As a core subject at the National Art School, Drawing is studied by all Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) students throughout their degree, and is offered as a specialisation for the Master of Fine Art (MFA) degree.
Under the guidance of experienced lecturers who are also successful practicing artists, students learn about the many aspects and applications of this important discipline. Over the three-year BFA degree, they gain critical practical skills and in-depth theoretical understanding of the traditional studio conventions of observational and life drawing, as well as exploring the unlimited potential of contemporary drawing practice including installation, abstraction and new media.
NAS Head of Drawing Dr Maryanne Coutts is a highly regarded practicing multi-media artist, working with animation, watercolour and drawing to explore the human experience of the passage of time. She has won numerous awards including the Portia Geach Memorial Award, and was a finalist in 2021 and 2019 for the biennial Dobell Drawing Prize, presented by the National Art School and the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation. Her work is held in Australian regional and tertiary collections.
In 2020, under the guidance of Maryanne and NAS director and CEO Steven Alderton, NAS launched the National Centre for Drawing (NCD) to promote and nurture practice, research and scholarship in drawing, and affirming the School’s commitment to this key discipline.
NCD presents programs, projects and events focussed on the physical activity of drawing, including the annual Margaret Olley Drawing Week with NAS students; the Drawing Exchange promoting collaboration with artists from different cities, artistic practices and cultural backgrounds; and the Festival of Drawing, a biennial event in conjunction with the Dobell Drawing Prize, which in 2021 included the Presence Drawing Symposium, workshops, screenings, family activities and talks.
NCD also includes The Drawing Gallery, a new space at NAS dedicated to drawing exhibitions. It launched in 2021 with From the Mountain to the Sky: Guy Warren Drawings celebrating the work of NAS alumnus Guy Warren, one of Australia’s most admired and accomplished artists.