Sunday, January 26, 2014

Drawing Workshop Summary

Picture the Natural World. 

It was rather disappointing that there were only three people booked for my drawing workshop on Saturday. Both myself and the organisers had hoped for more; we wondered whether being just after Christmas, and the January sales, that it was a case of most people pulling in the purse strings this month and not splashing out on 'non-essentials'. One of the organisers mentioned that doing such events was a new venture for them and maybe they should think more on their marketing of such events. Whatever the reason, the positive to come out of it was that having a small group means I can get round the students more often and if necessary spend more time individually. And I was very grateful to those that did book. They were a lovely little group and it was a real pleasure to meet them.

Bonnie, the Curator of Natural Sciences at Bristol Museum, was one of my contacts/organisers. It was through her that I was able to borrow 6 taxidermy specimens for the workshop. She was to be my assistant for the day, but as the numbers were low and manageable by just me, she joined the three students to take part in the workshop, making the group up to four.

There was a mix of abilities... someone who was just starting to draw, someone who had done A level art but not much since and was looking to be inspired back to drawing more and someone who drew fairly regularly looking to improve.

It was a short day, with so much to cover... starting at 11am and finishing at 4pm, so we cut the lunch break to 30 mins giving as much time as possible to the session. I was showing them four of the things I use when drawing, ways in which to get my drawings started quickly and enable me to get proportions and postioning in before I do any detailing. There are of course many things/ways/techniques I use but from experience I have found these four are some of the most useful to beginners or improvers.

The first part of the day we looked at basic building up of an animal shape and using 2D reference, including the pitfalls of such references. 

Then the second part of the day we looked at using 3D reference and sketching from life with exercises to increase speed, confidence and observation.

Some of those exercises were challenging, yet each of the students applied themselves to the task and could hold their heads high at what they achieved. At the end, to show I wasn't a complete Task Master, there was half an hour of free drawing.

The response from the students seems to have been good, saying that they found it enjoyable and challenging, yet positively so. I hope that they each went away with a little more confidence, inspiration and a few ideas to practice to improve their skills at home. At least one of the students asked Bonnie if they would be doing anymore such workshops with me; so I hope that in future I can do more there perhaps.

The room we were using at the mShed was a good size with lots of light, especially from the floor to ceiling window that looked out over the harbour area of Bristol. 

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