Its always great to sketch in a new place, especially one with history and character, so when one of the Manchester Urban Sketching Group organized a trip to her home town-Kendal in Cumbria yesterday, I was keen to make the trip. It’s always great to see what you can capture of the place and to see a place with your own eyes after seeing it through other local sketchers eyes.Like a true urban sketcher, I love to travel and visit other places to draw so we set off early to get there in good time for our meet up at the Brewery Arts Centre. Continue reading
It’s nice to be beside the seaside and it was great to be sketching in Whitby on the East coast of the UK for a couple of days last week! As is usual for me trying to capture the places I visit- it’s about recording my visual diary, my ‘snapshots’ of the visit. They are not necessarily images that I create in 10 minutes but they are snapshots to the extent that they are the images that I think epitomize the place and its character. I chose to use a sketchbook (not very successfully as the 200 gsm Fabriano paper didn’t take watercolour well (perhaps it will prompt me to develop my line only and line with pencil work further!) and loose 300 gsm Bockingford watercolour paper. The sketchbook work tends to be more of a diary, perhaps thumbnail sketches, looser and with additional pieces added such as maps. Continue reading
Manchester’s King Street Festival is now in its 3rd year and it is the first year it has included the top area of King Street, with parking bays turned into mini parklets for the duration! All along this iconic and historic shopping street there was al fresco dining, free fizz, gifts and goodiebags, a bandstand, a grand piano, pop-up parks, an art garden together with heritage tours and events from Manchester’s premium names in shopping, food and drink. The festival was also supporting The British Red Cross We Love MCR emergency fund for those affected by the Manchester arena attack. This year I sensed, amongst the sadness and quiet reflection of the St Ann’s Square flower memorial, togetherness and a feeling of Manchester pulling together in solidarity. This is what makes Manchester special: its people and its places. Continue reading
This May I was fortunate enough to be commissioned to capture a wedding celebration at Browsholme Hall Tithe Barn, outside of Cliteheroe in Lancashire, UK. Reportage Illustration, the art of visual storytelling, is a particular interest of mine. You can read about the sorts of thing I’ve covered through reportage sketching here, including events and special occasions, travel destinations, restoration projects and journalistic correspondence. The focus of my work is to capture a sense of place, a sense of occasion and a sense of emotion. Weddings are therefore a natural occasion for me to be interested in drawing. Continue reading
This last weekend, we (myself and fellow artist Hugh Winterbottom) ran our first Sketchbook Sketching Foundation workshop which aimed to equip people with some of the techniques and skills for drawing out on location and for recording their world in sketchbooks. It was an action packed two days (9.30-16.30 Saturday and Sunday) with a range of subjects covered and lots of opportunity for sketching practice. This blog gives an overview of the weekend and what we learnt in the process. Continue reading
I am thrilled to share news that last Friday 28th April 201, I signed the lease on a new studio at Woodend Mill No.2, Mossley. It’s on floor 3 ½ and sounds so much like it’s from Harry Potter that I have to keep pinching myself to believe it’s real! Continue reading
One of my goals for this year is to develop and improve my watercolour approaches : not necessarily in the traditional ways but those of the looser; more atmospheric and dynamic artists like Jean Haines and Judith Farnworth who let the water and the colour sing! I love the life, movement and freedom of their works so I’m interested in how I could incorporate some of the approaches into my own artwork. I want to do this with three main areas of application: my existing urban sketching and reportage illustration; figure drawing and ‘other’ watercolour paintings (possibly rural landscapes, not sure yet!).
At the end of February this year, I was thrilled to be commissioned by the Manchester Airport Property Group to capture their first lunchtime event at Manchester Airport’s Transport Interchange. These events, which will include a wide range of community activities, including, food, seminars and product launches (publicized with the hash tag #FarFlungFridays on social media) are aimed at animating the large public realm area and are named Platform Although video and photography were being employed to create a video of the event, the drawings were considered a welcome addition, as a way of capturing the energy of the occasion and the vibrancy and context of the set up and location. The intention is to use the drawings in marketing material. This blog shares my process and results. Continue reading
I thought I’d write this Q and A piece to fully explain what my #ThisPlace Series of sketches is all about before its launch later this month.
What is it?
Those of you that know my work will know that I am a keen urban sketcher and reportage illustrator. As a trained landscape designer, depiction of a ‘Sense of Place’, capturing in my drawings, what it is that makes that place like it is, is very important to me. Therefore, I wanted to create a series of drawings throughout the year, of the Places around the Northwest that I love, visit and connect with. Hence the name ‘This Place’ Of course I may include the odd drawing in the series that is not the North West of England, but for the main part, they will be of the North West, including Manchester. These pen, ink and watercolour wash/coloured pencil drawings created on very high quality watercolour paper (or paper suited to the medium) and framed will be available for purchase. They will be either A4 or square (8” format) (excluding the Frame so a little bit larger with the frame and mount).
Over the last few weeks I have been using grey-toned Strathmore Paper to create drawings, in addition to my usual watercolour sketches on white watercolour paper and in sketchbooks. The contrast between the two different approaches means that I have had to think about the various aspects of drawing and adding colour and darks in different ways to what I have been used to. This blog outlines my approaches. In parallel with this toned-paper work, I have had my eyes tested and have now reverted to wearing a combination of reading glasses and varifocals. The later should be much better for when I am out and about drawing! One of the two pairs is indeed rose coloured and I must admit to thoroughly enjoying my work on toned paper. Long may my rose-tinted glasses serve me well! Continue reading
Let me tell you a story……
The Oxford English Dictionary cites the origin of the word ‘reportage’ to come from the Early 17th century: French, from Old French reporter ‘to carry back’. In this way, reportage illustration is a form of visual journalism, visual storytelling, where you go out into the world around you and take back with you that experience, that memory, in drawn form, with pen, and ink, and brush and pencil and…. whatever else it is possible to record onto a surface with. Continue reading
When I first started drawing very regularly in 2013/14 I set myself a task to be drawing every day within 6 months. I managed that and at the time, well, until recently, I had done that. I was often doing several drawing courses, e.g. Craftsy, on-line sessions like Sketchbook Skool etc. It didn’t seem so hard. There was a variety to draw and there was direction. But as time went on, I got my own direction, my own commissions and yep, my own pressures! Bigger (I started with A5 sketchbooks but now I usually use A4 or bigger, paper or sketchbooks (a topic for another blog!), more detailed, more text, …more time…It was a treadmill and I got the impression that If I stopped, I might never start again! Continue reading
Despite the weather in Manchester over the weekend (wet and cold on Saturday, cold then wet on Sunday!) vibrant colours and a celebration-feel lifted our spirits in the city centre as the Chinese New Year Celebrations took hold in several places, from Exchange Square to Deansgate and China Town. I spent some time on both days (although the celebrations were actually a four day event with New Years Day being Saturday 28th January), trying to capture some of this ‘sense of occasion’ in sketches. From the costumes to the dancing and decorations, the colours and the crowds, it was a festival for the eyes and ears and a challenge for our sketching spirits!
Last weekend whilst out sketching , one of my fellow sketchers asked: how do you go about choosing your view to sketch? It’s an interesting question and it got me thinking beyond the theory of composition, at how exactly I choose my view to sketch . Here in a short summary; mainly illustrated with recent sketches of my local area are some of the things I take into account when deciding which view to draw and what to include. Note that with most of them, there is more than one reason the composition was chosen. Continue reading