Sunday, 13 March 2011

Cartoon Museum Reveiw

Cartoon Museum Visit, Wednesday 2nd March, 2011.

This museum has collections of comic book drawings on the top floor, illustrative work on the ground floor and an exhibition area. The exhibition on at the moment is Ronald Searles’ drawings on “Mrs. Mole’s” life. The work is about the little creature in different situations and adventures throughout her lifetime. They are drawn in pen and ink, and coloured with water colour paint. I read in the brief piece of information at the entrance of the exhibition space that the artist made these drawings when he and his wife were made aware that she was seriously ill. Searles made a drawing each time they had to make a visit to the doctors, to try and lighten the mood and keep his wife a little happier.

The illustrations are very detailed, the colours are extremely vibrant for watercolour paint, the brush strokes are all precise and extremely thin. The quirky character of Mrs. Mole is presented to the viewers in every scenario, each time doing something different to the next. They made me smile and some even got a little chuckle out of me, and whilst I was walking around I realised that the other people there were smiling and laughing at the drawings. Mrs. Mole has big round brown eyes, with thick black eyelashes, she has a large plump body and a pair of thin and narrow feet. She comes across to me as a lovely lady, in the drawings she is always surrounded by nature and patterns or flowers, either in the background or on her clothing etc. There are some running themes in his work which jumped out at me as soon as I’d looked at the first three, love, peace and joy.

The work is presented very neatly, in a rather organised fashion, the paper used for every drawing is the same size, same type, framed up in exactly the say way, and hung at the same level in a horizontal line around the room. Because of the short explanation about the reasons behind this work, I felt as though I connected on a slightly higher level than I usually would. This exhibition made me become even more aware at how much time, effort and love goes into work. The pieces are personal to him but the scenarios and situations presented are ones which everybody can relate to in one way or another. I drew one of the illustrations myself, spending a good twenty minutes or so standing there, getting cramp in my hand from clasping at my sketchbook for so long, and even then my drawing looked like it could be worked on top of for hours yet. This just pushed me to think more about the time I spend on a single piece of work, Searle has thought about the whole sheet of paper, every centimetre is covered and has been considered.

His work has inspired me to want to be better in my personal studies, the precision in his work is amazing, the character Mrs. Mole never changes, she looks the same in every scene, allowing the viewer to become familiar with the work, making the collection even better to look at. I would definitely encourage people to look at his work and to visit the Cartoon Museum whenever they are in London, I found it one the most interesting places to be as an art student.

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