Monday, 16 March 2009


What I love about the independent drawing project is the way that not knowing what's ahead and working with the others in the group has been really creative in terms of drawing and storytelling. First of all we spent an hour drawing characters just as they cam eout of our heads -one generated another, so to speak, then we looked at all of this vast parade of people and animals and cast a few leading characters by voting. But that crowd still swim around in our imaginations, along with the selection of significant objects we also elected to our story. After that, as I said in the last blog, taking someone else's character and manually remastering that drawing--internalising it--made the person come to life: it's strange that attempting to copy someone else's drawing faithfully made that character live much more strongly than my own invention. We had already agreed a time (the present) and a setting (rural), so my next move was to draw a page, a fragment or episode of a larger shadowy narrative that was stirring in response to the elements we had agreed (i.e. what is happening between the twins, bad lady, little girl with dog and the key, looking-glass, black hole magnifying glass, etc. down in the country?). This shop was generated by an image I didn't use in the end (a sleazy character looking at their tongue in a looking-glass) but this suggested to me a fat lazy shopkeeper who was too idle to serve two identical customers and then called in his overworked drudge (bad lady) from the unseen fat lazy and vain shopkeeper the whole shop swam into being and its atmosphere of rustic superstition, poaching, and trees creaking in the wind on the village rugby pitch...

I set up the independent drawing project to work with the idea of the fragmentary -to go against the grain of starting with a subject and to allow us to think about how we compose a page, or an atmosphere, or a narrative from drawn marks. At the moment we have just started out: it could go on to form a whole epic. Michelle drew some chilling arctic-looking mountains, whilst Sarah presented a frightening carousel of windows, black holes, and pictures within pictures in which our characters suffered alarming changes in scale and shifts in power. In all the pages we made, the same characters came and went, and in turn these suggested what might happen next. Having written my description of how I've been refelcetin gon storytelling, I'm now ready to give a title to this post in honour of the great Ovid and his Metamorphoses -his sea of stories that grow and evolve out of each other and sweep away in a glorious example of how not to structure an academic essay

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