Saturday, November 09, 2019

The Best of The Drawing Year

On Friday morning I went to a preview of The Best of the Drawing Year 2018/19 in the Duke Street Gallery - a selling exhibition of over 100 drawings and wrks on paper by contemporary artists and teachers from the Royal Drawing School - at Christies

I've put an album of my photos of the exhibition on my Making A Mark Facebook Page 

preview of the exhibition

Venue: Duke Street Gallery, Christies, 5 King Street in London
Dates: 8 – 12 November 2019
Hours: Monday to Friday 9am–4.30pm, Saturday & Sunday 12pm–5pm
Admission: no appointment necessary / free admission

It's an exhibition which I commend to those interested in
  • contemporary drawing 
  • and/or interested in the courses held by the Royal Drawing School and in particular their postgraduate level course of The Drawing Year.
Every time I visit it is different - reflecting both the participants on the course that year and who has been teaching them.

This year I saw rather more artworks which were leaning hard towards painting, which I understand are works created as part of the individual's practice outside the course.

I felt on the whole I'd rather see:
  • MORE works in the exhibition which are much more about the drawings produced during the year - and which are a reflection of the studies during the course of the year
  • their personal practice diverted to other exhibitions - where I frequently see them - given the number of Drawing Year alumni who pop up as selected artists in various art competitions and open exhibitions in London. 
After all there's lots of places to see the work of an artist as they continue on their journey but only a couple of opportunities to see work produced during the drawing year. 

Below you can find out about
  • the purpose of the exhibition - and see some images from the exhibition (but see also the album of my photos)
  • profiles of three graduates in 2019
  • details of The Drawing Year - notably the fact it a year of drawing is offered for free - no tuition fees and studio space for free
  • the NEW BOOK "Ways of Drawing: Artists Perspectives and Practices" by the Royal Drawing School.

Purpose of the Exhibition

The exhibition comprises over 100 paintings, drawings, prints and works on paper by the 30 students of The Drawing Year 2019 at The Royal Drawing School - on the Shoreditch/Hoxton boundary - who graduated in 2019.

The Drawing Year is the equivalent of an MA Course of postgraduate study.  These are the best of the over 300 drawings by The Drawing Year which will be on show at the Royal Drawing School in Hoxton between 29 November 2019 and 15 January 2020.


Three graduates in 2019

I met three of the graduates from the 2019 Year.

Jordan Cook

Jordan Cook with two of his large charcoal drawingstop "Early Bird"
bottom "Atlantic"
Jordan Cook draws everyday places - of the urban landscape of a small town and in doing so very much reminded me of the suburban images of Turner Prize shortlisted artists George Shaw

He's also not hesitant about creating large drawings in charcoal.  I preferred the one at the bottom which had a lovely sense of aerial perspective and depth - a fish bar and hedges as abstracted shapes.
Jordan Cook grew up in Harlow New Town, just outside of London. He graduated with a BA Hons in Illustration at Norwich University of The Arts in 2016. His recent works draw the viewer into sunken urbanscapes of small-town living. Fleeting, sincere and intimate, Cook’s charcoal drawings use everyday backdrops of shopping centres and street corners as stage sets for loosely connected narratives to play out.  
This is his Instagram account

Jake Grewal

Jake Grewal graduated from The University of Brighton with a first class Honours in Fine Art: Painting in 2016. Grewal’s work brings together the language of Romanticism and his South Asian heritage to express autobiographical experiences. Themes of identity, love, loss, violence and adolescence are explored through a queer gaze, creating a dream-like reality based in nature. Alumi 2019 page
Jake Grewal with his coloured pencil drawings of autobiographical experiences
reflecting his heritage and gender identity.
I really liked his style of drawing with coloured pencils - particularly the use of optical hatching.
He demonstrates an excellent sense of how to compose and crop and how light works with figures and tonal values on different hues. Some of the drawings are explicit - but without being uncomfortable for viewers who are not part of the queer scene.

This is his Instagram account

Deanio X

Deanio X graduated from the University of Kent with a degree in American Studies (History & Literature). Deanio has since sought to create visual narratives built from research, observational drawing and imagination to stretch conceptualisations of popular history. Interested in redefining tales that surround the contemporary experience of Africans in Europe and beyond, Deanio accepted a scholarship to the Royal Drawing School in 2018 to build on his self-developed practice and further explore the transformative potential of visual art.
Deanio x with one of his drawings made using charcoal, ink, fluorescent pastel and water

Deanio X, in common with other artists with a West Africa heritage is seeking to draw those involved in the African diaspora - the journey of his ancestors from West Africa to the Caribbean and then to the UK.  This is his Instagram.

I recommended to Deanio that he works on self-portraits. I've not often met an artist whose head  has been made to be drawn - again and again and again!

What is The Drawing Year?

The Drawing Year is like a dream come true for many art students

The Drawing Year is a one year postgraduate programme for creative practitioners who are interested in developing their drawing practice. It was founded in 2000 and offers a year of focused drawing study in drawing from observation taught by a distinguished faculty of teachers - who include prizewinners of major art competitions

Indeed a number of graduates of The Drawing Year have gone on to have a very positive career path with a number also winning major prizes e.g.
  • Clara Drummond (Alumni 2005) won the first prize of the BP Portrait Award in 2016 - see 
  • Kathryn Maple (Alumni 2013) won the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - twice! (2014 and 2016)
An important feature of the Year is that, like the Royal Academy Schools, study on this courses means no tuition fees and a studio space is provided free also.
The Drawing Year is a full scholarship MA-level course offering up to thirty students the opportunity to focus on drawing from observation for one academic year. There are no tuition fees for The Drawing Year – all students are awarded a full scholarship and receive a free studio space.
Applicants for The Drawing Year will usually have completed a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art or a related subject, but this is not essential. Places are awarded based on portfolio and interview. Applicants are expected to show a strong portfolio of work demonstrating a commitment to drawing and a level of artistic professionalism appropriate for study at MA level. The deadline for applications is 1 April 2019
You can book on to Open days for The Drawing Year Open Days for 20/21 on
  • Friday 29 November 2019 @ 2pm
  • Thursday 23 January 2020 @ 2pm
  • Tuesday 11 February 2020 @ 5pm
  • Thursday 27 February 2020 @ 2pm
  • Thursday 12 March 2020 @ 2pm

A new book about drawing

"Ways of Drawing: Artists Perspectives and Practices" 

by the Royal Drawing School

Copies of the new book

Ways of Drawing is a NEW hardback book by the Royal Drawing School, published by Thames and Hudson. I've not read IT but have skimmed about a third and it looks very promising - and rather different to other books about drawing.

It includes exercises that teachers use at the school. 
The book is divided into three sections: Studio Space, which focuses on drawing within four walls; Open Space, which ventures out into the cityscapes and landscapes around us; and Inner Space, which returns to the living, feeling, drawing person. Each section is comprehensively illustrated with a wealth of drawings, prints, and paintings by faculty and alumni of the Royal Drawing School in London, works by established artists past and present, and photographs of artists at work. Short “In Practice” pieces, ranging from a recipe for making oak- gall ink to ideas for drawing from poetry, complement explorations of what it means to draw and personal accounts of artistic development.
The Contents of Ways of Drawing 
(go to the album of photos on my Facebook Page for a better view of the contents)

Previous posts about The Drawing Year / Exhibition