Hear from Students: The Online Drawing Development Year
Applications are now open for the Online Drawing Development Year! If you are considering applying but aren't sure what to expect, here we hear from four students currently enrolled on the course, all with different backgrounds and practices.
Aimee Labourne is a Scottish artist, based in Bressay, Shetland.
I studied BA Fine Art at Falmouth University, Cornwall before moving to Scotland. Before joining the Online Development Year, I was exhibiting locally, and had shown some work in Scotland and Switzerland. However, I came to a point where I felt I really needed some time to expand my drawing practice and develop new skills and approaches. The opportunity to learn remotely was what first caught my attention. Living in Shetland really inspires me and sustains my creative interests, and though I really wished to study further, I couldn’t imagine moving away. Online learning also gives you the flexibility to structure your learning along with other commitments, and I’m lucky to have a flexible part-time job which I really enjoy. So, I can continue to develop my practice, earn, and continue freelance work which I feel is all really helping me build a sustainable art practice for the future. At first, I think I was surprised at how intensive ODDY weeks can be! I was really looking for an in-depth learning experience though and was excited about having access to the various elements of online courses, tutorials, mentoring and core sessions, so this felt really enriching. Although you’re learning from home, you certainly feel like you’ve had an intense drawing work-out at the end of the day, and of course you then have lots of ideas whirring around in your brain between sessions!
Iain Richardson is an artist based in Delft, the Netherlands
I'm in the computing business. I have always drawn but (like many others) I spent a lot more of my time drawing during the COVID lockdowns and drawing has become something of an obsession in the last few years! For me, an online course is the only way I could fit such an intensive course into my weekly schedule. The students are dotted around Europe and further afield, which gives a great mix of perspectives on drawing and art. I hadn't expected that the support of other course participants would make such a difference. It's a very encouraging and friendly environment. Even though we haven't met in person, I feel I get a lot of support from the other students on the course.
Nancy Watts is an artist based in Wiltshire (UK)
I was due to have knee surgery a couple of days after submitting my application, after being unable to work for 5 months. For me, being housebound at the time, it was the only way that I could study. When I first started, I was in a metal leg brace for a couple of months, but I could hobble to my studio, which felt so freeing and it’s impossible to put in words how exciting it was to be using my creative brain, with purpose again. The School trusted that I could do the course, after a few weeks of surgery, without question, because I said I could. This was beautifully refreshing, after being so dependent on others, for so long. They were patient at guiding me through the bursary process and I couldn’t have taken the course without their generous financial support.
I specifically chose courses that were opposite to the type of artist I thought I was and deliberately wanted to throw myself in an uncomfortable creative place, to see what manifested out of this. There have been times on courses that I’ve really struggled and felt frustrated, but have then found that those difficult places/styles I’ve delved into have been of benefit on another course, a few weeks down the line. I learnt that each course doesn’t stand alone – there will be parts that you can dip into, adopt and evolve along the journey.
Michelle Maddox is an artist based in Zurich
I have been painting for years, although recently have just finished an MA fine art. I joined the course because I wanted to push myself and explore mark making through other media which I think can help me be freer in developing my painting language. I think we can easily get stuck in methods we know and a push from somewhere or someone can liberate you. I was surprised at the diversity of the students; there are a mix of established artists alongside people looking to improve their drawing skills for their professions such as illustration and interior design. This mix means we all learn from each other. I also really appreciate my contact with London having lived there for years, and by participating in this course I feel really connected.
Applications are now open for the Online Drawing Development Year (to start in January 2024)
The Application deadline is midday on Tuesday 5th September 2023