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Art & Design

A foundation course in Art & Design

The Art & Design course is based on the typical art college foundation course. It provides a broad general introduction to art and design and is especially suitable for those who feel that they want to do something in art or design but are not quite sure what. It provides an introduction to drawing and painting, the use of colour, tone, shape and texture, with options in sculpture, textiles and graphic design. The main emphasis of the course is to prepare a portfolio of work that helps students to decide which area of art they enjoy and want to continue their studies in. Course content The course covers: drawing and painting from observation, using a variety of subjects including a self portrait, landscape and working from a theme colour theory: colour mixing and how to use colour studying and copying a painting working in three-dimensions: making a relief, a three dimensional sculpture and modelling in clay textile design: printing and painting surfaces, stitching and constructing textiles graphic design: collage, lettering and making an image.

There are many options allowing you to choose your own way through this course. Teaching methods The course provides you with a series of projects that are supported by distance learning techniques. At certain points in the course your work will be seen by your tutor, and answers to any specific questions you have. You can get credits for your course too If you want to have your work recognised you can gain credits towards a full qualification in art. To do this you present a portfolio of your work on the course, including work on specific projects, for assessment.

Open College of the Arts 0800 731 2116 www.oca-uk.com July 2008

Art & Design (a foundation course)

Course sample
This is a sample of OCA course materials. If you would like to request a Guide to Courses or enrol on a course, please contact the OCA administration team:

by M ail :

OCA The Michael Young Arts Centre Redbrook Business Park Wilthorpe Road Barnsley, S75 1JN

by Phone: by E-mail :

0800 731 2116 enquiries@oca-uk.com

Art & Design

Written by Ian Tregarthen Jenkin, Ralph Jeffery & Myles Murphy

Your tutor Aims and structure of the course

You and your course

The materials you will need Notes for students Looking and responding Going further - being assessed On completing the course Project and assignment plan


Drawing from objects and mark making

Project 1: drawing from observation Project 2: mark making Project 3: creating shapes Going further Assignment 1


Colour and painting from objects

Acrylic paints The palette Project 4: using acrylics Project 5: colour mixing A brief digression on light and colour Paint Project 6: the colour circle Project 7: tone, saturation and contrast Project 8: matching colours Project 9: painting from objects Going further


Project 10: drawing from the landscape Questions to ask whenever drawing or assessing your work Project 11: painting from the landscape Project 12: variations in the landscape Going further Assignment 2


Studying a painting
Project 13: choosing your painting to copy Project 14: making the copy Going further


Project 15: drawing a self-portrait Project 16: painting a self-portrait Going further Assignment 3


Painting from a theme

Project 17: a theme of your choice Project 18: using figures Going further


Working in 3 dimensions (option)

Project 19: making a relief Project 20: a 3-dimensional sculpture Project 21: modelling Going further


Designing for textiles (option)

Preparation Project 22: printing and painting surfaces Project 23: stitching Project 24: constructing textiles Project 25: using colour Going further


Graphic design (option)

Project 26: collage Project 27: lettering Project 28: making an image with letters Project 29: making a poster Going further Assignment 4

10: The final project

Suggestions for possible projects In conclusion Assignment 5

At the end of your course Appendix A: if you plan to submit your work for formal assessment Appendix B: reading list and museums and galleries

Project 2: mark making

In Project 1 you discovered how a particular kind of drawing mark, a line, could be used to describe a group of objects. Drawing materials can, of course, make a wide range of different marks and in this second project youll be experimenting with 4 different drawing materials and discovering what each can do: pencil, charcoal, brush and pen. You will be exploring the kinds of marks that can be made with the various materials through abstract mark making that makes their individual characteristics immediately obvious. This project will help you to discover what a mark is and how it can express you in particular and no-one else. You will also find out some of the ways to make marks, what makes them different and when to use different kinds of marks. They are as fundamental to the artist as the alphabet is to the writer. The details in brush and line which illustrate this section demonstrate this. You may have given little thought, so far, to the mark making which is revealed in a work of art. In focussing on them we may ask you to do things youll at first consider rather childish. To be asked to scribble may seem odd but in drawing nothing is more important than the hands natural gesture and the mark that builds the image. Our aim here is to help you find out more about mark making through a number of exercises. We hope you will: discover how speed influences the marks you make realise the different character of marks made with different tools and mediums gain confidence by using natural movements to draw abstract shapes rather than making your drawing copy a real object

