Jack Fawdry Tatham

The Drawing Year 2017
BA Sculpture, Camberwell College of Art, UAL

Drawing every day has had a profound effect on me. On a practical level, I have noticeably improved, but it has also had a positive effect on my mind. It's changed how I look at the world, helping me to become more present and appreciate my surroundings. The Drawing Year has given me a drawing practice that did not exist before; I now never leave my house without a sketchbook.

At the start of the year the prospect of drawing in public seemed daunting, however after a few weeks it became second nature. This has been hugely beneficial as it allowed me to make art uninhibited by the reactions of people around me. I have realised that when someone leans over you to look at your drawing, its not to judge, but it is in wonder and intrigue. This freed up my drawing, allowing me to create a vast array of work, most not very good, but a means to an end, a constant and ever-lasting road to better work, learning and improving from each drawing.

Among the Bearded Bear

Getting to know the etching room was particularly important for me. It's run with such dexterity and ingenuity that even when busy it functions effectively. Tutors are sincere and invested in your development, creating an environment that’s full of contagious energy, pushing me to explore printing more radially than I ever dreamed.  

The year has no written assessment, and as someone who is extremely dyslexic this was a huge weight off my shoulders. A picture speaks a thousand words and over the year you create thousands of pictures so you do the maths! However, the school encourages deep critical thought and has a strong art historical thread running through it. The weekly lectures, the library and many classes focusing on drawing from art in London's museums and galleries were vital. I have gained a much broader understanding of the history of art from studying at the Royal Drawing School than I did from the three years of my undergraduate degree.

The Durian and Her Hedgehogs

Within the School you are surrounded by people who are totally engaged with the endeavour and action of drawing. A community and friendships build up from drawing side by side with tutors and students, friendships I hope will last till we're drawing each other in our old folks’ home. I have never studied alongside such a talented, hardworking and prolific group of original people. The fact that classes are mixed with the public is a unique aspect of the School; it allows you to meet other artists at different stages of development and creates a feeling of continuity and openness.


One of my highlights was seeing everyone’s drawings all laid out for the first time, each one was so different even though we had all worked from the same subject. This is why drawing is so exciting; it seems that the possibilities, variations and diversity is endless.  

This diversity is reflected in the number of different courses available throughout the year, one day you may be wandering though the tranquil green of Kew and the next you may be riding the sweaty central line on a continuous loop for hours, trying to draw intrepid passengers without offence. This has equipped me with a resilience to draw in extreme conditions, and instilled in me a discipline to draw everywhere, every day and everything.