Vic Park Pride’s ‘Draw a Drag Queen’ was mountains of fun

There’s a huge range of events in this year’s PrideFEST and one that caught my attention was Vic Park Pride’s ‘Draw a Drag Queen’ gathering.

Drawing is a skill like any others, and the saying “use or lose it” equally applies. I think the last time I was regularly drawing anything was in art class in the Year 12, where I got an A!

Sadly, that was three decades ago and not having used it since, I was definitely was back at square one.

This was no surprise. Back in September we published a Facebook post about the Labor party issuing a Colouring Book, it took me forever to colour in Penny Wong and it was hard to stay between the lines. If colouring was a struggle, drawing was bound to be.

We were greeted by the delightful Jonathon who was on hand to guide us through our drawing skills and the fabulous looking Manuao TeAotonga was our model for the session. A glass of champagne was offered to help us relax and soon we were sharpening pencils.

Working our way through several quick exercises, we quickly built up our confidence in putting pen to paper. First we were challenged to capture Manuao by not taking our drawing implement of the paper, the second challenge was to not look at the paper.  The results were Picasso-esque.

Next we were challenged to look for shapes in our subject, as Jonathan explained, a body is just a series of rectangles, circles and triangles. I wondered just how many triangles made up Manuao’s elaborate feather headdress. We also looked for lines of movement through the poses, tackling a stance with one big swopping line, rather than thousands of tiny sketch marks.

As time went on my confidence started to build, and I started to look at Manuao more closely, taking time to realise what I could see, and what I assumed I could see.

It dawned on me, I couldn’t actually see his right eye, I could only see the large eyelashes poking through, and while I could see great detail in eyebrows, I really couldn’t see an eyeball – I just thought I could. I began to wonder about how many other things I just assume on a daily basis, not having the time to stop and look or listen.

It was suggested we could set ourselves a thirty day challenge, draw for a few minutes each day. Not only would our drawing naturally improve over the time, it can also be good for your mental too.

A few weeks ago I hosted On The Record at RTRFM and discussed how creating comics about your life can be good for your mental health. Dr Darren C Fisher from Swinburne University explained that while some people keep a journal, others may find something more visual works for them.  Even doodling can be good for helping with your thought processes.

Our final exercise was to quickly draw an object from three different perspectives. I picked my glass capturing it form three different angles. As I pondered the way ice cubes arrange themselves in my glass, I also found myself thinking about that basic skill of looking at a problem or a challenge from different perspectives.

While my drawing only slightly improved over the session, it put me in a reflective mood, and it was exciting to step outside of my comfort zone. Manuao very kindly said he could see himself in my drawing.

PrideFEST is filled with all sorts of events this year, head to Pride WA to see everything that’s on offer.

Graeme Watson

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