Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I've noticed that drawing seems to be getting more popular recently around here, of course there's always been plenty of great illustrators, and one of Birmingham's best artists - Paul Newman - has always had drawing as an important part of his practice. I'm thinking more of people who had stopped doing much drawing taking it up again, or people starting who had never really done much.

I used to draw all the time, but it was more a way of getting my visual ideas out than an end in itself, like storyboarding or illustrating narratives that I was constructing. I even used to create my own comics, but found it a bit frustrating as I wanted to interact with characters not control them (this is probably where my current practice came from).   Doing One Day Comic with Henrik Schrat helped me to see drawing as an action, as a process that could be collaborative, and since then I've been getting back into it.

I used to draw in a very painstaking way, often taking a day to do a panel of a comic, or longer if I was doing an illustration for a magazine, but when you're doing something in a short timeframe, with other people, this has to go out of the window. Sure, not all the results will be brilliant, but the drawing becomes more of a document of something that happened between people than a polished product, and to me that's more interesting. (No, I'm not just trying to excuse my dodgy skills!)

Trying to explore this, over New Year's Eve (9pm - 2am) a group of us made a comic together: it was open to anyone we'd met out and talked to about it, but ended up mostly people from Owls and a.a.s. with Jerome from B.I.F.S.. We chatted about a starting point, and settled on doing something about Pookahs, as we've been working with this idea for a while, with performances and videos based on them. Someone suggested we use the Surrealist exquisite corpse technique to generate ideas, then we each did two or three pages to make a crazy disjointed beast, that I think gives a flavour of the themes and process really well.  We'll be selling photocopied versions, as I think full colour ones might be too pricey, but could make this available as pdf or special technicolour edition if anyone's interested.

I also went along to Dr Sketchy's Burlesque life-drawing class on Saturday, after Graphiquillian made it sound interesting. I was a bit nervous, and gulping cider to offset this probably didn't help my drawing skills, but had a great time overall. The speed of the poses really pushed me to work in a different way, and I was surprised by how a lot of my drawings came out - not perfect certainly, but perhaps a bit more energetic than stuff I've done in the past.

I'd like to experiment a bit more with how I do things next time, maybe even try, gulp, colour!

Liz Walker's photos from Dr Sketchy's Brum

Alex Hughes' Dr Sketchy's Post

Graphiquillian's Dr Sketchy's Post

Candice Smith's Dr Sketchy's Post


Dave Hilliard said...

I definitely want to come to the next one of these. Nice drawings, they don't look terribly cider impaired...

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