Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Puck Drawing Club at the Natural History Museum

Yes that's right - two drawing events in twenty four hours - can you imagine?  The beautiful people of Puck Collective organised a drawing event at the Natural History Museum on Saturday and forty people turned up to get their draw on surrounded by dinosaurs and hordes of [idiot] children. Against all the odds it was a joyous event and one we hope to recreate at this year's Pick Me Up exhibition.  Minus the dinosaurs.

We met at the side entrance at midday and as a designated tribal elder alongside fellow Pucker and designer/illustrator/soundtrack obsessive George Simkin we had to pick eight worthy individuals for our Forest tribe then designate them tribal roles; warrior, thief, cook, shaman etc. The drawing club was open to all so we had writers, architects, designers and other folk with proper jobs alongside illustrators and students.  I think this is what made it all the more fun; there was a relaxed enthusiasm and sense of adventure throughout the group and after all everybody knows illustrators are dicks.

Queueing for about ten minutes we soon discovered the Natural History Museum is quite popular on a Saturday but as consummate tribal professionals we pushed onwards thrashing and clawing at wayward children in our paths and proceeded to seek out a list of objects to document* (DRAW) around the museum.  It turned shambolic within a matter of minutes and we quickly formed into smaller groups to negotiate the crowds.  By which I mean George and I lost everyone.  But it all worked out in the end.

I was a little distracted by the weight and importance of my role to begin with so struggled to focus on the task in hand.  We started off in a room full of rocks where there was plenty of opportunity to document jewellery.  I set about drawing some kind of quartz or something only stopping briefly to refuse a small child my autograph.  He didn't have the adequate funds to purchase said autograph so I sent him on his way with a flea in his ear.

Like the night before at the Design Museum the day was an exercise in not drawing in the safety of my studio (bedroom) and perhaps more significantly not drawing with dipping pen and inks. I've never been able to draw happily with anything else but it's not ideal wandering round a busy museum with an antiquated pot of ink and huge quill so I tried my hand with a blue and red Pilot Hi-tecpoint V5 Grip pen (apologies - I think some people actually give a fuck about things like this) I'd nicked that morning from my unsuspecting girlfriend.  By the time I'd finished the primitive earring my tribe had disbanded and could be found about the museum grazing on unsuspecting children.

Soon I found myself in the creepy crawly room looking for likely food sources.  I chose to draw a lobster.  It's okay but I became very aware of the fact that I was drawing everything a little too conventionally.  

Chancing on a couple of fellow forest folk we made our way to the mammals where I was pretty sure I was going to draw a bear as my spirit animal - my spirit bear series kind of dictated it really.  Unfortunately every bear I draw came out shit so I got reaquainted with a pangolin I'd met back in 2010.  My friend Benjamin tells me they are known for their inquisitive nature.  He failed to mention they were massive stoners.  Not really sure why I went down the stoner route given my [nearly] straight-edge approach to life and the fact I'm not 15 years old but I was trying to break free from the constraints of just drawing what I could see [but in kind of a half-arsed way].

By this point time I was more comfortable with the fleeting nature of the Forest tribe and set about trying to get my draw on.  I found myself a little look-out upstairs in the whale room and set about documenting some items on my list but with some added creative licence.  No matter where I tucked myself away precocious idiot children seemingly oblivious of their surroundings would step on me and paw at me which began to creep into my drawings.  It's quit subtle though so you might miss it.  Transportation.

And soon after; Clothing.

Then to address the balance of being a grumpy misanthrope I found my specialist item.

And then suddenly I realised too much live tweeting and tripping up children while their parents weren't looking meant I had next-to-no time left so hastily documented the first thing I could find that would double as a weapon.  Three hours goes quick when you're documenting you know.

And I was done.  Met up with all the other tribes outside.  Introduced myself to the Forest tribe.  Then we went to the pub compare to renderings.  All the collected drawings from each tribe will eventually be made into a zine. 

It was a lot of fun and I think I'll be using Pilot pens again.  My only regret is I failed to draw a single dinosaur.  NOT ONE.  What the fuck is that all about?  Anyway I recommend you all sign up to the Puck Collective newsletter here and come to the next drawing event.  You may even be lucky enough to be in my tribe and see my leadership skills in person.

Massive thanks to Robbie and Babycrow and the rest of Puck for organising. 

*Documenting items sounds way too close to something the Judge in Blood Meridian would do ie, CREEPY.


Sarah Ryan said...

These drawings are amazing. I can't draw in public... at all, and I always admire the people who have the courage to do it. The idiot child riding the hippo is my favorite I think.

Mat Pringle said...

Thanks Sarah!