The Big Draw

I don’t consider myself a ‘drawer’, ie, I don’t routinely go about with a pen and sketchbook to record what I see.  However, I’ve joined in The Big Draw, a month-long festival and celebration of drawing all over the UK.  Twice this month, in fact.

The first time, I went down to Greenhill Arts Centre in my town, Moretonhampstead.  I wasn’t too daunted by the blank page, because after all, the creation begins within me and manifests when I put ink to page.

The empty page

There happened to be an article about photographer Lee Miller, who is one of my heroines on the paper covering the floor, which I took as a good sign.

The theme is ‘Sheep’ and there was a big still life assembled with a fabulous ram’s skull at the top.  I chose a long flexible willow wand, twirled some sheep fleece around the tip, dipped it in ink and I was off.  I stood over my paper, which was on the floor.  I homed in on the skull which was very tricky to draw as the willow kept flexing, but I loved it!  I think because I couldn’t control precisely where my marks went, it gave me a lot of leeway and freedom.

Ram skull, ink on paper, 30 x 24″

After my first couple of drawings, I wanted to get closer to the skull and have more control, so I used a piece of charcoal and sat on a chair with a board & paper on my lap.  The charcoal was softer on the paper than the twig end and I could smear it around with my fingers.  If my line wasn’t in the right place, I simply erased it.

Ram skull, charcoal on paper, 15 x 24″

Andrea who facilitated the evening invited me back the following week.  She was going to read a fairy tale about wolves and we could draw whatever we see.  She read ‘In the Company of Wolves’ by Angela Carter, a re-telling of the Little Red Riding Hood story.  My first two drawings were with willow and ink.

Wolf, Moon & Stars, ink on paper, 24 x 30″

Red Riding Hood and the Wolves

Then I made some with charcoal on both sides of the paper.

Wolf – seduction and sated, charcoal on paper, 24 x 30″

A lean and hungry wolf with a tongue like a necktie, charcoal on paper, 24 x 30″

Drawing has captured my fancy and I am very intrigued with the down to the bone-ness of fairy tales.  A new pathway for my creativity has appeared before me, upon which I combine words and images to tell a new story.


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