Ideas School

 Drawing is Discovery


The Format

This is a 6 week drawing short course that encourages the use of drawing as a tool for discovery and to help make sense of the world around us. Drawing is the oldest artistic medium, it is also the most intimate and immediate - this short course will help you to forget about the conditioned notion of correctness and focus instead on exploration and freedom.

Free to enrol with spaces for up to 10 people. Enrolment begins at Stock Exchange, Sadler’s Yard on 25th May. Each session will start at the Old Bank, take place at various points around NOMA and finish at the Pilcrow.


5:45 - 6:00 Meet at the Old Bank

6:00 - 6:30 Mini lecture in the cinema space

6:30 - 7:00 Set-up at drawing venue

7:00 - 8:00 Drawing

8:00 - 8:30 Finish up and go to the Pilcrow

8:30 - 9:00 At The Pilcrow, discuss and reflect upon what we’ve made.


Learning Outcomes

You might learn:

1. How to make sense of the world around you through drawing

2. How to become a more confident and prolific sketcher

3. A little bit of art history

You might not learn:

1. How to draw a beautiful bouquet of flowers

2. How to draw ‘correct’ perspective and proportion

3. About any other traditional drawing techniques and materials

We encourage you to forget:

1. Single point perspective

2. Visual correctness


“A drawing is an autobiographical record of one’s discovery of an event – either seen, remembered or imagined.” 

– John Berger, 1953


Week 1 - Abstraction

Wednesday 3rd July, Sadler’s Yard

Learn to incorporate greater involvement with the act of drawing, with a focus on mark-making and reactionary decision making.

Free yourself from what you think you know and instead think about interaction of line and shape, shading, gesture and the interaction between the pencil and paper.

Drawing is the oldest medium, and it is also the most immediate and intimate. Think about feeling, thought, the subconscious, and the dream / child-like responses you may have.


Week 2 - Observational Studies

Wednesday 10th July, location TBC

This is urban Sketching with a twist, we encourage you to embrace mistake making, thinking about drawing as a series of mistakes and an accumulation of experience.

Cezanne and later Picasso and Braque taught us about the problem of representing a 3D world that incorporates spherical and cuboid objects on a flat 2D plane - also seen within the representation of the Earth as a flat map which inevitably ends with incorrect proportions. More than this, how to we account for movement and life around us within a drawing?

Un-learn how you think things look, then look again. Draw again. Don’t erase the last section, draw over the top. Embrace the mistakes - use them to gain a more thorough understanding.


Week 3 - Make a Sculpture

Wednesday 17th July - The Old Bank

Make a sculpture from clay, then draw it. Reflect up the act of sculpting compared to the act of drawing.

Remembering last week’s talk about 3D and 2D, reflect upon how creating the 3D object influences the representation of it on a flat plane. How is this different from last week’s observational drawing?

It can’t be right.

Don’t try to be right, try to be good.


Week 4 - Take a Line for a Walk

Wednesday 24th July - Walking tour of NOMA

Starting from the Old Bank, this is a walking and drawing tour. Drawing whilst walking, walking whilst drawing.

Navigating through the physical world as your pencil navigates across the paper. Whilst walking time passes in a lineal way, but on the paper, time is experienced through accumulation. The paper shows time ‘all-at-once’, time is embedded within the image, to be seen as a total experience.


Week 5 - Rubbing In, Not Rubbing Out

Wednesday 31st July - Various points around NOMA

This week is all about making artefacts and collecting evidence.

Rubbings are impressions of things, rather than representations of them. They are artefacts and markers of time - evidence that something existed.

To what extent are they more reliable evidence than drawing?

Where is the boundary between rubbings and drawings? How do we find the overlap?


Week 6 - NOMA from Above

Wednesday 7th August - location TBC

Incorporating everything we have discussed in the previous 5 weeks, we will be interpreting NOMA and the surrounding area from the top floor of a prominent building.

Observing from above will give us the opportunity to re-draw the sites visited through the previous weeks in a different way, as we reflect upon what it was like to navigate at ground level and how distance and height changes our perception and mark-making decisions.