Assignment 1: Assessemnt against course criteria





Materials and technical skills

For me, printmaking is a new experience. One of the biggest learning curves has been getting to grips with technical aspects of the course. I initially struggled with my choice of printing inks, having a limited number of printing inks I used acrylic with medium, which proved very challenging together with my lack of experience in handling the processes of inking up and taking the print. I reviewed this approach and bought a good selection of water-based printing inks and instantly improved my ability to ink the plates properly.
Registration was also a major challenge, together with the struggle to keep the printing paper clean and smudge-free. These issues have improved as I have progressed through section 1.

Observation and visual awareness

Normally, I would rate my abilities here as competent. However, I did feel that these took second place as I struggled to overcome technical challenges. Things improved as I relaxed into the course, but sketching and planning for design was not as well tackled as it should have been. Compositional skills improved as I went through the course. However, compositionally, ideas had to be constrained within my technical abilities. I believe this will improve as competence grows in using print media and with further observation of the work of other artists. By project 4 I began to think more about overall composition, for example when working on the masked landscape pieces and the backdrawn figure.

Quality of outcome

I think that this definitely began to improve as I progressed through the course. The tiger prints offered more scope to place them in an interesting landscape and to work with multiple poses. However, due to time constraints these were not investigated as fully as I would have liked. I was please with my later landscape prints, which benefitted from more preparation. I improved my ability to keep good clean borders on the prints as I progressed with the course. More planning is definitely needed and I need to develop a much more systematic approach to this for the next part of the course.


My creativity and experimentation using printing media and processes grew as I mode through section 1, with improving confidence developing over time. I also began to consider the potential for a more conceptual approach when planning for my abstract backdrawing project. This which sought to develop a visual representation of collisions, derived from my father’s mathematical notes.

A project-based approach normally suits me and it may be helpful for me to adopt this from the beginning as I tackle the next section of the course.
Again, I felt my technical skills were a real limitation on what could be achieved at the time, but I like the idea and enjoyed the planning process for this piece. The actual end result was not as I would have liked as my backward writing had mistakes which occurred near the end of the project which was disappointing. I think this project has the scope to be taken further and definitely offers scope for the development of the personal voice. I can see it could be explored in so many different ways.

Context, research, reflection and critical thinking

I think that the research element of the course definitely helped me to gain a broader insight into the concepts, planning and working methods of other artists. I have struggled a bit with the idea of using other artists work to kick-start my own projects. However, I now accept that there is a great deal to be learned even by very close observation of the work of other artists. I struggled to find information on other printmakers. Internet searching did not prove very fruitful and I will need to give more thought to how I get better results from my searches.
A project-based approach would definitely help focus the research but this is more difficult when researching for specific technical learning too.

Critical thinking is definitely more difficult to achieve at this point in the learning process, as my own technical competence limits the extent to which I can be critical of others, despite knowing what I like or don’t like. I hope that this will develop as I progress through the course.

Reflections on the course have often been made later than they should have been as I was often absorbed in practical matters as I printed. I can see that careful note-taking and recording of processes will be invaluable ion the development of technical skills and ultimately in the ability to deliver successful projects and to realise the personal voice. My learning log needs to be better set out. I have set up a blog but have not yet got to grips with structuring it properly which will be essential if it is to be presented for assessment.

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