Jesse Ajilore

Drawing Year 2023

University for the Creative Arts, BA in Computer Games Art


What were you doing before The Drawing Year and what drew you to apply?

Before starting The Drawing Year I was working as a freelance Graphic Designer, usually on album covers. I wasn't happy with how limited my degree in Games Art was and wanted to do another course that would let me explore my own artistic practice without briefs or standards. However, I didn't want to make the same mistake in picking the wrong course for me and I had a friend who told me about The Drawing Year and so I applied.

Ajilore_Jesse 2 (CH)

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

Since enrolling on The Drawing Year I have focused on the chaotic aspects of physical media over the cleanliness of the digital world. My work is characterised by an approach that blends drawing from memory, observation, and imagination, and uses that to explore the space between intention and non-intention, often allowing the random nature of materials to guide the direction of his work. Now my practice includes storyboards, animations, character designs, illustrations and paintings but all of these rely on and come back to drawing.

Which courses have most impacted your practice?

I would say Enduring Images: Stories of Art, Drawing Graphic Narratives, and Transforming Observation: Memory and Imagination. It's hard to only pick a few as there were a few days on some courses that had a big impact. Some honourable mentions are Drawing into Etching and Re-Drawing London: City in Transition.


Tell us about the sense of community on the course...

The community has probably been my biggest takeaway from the year. It was an amazing and educational experience to be surrounded by so many artists, and especially ones that loved drawing.


Which tutors have you most enjoyed working with and why?

I enjoyed working with Sarah Lightman, I felt that her classes and conversations helped me get to the important idea of what it is your image is actually trying to say, and how to say that in your own language.

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

I think it was good to try everything I could at least once. It eliminates any doubts or "what-if's". It allows you to understand yourself a bit better.


What has surprised you about The Drawing Year?

How different each tutor is. I think all of us this year had wildly different experiences based on the courses that we picked each term. Some tutors might completely disagree on the same topic and it's up to you to decide how to feel about it. I wasn't really expecting it!

How has your approach to drawing changed since the start of the course?

I think that I've found my medium. I also think I've drawn so much that drawing has become effortless now.


What opportunities have arisen due to The Drawing Year?
I was lucky enough to win the Jack Goldhill Drawing Prize, and that has allowed me to take some extra courses and specialise in what it is I want to do.

What support has the School been able to offer you, financially or personally?

The financial support that the School gave during the course was essential for me. They were also very quick to respond and did everything within their means to help. In terms of personal support, I felt that all of The Drawing Year team were ready to listen and help all of us on the course, and I think due to the often personal nature of image-making, the advice of some tutors extended outside of just drawing too.

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

To me, it's very important that the course remains accessible to all.

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

A good attitude to have is that you should be ready to draw even if you don't get on the course when you first apply. Draw before you apply and draw after you apply - the outcome won't change anything.

Find out more about The Drawing Year