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On Instagram a great illustrator is turning art into a game

I spent some of yesterday morning trying to draw a decent – or at least not entirely terrible – picture of a door handle. I’ve had this door handle for ages, completely unattached to any kind of door. 20 years ago I found it somewhere and put it in my pocket, and since then – warning: I am boring – it’s become sort of a quietly magical object to me. I’ve kept it on bookshelves or in a funny box under the sofa in all of the houses I’ve lived in over the last two decades. I think if I ever moved and found that I’d lost it, I would be slightly winded, in a strange, silly way.

I’ve never tried to draw this thing before. And it turns out it’s quite hard. I’m trying to do a drawing of it where I capture the entire outline of the shape without moving my pencil off the page. It’s got to be an unbroken line. That’s hard enough. Then the job will be to move into the outline, as it were, and do all the detailing. Tricky! This, I have been told, is not really a task about drawing anyway. It’s a task about seeing.

This door handle thing is because of Quarantine Art Club, or maybe #quarantineartclub, which is the creation of Carson Ellis. Ellis is the writer and illustrator behind some truly glorious children’s books. Here’s a piece on Home, which is an absolute classic. Since we’ve all been locked down these last few weeks, she’s been using her Instagram account to set people little drawing challenges. I appreciate this isn’t strictly a game, but it seems game-adjacent at least. It’s about creativity and play.

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