Instructions for a Drawing Class

Chloe Briggs

Dear Participants in “Instructions for a Drawing Class” Project,

I am an artist and a teacher and this is an introduction and invitation to take part in a project that I devised as a result of ideas that I have about drawing, art school, and teaching. After reading Maurice Carlin”s letter published in Art Monthly (September 2008) about the philosophy behind Islington Mill Academy, I began to consider further what actually comprises an Art School apart from students, a building, and a reason to be there.

The “Instructions for a Drawing Class” are being offered as an experimental form of art school syllabus that I will send by post once a week. The course will be six weeks long with the ÒInstructions” sent from Paris on Fridays to arrive by Tuesdays, starting on the 6th March 2009. I am interested in the potential for a written set of “instructions” to activate a meaningful class/educational experience directed from a distance and without a teacher present. Each envelope twill be posted simultaneously to your spaces in Manchester, Berlin, Marseilles and Glasgow and will include a literal set of instructions and an appendix elaborating on the ideas behind each project.

The “classes” that I have designed evolved out of my interest in how to engage students in a creative process that involved risk-taking rather than a limited focus on the assessed end product required by the institution; work that interests me most is often deemed a “failure” by the students. My research involves how the bodges, the unintended, the off-beam, the “mistakes” can be reconsidered positively by the fine art student as integral, if not defining, to the development of their work.

My reasons for offering a drawing class in particular are that:

The results of this project are open-ended and unpredicted. I want to learn from accounts of your experiences and the work that you make. I look forward to meeting you all in April,

All the Best,

Chloe Briggs

In preparation for the class please see the materials list below. Quantities for the group depend on the amount of students.


Box of Charcoal (mixed lengths)
Un-perfumed hairspray supermarket brand
Masking tape
Tape measure
Brushes different sizes
Large paint brush


Ream of A1 paper
Staple gun
Bottle of black ink
Rolls of lining paper (B&Q)
Plastic cups to decant ink
White emulsion paint
Big sponges
Box of drinking straws