get rid of preconceptions, for example:

the pencil is safe and descriptive the brush is too adventurous and inaccurate charcoal generalises and is too smudgy pen marks are too definite and permanent.

Leonardo - Pencil

Rembrandt Brush

Degas Charcoal

Kirchner Pen

OCA students work

Try therefore to give yourself up to the joy of making splodges, dots, scribbles and lines. Delight in things that just happen because you put pressure on the point of a pencil or brush. There, in an instant, is an expression of you and the materials youre using. This personal expression is what distinguishes one artist from another. This mark is your unique response to the moment. It portrays your feeling for the subject and communicates your interest in it.

What you need for this project

Drawing board several sheets or strips of cartridge paper about 10 cm x 25 cm drawing pins or clips HB and 6B pencils medium charcoal size 6 brush brown or black ink water a saucer water container (e.g. jam jar) black fibre-tip pen (size 0.3 preferably) thin card for making viewing windows spray diffuser and fixative

Stage 1: simple marks

Pin a strip of paper vertically upright on your board. Rest the board against a table or chair or on your easel. Using a 6B pencil, make a set of marks slowly and deliberately, stroke by stroke, crossing each other or side by side in close groups. You should take 10 or 15 minutes over this. Sit back. At once youll notice something about these marks has been predetermined. Theyre rendered lifeless by over-consideration and careful execution. Now make marks very fast elsewhere on the paper or on another sheet. This may take only a few minutes. Sit back. This time youll see frenetic excitement with no flow or recognisable pattern - just an illiterate scrawl.

Make marks faster than you can consciously plan each stroke

Now take a new sheet of paper and make some more marks faster than you can consciously plan each stroke but slowly enough for the mind to organise the patterns they cluster in. This again will only take a few minutes. Then make 2 more collections, so that you have 3 sets in all, to fill the sheet of

paper. Stop and look at the 3 sets. Youll notice that marks have a particular language of their own. They can express the speed of their execution or the care of a closely observed drawing. The way that they speak becomes an important part of the language of any drawing.

(Left) Giacometti: frantic excitement is produced by taking a detail out of context (Right) Leonardo: fast but ordered pattern of overlapping strokes

Before thinking about how to build a good mark making hand, go on with the experiment, taking the HB pencil, the pen, charcoal, brush and ink, each in turn through the 3 different speeds. Use more paper if you need it but try to keep the exercises close together so that the sheet looks fully used. Did you notice how light the HB pencil was compared with the 6B? The 6B melts its lead on to the page. The HB appears to hold back when the hand puts it under pressure. Did you feel the descriptive power and the independent life of each medium? The pen, though it flows, seems to need the papers abrasive quality. The brush probably gave you more surprising shapes than you intended. Your charcoal may have chipped and spluttered as you moved it across the paper.

Stage 2: varying the line, pencil

You will now explore ways of bringing out the character of each tool as well as developing the rich and diverse movements of your own hand. We start with different ways of drawing a line and giving it expression. Pin another strip of paper to your board. Take a 6B pencil. Dont hold the pencil too firmly; be gentle with your grip. Draw a continuous line from left

