Paddy Molloy & Martin Morris

Senior Lecturers, Kingston University

Paddy Molloy & Martin Morris

Student Collaborative Memory Drawing in VR (2020)

The Grey Space in the Middle: using drawing to meet the object halfway


This paper examines teaching methods for the development of drawing processes within art education. Considering how, through the use of traditional methods of drawing and later through the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology, a theoretical space where the meaning and value of an image can be defined between the observer and the observed. The pedagogic process is examined through a set of six images made by three different students engaging in observational drawing practice - figure drawing and copying works from prominent artists and drawing from memory using haptic approaches and spatial reconstruction in VR.

This presentation will update our paper published in Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice to include a recent case study expanding upon these ideas. Observation/ Revaluation, a collaborative workshop between the students of Kingston University London and the University of Applied Arts Vienna, developed these pedagogic processes as part of a broader strategy for illustration practice-based research. Taking these ideas and approaches out of the drawing studio and applying them to archives, gallery collections and architectural environments.

The result of these activities is not to create images in VR that serve as illustrative outcomes in their own right, but to create spaces in which the student might align and consolidate the observed, the felt and the understood as part of a practice-based research process. Through these activities, students felt better able to engage with visual resources by activating memory, association and imagination when re-spatialising their experience through drawing. We will argue the case for immersive technology to be used alongside ‘traditional’ methods of drawing within the educational environment as a strategic tool for better understanding the drawing process and of research methodologies within illustration education.


Martin Morris, MA (RCA), is a senior lecturer on the BA(Hons) Illustration Animation course at Kingston School of Art where he leads a module exploring approaches to drawing and application of digital technologies. As a creative trainer, he has taught internationally for Ogilvy & Mather and teaches drawing at the Royal College of Art and the National Film and Television School.

Paddy Molloy, MA (RCA), is a senior lecturer on the BA(Hons) Illustration Animation course at Kingston School of Art. His research explores the role of interaction and place to locate and activate images. His commission for House of Illustration, Crossing Time, used the landscape of King’s Cross as an archive to document and reinterpret the fluid nature of place. And he curated Marking Domains, a symposium that explored the territorial boundaries of both the domestic and public realm as location for illustration.