Imagine: you’ve been given a lightly tufted Japanese paint brush, feather-soft and blonde. Before you lie two downy, thick pieces of blank parchment and ink. Lots of black ink. How do you feel? What mark might you make?

I recently enjoyed a morning at Heide Museum of Modern Art, under the careful and kind tutelage of illustrator Angie Réhe who held a class on the basics of fashion illustration as part of VAMFF‘s Cultural Program. I was so looking forward to a morning of engaging a different part of my brain: sometimes at the end of the week it’s as though all the words have been bled out of me and my brain reels at the idea of looking at another screen. That’s where making your mark – art with your hands – comes in like a cool wave at the beach to clear the cobwebs away and set the synapses afire.

I was strangely a little nervous about what I’d produce – where would I start? I suppose whenever we do something in public, a sense of heightened occasion is brought to it. What mark might we make with the foreign brush lying in our hand? Reader, I tell you: it was so liberating and load-lifting to dip that brush in the deep black ink and to make my mark upon the paper – going from thin to thick and bold in a confident flourish.
Of course, we weren’t going it alone. Angie is an experienced illustrator and educator and she taught us the basic rules of ‘9-head’ figures on paper. We gazed on as a group as Angie interpreted a photograph of a runway model into the blocks of a figure, before illustrating her in ink before our eyes. It seems that in illustration (as in life), it’s what you leave out that counts. My handiwork, above.
Thinking that you’d like to massage the creative part of your mind that perhaps you don’t use as often as you might? Lucky for you, Angie runs regular illustration classes at the Patsy Fox Drawing Salon. Click here for details.

Just think of the wonders you might create. (Most of the images here are the works of Rene Gruau.)