I have started a drawing club at Heart Space Studios, the first workshop was at the weekend and as I have put up a small exhibition of the kimonos that I brought back from Japan, to advertise my kimono making courses, I decided that the first class would be drawing my collection of oriental costumes.
As you can see my collection is very old, very damaged but very beautifully coloured and embroidered. I have used the collection many times for drawing classes and students always find new ways to respond to these lovely old silk clothes.
The first drawings are often tentative as people are often really nervous when starting to draw, particularly as this group of students had only just met, but the responses were fluent and quick to emerge.
After the first critical overview I suggested that everyone concentrates on getting the colour is the priority for the next drawing of the same fabric, not so easy but still a searching is apparent in the drawing that gives it a life of its own.
This often results in a change of focus and makes the subsequent line drawings much cleaner and concise, and not necessarily in pencil. The dragons were very popular. The drawings below have such a curious mixture of terror and comedy, the gold line drawing looks like a piece of graffiti – such energy and character.
The resulting drawings are really, really tiny in comparison to the actual robes, but attention has been paid to interpreting the colours and giving direction to the stitching.