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William Kentridge and Tonality

I like to show the drawings of the South African artist William Kentridge in my Drawing Workshop when we learn about tonality. I always try to show examples from at least one contemporary artist, even when going over the most fundamental drawing principles. 

What one might not realize, when looking at the drawings, is that many of them are actually stills from his short animation films. The charcoal drawing are worked over and photographed during the process, resulting in stop-motion animation. 

William Kentridge

William Kentridge

I promised my students from the Winter Drawing Workshop that we would watch this video from the great artist William Kentridge. But then we got so absorbed in our drawings that we never got around to it, so I am posting it here. Below is the film "Automatic Writing". 

If you want to learn more about how Kentridge creates the animation, here is a video where he explains his unique process.

Still Life Collection

Here is a collection of some memorable still life moments from the Drawing Workshop. 
For the first few weeks of the class we learn the basic foundation principles of drawing from observation, with the help of these still life arrangements. 

The Spring Drawing Workshop starts April 9!

Drawing Workshop Reviewed by ExBerliner

Thanks to the Exberliner Magazine for publishing such a great review of the Drawing Workshop
"Starting on January 9, the Monday night workshop “Drawing From Life” offers an intimate experience, with small three-hour classes led by Berlin Collective artist and curator Mira O’Brien.
O’Brien takes a technical approach, working intimately with her students analysing the model through negative space, gradation and contour lines and really trying to present the science behind capturing figure and form.
Beginning with nature morte still lives, the classes progress to life figures and even animals at the Natural History Museum. Classes are capped at 10 students, so that everyone gets one-on-one time with Mira."

ExBerliner Magazine, January 2012
The Drawing Room welcomes your reviews as well! Leave your comments on the blog or submit them directly to

More nice words
"Excellent for first-timers! Challenging for slightly more experienced!  Stimulating for experienced artists too. You've got nothing to loose. Mira's Life drawing class was our highlight of the past summer."
-  Marta Hanson, Visiting Scholar, Max Plank Institute for the History of Science
(participant in the Summer Drawing Workshop, 2011)

Spring Drawing Workshop starts April 16, 2012

Sign up now to reserve your place!
More information about the Drawing Workshop can be found here.

Contemporary Art Camp for Teens

for Teens
Spring Break: April 9-13, 2012
                        Monday-Friday 10am-4pm
(Summer 2012 to be scheduled)

Ages 13-18 (limited to 10 students), 200 Euro for 5 days.*

This 5-day Workshop is perfect for the creative teen, curious what being an artist today is all about! In the morning we will work in the studio, with guided drawing exercises, presentations on themes in Contemporary art, portfolio development, and experimentation. Each day after lunch there will be a different excursion into the Berlin art world.  We will visit contemporary art exhibitions in museums and galleries, and visit artists at work in their studios. Direct contact with curators and artists will be the focus.  All instruction will take place in English, but Mira does understand German.

Mira O'Brien has years of experience teaching kids, teens and adults. She has taught art in public schools in Los Angeles, to college students at Yale, and now she teaches classes through the Drawing Room in Berlin.
More about Mira and the studio:  here

*Price does not include BVG ticket or museum admission. Some materials will be included for guided exercises but not necessarily for individual projects.

Richard Jackon, "The Laundry Room", 2009

Mira O'Brien, "When Breaking a Current" 
Volksbühne, Berlin, 2009

Field Trip Sunday!

This Sunday we meet at the Natural History Museum / Museum für Naturkunde to draw from dinosaur bones and exotic taxidermy! Join us even if you are not enrolled in the Winter Drawing Workshop.  

Find out details about the Drawing Scavenger Hunt in the Natural History Museum on the previous blog post : here