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Try your hand at recreating a classic Bridget Riley artwork using nothing more than a pencil and pen, without a ruler in sight…

Bridget Riley portrait

DIY Bridget Riley Project

This 3 minute video collaboration with Tom McPherson’s Circle Line Art School and The Arts Council deserves a much higher view count than it has.

Tom somehow manages to make copying Bridget Riley’s ‘Blaze’ Op art drawing (that later became a screenprint) look totally doable – no matter your skill level.

The only materials you’ll need are a sheet of paper, some round things to draw around, a pencil and a pen (big fan of these Edding 55 Fineliner pens).

Bridget Riley Blaze

Bridget Riley | Blaze 1

1962. Emulsion on hardboard. 109 x 109cm. National Galleries of Scotland © Bridget Riley.

Tom has the wonderful ability to simplify things down to their essentials. Riley’s painting appears impossibly complex at first showing but Tom breaks it down into simple zig zags connecting to each circle. Nothing’s measured or fussed over and the end result is still hugely impressive.

Tom expands on the rewards of doing something visually creative that takes both concentration and time…

“There is no quick way of making an Op art image like this and so that means it’s a good idea to concentrate. I like the process of concentrating but at the same time not really thinking, not thinking with words, just thinking visually by reacting to what things look like.”

— Tom McPherson, from Canvas video

This would make a great art project for both adults and children, good luck if you decide to try it and enjoy the process as much as the final outcome!

Bridget Riley in her own words

Really enjoyed watching Bridget Riley warmly discuss her work and process at her RSA show a couple of years ago. Seeing over seven decades of Riley’s ongoing work in person had a cumulatively inspiring effect, a commitment to curiosity we could all learn from. Here’s the video followed by photos from the show.

“I see my work differently as time goes by. I’ve realised to my unbelievable delight that it communicates, that my own dialogue with my work is reflected in how other people actually look at it. This to me is the most wonderful thing.”

— Bridget Riley, from National Galleries interview

Bridget Riley exhibition book

Bridget Riley | Exhibition Book

2019. 27 x 24.6cm, 280 pages, 120 colour illustrations, National Galleries of Scotland.

Photos from Bridget Riley exhibition

Drawings, colour studies and paintings from Riley’s National Galleries show in Edinburgh, 2019.

Bridget Riley - Shuttle Study

Bridget Riley - study

Bridget Riley - study

Bridget Riley - study

Bridget Riley - painting

Bridget Riley - painting

Bridget Riley - painting

More info on the National Galleries Bridget Riley Exhibition.