Another day, another hare brained scheme!  Today on 12 books, the ‘do a creative thing in a short space of time’ mantra strikes again, this time in the format of 28 Drawings Later – a project begun by artist Victoria Evans last year.  She wants YOU to draw something every day in February and upload it to Facebook in a constantly evolving digital art exhibition.  I asked her why.

Can you tell me a bit about your background – who you are, where you’re from and what you do?

I’m based in Glasgow but am originally from London.  I had two loves growing up, art and drama – but I gave up art completely to pursue a career in film and TV.  I was a TV drama script editor then executive producer but it didn’t turn out to be as creative as I thought, and I never felt the job allowed me to be myself.  After quite a long creative search I rediscovered art and am now primarily an oil painter.  I haven’t looked back since.

Why did you decide to start 28 Drawings Later?

I was lying in the bath one day (me and Archimedes get our best ideas there) and musing on how to motivate a personal course of drawing study.  The concept, the title, and the way to organise it came to me in one big lightbulb moment.  

Any particular reason for choosing February?

It’s the shortest month and, for me, one of the hardest to get through.  It’s pretty cold and dark in Scotland during February and my liver needs a reason to stay out of the pub. Plus the fact that February is usually 28 days long suggested a catchy title for the project. It’s led to a bit of confusion this year because of Leap Year/ the extra day – so I’m suggesting people use the 29th to mail in copies of their drawings to be included in an exhibition at Gallery Hair, The Old Hairdressers (Renfield Lane, Glasgow).

Victoria At Work (photo by Vito Andreoni)

Why do you think people should complete this challenge?

I’m a firm believer that everyone can learn to draw and that the less you worry about quality and the more you focus on fun and quantity, the more you will progress.  Everyone has their own reasons for taking part, and it’s fascinating to see what people come up with and what they say they got out of it.

Does it have to be a drawing or can it be any type of art?

Yes it does have to be drawing – but there’s always a debate over what exactly the definition of a drawing is.  For the purposes of 28 Drawings Later I think a drawing should be defined as whatever a participant truly believes to be a drawing. This year Aye-Aye books are sponsoring a prize for the post which interprets this definition in the most innovative or surprising way – so I say go for it!

How many people joined in last year, and how many are you expecting this time round?

Last year there were about 250 people on the page, and a core of about 50 or so who were very regular posters.  This time the page is already nearing 500 people and every time I check in there are more, so the sky’s the limit!  I need all the help I can get to make this the biggest online and offline drawing exhibition ever so please share, tweet, and blog about it as much as you can! 

Sounds like it was a runaway success – had you envisioned it taking off like that? 

I had no idea how it was going to work or what was going to happen last year – I remember thinking if I got 50 ‘likes’ on the page that it would be amazing and I thought about 10 people might take part.  I only had two weeks from a standing start to spread the word last time so, given that, I think it’s incredible how well people responded. The father posting his own and his two sons’ drawings last year was a highlight for me – a real inspiration.

Any do’s and don’ts based on doing this once before?

Don’t worry about doing only ‘good’ drawings. There are all abilities taking part and some of the most expressive and inspiring work last year was not ‘technically’ beautiful.

Do share, comment and like. It’s all about a supportive community and there’s a prize for the ‘most liked’ posts sponsored by Millers Creativity Shop so sharing the page with your friends as much as possible will up your chances! 

Don’t be worried if you can’t post everyday – you can post in a clump at any point.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions on the page if you can’t figure out how it all works.

Self Portrait

Got any help for if people can’t think of anything to draw?

I find looking at what others are doing is the best inspiration both for subjects and new techniques.

Has this project affected the way you approach your work the rest of the year?

Yes I think it completely changed my feelings about my own drawing.  I got much quicker, less rigid, much more confident and was willing to try things I never would have in the past.  Mind you, it’s all about continual practice, so I REALLY need to take part again this year to get my drawing skills back to strength!

So there you have it.  If you would like to join in with the challenge this year, all you need to do is ‘like’ the Facebook page and get drawing.  You can also find out more about Victoria and her work by reading her blog and following her on Twitter.

You can expect to hear more about 28 Drawings Later on the blog next month because I’m going to use the project to make myself do preliminary drawings for a Fringe show promo campaign.  The show is a fairy tale and I will be playing with the text, so theoretically it’ll be artistic and literary… like all the best things in life.

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