The daily practice of drawing

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Drawing Practice : A Reflection The act of drawing is a slowing down of time. Through observation, enquiry, and self-reflection the process of drawing is trying to understand a subject. This daily practice allows one to explore ideas or subject matter over time. A process of enquiry that is important to fully understand your own practice. Personal research, investigation into a subject matter is important to feed back into commissioned work, to keep your practice developing & evolving rather than succumbing to the vagaries of fashions within the illustration industry. Reflective time to look back at your body of work is also essential to gain awareness of your practice, & knowing what you want the work to say. In the midst of commissioned work there isn't always the chance to look back at drawings, but I enjoy those moments when one can look back at work with a little distance, to see them a new outside of the emotion of the job. I think that it is important to have time to view your body of work. It is perhaps at these times that you become fully aware of recurring themes or subjects in the work, to explore ideas through your career, & in this knowledge develop a practice – something very necessary for a sustained career in the graphic arts. Especially as illustration is increasingly becoming multi-disciplinary in nature, requiring many other skills with uses across varying digital platforms. One of the benefits of teaching is being within a critical environment to keep questioning oneself & the work that you are producing. Personally I'm still trying to understand much about my work, and it is this combination of exploring drawings & then reflecting upon the work that you gain a better insight to it. Similar to a student having to discuss their work within a crit, I find lectures & talks a good focus point to look at the work a new & to discuss with an audience. This act of verbal communication can also aid the process of understanding. The drawings that I do myself are simple in one sense, it is very much about the subject & how it is transformed by its depiction, how its representation re-contextualizes the object or scene. Much research is done acquiring reference & exploring the subject matter through drawing. This slow process allows me to develop ideas, a point of view through the resulting visual material. Perhaps also the distance between the photographic or filmic starting point to the drawn representation allows me to take ownership of the resulting image? Similar in a piece of commissioned illustration I have to find the image through exploring the subject matter, text, concept, or narrative & then forward my conclusions as a preliminary/rough stage. In an age of digital technology, the phenomenon of 'laptop television' we are constantly bombarded by visual stimuli, meaning that the act of drawing is very important as a slowing of time. To view the act of drawing as an opportunity to properly look & observe the world around us, beyond a superficial glance. This is one reason why life drawing is still very important for students to take part in, & why it is mandatory for the first 2 years on the Illustration course at the University of Brighton where I teach. A period solely devoted to drawing without the distractions of modern life. Combining both formal anatomic lessons, with more experimental workshops - encouraging an opportunity of 'play' within drawing, & to see drawing as an opportunity for reflection & not merely an outcome. An essential element for any sustained practice, career as an Illustrator requires challenging oneself, to continually break the mode of commissions to keep work fresh & stimulated. It’s important to keep ahead of the field, to provoke commissions through your own developing practice. My former tutor Andrzej Klimowski would often site his own professor Henryk Tomaszewski who coined the phrase ‘professional hygiene’ referring to the need for experimentation & continued evolution of your work. It is this ongoing visual research that becomes a reservoir/repository for ideas outside of commercial restraints.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2010
EventWorking Drawings Conference - Sheffield Hallam University, UK, 2010
Duration: 3 Dec 2010 → …


ConferenceWorking Drawings Conference
Period3/12/10 → …


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