a good working method, do you feel confident that you can carry on working in this way independently?
    I can see the benefit in working this way, but don’t know if I will manage to keep it up. I’ve never been a very organized person and tend to jump from idea to idea, often ending up with an end piece with no planning beforehand, it will be quite a challenge to work in a methodical manner. Even now looking back at this this section I can see how disjointed it is, my idea’s don’t flow through from one stage to the next, I often get carried away with a different idea then have to go back and fill in the rest after.

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