International Journal of Art & Design Education

2002 - Volume 21: Number 3

Power Drawing


Volume 21.3

Power Drawing is the education programme of the Campaign for Drawing initiated by the Guild of St George. Primarily a research and development programme, it focuses on drawing in schools and other educational settings and investigates how the use of drawing can help children and young people learn in a variety of subjects. The intention is to develop a range of strategies, methods and techniques to support learning through drawing. This paper explains the ideas underpinning the programme, how it is organised and the research methods used. It describes and reflects on the experience of the first year of the action research, and comments on some of the satisfactions and tensions that have emerged. It outlines how these will influence further development.

Power Drawing at Bath Spa University College School of Art & Design


Two intensive drawing weekends were held to at Bath Spa University College, School of Art & Design – in September 2001 and again in 2002. The weekends are designed as ‘taster’ events for the NSEAD Artist–Teacher Scheme and have been a joint venture between the Society and ‘Power Drawing’ the education programme of ‘The Campaign for Drawing’. The Artist–Teacher Scheme is based on the simple belief that art and design teachers who maintain their own creative practice are significantly more effective in the classroom or studio and more likely to be satisfied with their work in education. The scheme aims to provide opportunities for artist–teachers to review and develop their creative practice in relation to the highest levels of contemporary practice in the contexts of higher education institutions and art museums and galleries. The Campaign for Drawing is led by the Guild of St George, a charity founded by John Ruskin. It aims to promote visual literacy as an integral part of learning at all ages, to investigate the functions of drawing across the curriculum and to develop appropriate learning and teaching strategies.

Artist Teachers who have led the weekends include Eileen Adams (Education Programme Leader Power Drawing), Sonia Boyce, Bob Briggs, Peter Feroze, John McNorton, Sheila Paine, Lesley Sanderson and Tom Wood. 

Conversations Around Young Children’s Drawing: The Impact of the Beliefs of Significant Others at Home and School


Volume 21.3

Children learn to make meanings in communities of practice through interaction with more experienced others. Young children's strategies for and attitudes to learning are determined by the socio-cultural contexts in which they practise those strategies, including learning how to draw within the distinct cultures of home and school. Evidence of meaning making – 2 and 3-D representations involving drawing, modelling and play with objects - was collected over one month periods in the Autumns of 1998, ‘99 and ‘00 from seven young children in home and as they settled into new pre-school and school settings in the North of England. The evidence of the seven children's meaning making, recorded by photographs and scrap books of their representations, was used as a stimulus in dialogues to elicit parents’ and practitioners' beliefs about the value and significance of different modes meaning making, including drawing in the contexts of home and school. Their conversations were recorded and transcribed for analysis. Evidence from the perspectives of parents, practitioners and the children was triangulated with evidence of contextual features for learning around the children’s drawings. Episodes from analysis of the data sets will be used to illustrate how the children were inducted into the conventions of ‘school’ drawing whilst often retaining a distinct personal drawing agenda at home. Implications will be drawn for the status and function of drawing in the education of young children in formal and informal learning contexts.

Drawing on the Past: Reflecting on the Future


Volume 21.3

This paper examines the connections between the training models of late19c Schools of Design (Art) as exemplified by the first municipal School of Art (Margaret Street, Birmingham) and the current preparation of specialist teachers of Art and Design. A recurrent theme is the paradox of ‘objective’, measurable standards, pitted against notions of ‘subjective’ independent learning, individual relevance and choice. Consistent with other papers from this author, the thrust of the perspective is questioning the compatibility of an examination-dominated agenda and opportunities for experimentation, creative risk taking and forms of supported, purposeful play. Continuing research explores the concept and purpose of drawing in an increasingly technological, global information society.

Briefing Illustrators: Revisiting the Value of Sketch Images


Volume 21.3

In 1990 Steve Garner produced a school textbook titled Design Topics: The Human Factors of Design. He briefed the various graphic artists engaged by the publishers, Oxford University Press, via nearly 140 thumbnail sketches. A comparison of these sketches with the final illustrations reveals important values of drawing. Not only do the comparisons enable the viewer to see something of the intent of the sender, they reveal processes of interpretation, selection, rejection and development, which are normally not available to examination. The paper seeks to contribute to substantiating the value of sketches to these processes of design team working. Since the author is also the originator of the sketches an additional level of insight and commentary is made available to the reader via a process of reflection.

Children’s Drawing, Self Expression, Identity and the Imagination


Volume 21.3

Directions, Volume 18 Number1 [1] suggests that postmodern theory is beginning to have a significant effect upon educational practice. Atkinson [2] has directed attention towards the effects of both the construction of the subject and the real within art teaching. Much postmodern theory challenges the unitary, pre-existing subject. This paper will argue that the persistence of an ideology of self-expression which asserts that all representation is in connection with (should be read in relation to) a singular, pure, pre-existing self acts to limit our understandings of the complexity of children’s representations and is in conflict with many contemporary positions. Research has centred on the development of ‘out of school’ sketchbooks. Large sketchbooks were given out to nursery and reception children paired with older siblings in primary education. Possible drawing activities and interests were discussed and children were left to develop the sketchbooks at home. Two weeks later (including a half term holiday) the children were interviewed in relation to the drawings developed. The drawings have been considered in relation to contemporary approaches to self and identity. The conclusions of this paper revolve around the possibilities of reading children’s drawing in relation to self and identity through the interaction of social context, discursive practice and agency in a manner which is suggested by Ricouer’s formulation of the social imaginary. Additionally, the substitution of tenacious notions of expression with concepts of agency and contingency grounded in the characteristics of ‘citationality’, articulation and narrative are suggested as a basis for developing the educational potential of drawing.

