A couple of weeks ago, we launched a new digital drawing activity at Tate Modern called the Bloomberg Connects Drawing Bar. We’re inviting people to make a visual response to their visit to the gallery (or to express themselves however they like) on a digital drawing tablet. Whatever they’ve created is then displayed immediately on a huge projection above them, alongside other visitors’ drawings. Also projected is a selection of artists’ ideas about drawing and art-making generally – for example Michael Craig Martin’s statement, ‘as soon as you make a piece of art, you’re an artist’. We hope these will inspire people and encourage them to participate. Over the coming months we’ll be experimenting with different prompts and activity ideas relating to what’s happening in the gallery.
Displaying your drawing at Tate may be a dream for some, but might be intimidating to others. However, working electronically seems to take the pressure off in some ways. With digital drawing there’s always the option to start again from scratch if you feel things have gone astray which is quite reassuring – and this seems to get rid of inhibitions among people who “can’t draw” and encourage bold use of the form. Thousands of people have made drawings here so far. Our count from last Saturday alone was over 900 images.
For the drawing tablet itself, we’ve aimed for a balance between control and ease of use. There’s a 56 colour palette and you can adjust brush size, brush hardness, and canvas colour. We worked with a fantastic design team led by Jason Bruges Studio with the aim of making something people could use intuitively.
This sounds simple, but the breadth of how visitors have been using it is astonishing-there’s been everything from landscapes to bold abstraction, reworkings of pieces from the collection to pop culture references. There’s already a returning artist who has been asking fellow visitors to sit for portraits. You can get a sense of this diversity by looking on the project’s Flickr page, where every drawing is sent automatically (we’ve found that browsing it can be a bit addictive). Better still, pop in and have a go!
Andrew Walter and Minnie Scott, Interpretation team, Tate Modern
Credit: (c) Tate Photography
Thanks to Andrew Walter and Minnie Scott from the Tate Modern for their contribution. The digital drawing bar is a wonderful project, we hope you’re able to give it a go. Let us know your thoughts below!