to right across the paper. It doesnt have to be straight. This is what the artist Paul Klee described as taking a line for a walk. Now try holding the pencil very tightly, like a cutting knife, and make the same line. Do you notice the difference? Walk the pencil across the paper exerting and releasing pressure. Do the same walk but now pause at intervals and then go on without taking your pencil off the paper. This has the effect of structuring the line - like a comma in a sentence. Start the line and, without taking your pencil off the paper, partially retrace your steps. Go on like this to the end of the line. Move your hand to and fro as you draw the line. This gives it a rich and expressive character. Start the line and then break it off by lifting your hand. Replace it fractionally further on or slightly below or above the direction of the line. Go on to the end. This gives the effect of sentences in a paragraph of movement. Draw a line across the paper then restate it side by side or cross over it as you travel in the same direction. Dont go over it all again for this takes the life out of the first line as well as the second. The unique energy and freshness of each line would be lost. You might find all these approaches in a single drawing by a great artist or one of them could be the characteristic line of a particular artist. You may have discovered that to pause or retrace a line actually structures it; that a multiplicity of lines has an expressive force greater than one descriptive line; that one line need not cancel the other out by riding directly on top of it; that adding different strengths can achieve greater expression. Now to consider the pencils real qualities and play a more adventurous game with it. The pencil is a linear, tightly descriptive medium. Its use as a safe and precise drawing tool can be destructive to the expressive nature of a student. It can inhibit mark making and encourage a falsely clinical accuracy. Yet if

you look at the work of great artists who commonly draw with a pencil you will see a rich, sensitive ease of line, a diversity of marks and sometimes an extraordinary softness, as though the point is melting as it moves over the surface. If you look at drawings by Matisse you will see the soft beauty of the pencil. Such rich qualities can only be exploited by understanding the possibilities inherent in the medium together with a practised manual dexterity. Pin a piece of paper to your board. Take an HB or 6B pencil. Hold the pencil like a pen. The result, as you have seen, is a relatively accurate but emotionless line. But create the line by a series of quick jabbing marks and its staccato movement becomes active and arresting. Hold the pencil between finger and thumb and lay it in the palm of the hand. Now draw a line; it will be softer and move with a casual ease. Next, using either method of holding the pencil, draw lines moving your grip up the stem away from the point. As your control becomes less certain so the line you create increasingly acquires a life of its own. Try creating a line by a shading movement and it will have a scribbly texture. You will now see that the pencil, like you, has a nature of its own. Some give and take on your part enriches the drawing.

Stage 3: charcoal
Now for a softer, more crumbly, but beautifully generous medium, charcoal. Pin a piece of paper to your board. Take a stick of charcoal about 8 cm long. Use the thin sharp edge to draw a line from right to left - explore and enjoy its fragile nature. Push harder until the line grows larger as the full thickness of the charcoal is drawing the line. Rock it from side to side and enjoy the sometimes crisp and thin, sometimes firm and full or sometimes soft and dusty marks. Now push harder, more demandingly, until the charcoal splinters under your hand and finally disintegrates. Use the dust and the

splinters for fingerprints and smudges, noting their sensitivity and soft texture. Turn a stick on its side and draw several lines, one slightly over the other. Now as you move from left to right, keep it on its side and move it slightly up and down. You now get a diagonal rhythm like a pulse beat seen on the screen of an oscilloscope.

Charcoal variations

Charcoal offers such a range of possibilities that it encourages you to involve yourself with it. If you felt uneasy at its messiness it may be because your tidy nature is reacting against the nature of the medium rather than with it. You need to be in harmony with the medium and with your subject if you are to make real drawing discoveries.

Degas: charcoal

If you can look at a book about Matisse, or locate some of his work on the internet, you will see how he exploits the different natures of charcoal as fully as any artist ever has, rubbing out lines with the heel of the hand, creating velvety clouds of sensuous greyness and then restating a tracery of rich black lines on top. Studying an artist as sophisticated, intellectual and elegant as Matisse should persuade you of the necessity of feeling the medium and delighting in its nature as well as its formal descriptive power. Nothing could be more direct or tactile than drawing with the finger tips, a natural reaction in children but more common than you would suppose in the drawing of great artists. Finger prints play a part in many of their works. For instance, Rembrandt uses thumb prints in the late paintings where the expressive qualities of thick paint seem to have made him respond like a sculptor might to handling his material. Degas worked in a similar way when he was printmaking, often moving the ink around with his hand and delicately texturing areas of light with his finger tips. Try it for yourself.

