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Days in doodles: Winter on my bike

Medwards student Alice Tyrrell does exclusive illustrations for The Cambridge Tab

Most people's New Years' Resolutions consist of aims to "better" themselves: go to the gym more, do work on time, do more work, eat out less. But what if we didn't treat ourselves as needing to be bettered?

Last year, Medwards student Alice Tyrrell decided to set a different kind of resolution: to draw a little cartoon every single day. Each doodle featured something from her day- an event, a building, her friends, and so on. Alongside this, she ran an instagram account dedicated to these doodles to share her progress (@alicedrawsdaily).

We asked Alice to be our resident cartoonist, and here is an exclusive set of panels she's drawn for us about Cambridge life! This little collection it called 'Winter on My Bike'.

Image may contain: Doodle, Art, Drawing, Person, Human

credit: Alice Tyrrell

Image may contain: Person, Human, Lifejacket, Vest, Clothing, Apparel

credit: Alice Tyrrell

Image may contain: Sports, Cyclist, Sport, Machine, Wheel, Vehicle, Transportation, Bicycle, Bike, Person, Human

credit: Alice Tyrrell

"Before I started uni, I didn’t have a bike, so it wasn’t until last winter that I discovered the difficulties of cycling in icy cold weather. I usually love the ease of cycling, but in these early months of the year, that ease is replaced by a LOT of inconvenience. I am the sort of person who needs to feel well-equipped for every situation, so I always carry around a bike bag with me, and in winter, this bag necessarily swells with all the extra things I need – gloves, hat, plastic bags for a wet seat, tissues for a runny nose, paracetamol, bike lights, etc – all of which, I’ve been told, is a bit extra. BUT, I need my bike bag with me in order to feel at peace with the world, so when I’m zooming down the hill from college, enormous fluorescent pink bag of bike-stuff in the basket in front of me, hat pulled down over-my-ears-and-under-my-helmet, sweat patches forming, rain/snow/sleet flying, the only thing that truly eases my inconvenience is the thought of doodling the whole pathetic scene into a cheerful cartoon."

I met with her to chat more about how her resolution went, and she shared some of the things she learnt from her project:

Your work doesn't have to be perfect in order to share it with others

Essentially, the project forced Alice to share her artwork. Previously, she explained that it felt like a piece of art had to be perfect before she showed it to anybody. Through doing a doodle every day, Alice had to become more free with making art as works in progress, to experiment, and to allow herself to be freer with the expectations on herself.

Last term, Alice put on a play she wrote herself, 'The Ladies', which received rave reviews. She explained that sharing her artwork allowed her to become more confident in sharing all different areas of her creativity and of her life.

She mentioned that women, of course, statistically have much more difficulty in sharing their own work than men, and this project allowed her to free herself from that. By the end of the year, she had gained enough confidence to actually hold an exhibition at her local community centre. We stan a confident queen.

Image may contain: Arch, Arched, Sketch, Building, Architecture, Art, Drawing

credit: Alice Tyrrell

Drawing makes you see things very differently

Alice explained how, having drawn so many parts of the Cambridge landscape- buildings, trees, her bike ride home. Because of this, she has special connections to various landmarks around the city, and can appreciate things more wholeheartedly, because she knows the weird angle of a particular window of a particular building, or the number of branches on a tree seen from her library window.

Image may contain: Painting, Art, Maple, Tree, Plant

credit: Alice Tyrrell

One of her favourite things to draw is self-portraits, she explained, because they are such an intense thing to share with people. Now, her own appearance has become less of an intimate, big deal, and she has studied her own face and knows it better. Tracing her self-portraits throughout the year, you can see moments when she was feeling less or more confident, well or ill.

Image may contain: Painting, Face, Sketch, Drawing, Art, Human, Person

credit: Alice Tyrrell

Making the Cambridge art scene more accessible

There is such a thriving art scene in Cambridge, Alice said, but it can be rather inaccessible. So many people have done foundation years, or A Level Art, and so on. But cartoons don't pose as high art, and often seem so much more friendly and accessible than other forms of art. In the words of Alice, "everyone has a right to try it out. No one has more of a right just because they've studied it".

Image may contain: Art, Clothing, Apparel, Female, Human, Person

credit: Alice Tyrrell

Do an Alice! Write! Draw! Strum! Etcetera! Be creative and say a hecking fuck you to the judgemental Cambridge eyes and your deep-seated imposter syndrome.