MATS Bootcamp: Sylvia Pankhurst


In March our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to create a portrait of a Suffragette and my Suffragette was Sylvia Pankhurst. I’d never heard of her before but she was one of Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughters.

Sylvia was born in Manchester but spent a lot of time working in east London, championing the working class, who she saw as instrumental in bringing about real change in terms of voting rights. This was one of the things created tension between her and her mother, and her older sister Christabel. Eventually Sylvia became estranged from her family after having a child outside of marriage.

In the 1950s she moved to Ethiopia after becoming friends with Haile Selassie, and she is buried in Addis Ababa.

How Limitations Can Sometimes Be Helpful


Today I finished my ‘self assignment’ to draw a face a day for 30 days. Looking back through all the drawings, it feels like a very long time since I started this little project.

One thing I noticed was that this project felt a lot easier than some of the other times I’ve tried to draw every day. I’ve taken part in Drawing August over the past 2 years, which sometimes felt a bit stressful. At other times I’ve more “How Limitations Can Sometimes Be Helpful”

One At A Time


As much as I love Sketchbook Skool and other online courses I’ve done, occasionally I get a bit paralysed by them. Not because the courses are bad, it’s more to do with that perfectionist streak in me.

Sometimes there’ll be an assignment that I can’t do right away or one that feels difficult for me in some way. I’ve found that if I just make a start with the ones I don’t want to do then it usually turns out well and I enjoy it more than I’d anticipated. And if it doesn’t turn out well I still learn from it and carry on.

Other times, though I sort of freeze a bit and stop drawing (or taking photos) for a few days, or even longer. It’s as though I can’t allow myself to move on with my drawing until that stubborn, tricky one is dealt with.

This happened a bit with Boot Kamp. There are some assignments left for me to do and they kind of weighed on my mind for a while and I found it difficult to sit with or let go of that weird sense of unease. I mean, it’s only a drawing, it’s not that big a deal! But somehow they’d been built up into something more and become a bit of a burden.

So the other day I decided to push past that feeling. I filled half a page in my sketchbook with 6 tiny boxes. Inside each box I drew a very rough, scribbly portrait of 6 of the teachers from Sketchbook Skool – the ones from the first kourse that I did.

Just doing one tiny drawing at a time felt a bit easier. I could just do one and finish the rest some other time. As it turned out, I drew all 6 and I’ll colour them in and fill the rest of the page some other time with portraits of some of the other teachers.

Each tiny drawing made the next one feel easier, and the next, and the next. There’s a lesson in there somewhere! 😉