Posts tagged ‘West Dean College’

An alternative to monochrome photography – drawing in charcoal


I have just completed a short course at West Dean College on Landcape Drawing in Charcoal . I considered it to be entirely complementary to my photography; for whilst it is a very different medium the end result is still in monochrome. I have drawn in the past but rarely ever practice, so it made a pleasant change to do something entirely different.

The tutor and very talented artist was Kate Boucher, who demonstrated and clearly described her drawing techniques.  She was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. On the last day I worked from one of my photographs taken in The Lake District back 2013, which I called ‘Three Trees’. The A2 charcoal drawing can be seen above, and below I have included the original photograph so you can compare the two.

Having made the comparison it made me realise that I would now process the orginal photograph in another way. Adding more contrast, grain and a tone would create a more dramatic and moody picture – and here it is.


I still rather like the charcoal drawing although the newly processed photograph is in my opinion an improvement on the original.

Am I going to rush out and sell my camera gear? Certainly not!

However exploring different types of art brings it’s benefits and there is no reason why photography and drawing can’t work alongside one another. I can learn things from both and apply some of these ideas accordingly.  Irrespective of the medium being used, a pleasing and successful image needs to be well seen and composed; suitably processed or drawn and the direction of the light and how it falls on the subject will always play a crucial part in the overall result.

At the end of the day – observation, capture, interpretation and your vision is what art and picture making is all about – never neglecting of course that you should always try and have fun along the way.

Alternative Photographic Techniques – Platinum and Palladium Printing

I have been interested in alternative photography and their associated historic printing techniques for a few years now. The process itself coupled with the tonality, delicacy and unique nature of each print appeals to me. When a course became available at West Dean College, an arts and conservation college close to where I live, I immediately reserved a place.  The course took place last week and this is my report. Whilst this is a fairly long entry with a lot of illustrative pictures, if you are at all interested in this alternative photographic process specifically platinum and palladium, the aristocrat of contact printing, then I hope you will read on.

Read more