Essential Drawing Foundations – 2012

The first Essential Drawing Foundation course has been developed out of Heather Spears’ book The Creative Eye.  I was hugely influenced by her ideas and techniques and decided it is essential that I share her ideas with artists who don’t wish to do life drawing.  This course adapts Heather Spears’ ideas and shows how they can be adopted to drawing everything, not just people which is what her book is based on.  We focus on a variety of still life objects.

Session 1
I taught the first session of my 5-week drawing course last night. Had a great time with the 9 students who enrolled. We created some expressive intuitive and emotionally charged drawings. It really showed just what drawing should be all about – making a personal connection with your subject matter and creating a drawing that tells the viewer what you think and feel about it. THIS is what makes drawings interesting to look at.
Here is one photo to give you an idea of what we got up to. I’m not going to post loads of images as it will ruin the process for future students – the course content is meant to be a bit of a surprise!)

I received some fabulous responses from students such as how honest their drawings look – refering to the range of mark making they were coming up with and how they were able to connect to the subject matter. One student also commented how they they had not drawn like this in many years – refering to how the processes I took them through had managed to unlock some of the restraints they had placed on themselves that had inhibited their ability to draw. We all fall foul of these things that stop us from drawing (I think it’s called ‘life getting in the way’). I really appreciate getting feedback (pos & neg) from students – so thanks very much to all those students that have commented on their responses to the session.

Session 2
A good session last night on week 2 of my experiential drawing course. I think students found this session more challenging than they may have expected and left with a lot to think about and a little tired. Not a bad thing really – promise! My courses are designed to challenge students – to challenge our preconceived ways of seeing and making and to challenge the habits we get ourselves into. My aim on this course is to present students with the opportunity to re-think their approach to picture making and how they see the world. It’s my hope they allow themselves time to try a new approach and let new or slightly different ways or thoughts fuse with their established ways of working, and let this blending take them on new pathways leading to a new way of making pictures.
Challenging? I hope so – That’s my job as tutor.
Enjoyable and fun? I think so – What better way is their to spend ones time if you take drawing ‘seriously’.
Rewarding? The more you put in, the more you take out – It’ll be a different experience for each student.

Session 3
Another good session. This workshop explored our visual field and really challenged peoples ideas about how we see and how we draw what we see. Introduced students to new ways of looking. I know it may sound a bit strange, but it was simply about going through a few very simple exercises. Some students found it challenging, while others took to it like a duck to water. It was really great seeing the drawings that resulted from the processes I took the students through. Some truly expressive and energetic work by the end of the session. Seeing this transformative process at work is what makes my teaching so satisfying and rewarding.
I’m encourageing my students to take what they learn each week, store it all in their memory banks, and really apply it all whenever they draw. It’s too easy for students to have a great experience on a course and then simply fall back into old habits when they go back to drawing away from the class. It’s so important to keep all the new learning with them ready to roll out and apply away from the course. After all, I can only take students so far on a journey – each person then has to complete the journey themselves.
I just love it – I hope all my students are too.

Session 4
What an evening! How to draw 3D objects on a flat surface? Something we take for granted and expect to be the simplest thing in the world. But stop for a moment and think what we’re asking of ourselves as artists. An impossible task really. So why do we think there’s a right way and a wrong way of drawing?
This, along with other exercises, is what occupied us during this 4th session of my drawing course. Certainly challenging as we’re exploring some pretty big questions, but exciting as I see students arrive at some very interesting solutions. And hopefully leave buzzing if not a little tired.

Session 6
The final session – sad and exciting all at the same time. We had a really enjoyable time last night on this final session of the 5-week course. I was really impressed with the drawings that the students completed – all showed passion, attention, intensity and personality! All the things that I believe make engaging art.

I think students were convinced that simply learning about perspective, composition, measureing techniques – all the stuff you read about in the majority of how-to-draw books, don’t add up to making engaging drawings. Learning how to see, how to overcome the barriers our minds put in the way, developing attention and learning to side-step some of the common pitfalls when drawing add up to making exciting drawings.
Oh – and of course the magic ingredient – ensure your approach to drawing is correct, believe in yourself – and trust the drawings you make will be honest and engaging art works.

Drawing is as simple as that! Yeah – really…
Here are a few pictures of the group hard at work – just to give you a flavour of the course without giving too much away.

CLICK HERE for full course details