It's one of those things that separates the kids from the adults. You know you're a fully formed adult when you understand that the piece of paper a kid hands up to you is not a cheap excuse for a real gift but carries the priceless traces of free-spirited play.
Consider this drawing of some figures in hats and gloves on a baseball diamond. The scribbles reveal that this five-year-old artist was fully engaged in the parameters of the game. But the happiness radiating from this drawing is not in the smiles on those figures' faces as in the engagement in the act of drawing. This is not a picture of felt pen marks on a piece of paper but a kid fully immersed in the idea, working out the positions, the scale, the action. He clearly started by filling the space with a diamond then plotting in his players, revising as he went, probably singing or making voices of the players as he drew.
Now sketching, I do that all the time, but that's just for figuring stuff out, just for me. Kind of like the baseball drawing.
Getting into or getting back into drawing for the fun of it is the whole point of the annual Vancouver Draw Down, culminating this Saturday all over town. This is not a competition, there are no grades; this is a chance to play with mark-making and be inspired by the creative ways drawing can happen. The fifth annual event takes its cue from the world's biggest drawing event, The Big Draw in the UK, part of the Campaign for Drawing, "a charity that raises the profile of drawing as a tool for thought, creativity, social, and cultural engagement," according to its website. (See YouTube video at bottom on why drawing matters.)
A few of the many ways to play Saturday, for all ages and experience, and with no registration required:
• Seabus Intervention (9 am - 5 pm): For the price of a ticket for the seabus, passengers are invited to use a Vancouver transit map to "create their own lines, routes and configurations."
• Costume Design Illustration (10 am - 2 pm): Head to the Arts Club Granville Island Stage rehearsal hall for a free four-hour session that explores illustration techniques, lead by pro costume designer Sheila White.
• Boulevard Station, Yaletown-Roundhouse Station (noon - 4 pm): Trace the winter tree patterns of artist Marian Penner Bancroft's newly commissioned installation Boulevard and be a part of a collective drawing collage.
Download this file to print out a passport, get it stamped from at least two events, for chances at art-related prizes.