Partners involved in: GrandAngoulême  

Issues & stakes: drawing and social bonding

Please…Draw me a sheep”

The Little Prince – Saint Exupéry

With its international comic book festival and its recent “UNESCO Creative City” label, Angoulême has earned an undeniable reputation as a creative city. Angoulême is the city of comics ! Angoulême is a city of images. This has enabled the city to develop,  unquestionably, a rich creative ecosystem, made up of schools, workshops and animation studios.

Yet, does everybody know how to draw a sheep ? 

With the AYCH project, we used drawing as a guideline! It has become a sort of trademark and an identity that enables meetings, exchanges and the establishment of bonds.The illustrator turns into a full-time moderator, he becomes a door-opener, creating opportunities for dialogue, for instigatind  and sometimes even convincing. The city has become a playground.

The innovation is apparent in the different ways drawing can be used. Being a means of self-expression method, drawing allows us to unlock and create gateways between worlds that had little or no understanding of each other.

  • A small door to creativity, a big step towards self-confidence

During our first introductory creativity workshops, we had to deal with youths from the city’s priority neighbourhoods who were often referred by social inclusion organisations. Some of them were school dropouts, others were simply disorientated. By using drawing as a tool, we were able to approach these youths in an easily accessible, fun, meaningful and attractive way.

 Clearly the role of the instructor essential, besides their creative skills, and relationship-building is essential.A language and a posture are required. A time commitment is demanded, as well as the acceptance of silence and the willingness to surrender. Loving the human being and its roughness becomes necessary so that it can approach you and allow itself to be domesticated. Like the story of the little prince who drew a sheep and who domesticated a fox !

Drawing creates a bond. It allows, without having to use any words, to create a dialogue and to express ourselves. It renders visible the invisible commonly called “social bonding “. 

It also allows us to dare to try, just as it allows us to fail, and to try it again. Such as a construction, drawing interprets feelings with lines and curves and it translates its emotions with colours, turning a willingness and a desire into reality.It transforms the prototype of an idea that is not even born yet. A truly creative process!

Written by  Nicolas Travaillé, head of European projects at the GrandAngoulême metropolis.