Pia Bramley

The Drawing Year 2013-14
BA Illustration, Brighton University

Having only worked alone before coming to the course I was initially terrified at having to draw in studio classes, galleries and public spaces where there was no where to hide. I felt completely exposed. I am not entirely sure what changed but I have become far less self-conscious and can now focus on a drawing even in the busiest and most public locations. 

On The Drawing Year, I have forged vital relationships with other students, with whom discussions about drawing are liberated from the cynicism and competition that I experienced on my degree course. Being surrounded by other students has changed from intimidating to really rewarding. I’m going to miss sharing the studio with such supportive and interesting people.


On my degree, there was a general feeling that to struggle was to fail, which is a really dangerous idea. Spending so many hours drawing this year, I have generated huge piles of work – some of which I have struggled with and been disappointed by. I used to be so scared of making bad drawings that I would often be unable to even make a start, but I have learned not to worry about drawings I don’t like. It takes time to reach an idea and the only way for me to do that is to keep drawing. Whilst I am still nervous before beginning a drawing I have been able to balance my fear with the motivation to work. I have developed an inventory of methods to propel myself, so I can always make that first mark on the paper. 

I now only have a couple of months left on The Drawing Year. As well as working towards the end of year exhibition of our work I am currently working in the school’s tutor training programme, teaching 10-14 year olds at an after-school Drawing Club in south London. I am hoping that being a tutor and student at the same time will make me better at both teaching and learning.