Free Drawing School Online Challenge led by Jade Montserrat

13 July 2020

Free Drawing School Online Challenge led by Jade Montserrat

Join the Free Drawing School live online every Monday at 10am.

A different drawing challenge is announced each week for you to get involved with at home between 10am-12pm guided live with an artist.

Jade Montserrat is an artist based in Scarborough, England. She is the recipient of the Stuart Hall Foundation Scholarship which supports her PhD (via MPhil) at IBAR, UCLan, and the development of her work from her black diasporic perspective in the North of England. Jade works through performance, drawing, painting, film, installation, sculpture, print and text. Jade came to Hospitalfield in 2017 as part of the Autumn Residency.

The Free Drawing School Online continues over the summer with many more challenges as we invite lots of guest artists to design the weekly challenge for you to join in with.

The Free Drawing School challenges are designed to be done at home with the resources you can bring together from your drawers and cupboards.

The details of the challenge will be announced here and on social media at 10.00am.

You will have two hours in which to complete the challenge and post your work either in the comments on the Facebook event for others to see or on twitter or instagram with the hashtag #freedrawingschool.

You can also email your outcomes to



Image from Jade Montserrat’s studio 2020
The Glamour of her homemade stage, Jade Montserrat, 2016
Love. Love?, ‘Full English’, DATEAGLE ART, Jade Montserrat, Platform Southwark.
No Need For Clothing, Jade Montserrat, Cooper Gallery DJCAD Dundee. Documentation photo by Jacquetta Clark 2017

The Free Drawing School is made possible with generous funding support from The Robertson Trust and The National Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Challenge


I’m delighted to set this week’s drawing challenge for Hospitalfield.

I suggested two texts at the end of last week to think through what I hoped to present as today’s challenge. These are Alice Walker’s In Search Of Our Mothers Gardens and the children’s book Shadow created by Marcia Brown as an illustrated translation of a poem by Blaise Cendrars

Thinking through drawing by locating our bodies, or the sense that the garden or the earth has on our bodies, to create a sense of belonging. My idea when I’m making my own work is that the connection between ourselves and the earth is a line, and that line, like our communications with one and another, is drawing. I see that all of these ideas relating to works on paper or installation, installation drawings, and performance is the potential to harness a radical creativity. I think of gardening as a place to locate our radical creativity. That’s what spurs me to keep creating and keep imagining. I believe that a healing body also heals the garden. There’s a reciprocity between the two activities, our creativity in the garden and our creative selves.

So I’m wondering how we can visualise that exchange of energy and visuality and consider, maybe on a global scale, the stewarding of our spaces.

I take great solace in the garden and maybe one of the examples of my work that demonstrates this is the recent seed packet that I made for Industria’s first magazine printed edition. So this is the wild flower seed packet and it corresponds to works that I’ve been making for a while that relate to my torso. And I’ve also used the idea of my torso to consider other elements of my body. So a finished work would be this watercolour of my ear [shows water colour painting] It also looks quite like a space ship.

[shows water colour painting] This is an early drawing of my torso and thinking about the garden, thinking about the wild. I began to decorate or embellish this area of my body. I see the development of the work, as in Alice Walker’s words “…guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength, in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own”.

The wild flower seeds commission for Industria brought together my ideas of enslaved women braiding native seeds into their hair before being forced to bound transatlantic slave ships, hoping against the odds for autonomy on the other side. So I brought these element together for that commission. And we’ll have a go today.

I’ve suggested that we can use coffee and tea as a way to outline the particular area of your body that you might choose to focus in on. I’ll be continuing with my torso.

Using a close up of my torso and my pixelated pubice, I copy that, taking pains to be aware of areas of light and shadow and areas where I haven’t quite got the whole part of my body, I make up. It smells really nice because its tea

What really interested me with these spots of light, that were so beautiful in my studio at the time.

There’s all sorts of ways of making the colour and the water bleed and create really excellent dark and light effects.

The thing to remember when doing water colour is that its crucial to have fresh water and patience… because everything take a while to dry…

So you can see here several layers that have gone into making the start of this water colours. So there’s three colours. Three lots of drying time…

So working on this now, I’d maybe consider depth mostly and I would consider what kind of embellishments I’d like to make. In the mean time I might do a little sketch, which might feature in these gaps. Or they might feature as decoration all around.

The next layer might look like this, where I am incorporating African heritage hairstyles into the torso. That will then also include adornments and decorations. Really thinking about this idea of exchanging seeds and stewardship of the earth, mutual growth and an idea of mothering that encompasses our connectivity with mother earth and all our growth.

I thought I’d also briefly show you the first sketches that I did in my sketch book for a series that I’ve called ‘Shadowing Watercolours.’ It’s a technique really. I thought it might be nice to share how that’s done. I’ve taken out the stuff that I use which is this masking fluid to create a pattern. Its just something thats nice to consider for future drawings that you might work on.

You can create a lot of layers by masking out areas for the paper so that you can keep them really clean and layer up the colours on the water colour paper.

I’m excited to see your in progress watercolours!



You will have two hours in which to complete the challenge and post your work either in the comments on the Facebook event for others to see or on twitter or instagram with the hashtag #freedrawingschool.

You can also email your outcomes to


Preparations for the Challenge


I’m Jade and I’m really look forward to leading the Free Drawing School Challenge this Monday.

We’ll be thinking about some ideas relating to gardening and drawing as radical creative acts.

In preparation, I’ve revisited these two written works that inspire me: Alice Walker’s “In Search Of Our Mothers Gardens” and the children’s book Shadow created by Marcia Brown as an illustrated translation of a poem by Blaise Cendrars. If you have a chance, please do get to know these, they are attached to the links.

I often use water colour and illustration in my work and so for the challenge I would ask you to have ready:

– watercolours, inks or watery tea/coffee

– pencils

– paper

– mirror or a way of photographing yourself

Look forward to drawing with you on Monday.




Image from Jade Montserrat’s Studio.
Image of Jade Montserrat
Image of Jade Montserrat reading Shadow
Wild flower seed packet with specially commissioned work by Industria on paper by Jade Montserrat, 2020. Courtesy of Industria’s Instagram
Section from an art work by Jade Montserrat 2016
Planting plan for Garden. Courtesy of Jade Montserrat.

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