Christabel MacGreevy

The Drawing Year 2017
BA Fine Art, Central St Martins, UAL

I drew as a child, but after leaving school and going to art college, I barely picked up a pencil. It was always something I felt a little guilty about, but at the same time I felt like I couldn’t do it any more. When I was doing my BA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins I used to discredit the majority of my ideas before trying them.

One of the best things about The Drawing Year is that just by turning up for your three classes a week, you cannot fail to produce a huge volume of drawings. And later, when you go through them, although they are not all perfect, most things are a trigger for ideas, shape, colour or pattern that you develop in something else. I have never produced as much work as I have over the last year, and it has never felt so free and unlaboured.

Bathtub Shrine

The Drawing A Story course was initially a challenge, and in the end one of the most helpful classes I took, forcing me to engage with my imagination and bring it back onto the page. The access I had to the British Museum, the V&A and Kew Gardens was invaluable, allowing me to wander the corridors and gardens, getting to know the space by the locations that I drew in. Drawing all day every day proved to me that I can focus and draw for 8 hours straight.

Patterned Carpet Blue and Pink

In 2015 I produced a series of illustrations that were turned into a collection of embroidered patches which formed the beginnings of a small clothing brand, Itchy Scratchy Patchy, that I started with a friend. In the last three years it has grown and we now make a range of garments which are sold at stockists internationally. I continued to run the buisiness alongside The Drawing Year, and managed to balance both. Coming back to education after a few years out gives you a real awareness about the luxury of time provided just for creation, and the Royal Drawing School has felt like a privilege to be involved with. I now have a practice is centred in drawing; it is the starting point for everything that I make.

Lancelot with a Wreath of Roses

By thinking less and acting more, over the course of The Drawing Year, I have a wealth of ideas to push further. The course has given me the time to re-engage with my child-self, and use drawing as a way of working things out, memorising and creating. It has been very empowering to take control of my practice and bring it back to the simplicity of drawing.