Student Stories: Drawing Year Alumnus Poppy Chancellor

Poppy Chancellor graduated from The Drawing Year in 2010, and is now a successful freelance illustrator and paper-cut artist. We asked Poppy to cast her mind back a few years to her experience of being on The Drawing Year, and tell us what it was like…

Hello, Poppy. Can you remember why you decided to apply to The Drawing Year?

I applied for The Drawing Year because it sounded too good to be true!

And was studying on The Drawing Year what you expected?

In retrospect I couldn’t have anticipated the experiences I had on The Drawing Year. The whole course brought me to a brand new way of seeing that I found exhilarating, exhausting and engaging.

How was The Drawing Year different from your degree course?

The Drawing Year really focused on what it meant to be an artist on a personal level. The courses combined with the tutoring allowed for a deeper understanding of my work that completely transformed my outlook on my practice and the world around me.

What was the most valuable part of The Drawing Year?

The fact that I learnt so much at the same time as being respected as an artist and valued as a person was a new experience for me. It was a safe environment to try new things without being self-conscious about the work you produced. The teaching is sensational.


Drawing by Poppy Chancellor

Was there a particular moment in the year when you remember having a breakthrough with your drawing? 

The whole year amounted to a breakthrough in being playful and doing things that scare you. I never took chances with my work before The Drawing Year.

What impact has learning to draw had on your work?

I have a clearer understanding of what I want to do and how to do it. Even drawings from my imagination have a foundation of understanding that wasn’t there before. My work is convincing and has a natural ease that comes with the rigorous practice you get on The Drawing Year.

How has studying on The Drawing Year affected your career?

I am currently a free-lance illustrator and papercut artist, and my designs have a dynamism that is based in a familiarity and love of drawing. I have the freedom to communicate visually through my understanding of drawing which can be rare in commercial art. I am also a tutor with The Prince’s Drawing Clubs, which has been one of the best experiences of my life, not only professionally but personally. Understanding that you can be of service to young people and make a contribution to them as artists is really exciting.

Are you still in touch with other students from your year?

They are my colleagues and best friends. The tutors are my absolute heroes!

Do you still draw regularly?

Yes – I still go to the Drawing at the British Museum class every Friday!


Drawing by Poppy Chancellor

For more on Poppy and her work click here
To find out more and apply to The Drawing Year click here (deadline Thurs 28 March 2013)


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