Water and colour-it was always going to be a messy business……

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!).

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My Reportage Illustration at a launch event for Manchester Airport: Platform

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

Introducing my #ThisPlace series of original sketches

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 landscape designer in a previous life, 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 but certainly not exclusively. 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) (ex. Frame). What are those cards and envelopes with handwriting you’ve been sharing? Accompanying each and every original will be a handwritten card from me. The envelope will denote the ‘This Place’ series and the card will contain the title of the piece. Inside will be a short piece about the location and any interesting facts that I come across! I hope it adds to the enjoyment of the artwork. For example, there is a Peter Kay link to my very first in the series called Gated Alleyway! Why do it? In a nutshell, I wanted to be able to sell original drawings/paintings in a way that was accessible to a wider group of people that weren’t commissioning me as such but wanted an original. It will run alongside my commissioned work. What is the launch all about? For anything like this, there has to be start-point! But it is not a usual exhibit all the drawings/paintings in a gallery. It won’t work like that as I am creating the pieces ongoing, each month. Therefore, I will have 3 to start it all off. All 3 are of my very local area in Salford. Its an eclectic mix! I am going to be exhibiting them as part of a wider exhibition of the Art Of Salford, curated by Tony Easom of our local Art Club and available to view and purchase at the Cornerstone Community Centre, Langworthy Road, Salford from 27th March 2017. Where will the pieces be available; how can I see them? For the first pieces, you will be able to see them at the Cornerstone as detailed above. However, for subsequent pieces low resolution images will be posted on my social media pages on-line and you can then contact me directly to secure a purchase. Purchase will be on a first come first served basis. What places will be captured? Anywhere that I’d like to capture; there will be well-known landmarks and less known places. Mostly I will try to capture those that define a sense of place for me; that characterize that place. You will also be able to nominate a place, I won’t necessarily go there but I might well do! And if your recommendation has influenced me to go there, you may get first refusal to buy that drawing! How many are available? Mm, I’m not sure yet. I will be doing at least 2 a month minimum (maybe quite a few more!), and I will carry on for as long as it feels right and I have interest to do it. But remember, I don’t have a room full of them, 3 different scenes for launch, then several per month, so it is an ongoing project with a start of March 2017. How much will they cost? Good question and that depends on size, but for the small square 8” they will initially be £80 framed plus postage and packing. Will there be prints available? I am likely to be selling limited edition high quality giclee prints of the most popular drawings and these may well be towards the end of the year at Arts and Artisan markets or similar. How did I do? I hope this gives more of a flavor for this series of work and I really look forward to sharing them with you as they are developed.

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).

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Rose-tinted glasses (on grey-toned paper)…..

LizsScribbles_Rose Tinted Glasses

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

Reportage-Why I fell in Love with it!

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.  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…. whatever else it is possible to record onto a surface with. Continue reading

Drawing every day: a doddle or a drama?-Diversity is the key

LizsScribbles_RedLion

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

Reportage of the Chinese New Year Celebrations in Manchester 2017

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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!

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What view to sketch?-Welcome to the Neighbourhood

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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

As 2016 Draws to a close…. My Sketching Stories of the year

Lizsscribbles2016compilation

As 2016 draws (get it!) to a close, I thought I’d capture my year in sketches ( some but not all of them!), partly as an aide memoire (those of you that read my blog know how I like to document my drawing adventures!) and partly to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going.  Its been quite a year in many respects and those of you that have followed my #scribblescompilations on social media in my 12 days of Christmas countdown, will be familiar with most of the combinations below.  However, this blog puts a narrative to the visuals and  I have tried to group things so that you can see more of the approaches and types of things that I am interested in recording and the approaches I’ve taken to drawing. Continue reading

Liz Steel’s Buildings Course: My takeaway messages

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This blog is not really a review of the course as much as a brief summary of my results and key learnings, so it’s something for me that I can return to as an aide memoire. I try to do this for all the drawing courses I take as a way of making the most from them.  The course was, as usual for Liz Steel’s courses, packed full of useful examples and tips about drawing architecture not to mention some excellent demos and incredible handouts so its well worth checking it out when she runs it again. Continue reading

Liz’s Scribbles at Sale Arts Trail Christmas Bazaar: Let the countdown begin…..

lizsscribbles Saleartstrail

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about the process of creating my artworks including prints and my 2017 Calendar for my stall at Sale Arts Trail Christmas Bazaar on Sunday 27th November 2016.  You can read it here.  We are now only days away from the festivities so I thought I would give you an update with some snippets of what I’ve got in store for you at the Bazaar.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, although I have been a frequent visitor and sketcher at the previous events, I have not exhibited before so its a super exciting time for me (with a little bit of nervousness thrown in for good measure!). Continue reading

Memories of Home

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This last month (to the day) has seen some drama in our house. When I say ‘our’ house, I use that as a general term. It’s the place I grew up, not the same house I spent my childhood in but its home because the people (my mum and dad plus others) and the ‘things’ make it so.   It’s where I have so many memories and now I have been given some time to be able to capture them in drawings. Not that I have had too much time yet, but I have made a start and I will continue. So this blog is about drawing memories: a sense of place and sense of things. Continue reading