This week’s workflow lab featured a talk by Huddersfield University’s technician for contemporary art and illustration which focussed on analogue drawing and mark making. Ryan encouraged us to begin thinking about drawing, questioning what it is and the different ways we can enhance our own drawings. Ryan showed us how we could use elements around us to draw, steering away from the typical notion to pick up a pencil. He pointed out that drawing is at the foundation of everything we do in our day to day lives, whether it is writing a shopping list, writing down ideas that come to mind or notes from a zoom call.
Ryan shared a video by Amy Sillman, Drawing in the Continuous State, which encourages us to think about the many different methods of drawing. Amy begins by explaining that as a child we all draw, we have a carefree attitude that allows us to simply and easily draw what the thoughts and ideas that come to mind. However, as we move into adulthood, we suddenly decide that we can’t draw and so simply stop. This is something I know to be true with myself and I have found that personally as I have gotten older, I have become less confident and inspired to draw. Amy points out that drawing doesn’t just come in the form of making lines on a piece of paper, but rather it could mean to mark, to stroke, to scribble, to scratch, to stain a piece of paper or material.
To help explain how drawing can be found in many other forms of art, not just the typical pencil to paper scenario, Ryan showed us the work by photographer Richard Long. The black and white image below portrays how drawings can be captured through the lens, and that the shapes, lines and textures all around us can create drawings. Richard walked back and forth on the same piece of grass until the sunlight hit that spot and he captured the mark he had made within the environment.
(Long, A Line Made by Walking, 1967)
Our first task set by Ryan was to grab a piece of paper, close our eyes and start drawing lines first with our right hand and then our left. Since I am right handed, I found it much easier to draw vertical lines than I did with my left hand. As you can see on the photo below, the lines are not as neat on the left side compared to the right.
Our second task was to spend 10 minutes walking around our house, photographing drawings that we could see within the space around us. I found this quite challenging as it was difficult for me to focus on lines and shapes that I could photograph.
Ryan showed us that if you think outside of the box you can draw and make art with many different materials, not just the typical pen, pencil, paint etc. My mum happened to be making Beef Ragú pasta sauce for my siblings dinner that night. Since the kids were at home during lockdown, I thought a fun activity for them would be to put a bowl of sauce on the table and let them paint a picture with the sauce. When I told them what they were doing, they were very amazed and excited to be trying something different. This activity was a great way to get creative with materials in your house and think outside of the box to create something new and different.
(Galloway, Drawing with Ragú pasta sauce, 2021)
Long, R. (1967). A Line Made by Walking [Photograph ]. Artimage. https://www.artimage.org.uk/news/2015/image-focus-richard-long-describes-a-line-made-by-walking/
Sillman, A. (2021). Amy Sillman . https://www.amysillman.com/contact/
Galloway, L. (2021). Drawing with Ragú pasta sauce [photograph]. Leeds