Wednesday, 29 February 2012

manifesto: persuasion and argumentation in drawing

here is one of the most straightforwardly persuasive draughtsmen I know, Daumier's anti-war blast 'The council of war' 1872. In fact, sorry to stay on the war theme, here is another equally forceful statement in a very different mode, the graphic description of Napoleon's losses during the Russian campaign of 1812, plotted against terrain, time, and temprature. The big fat arrow going right is the army marching east to Moscow, the dwindling arrow pointing left is the ghastly defeated and starving army trying to get back home in the winter. This is one of the first uses of graphic display, and showcased in Edward Tufte's book on Visual Communications. Evidently,Minard is one of Tufte's heroes, with reason. Look at Tufte's book if you want a glimpse at the poetry of railway timetabling!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Other artists work: What is his manifesto/manifested in the drawing? - C.B. Stapleton

C.Y. Twombly-
It’s difficult to make a calibrated and semi-nuanced case in favor of a prominent artist who’s just died. Opinions at tend to fall emphatically either in the direction of praise (Twombly was one of the greatest American artists of the post-World-War-II era) or bah-humbug (Twombly was a late-to-the-game Abstract Expressionist who tarted up comparatively vacuous paintings with references advertising his erudition). For me, the two extremes are both true, but in a way that leaves my estimation of Twombly not in the middle, but way over on the positive side. Though his works seem to resemble doodling, involuntary drawing or a child
practising writing, he introduces painting in the style of ancient graffiti,
scribbled texts, drawings and simple hand exercises.

Cy Twombly stretched Abstract Expressionism to its limit. He filled his work with a whole lot of white, punctuated by what most critics affectionately call “scribbles,” words printed or written as if by a palsied hand, and clots of nervous brushstrokes that looked like chrysthanemums.
Fifty Days at Iliam: Shield of Achilles, 1978 by Cy Twombly

There’s still something faintly galling about Twombly’s words on canvas, and I probably don’t believe that he misspelled “Ilium” as “Iliam” in the Fifty Days at Iliam permanent gallery at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on purpose because he wanted an “a” to refer to Achilles. Do we really need the words? Do they really add anything, visually, to the work? Do they really evoke anything about their putative subject, beyond simple labeling?
Many people scratch their heads at abstract art and doubt the skills of abstract artists in general, not to mention when the art looks like scribbles. According to The New York Times’ ArtsBeats blog, “…even critics questioned constantly whether Twombly’s work deserved a place at the forefront of 20th-century abstraction, though he lived long enough to see it arrive there.”

Monday, 20 February 2012

Sorry for the poor quality! I did this drawing within the past 6 months. This time has been a big learning curve for me within the realms of drawn work. I have always drawn, but never thought I could use it to make strong final pieces, it's always a by product of the creative processes I go through. Over the summer and the past terms I've been working more on my drawing skills, trying to practise frequently, and learning to enjoy it. I did this particular drawing in a life class last term. Firstly I loved the model, I thought she had great character and I'd never drawn a female figure from life before. I am also a big fan of blind drawing techniques and often some of my personal bests/favourites are created this way. I think the quality of line you achieve from loosening up is fantastic and adds a certain charm I can't always get from a focussed sketch. This image is also successful to me as it marks a big turning point in the way I thought about my own image making - starting to believe that I could use drawing in a freer sense, not worrying about how polished or perfected it looks.

Aurore De La Morinerie is fanshion illustrator who captures mood, movement, texture, detail and form. Morinerie achieves all this in a very minimalistic style with quick marking making which can appear to be ink stains at the first glance and often using one colour, watercolour, on coloured paper and letting the negative space make up as much of the image as the marks he lays down.

As I stated in my first blog post it is the marks and the lack of marks that pull me into a drawing. I feel Morinerie's work encapsulates almost everything that I look for and try to create myself in drawings(at this time anyway).

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

What is drawing for?/What is my most successful drawing at the moment and why? - C.B. Stapleton

This question initially prompted me to investigate the most easily assumed answer; the definition of drawing itself. The current shorted Oxford dictionary defines drawing as 'the formation of a line by drawing some tracing instrument from point to point of a surface; representation by lines, delineation as distinguished from painting, the arrangement of lines which determine form.' Yet I began to question whether drawing can actually be defined.
Drawing is probably a lot of things to a lot of different people, in a sense it is used to communicate. A mode of thinking, an extension. Drawing is much more than simply a visual issue, it is an investigation. Knowing what is drawing for is much harder to define.
There are many different reasons why people draw;
  • to visualise thought and work something out.
  • to provide a pattern to follow or give instructions how to make something.
  • to help clients visualise what is proposed.
  • to describe or record something.
  • to give pleasure as ends in themselves.

As I recognised the reasons why and what we used drawing for, I considered my own uses for drawing and why I use it in my work.

All jewellery design originates from an inspirational source, whether its a technique or material or visual information from drawing images or objects. By gathering information from a wide range of sources it can spark interest to investigate further. As jewellery is a three-dimensional medium, it is beneficial to study 3-D forms as to aid understanding how form can be expressed and how shapes and lines intersect with one another in relation to each other and within space.

