5.1 Creative audit

The purpose of this exercise was to take stock of the work produced during the Visual Exploration unit to date in order to reflect on what went well and any areas that could be taken forward and developed in Assignment 5.

Key words from the brief:

  • Review your sketchbooks, notebooks, working drawings and sketches as well as the more ‘resolved’ or finished pieces
  • Read back over your reflective statements and notes in your learning log and take note of any points or thoughts that may have changed or developed
  • Identify and focus on the most positive aspects
  • 10 pieces of work – portfolio of creative experimentation


I used a systematic approach reviewing all the work produced during the Visual Exploration unit.

This included:

  • Drawings from personal work such as life drawings, figure drawings, reportage, anything produced as part of the ongoing You Are Here pandemic diary project
  • Visual outputs from exercises and assignments
  • Anything that had particular value from research tasks
  • Interesting comments/feedback from tutor reports

It excluded topics/tasks from my practice research backlog, although some of these will definitely get incorporated into Assignment 5.

Visual audit

I selected the following images because they have some value that I would like to explore further or because they provided me with some learning or because I simply like the result.

Each image includes an explanation of why it was selected. The brief suggested a limit of 10 pieces, but I thought this was rather arbitrary and selected as many images as I felt I needed to. These can be ranked in terms of value later if needed.

Image 1

Life drawing symposium thumbnails

Selected because this exercise, 10 thumbnails in 20-minutes, has been an extremely valuable process for me to rapidly try out different compositions and points of view and to break through procrastination. I used in successfully on most of the exercises within Visual Exploration.

Image 2

Life drawing – 3 x 3-minute poses

Selected because of the experimental making approach that combined a level of ‘blind’ drawing with considered drawing. I really like the visual dynamics within the drawing and the multi layering of different poses one on top of the other.

Image 3

You made us look weak artwork
Three panel illustration for Words to pictures

Selected because of the words to pictures creative approach that resulted in something unsexpected and the visual style that uses a limited watercolour palette and Inktense colour pencils. I think the sequence is a successful narrative strengthened by the facial and hand expressions.

Image 4

3-minute clay models of different facial expressions

Selected because this exercise opened my eyes to the possibilities of model making as a creative approach. I went on to explore this technique further in Assignment 4.

Image 5

Day106 20200702 landscape01 INSTAGRAM
Figure drawing from a Drawing Cabaret Couture session

Selected because I like the image composition, the strange pose, the quirky costume and the visual style.  The black Posca pen marks are particularly effective.

Image 6

Day117 20200713 INSTAGRAM
Elderly couple getting IT support from a stall in Kingston town centre

Selected because it’s a nice piece of reportage illustration. The poses of the patient couple are enough to tell the story.

Image 7

Day124_01_05 INSTAGRAM
Life drawing

Selected for the extreme point of view, visual dynamics and line weights

Image 8

Judith final cutup crop INSTAGRAM
Judith cut-up

Selected because this was the point where I used the cut-up and fold technique as a creative approach, but used it selectively to give the balance between losing control and then taking it back. An important lesson.

Image 9

Holofernes FINAL low res

Selected because it’s the result of of visual research and artist research. I like the narrative, symbolism and visual style.

Image 10

Day130_02_02 INSTAGRAM
Life drawing

Selected for the visual style that is a combination of Conté Crayon, Posca pen, charcoal and Inktense pencil.

Image 11

Cutup idea
A strange masquerade cut-up process

Selected because of the cut-up and rework process. It raises the unanswered (so far) question about whether this is strong enough to be final artwork. I think this iteration of the image is stronger than the final artworked version.

Image 12

Illustration01 small
On the last day – Illustration 1 – Momento mori

Selected for composition, use of negative space, line weight, leading line and combination of slow, (graveyard drawing) and rapid, (sky) making techniques.

Image 13

Illustration02 small
On the last day – Illustration 2 – The Angel of Death takes the man’s soul

Selected because the image was constructed using models and because of the visual style that used layers of gouache and Inktense pencil.

Image 14


Day148_012 202008134 INSTAGRAM
Figure drawing with Drawing Cabaret Couture

Selected because I like the gestural mark making.

Image 15

Illustration04 artwork small
On the last day – Illustration 4 – Strange birds

Selected because it combined model making, imagination, expressive body, hand and facial expressions.

Image 16

Illustration05 artwork small
On the last day – Illustration 5 – Sharp stones

Selected for the interesting point of view, the composition using the shadow, the experimental use of typography and the rapid making of the spray painted background.

Image 17

Assignment 1 Flow and play image INSTAGRAM
Assignment 1 – Playful doodle – Posca pens and coloured Sharpies, A1 sized

Selected because this was the point I understood the concept of flow. I also think the approach and parts of this image have a lot of potential for reuse.

Image 18

Automatic drawing
Multi dimensional thinking

Selected because the creative process resulted in something so unexpected and different from anything I’d produced before. The image has huge potential for reuse, and I’ve already used part of it as input into another assignment.

