Jerome McDonald

The Drawing Year 2022

Diploma in Games Art, University of Northampton

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Tell us about your practice and the part that drawing plays...

For me, drawing is the foundation of my work, as much as it is the end result. The application of drawing even one line can mean so much. It can shift the rhythm, distract the view, convey ideas of form or shape or create abstraction. My work looks at the universal ideas of self; I discovered the theories and ideas during lockdown after stumbling across Carl Jung. 

What has surprised you about The Drawing Year?

The freeness that you're given. I had an idea that I was going to be taught how to draw in more of a euro-centric, technical manner but it wasn’t like that in the slightest. It was more about finding your voice, and how imagination, experimentation and observation can play a part in that.

Which courses have most impacted your practice?

Life Drawing with Dilip Sur was the class that consistently pushed me into new territories. I also spent a lot of time experimenting with ink and it was the best course to lose myself in the opportunities that the medium could offer. 

Line of Beauty was another great one for me; not only was I very appreciative of the focus put on mark making, but I really felt challenged to see differently. It has created a profound shift in my approach to making art.

Drawing at the National Gallery was also an incredible eye opener for me. Admittedly, I had my reservations to begin with, but with the guidance of Mark Cazalet and and Ann Dowker I was able to see under the surface of the paintings, and understand the hidden construction lines and pictorial design theories applied by the artists.


Tell us about the sense of community on the course…

The sense of community this year has been great. It was amazing to be amongst such an interesting, diverse and caring group of artists. From my personal perspective, following the events of a fire, the whole class banded together to keep me afloat. It was a humbling experience that I will remember for a very long time to come.

Which tutors have you most enjoyed working with and why?

Ewan Clayton for his method of connecting movement and line and exploring the relationship between them. Mark Cazalet for his enthusiasm and observational abilities which helped me throughout the year. His passion for art is a driving force in his classes and there were so many points of growth for me in the courses taught by him.

Dilip Sur and Thomas Newbolt also challenged me to see differently, in a quite literal sense. Dilip in his poetic choice of wording and Thomas’ more deliberate thought-provoking way, have both taught me how to add energy to an image.


What are the most important things that you've learned during the year?

I have learned to loosen up whilst the course and my confidence with drawing has also improved. Learning to slow down and observe is something that I was neglecting. Spending so much time drawing outdoors has meant I have really learned to take in the world around me.


What does it mean to you that the course has no fees and a free studio space?

It has meant a lot to be honest. It was one of the reasons that I applied. It has allowed me access to things that would usually have quite a high financial barrier.  I have been able to sink my teeth into the course.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the course?

I’d say be prepared! Try something new. You’ll spend more time outside the box than inside the box so look, like really take in what’s around you. Look for rhythm, patterns, harmony and chaos. Use the year to help inform your next decisions. Oh! And make some new friends.