Original post was written by Jenny Robins
As winners of the runners up award at The Big Draw Awards this year (formerly the Drawing Inspiration Awards), Jenny and June were able to attend the Awards Ceremony at Painters’ Hall in the company of some very illustrious people including the artist Bob and Roberta Smith and director Mike Leigh – who both gave stirring speeches as well as awarding awards to a diverse and inspirational set of Big Draw event organisers. Here is a professional photograph of us before the ceremony We didn’t manage to get a great photo of us receiving the award, but here is a picture where Jenny is trying to eat the certificate specially designed by Quentin Blake, Luckily June stopped her from actually eating it. We also received a bag of exciting art materials and books along with the £150 prize so were feeling very blessed and proud of ourselves. As well as the ceremony itself which highlighted so many brilliant examples of drawing and its importance in the world, the afternoon preceding the speeches and prizes included a reception with mini workshops provided by many of the prize winners, including ourselves. Guests at the event had the chance to participate in an amazing Rotoscope animation project from Eastbury Comprehensive in Barking, respond to, and with beautiful feather forms with Access Art, take part in a witty take on contemporary recording practice by drawing a ‘Selfie’ without taking the pen off the paper with the North East Art Teachers Education Network who were also the winners of the main Big Draw Award. From our stand in the corner, we showed off some of our Big Draw sketchbooks, and invited people to join an impromptu mini version of our Sketchbook Scavenger Hunt within the beautiful building of Painters Hall. After a quick recy we put together the followinglist of things for the mix of art world aficionados, drawing enthusiasts and school children to find and draw in a strict time limit. Ok we weren’t that strict. But we got a lot of participants and some very inventive responses in the time available before the speeches and networking. Here are some pictures from the scavenger hunt and workshops. Somebody even drew a portrait of June – usually we are the ones doing the portraits!
Charles Pettit, ex-Master of the Painter-Stainers Guild stood on a chair to deliver a stirring account of the history of the Hall. It was an interesting connection to us to be on the inside of a Livery Company establishment since one of the stops on our Sketchbook Scavenger hunt around the City of London had drawn attention to the presence of these buildings and the Companies behind them in the city, when we stopped to look at Girdlers’ Hall and the Armourors Hall by London Wall, where they contrast so strongly with the steel and glass modern buildings around them. Reflecting on how older powers interact with new and shape the world around us of course has more effect than just architecture, and in the case of the Painter-Stainers a lot of that effect is supporting and educating artists and decorative workers of many stripes. Jenny drew this picture of Mr Pettit while he was speaking It was all a brilliant chance to meet a lot of interesting arty people, who share our passion for drawing and for spreading the joy of drawing. The awards proper took place upstairs after this with speeches by Bob and Roberta Smith and Mike Leigh, as well as other great speakers including Sue Grayson Ford who had joined us on one of our sketchbook walks, and some amusing business with a fanfare trumpeter and an applause sign. Both speakers were inspiring – Smith’s focus was as political as you might expect, with a joyful series of hand painted wooden signs dropped dramatically on the floor in turn to emphasise his points. As well as being a very exciting visual artist, Bob and Roberta has done so much for the arts cause, especially in education this year, including standing against Micheal Gove in the election. Current political tides carry more and more funding and emphasis away from what is arguably this countries most important industry – despite evidence often called on to prove the financial and cultural wealth created by the creative industries.A cause which the Campaign for Drawing and many others are fighting to keep alive. Mike Leigh’s speech also touched on the vital importance of creativity and drawing, across all sorts of industries. It was interesting to hear him say that it was his experience doing life drawing at Camberwell College was more useful and influential on his work as a director than all of his training in the field of drama was. Drawing teaches us to look, to look and to think too. And these skills are what give us the tools to truly inhabit the world around us and to make the most of it, whatever area we end up working in.Through our Sketchbook Scavenger Hunt, StoryHands would like to think that we were able to pass some of that learning and emphasis on to a wide range of people, especially in getting the parents on the family walk involved in drawing tasks which they may not have had the impetus or courage to do so otherwise. It is never too late.Don’t forget to check out the work of the StoryHands founders while we are on hiatus as a group
- Jenny’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blog.(currently featuring lots of live drawing and thoughts on the nature of art)
- June’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blog (where you can now see her amazing illustrated review of Alexander McQueen at the V&A)
Take up a pencil and draw and learn about the worlds and about ourselves.