Part Two, Project 5, Exercise 4 -Using source material

The aim of this exercise is to start with a found image but then build on it to createsomething more personal. Find scientific and biological sources for animal anatomy in libraries and online; look for images that clearly show the mechanics of different animals’ bodies. Copy interesting images loosely, but make them into something more than a replica of someone else’s work by adding your own touches. Think about the parts that make up the whole, and about movement and stillness, emotion and detachment.

I used as my source material a picture of a Storm Petrel skeleton from a fabulously beautiful book called The Unfeathered Bird by Katrina van Grouw:    wilsons_storm_petrel-unfeathered_bird.jpg  (see link for book review


I did a few sketches to explore the anatomy of the skeleton within a bird’s wind and to explore the shape of the wing when clothed in feathers.  I played around a little with coloured pencils to see if I could represent the texture of a feather but was a little disappointed.  I think my pencils needed to be sharper and I needed more patience to render the small details of the feather.


Wilson’s Storm Petrel- Sepia charcoal pencil and coloured pencils on recycled cartridge paper (A3).  I enjoyed making the sketch of the skeleton, but got quite frustrated trying to put the feathers on the wing.  I just wanted to “clothe” the skeleton in one or two places, but having struggled with the wing I didn’t pursue this any further.  I had expected to enjoy this exercise but I found it frustrating and uninspiring.  This is probably reflected in the finished drawing- I had also intended to spend time making the water look beautifully still and lush!

As you work, think about some of the things you’ve already learned about – positive and negative spaces, measuring, gestural and expressive line, etc. – to help you create more interesting drawings.

Assessment criteria points

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills (35%).  I did not use any devices to scale up the picture onto the A2 paper, I just drew by eye and the result was pretty accurate.  I struggled with the colour pencils- maybe it was because I wasn’t inspired by the subject matter?  Its a chicken or egg question- maybe I wasn’t inspired because I couldn’t get the effect I wanted out of my media?  The final drawing lacks life and is rather childish.
  • Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%).  I think I had ideas- in my head this was going to be amazing, but it never got off the ground.  I enjoy looking at anatomical pictures (I studied Biology!) and am frustrated that I did not make more of this.
  • Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (25%).  Maybe I chose the wrong picture?  It was difficult to make it my own because it was already drawn as if the bird were living and in action.  In the event I didn’t feel very creative and the picture reflects this.  I wish I had experimented more with media and concepts- I came at it with a strong idea of what I was going to achieve and when it didn’t work I was very deflated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s