4.0 Fill it up fast!

The purpose of this exercise is to consider how techniques to fill the page can help to overcome being too precious about the observational drawings.

Key words from the brief:

  • Fill up one whole small sketchbook, to its maximum, in a single trip out
  • Draw for a set time (perhaps around 2.5 hours
  • Try your best to fill up every page
  • Quick scenes, objects, figures and forms
  • Write up your experience

What I did

I had been told that The Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret was an really interesting place packed full of medical artefacts dating back centuries. It’s the oldest operating theatre in the country.

The museum is situated in the roof space of St Thomas’ Church which was rebuilt in 1703 and is located next the Shard in Southwark, Central London.

I spent almost 4-hours in the museum. The first 3-hours were spent sketching anything that took my interest. In the final hour I sat in on a talk given in the operating theatre by the curator. This gave me more context about what I’d been drawing and also an opportunity to draw the visitors that were sitting and listening to the presentation.

All 24 drawings were made in an A5 sketchbook using coloured Sharpies and liquid watercolour brush pens.

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Did you use any new media approaches?

Yes. I used coloured Sharpies for fast sketching for the first time. They worked well and add another dimension to the images.

What did you discover about working fast on the same theme?

I was a real pleasure to lose myself in the drawing without feeling the need to pay attention to the subject or composition.

I captured a lot of information over a short time period and it was a rapid way to become familiar with the subject.

Did you get as much done as you expected?

Yes. I managed to get 24-drawings in total including three slower sketches.

Would trying this in a different environment or at a different time make any difference?

I guess the subject matter I’d selected made it easier. Lots of small shapes that had interesting stories meant I wasn’t having to search out what to draw next most of the objects weren’t particularly challenging to draw. I guess an environment without such variety or with less interest might be more difficult to work with.

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