Image 19

Composite image01
Word processing

Selected because the creative approach resulted in an image that is packed with narrative potential and ideas that could spin off into new work.

Image 20

Rest in peace FINAL p1
Page 1 of Momento Mori

Selected because there is something really interesting about this piece of work. I think the concept is strong, the structure is interesting, it experiments with time in an innovative way. Overall I think this is an interesting visual solution.

Image 21

Finished mural both walls cropped LOW
Orchid mural

Selected because it proved to me that I could work at scale. I have a an opportunity to create another mural in a public space and may consider this making approach for Assignment 5.

Image 22

Automatic drawing with cat
Automatic drawing

Selected because it used the multi dimensional thinking technique, it has potential for rework/reuse, and I like the strange characters.

Image 23

Visual mind maps

Selected because I’ve used visual mind maps extensively during this unit as an effective method to capture and synthesise my thinking. It’s become a standard creative approach.

Image 24

Rapid drawing of Polesden Lacey

Selected not because it’s a successful well resolved picture but because it starts to capture the character of the building in a visual style that I would like to explore further. I drew this after getting angry and frustrated at how picky and ‘careful’ I was being with another sketch even though I’d started with the intention of being bold working quickly. More of this please!

Research audit

I selected the following thoughts, comments, observations from either research tasks or from research undertaken as part of exercises and assignments.

Tutor feedback

  • In relation to image 17 – Look at the work of 1980s artwork of album sleeve designer Barney Bubbles to see how cropped elements could be combined into a single image
  • In relation to image 3 – it would have been interesting to see the midpoints of the panel (the man’s face and the right-hand side of the woman’s face) in a less outlined style to leave the heaviest-outlined part of the panels only in the extreme foreground
  • In relation to images 20 and 23 – Your idea of Brookwood Cemetery as the narrative core is challenging because the site’s function is literally terminal. How do you make stories when the storytellers are dead? However, perhaps more research around the figures (or inventing fictional characters i necessary) could make the cemetery the narrative engine that shapes a multi-layered story that runs down through time, something like David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’. Or, less highbrow, the recent BBC1 comedy series ‘Ghosts’ where a group of ghosts from different time periods haunted the same house but still brought the attitudes from their own era. The cemetery has real potential for many different narratives in different visual and textual styles working in a kind of portmanteau structure.
  • In relation to image 20 – It feels like an anthology of different formal approaches to the site is a possible outcome, or perhaps multiple separate narratives that could combine or overlap. One correlative approach is the idea of different traditional song forms that might shape the stories within the cemetery, like the ballad, work song, shanty and other types of song which could have visual equivalents to tell the story of a place or person. These all have their own structures and shapes that could be mimicked or adapted.
  • In relation to image 20 – Reference Alan Moore projects, obviously ‘Watchmen’ but especially ‘From Hell’
  • Prompting you to consider the use of abstraction in your own work seems an important question; it’s hard to think how with something so narrative as ‘Brookwood Cemetery’ (although it’s possible) but an abstract narrative seems like an interesting proposition, something between a comic story and an animation.
  • In relation to image 4 – It would be great to see you make figure models from your figure drawings, or even new model heads from your drawings of the original model heads

Research tasks and reflections

  • Reflection in relation to Visual dynamics exercises:
    • Exercise 1 – Three objects, thirty-three ways
    • Exercise 2 – Spatial translation
  • Doing these two exercises sounds like it would be a valuable experience.
  • Reflection in relation to image 2 – The question for me is ‘how rigidly do you need to stick to a process?’ If the process is used as a means to an end and not and end it itself, it becomes a useful/interesting tool. To experiment with this I made two drawings using the following process:
    • Working rapidly, draw the main subject(s) without looking at the paper – like blind contour drawing, (loss of control).
    • Add some level of fill/tone looking at the image but deliberately not correcting any imperfections or observational inaccuracies, (gaining some control).
  • One of the questions I have related to the work of Paolozzi is, how did he know when a piece of work was done? This questions comes from the abstract nature of the work. I guess this links to my own work and current questioning about relinquishing control and being more willing to take risk. For me would include being prepared to use abstraction as part of my visual language.
  • I found the working processes of Adam Dant and Peter Codling interesting because of the way they collect all of their inputs together and then organise them into mega narratives.
  • Reviewing my initial ideas with Bee Willey (OCA Tutor), as part of a Zoom tutorial provided reassurance and challenge.
  • I used model making, inspired by the work of Paula Rego, as the basis for four of the illustrations. This innovation was really exciting to work with, resulted in curious images and has huge potential for developing in future work.
  • I found working with text layout and thinking about how to more closely incorporate this into the visual dynamics of the image really exciting.
  • The scale and ambition of the assignment was a bit big.
  • Relook at the work of Sara Fanelli – are there parallels with my cut-up process? How does she know when to stop and whether something is finished artwork?






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