Will Topley

  • Senior faculty
  • Drawing School Central faculty

Biography

Born in Hong Kong in 1959, Will Topley is a Wiltshire based Artist. He paints interiors, landscapes and portraits which he shows regularly and has had many commissions worldwide. He trained at the Slade and has taught painting and drawing for over 20 years, in schools, art schools and privately. He has been teaching at the Royal Drawing School for over 10 years.

On drawing

I started drawing people from life when I was a teenager and it has been both a comfort and companion ever since. I particularly enjoy sketching when I go out somewhere; it enhances so many occasions, whether they are intrinsically stimulating or dull. Drawing people as they go about their business is a great challenge and concerts are a particularly good place to draw. The players move from one position to another and back again, but you can usually find a pose that they return to. It is very exciting. The first few marks are particularly invigorating as there is a danger and a fear to it all that sets your pulse racing. Anything is more fun with a pencil. I quite often do small oil sketches where I paint directly onto panel. Here the drawing all takes place in paint and is an integral part of the picture. However, I also do paintings that are more formal and may take weeks or months to complete. When working this way, before starting with paint, I invariably draw something out on paper with a pencil.. Partly I do this to establish the composition and even if the drawing takes a couple of days it saves time in the end. The drawing is not finished as such by the preliminary study but many basics of scale and composition can be decided upon, and some confusions can be confronted, at this stage. Most of us perceive the world through vision and drawing is an essential tool for understanding all that we see. It allows us to recreate the world as we see it. It should be made compulsory in The House of Commons.

Will Topley