Members of the Big Family Press take part in the Bad Drawing Club

Millie Nice with the Big Family Press, Bad Drawing Club, 2020. Photo: Leah Morris

Sadie St. Hilaire works with the Big Family Press at South London Gallery, an art club for children in after school care at Oliver Goldsmith Primary School. In March 2020 the group began working with artist and art historian Millie Nice to create the Bad Drawing Club.  

I first met Millie a couple of years ago when I was working in a secondary school. Millie came in to run a brilliant art workshop which brought together lots of fun and interesting ways to explore art history. 

Afterwards, I showed her a zine library that I’d created in an empty locker, and after that first meetingMillie mailed me some of her zines to add to the library. I’ve been a fan ever since! 

When I was given the opportunity to invite someone to work with the Big Family Press, I thought Millie would be a fantastic choice as she uses a range of materials in her workMillie came up with a brilliant idea, Bad Drawing Club because not everyone can make good drawings, but we can all make bad ones.” It was such an exciting proposition, learning about the rules of art and breaking them, feeling our way through different materials, all in a fun and thoughtful way. It was more than I could have dreamed of. 

During the first couple of sessions we each came up with six secret identities to create our bad drawings under. We also created a growing index of different art materialsincluding some non-traditional materials like bananas. I was delighted to see one of the members, while trying to draw a pair jeans, referencing the materials listed on the index wall, before deciding that charcoal and pastels can be used to accurately draw denim.

We got halfway through the project before we had to put it on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It was sad to not see the project the whole way through with the group of kids that we were working with, but it continues on the SLG Instagram. It will be great to be able to open up the Bad Drawing Club to a wider audience and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s bad drawings! 

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