Time for change (snappy sketching)!

penandink sketching mossley

I can’t believe that its been so long since I posted on here, the topic of this blog will give you a better understanding of why!

I have never been a very fast sketcher so snappy sketching has not been a particular focus.  This is despite the fact  that I do a lot of capturing things as they are happening in my drawings!- my subjects are very varied from weddings to events and special occasions to the development of places and capturing aspects of scientific research.  You can check out some of my #reportage projects here.

In order to manage my time better and achieve a finished sketch more quickly I have historically turned to colour first.  I love this approach but with an A4 size or more it still takes hours rather than minutes.  Then a few months ago lots of things started to change.  Well they say that a change is as good as a rest!  I got a small studio; an additional job; I was travelling more.. You get the picture!  Sketching every day was not going to be easy and pretty much impossible in the way I had been sketching.  I started to take my trusted Duke Fude and notebook in the car and spend 15 – 20 min maximum ( often no more than 10) sketching before work.    Under these circumstances, colour wasn’t an option and I wanted to create illustrations that had at least some identity with the place/people!

A preferred approach to snappy sketching :

  • My sketchbook is anything that has good quality cartridge paper (that doesn’t have to take watercolour) and is no bigger than A5 size. My current sketchbook for this type of drawing is an A6-size handbook with a hard cover.
  • I use only one drawing implement.  My current preference, virtually exclusively is the Confucius Duke 55 fude with black ink.  This wonderful pen enables me to vary my line width and add darks easily.
  • My preferred drawing approach is single line contour (at least in principle!).   That way, even though I don’t have time for endless measuring, I can use the contour approach to get a reasonably proportional sketch.  Sometimes, when I am in a hurry, I try to cut corners and it really doesn’t work very well!
  • Most of these sketches are done from the warmth and comfort of the car.  Although people sketches tend to be on a bus or cafe.  Busy street scenes have also been captured standing in the street.
  • I try to use simple texture and darks to add depth and interest to the sketch.  This is even more essential in a black and white drawing.
  • I’m still keen to have a layering of foreground, middle ground and background to create depth in the sketch, using weight of line and detail to try to convey this.
  • Simplification is critical at this scale and I try to fade the detail out towards the edges of the sketch.

Recent Snappy Sketching examples

On the way to work

Top and Middle Mossley

penandinkdrawing Mossley

Bottom Mossley (Manchester Road)

penandink sketching mossley

Around Woodend Mill, Mossley

Sketching woodend Mill

Sketching from the street :

OxfordRoad PenandInk LizsScribbles Pen and Ink Bury St Edmunds LizsScribbles

People

people sketching LizsScribbles

 

As you can see, there is nothing particularly new about the approaches I am using.   But I haven’t done this type of sketching routinely before.  It’s useful to have a range of approaches for different situations and this simple quick technique means that however time-poor I am, there is always a sketch to be done!.

Sketching the King Street Festival in Manchester

reportage illustration at King Street Festival in manchester

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

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).

Continue reading

Holiday sketching: Zante on Paper

lizsscribbles

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