The Extremely Difficult Drawing Test

Most of my pupils complain about my drawing tests. I take many photographs of weird and wonderful objects, based on different countries, different cultures, varied hobbies, feminine, masculine objects, all strange, different and unique. Each photograph is then given out to the pupil face down and upon start, each pupil has 45 minutes to draw their best ‘interpretation’ of the image.

My S1 classes were given the same tough drawing test that I give to my S2 classes. Normally you wouldn’t expect so much from an S1 pupil, but I like to see how far you can push complicated techniques and observations. Now in it’s second year, the ‘Mr Dunlop’s Extremely Difficult Drawing Test’ has helped some pupils observe more closely and confront interpreting colour to black and white. Of course it is not always successful as colour photographs of weird objects can be too advanced for some pupils skill level, though it’s worth pushing pupils further and rasing your expectations. Some of my favourite works from the test are below.

I must warn you though, these drawings are by S1 pupils and will impress you.


Above Rach H has added a nice level of shading to her piece. Using well defined borders and a mixture of thick and thin lines, she makes us aware of the boundaries of her objects.


Jason uses neatly drawn lines and very fine detail to make his drawing of tools stand out. Another fine example of using thick lines on the outside of objects and thin lines inside the object to give the object form and shape.


Kate (above) focuses on tone to gain the attention of the viewer. By creating strong contrasts between objects, it makes the viewer ‘walk’ their eyes around the artwork.


Heather‘s sketchy style aids her subject. She has simplified and stylised the skull, while showing that she can still tone and create realism on the tortilla bowl. An interesting contrast.

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