By keeping a sketchbook as a sort of visual diary to record the things you find and particular aspects to be found interesting when working with a project in mind the research takes on a particular direction which may lead to several paths; some may be dead ends, but others can provide inspiration for years to come. Drawing is a vital design tool as it provides a means of exploring and recording ideas in a descriptive medium. A silversmith/jewellery designer may use several types of drawing as part of the design process from sketchbooks to exploratory drawing to detailed technical drawing and final presentation drawing. The method of illustration that is chosen will depend on the particular project and client, but clear communication is the key whatever the style .

My most successful drawing to date within the Silversmithing and Jewellery department at GSA is in the form of Maya, a 3 Dimensional animation software(See above centre). It was used with the help of my friend Saswat Satadaryshi, who is a current student of MDES in Animation at GSA. As my final design was proposed on a larger scale with specific lighting involved. This form of precise animation included all the relevant information, including the scale of the piece. Presentation drawings such as this are most useful when working to commission so that the client can see accurate representations of the piece before it is made. Successful design realization can give a silversmith/jeweller a powerful voice and means of expression. The transition from a two-dimensional drawings to three-dimensional objects can be a challenge, so making models of a piece is a key part of the process, in both technical and aesthetic aspects of designing.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Richard Tuttle

Richard Tuttle (b. 1941, Rahway, New Jersey; lives and works in New York and New Mexico) 
44th Wire Piece, 1972
Wire and template for pencil line
47 x 22 x 11 1/4 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Lannan Foundation

Despite the fact that the ideas of artist Richard Tuttle predominantly manifest themselves in 3D form, he would not class his work as ‘sculpture’, but as drawing.  For this reason, his work challenges the traditional ideas of drawing.  Tuttle himself says, “I put this enormous pressure on what drawing is, but I know it’s not the conventional way of thinking about drawing. Everything in life is drawing; drawing is such an enormous thing in itself.”[1]

His interest lies in exploring the relationship between sculpture and drawing and in doing so he raises questions about what drawing is.  He uses charcoal, ink, graphite and watercolour, juxtaposing these with more everyday materials such as paper, wire, cloth, nails, styrofoam and plywood.  Tuttle’s investigations into this relationship include his wire pieces from the 1970s. The minimal and delicate nature of these pieces really appeals to me, as does the transition from ink to wire to shadow; 2D to 3D, then back to 2D again.  I enjoy the subtly and fluidity of the marks.  Tuttle’s interest in the calligraphic line is evident in this work. 

As well as being concerned with the careful observation of detail and of visible things, I was also intrigued by Richard Tuttle’s fascination with the less tangible, with things unseen: 

“I was doing white paper octagons on a wall at a museum in Dallas. And the critic came along and made mock introductions, “Oh, this is Richard Tuttle. He’s interested in impermanence in the arts.” And she said that to Betty Parsons, and Betty just immediately snapped back, “What’s more permanent than the invisible?”[2]

[1] Interview with Richard Tuttle, Art21 website, URL:, (06/02/12)
[2] Ibid.

7 February 2012 manifest/ manifesto

other artists’ work: what is the manifesto in this drawing, what does the artist or designer aim to manifest in their work? Find and post at least one successful or controversial image and 100-300 words of reflection, analysis and context,
best wishes, Frances I chose this image by August Choisy from 1873, it is an axonometric rendering of a Roman vault from below. On the one hand it aims for strong information content and transparency, one could 'read off' the structure of this vault and reconstruct it from this drawing, because in this convention, every dimension is easy to calculate. Second, it presents a fairly strong triumphant announcement of skill by the artist, he shows he can observe and work out a complex structure and recreate it in detail even from a ruin, and he also announces his ability to re-present that complex information visually. Third, and in contrast to the notion of transparency, this image is very puzzling and atmospheric, it is a view that would not be available from any normal viewpoint, and it presents the building behaving abnormaly, rising up into space, hovering threateningly over the viewer like a thundercloud. I like the kick-ass quality of the drawing, the assertion of skill, and the threat. To me , this draughstman is saying, one little word and I could crush U with this old vault

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A Successful Drawing

This drawing is a close up of a piece of work produced during a day out at the Burrell Collection at the end of last term.  The brief required us to spend some time drawing a small section of an object onto an A6 piece of paper.  We were then asked to stick this onto a larger sheet and work out from there, filling in the surrounding detail.  As I wandered around the building, I found this ‘Jack’ clock tucked away in a corner.  My eye was instantly drawn to the intricate inner mechanical workings, so I sat down and got started, quite pleased with my discovery. However, I very quickly came to regret my choice as I spent most of the rest of the day wrestling with my drawing.  I wanted to depict the cogs and wheels as accurately as I could, but was getting increasing frustrated with my efforts.  I think that I felt restricted by the small size of paper I was trying to work on. 

Towards the end of the day we gathered together for a quick review of how things were going so far.  I was all ready to give up at this point, and was feeling pretty discouraged.  One of the girls on my course suggested that I treat the remainder of the drawing as a blind drawing, as she remembered that I had really enjoyed this method during Life Drawing class.  I’m not really sure why I had not considered doing this myself before then, but it seemed like such an obvious solution as soon as she said it.

I was amazed at the difference in my drawing, as well as my mood once I got back to work.  Drawing blindly really helped to free me up.  It allowed me to let go of control.  I was no longer afraid to ruin the smaller drawing I had spend all day doing.  The juxtaposition of the more controlled, precise drawing with the looser, flowing lines really appeals to me.  So I guess for me this drawing is a valuable lesson in persistence, the value of others’ advice, and the surprising results you can get if you are willing to relinquish control.