Drawing from Home: Image & Text

March 26, 2020

Taken from the recent publication by the Royal Drawing School, Ways of DrawingImage and Text is an exercise designed by faculty member Sophie Herxheimer that can be done with the materials you have at home.

Collage 3 jpeg.jpg

Image & Text

Where: indoors, with friends or family

With: poetry books, printed images, interesting coloured or textured materials, photocopier, scissors, paste or glue

Find a book of poetry, open it up and either photocopy and print or transcribe by hand at random up to three times.

From the three poems you land on, choose the one that seems richest or most appealing to you.

Make a collage in response to the poem, bearing in mind the mood, tone, rhythm, texture and colour of the language the poet has used. Ask yourself:

- Is it a heavy or light poem or both at once? 

- Does it make you feel happy, horrified, excited, confused, belligerent - or what else?

- Are there distinct colours in it? Does it suggest a palette?

- Is it even and formal or ragged-looking, e.g. what shape is it on the page?

- Does it shout, whisper, instruct, show, exaggerate?

- Are there distinct images in in it and if so, what are they doing?

1. Three out of thirty collages by Sophie Herxheimer from ‘Your Candle Accompanies the Sun’ Henningham Family Press, 2017.png

When you have made a visual, weight-for-weight- equivalent to the poem, read the piece again next to your collage

Now, swap collages with another person and write a poem using their collage as a prompt.

Carry on doing this all day, until you have enough pages for a book or a very long line of poetry bunting!

This exercise could lead to a performance, the discovery of a poet whose work you didn't know or simply a new way to make things and be inspired.

Tag us in your drawings on instagram @royaldrawingschool or Twitter @RoyalDrawing and use the hashtag #drawingfromhome so we can share your artworks!


Sophie Herxheimer is an artist and poet. She’s held residencies for London International Festival of Theatre, Southbank Centre, The National Maritime Museum and Transport for London. Exhibitions include The Whitworth, The Poetry Library and The National Portrait Gallery. She has illustrated five fairy tale collections, made several artists’ books, created a 300 metre tablecloth to run the length of Southwark Bridge, featuring food stories drawn from a thousand Londoners; narrated an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme from her Pie Days project in Margate, made a life size concrete poem in the shape of Mrs Beeton sited next to her grave; and a pie big enough for seven drama students to jump out of singing, on the lawn of an old peoples’ home. Her poems have appeared in Long Poem MagazinePoems in WhichTears in the Fence, among others. She won first prize in the recent inaugural Poetry Book Fair Competition. Recent publications include The Listening ForestThe New ConcreteVOYAGE. Sophie teaches and collaborates extensively.

All drawings: Sophie Herxheimer