Drawing in the Meadows

Last week the first year illustration students set out on a location drawing trip in the Meadows with artist Catharine Davison. Most of the students are familiar with this area of the city and were encouraged to look at this setting in a new way, concentrating on working directly from source.

Catharine encouraged the students to use a variety of materials, including charcoal:

“Drawings with charcoal and a rubber are a perfect introduction to working quickly, enabling the students to adjust to the changing light conditions and on a relatively large scale. The willlow charcoal creates a soft grey mark that is easy to rub away even with a finger and a darker compressed charcoal brings another dimension to the process, also could explore scratching with a rubber and a knife, layering darker lines and marks to reveal shapes of light and dark.”

The group moved to a different location within the Meadows in the afternoon to look at a row of historic and contemporary buildings with a busy pedestrian path way in front. Each student was given a pack of 3 coloured felt tips and a black marker. The colours were arbitrary as the drawing was not about ‘colouring in’ but more about creating a tapestry of marks in response to the location. A black line was then used to pull the composition together and to reveal the focus.

One of the challenges of a location like this is dealing with the public and the group was quite conspicuous, attracting lots of interest from passers by. They were photographed and witnessed some lively conversations, but rather than cause problems for the students it began to add a narrative to their work. The students had a productive day, returning to their studio with a collection of expressive and atmospheric observational drawings.

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