An­nual work­shop still draw­ing a crowd


The an­nual pen­cil draw­ing class in New Ply­mouth is plan­ning to con­tinue de­spite the re­tire­ment of in­struc­tor Gil­lian Rankin.

The Bris­bane-based artist re­turned to New Ply­mouth this week to run a six-day colour pen­cil work­shop that at­tracts artists of all lev­els from around the coun­try.

‘‘I think I en­joy the com­pany so much. I en­joy see­ing the progress of the work, not only over the years but for the six days I’m here,’’ she said.

‘‘Peo­ple want to im­prove their art­work.’’

The classes first started in 2006 af­ter Rankin and or­gan­iser Shuna Giles met at a draw­ing class in Waikanae, and again in Aus­tralia not long af­ter.

They draw not only from life but from photos or on out­lines. Even those new to the class could walk away with a re­sult, Rankin said.

‘‘As a medium, it’s the end re­sult’s so achiev­able. The peo­ple can achieve be­cause we can cor­rect it.

‘‘It’s a very for­giv­ing medium.’’ Giles said they had never ad­ver­tised and peo­ple kept com­ing ev­ery year just through word of mouth.

‘‘It’s not just the art­work but the friend­ships we’ve made,’’ she said. ‘‘Some peo­ple like to sit in the same place so they can sit next to their friend. One’s from Auck­land, one’s from Blen­heim.’’

She said they planned to carry on de­spite Rankin’s re­tire­ment. ’’We’re look­ing at dif­fer­ent

‘‘It's not just the art­work but the friend­ships we've made,’’

Shuna Giles

av­enues at the mo­ment but peo­ple are very keen to con­tinue.’’

Karen McWha came all the way from Koromiko, be­tween Blen­heim and Pic­ton, af­ter be­ing in­vited by a friend last year.

‘‘I thor­oughly en­joyed it so I’ve come again this year,’’ she said.

‘‘It re­ally de-stresses you. You just lose your­self in it and away you go.’’

She takes photos with a macro lens to cap­ture the fine de­tails of her sub­ject, and uses more than a dozen colours to draw a tui. ’’It’s get­ting the iri­des­cent colour that takes time.’’

Penny Hendry came down from Auck­land.

‘‘I’m ac­tu­ally re­ally in­ter­ested in lay­er­ing all the colours,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s dif­fer­ent from wa­ter colours; you only use a few tubes in paint while in colour pen­cil you’ve got 250 colours.’’

The event ran from Septem­ber 30 to Oc­to­ber 5 at the New Ply­mouth Girls High School.


Pen­cil draw­ing tu­tor Gil­lian Rankin, left, with stu­dent and or­gan­iser Shuna Giles who is hop­ing to con­tinue the class.

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