Monday, October 15, 2007

Drawing Covent Garden Big Draw

Drawing the crowd drawing spaces
8"x11" pencil on HP paper
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On Saturday I drew some of the participants in the Covent Garden Big Draw weekend (see above). This is part of the Big Draw which is a nationwide celebration of drawing held at over 1,000 events across the UK throughout October. It kicked off off on 30th September with Big Draw East which I wrote about in Sketching the Big Draw East.

It's the first time the Big Draw has launched its nationwide day in the iconic Covent Garden Piazza designed by Inigo Jones and there was a a lot going on:
  • a marquee in which cartoonists helped people learn how to develop a cartoon trip and how to caricature from members of the Cartoonists Club of Great Britain. This is what a girl called Jasmine produced - I think it's a splendidly funny cartoon strip
Sausage Dog! by Jasmine T
a cartoon produced in the Cartooning Marquee of the Covent Garden Big Draw

  • easels and another marquee were set up in front of the portico of the church for 'Picture the Past' which involved both children and adults drawing models dressed in the costumes of different historic figures. I contributed a head of Nell Gwyn to a big sheet of paper.
  • workshops on drawing different modes of transport were being held in the Transport Museum - which is due to reopen in November.
  • the celebrity frame where artists, cartoonists, designers and others drew their drawings.
Below are two small girls sat on the cobble stones in the Piazza watching Posy Simmonds draw a cartoon of the Owl and the Pussycat nursery rhyme. You may think they're drawing - whereas they are in fact tucking into waffles with what looked like chocolate sauce! Those of who are long-standing readers of the Guardian will remember Posy's cartoons of the middle class lives of three families in the 80s with huge affection.

Two girls eating waffles
8" x 11", pencil on HP paper
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Meanwhile, I got a teeny bit fed up waiting for the Walk and Sketch Tour to get going and so sat myself down and started to draw people drawing - and their audience! (I loved the little girl with her sensible Ugg boots and pink frilly ballet skirt combination!)

I came across the view at the top - and just found it amazing to see so many people - young and old - sat down on steps, and pavements and cobbles drawing architecture! What was interesting for me was to try and capture that look of intense drawing concentration and associated posture.

I also tried out my new wheeze for drawing en plein air - using a Daler Rowny drawing portfolio with loose paper inside. It worked reasonably well but I remembered too late that I get very irritated by lots of tape to tie a bow. I think I'm going to have to invest in some robust wide elastic tape! Or maybe velcro?

Two drawing
4" x 8", pen and ink and coloured pencil in Moleskine
copyright Katherine Tyrrell



  1. Why not use bulldog clips or some other clips rather than tape?

  2. Duh!

    I use bulldog clips all the time on my big sketchbook. That would make complete sense!

  3. Lovely capture of the group of sketchers, Katherine and the little girls are very sweet. Amazon tells me my Pen & Ink book is on the way! I'm so excited.

  4. Your sketch of the little girl in ugg boots and fairy skirt really is enchanting, it captures the freedom of the event, I too sat watching her and her friends playing and drawing, while my own teenage daughter was busily sketching

  5. Thanks robyn and Fisburg.

    Robyn - I can't wait to see you getting to grips with pen and ink!

    Fisburg - I think one the things I liked about both Big Draw East and the Covent Garden Big Draw was that they were very much geared up to be family events. It was really great to see kids drawing next to parents. And the littlies just got stuck in down on hands and knees on the cobbles - with big pieces of paper and some jolly nice colours.


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