Supergraph Art Fair

I really like the MSO free concerts each year. I love lounging on a picnic rug with a friend, nibbling on cheese and crackers, sipping wine, listening to orchestral music on a calm summer’s eve, as the day changes into night and all the city lights spark up. I love being around hundreds of people who are all there, enjoying the same experience, appreciating the music and the lovely evening. I have a reminder in my diary for February each year, so that I can check the concert dates, what’s playing, and maybe plan to go.

I messaged my sister Liesl to ask her about the first Saturday night concert, and we invited another friend, Sonya, and everything was arranged… until the Saturday morning, when I made a list of things to take. I had to be out and about during the day, so I needed to carry it all with me: picnic rug, shopping bag to hold some nibbles from the supermarket, plastic cups, serviettes, warmer clothes in case it got cold, book, iPhone charger. And, alas! – the forecast was for rain. Add in: rain ponchos, umbrella. This was becoming less and less fun. I called Liesl and asked her what she thought about going to an open-air concert in the rain, and she said that it’s not enjoyable, and we should do something else. Hmm. Well, I said, I’m attending a random class called “How to Draw Badly” at the Supergraph art fair in the afternoon – would she and Sonya be interested in joining me and having a look around the fair?


As soon as I arrived, I worried about my suggestion. Supergraph was much smaller than The Big Design Market, which I’d been to in December and really enjoyed, and it seemed dead. There were fewer stalls, fewer customers… I had a quick look around, zipping past the stalls, past the bar and the colouring-in tables, and past the final gallery, out to the side area, where there were food trucks. There didn’t seem to be a lot happening. Hmm. I wondered if I should message Liesl and Sonya and tell them to save their $8 entry fee; maybe we should go somewhere else.

I went to the “How to Draw Badly” class. It was overcrowded, with < 30 people squished around a table, elbow to elbow, struggling to listen to the class teacher, artist & illustrator Mimi Leung.


There were some blunt coloured pencils and fresh pieces of paper in front of us. Mimi Leung walked back and forth, trying to make sure we could all hear her, and led us through some exercises. Run a pencil over a piece of paper, and see what it feels like; what it feels like to add more or less pressure, to tilt the pencil, to go faster or slower. Look at an object on the table, and draw it, without looking at what you’re drawing. Do the same with your non-dominant hand. Remove the object from the table, and draw the object from your memory…

We did loads of exercises, and people shared their bad drawings along the way. We ended up with a couple of emotions: Draw anger. Draw calm. We shared our drawings again, and talked about them. It was interesting to see and hear what different people had chosen to express.

I left the class feeling underwhelmed, because it had been so crowded, and it felt rushed and short. I went to meet Liesl and Sonya at the front of the building, and as I walked back, I noticed a few things I hadn’t seen before – a nail art stall; a fashion illustrator doing on-the-spot portraits; an art installation made of huge pieces of origami, with peoples’ secrets written inside.  Hmm!

Waiting for Liesl and Sonya, another friend came along, Jess. She was waiting for a friend too. Then another friend, Jude. She was waiting for a friend too. Then Liesl and Sonya arrived, and saw another girl they knew. Gosh, six girls waiting out the front, and all of them friends! That was a good feeling.

We peeled off from the others, and went inside, and this time we moved slowly, slowly, slowly through the fair. Liesl and Sonya are those wonderful sorts of people who love investigating everything, and can find almost anything interesting. That kind of curiosity is infectious! We watched the fashion illustrator (I was mesmerised – she was amazing) draw a few lines in pencil, then pen and ink, then a splash of watercolour… and all of a sudden there was a gorgeous portrait, fit for print in a glamorous magazine. We watched another artist creating more careful, colourful, intricate portraits. Liesl and Sonya had their nails (and funky nail art) done at Trophy Wife. We watched more artists at work… a group of three, contributing to collaborative pen-drawings. A man pencil-sketching fantastic mythical creatures for his one-sketch-a-day project. A women showed us her letterpress machine, and how she made her stunning artwork with it. Liesl made badges at the Frankie Magazine stall. Then! We all went to the colouring-in tables, and drew for an hour. And that’s when I realised the class had worked… I was giving drawing a go, after years and years of avoiding it.

We had such a good time.

I’ve noted future dates for Supergraph, The Big Design Market, and The Finders Keepers Markets into my diary so I can try to go again.

Piñata class

Sarah Beetson speed portrait

Pet portraits!

Artists at work

Origami mountains of secrets!

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