Sketching Now


Volume 21.3

This paper discusses the role of the sketch in design when freehand drawing is under pressure from digital image manipulation both in higher education and professional practice. Placed in a broad design context embracing experience, skill and knowledge, the meaning of “sketch” is being explored against a background of past and current practices in analogue and digital media. Locating the sketch in the design process various analogue and digital relationships are presented, including speed and fidelity. It concludes that sketching can be seen as a form of visual improvisation independent of any particular drawing system that allows designers to explore the sketch both as a means of self-expression and a means of communication.

Choreography of Drawing: The Consciousness of the Body in the Space of a Drawing


Volume 21.3

These drawing activities explore the dynamic interrelationship between participants, the choreographic dessinateur and the resulting surface action on both the vertical and horizontal plane of a drawing. Concrete and direct observable behaviours of the participants and resulting graphic marks of the drawing, left as a trace of that activity, are major considerations, these are seen as the facts of the dynamic relationship. What I am looking at therefore, takes account of this as the initial infrastructure from where all other possibilities collide as things from one’s immediate past and pre histories even older than the self. These drawings, for example, do not represent anything other than what they are, physical human actions. They avoid structures which pay respect to themes and variations or which deliberately choose psychological or emotional undertones. Instead these are choreographic drawing actions, which may evoke possible fictions for the embodiment of the human form in phenomenological time and space.

Developing a School Drawing Policy with Newly Qualified Teachers of Art and Design


Volume 21.3

This paper describes part of a one-day course run by the authors for Newly Qualified Teachers of art and design (NQTs) planned to develop subject knowledge and assessment expertise. The former was achieved partly through an examination of the roles of drawing in secondary school art and design education. Through review and discussion of their pupils’ drawings, the NQTs developed ideas about the functions and purposes of drawing. These ideas were then refined and some practical work undertaken. The nature of drawing policies for secondary art and design departments was considered. The session concluded with a consideration of ideas that might inform the development of such a drawing policy. Secondly, the authors take up and develop several issues from the NQTs’ ideas and responses. These include reference to participants’ drawing performance and understanding, their judgements about the value of drawing, and to how these may be influenced by factors in art education, including those associated with GCSE and assessment. Finally, reference is made to two distinctive perceptions of drawing in schools and, with reference to the work of Wilson, Hurwitz and Wilson, the authors suggest a strategy and argue for the development of drawing policy and curricula for secondary school art departments. The paper is based on part of a presentation given at the Annual Conference of the NSEAD, York, 2002.

The Original Creative Principle


Volume 21.3

The following imaginary interview is linked to an hour long drawing workshop carried out during the 2002 NSEAD Annual Conference ‘Creativity in Art & Design Education’. The intention was to get closer to the experience by raising questions. I hope those who participated may recognise it as, in some way, connected to their experience. The American Artist, Robert Motherwell maintained an interest in psychic automatism throughout his life. Although he remained suspicious of its mystical connotations, fundamental principles appeared to inform his working methods. Motherwell identified a number of key issues, which serve to define its potential in the origination and development of paintings and drawings. He saw the process as ‘...very little a question of the unconscious, but much more a plastic weapon with which to invent new forms.’ Motherwell’s analysis and, to some extent defence, of the process is as follows:

1. It cuts through any a priori influences - it is not a style

2. It is entirely personal

3. It is, by definition, original

4. It can be modified stylistically and in subject matter at any point during the process.

The proposed drawing workshop seeks to explore Motherwell’s approach and by definition, exposes a related and learning and teaching strategy. The process serves as a catalyst for creative thinking, exploiting analogy, simile and metaphor in the generation of artistic and personally defined contexts or narratives.

Mapping the Domain of Drawing


Volume 21.3

A synthesis of perception theory and communication theory is presented as the basis for a new teaching programme of drawing for first-year fine art undergraduates. The domain of drawing is mapped as a matrix of systems of choices available to the drawer in order to realise the functions of drawing within a social context. It is argued that an increased awareness of this domain may empower students’ practice.

An Interview with John Willats


Volume 21.3

Ever since he wrote his first book, Drawing Systems, [1] with Fred Dubery thirty years ago, John Willats has been an influential and authoritative figure in the field of drawing research and scholarship. An engineer turned sculptor, Willat’s analyses of the representational methods employed by artists through history evidently owed much to his early technical training, for he conceived the mapping of spatial relations from the (three-dimensional) world to the (two-dimensional) drawing surface in terms of the formal drawing systems of the engineer and architect. For many artists, designers and educators the insights yielded by this approach were revelatory and the book, which ran to a second edition in 1983 under the title Perspective and Other Drawing Systems, remains highly influential. This paper provides the transcription of an interview with John Willats in which he discusses his published work and recent research.