Stage 4: ink and brush

Pin a fresh sheet of paper to your board. Open the ink and dip in a number 6 brush. Trail a delicate line across the page. Contrast this with a line using heavy pressure on the brush. Notice that the brush line pulses in width as it moves along.

Schiele: brush, Right, Rembrandt: calligraphic brush mark

Now dip it fully into the ink and sweep it across the page. Touch the paper with the tip of the brush, then moving forward push the full width of the hair down on the page. Create a line this way. Without dipping it again, drag it dryly across the page. With dots, dashes, loops and different pressures, complete the series of lines to the bottom of the page. Pause and collect your thoughts. Consider this: your mind guides and monitors and your hand responds, but the hand can also excite the mind to new awareness. When the hand stops moving, the mind loses its stimulus so it is essential that the hand moves, taunting and stimulating the mind to greater sensitivity. If your hand is overcome by your minds desire for exactness and neatness, care and structure, the work will become arid and lifeless. Pin a fresh piece of paper to your board. Invent exciting marks by stabbing repeatedly, by bouncing the brush, flicking it, splashing and dripping it. Wet the paper with clean water, run ink into it, develop movements of rising and falling lines. Dont make patterns but textures. (Patterns are repeated shapes, textures are groupings of marks which suggest the feel of a particular surface.) Now take a new sheet and create an exciting water and ink mark like a blot in the centre of your paper. Direct it with more lines and splodges towards the 4 edges of the paper, noticing shapes that develop as well as the movement of the lines. On another sheet invent a new and dynamic brush alphabet of personal marks, working down, then up, then down the sheet until it is covered. Keep up a rhythm as you go. Watch the natural variation of the ink as you dip and fill and exhaust the brush - Van Gogh used this pulse of dark to light. It is like the life-giving pulse in our own bodies.

Mark making with a brush

The game of mark making with the brush can develop in many ways. Rembrandt invented endless mark-equivalents for landscape forms and wonderful new calligraphic shapes. Artists in the Far East have produced incredibly beautiful brush drawings. Look at drawings by Chinese and Japanese artists in particular. Try out all kinds of variations for yourself.

OCA student attempts various marks

Stage 5: pen
You have tried out the instant, tightly descriptive qualities of the pencil; the soft, dusty sensitivity of charcoal and the springy resilience of the brush. The pen, depending on the quality and thickness of its nib or tip, can be tightly descriptive, softly sensitive or resilient, capable in some ways of repeating the qualities of the 3 other drawing tools. In this exercise you will be exploring its superb texture-making qualities - using a fibre-tip pen. Pin a sheet of paper to your board. Take your pen and create a series of dots in a concentrated cluster of about 3 cm. (If you have the opportunity to compare your dot cluster with those of other students you will find that yours is expressively different from theirs.)

Fill a page or more with extended groups

Now build a similar cluster still using dots but find a way of meandering out of it and moving naturally into rhythms that echo each other.

Look, if you can, at a Van Gogh pen drawing, a portrait or landscape. He endlessly invents textured patterns that are expressive equivalents for water, sky, plants, rocks or facial features. Now create as many pattern textures as you can devise. Fill a page or more with extended groups of them, exploring what your pen can do.

Stage 6: what have you achieved?

Now you have completed the exercises, cut several rectangular windows out of thin card or stiff paper. Vary the sizes from 5 cm x 12 cm upwards.

Look at your work through a card window

Run these windows over your sheets of paper until you find an abstract shape or set of marks that looks pleasing framed in this way. Try vertical as well as horizontal frames. You may be surprised at what you have done. Remind yourself that this small group of marks is every bit as much art as a drawing of recognisable objects. Textures and marks are an expression of feelings and

thoughts. They generate the energy that fuels the enthusiasm of the artist and are one of the means by which we recognise and identify her or him.