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 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).
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
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 (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
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
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
I am thrilled to have been invited to exhibit and sell my drawings at the Sale Arts Trail Christmas Bazaar to be held on Sunday 27th November at the Claremont Centre in Sale. I have attended both the summer and Christmas events as a visitor and also as an Urban sketcher in recent years, so it is particularly thrilling for me to be able to exhibit for the first time. Continue reading
Over the last two weekends, I have visited two different Manchester locations to draw: The Etihad Stadium in East Manchester, the Manchester City Football Club grounds and ChinaTown in Central Manchester. Each of these drawings were created over a several hour period: pencil, ink then watercolour (paint and pencil). In terms of identifying the best main view and composition, I did this by walking around the site and observing different aspects: the angles, the depth of view, the light and shadow etc. The other thing I do is to write down (or at least have in my mind) key words that reflect what I feel for the place and what I want to convey in the main sketch. I can then refer to this as I draw. Continue reading
To say that it has been a traumatic week sounds dramatic. I received an urgent call on Wednesday lunchtime. By Wednesday evening I was standing outside the Stroke unit in my hometown down in Suffolk. Hugging my parents and wondering what was next. The corridor setting was quiet, cold, remote and downright scary. There seem to be 3 types of people around; those going about their daily routine; those who have come to know this as their daily routine and the downright fearful. Continue reading
For a while I have been torn between using loose watercolour paper to create my sketches and recording in sketchbooks. There are pros and cons and as an urban sketcher with an interest in telling chronological stories through drawing, I have often worked in sketchbooks (moleskine, Stillman and Birn, SeaWhite, Handbook) and most often at A5 size for its portability. For me, the issue with using that approach alone is three-fold: one is the size is arguably a little small (although of course you can buy larger size sketchbooks, but then there is the size and weight!) ; secondly creating prints from them is not always straightforward. The third is that because work for prints was in my sketchbook, I was getting tighter and more precious with my sketchbook work (which is the opposite of what I want!). Continue reading
This week I have been continuing with the practice of fast people drawing and drawing people in motion and with that comes an interest in using different pens and pencils as well as finding sketchbooks that are good enough quality to allow practice of different media, including watercolour, but without breaking the bank. This blog reviews some exploration from the last week. Continue reading
A year ago (doesn’t time fly when you are having fun!) I wrote two blog posts related to colour, the first: Colouring in 1 introduced my initial experiences with watercolour and the approaches I was taking to add colour in terms of media and tools, in the second blog: ‘Then don’t use brown’ I introduced the approaches I was taking to selective colouring. During the last year colour has come up as a question in my mind in virtually every drawing I have done, but I haven’t devoted another a whole blog to it again until now. Here are the questions I go through as I am drawing: Continue reading
In the beginning
I have long been an admirer of elegant beautiful writing and lettering. When I started drawing very regularly, I didn’t make much of my writing. Over the years it had become scrawly and non-descript although I had originally been taught italic writing at school (yep, italic dip pen and ink, wooden desks, lines of letters, you get the picture). I realized that I wanted to be able to write more on my journal pages, but not in that scatchy sloppy writing. Sometimes I want to just add a title, but it is is often a longer narrative, about the place, the people, the conversations. The storytelling in words needed to become a part of the drawing and so I began thinking about my handwriting and about making my pages distinctive and attractive. I returned to practicing handwriting and to thinking about italic writing and how to use it more stylishly on my journal pages. In conjunction, I was interested in lettering such as that of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and by studying this and watching artists like Pat Southern-Pearce I started to develop my own combination. It has been evolving now for about a year or so. Here are some examples: Continue reading