Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Big Draw - in which I set down my camera and take up a twig in the spirit of Dave Mckean


The Big Draw is over.

The Big Draw describes itself as the worlds' largest drawing festival, and the theme this year was 'Every drawing tells a story"

At Rye Creative Centre we had the privilege to hear from Dave Mckean , artist and illustrator, about his work. He is a man who has produced so much and worked with so many. Illustrations, film, photographs, comic books. Having worked with Richard Dawkins and Hester Blumenthal amongst many, he has stories to tell. Not least, the secret of Hester's hot and cold tea; which he very properly didn't give away.

Someone else has done that for him if you really want to know...... though personally I suspect that, like magic tricks, it is more fun if the secret remains untold.

I  was particularly taken with his photographic works that were on show in the gallery.

Dream like. Clever.

Full of ideas.

Telling stories.....

Dave Mckean at Rye creative cente

Dave Mckean at Rye Creative Centre

The idea behind 'The Big Draw' was, obviously,  to get people drawing.

So that's what we did.

My thanks go to Stephanie Rubin , resident artist at Rye Creative Centre and talented sculptor for setting up a life drawing class with a  difference.

We had a four stage process, designed to prevent us getting 'precious'  about our way of working.

First; take charcoal


Do 'loose' drawing

Next........take stick and ink


Do a bit more work on the shapes, shadows and lines.

The add some light bits with white emulsion applied with a piece of orange peel .

Then wish you had ignored this stage as it all gets messy and wet, and can't be rubbed out with a  finger.

white emulsion

And finally add some red ink with another stick in a loose and liberated way.

red ink

painting sticks

The subject matter involved red velvet, some ancient cattle skulls and a lovely Italian lady who can sit so still that you might forget she is alive.

velvet drapery

now you see why I prefer photography

The story I am 'telling' is about a beautiful girl in a red dress and long dark tresses who falls in love with a skull that has accidentally morphed into a giant prawn. She is holding its tentacle firmly in the hope that it will keep still while everyone else is busy drawing and telling a story about beautiful girl holding an antler. The effort of holding the tentacle is making her look really weird.

Anyway. I tried.

And I understand what Dave McKean was saying about how you only really see something properly when you draw it.

A click of the camera is a totally different way of seeing;......... 'transient'......... 'momentary'.

And yet......... I remember intimately the places where I have spent time sitting thinking about where to make those clicks. Watching the light. Exploring the ground. Thinking about shapes, patterns and mood.

I'll stick to the clicks. But those bits of charcoal are oh, so tempting.......


All I need now is some paper.

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