Last weekend I attended a wedding at Tower Bridge where I was commissioned to draw the occasion. You can read more about my drawing at weddings here. Usually, as I am based near Manchester, my weddings are in the North West. Often my clients are very familiar with my work and drawing style and like my reportage approach! Despite that, there is always a degree of nerves, especially ones at such impressive venues as Tower Bridge and Dickens Inn, St Katherine’s Dock!
I am continuously trying to improve and reduce the amount of kit I need when I am drawing at a wedding. I fit everything in a backpack so I don’t need multiple bags! This is particularly important when travelling ( and security checking as is the case for London Bridge). I take a small piece of board ( just large enough to clip my 9 x 12 inch thick ( 640 gsm) watercolour paper and paint palette. In addition, I have clips, a small water colour tin paint box ( it should hold 12 1/2 pans; I fit in few more!); 3 waterproof pots filled with water ; a water spray, fountain pens filled with DeAtrementis Documents ink; 3 brushes ( my main one is the 1/2 inch dagger brush from rosemary’s brushes the other two are travel brushes), some intense pencils( for when the paper is too wet to use fountain pens!) and water ( to drink!).
Drawing at a wedding: Tower Bridge
It was an early start. I took the first train out of Manchester Piccadilly, arriving at The bridge just after 10 am. The brief for the wedding was to capture the places specifically; together with the energy and atmosphere of the day. There was also a nautical and travel theme to the wedding. Therefore my first drawing was that of the bridge. The first one is often the most challenging but once you are warmed up and ‘in the zone’ they flow more easily. By this time it was late morning and time to get up to the North Tower where the ceremony was to be held. The space has wonderful church windows and lovely light in the sun but it is a fairly narrow space with limited room . I therefore did the drawings from the side of the room. This enabled me to capture the whole space and key details of the special ceremony and people whilst staying in the background.
Drawing at a wedding: The Dickens Inn
I managed to get to the reception venue, The Dickens Inn, ahead of the wedding party. I could then capture the outside of this stunning wooden framed building, adorned with hanging baskets galore! The sketch was blown right off my clipboard in the wind! Fortunately I was able to retrieve it before it went into the water ! Next up was the reception venue itself, inside this time so no weather-related incidents!. An impressive vaulted Woodend ceiling and a full house of guests completed the scene! The happy couple had met on a ship and hence there were some lovely touches related to the travel theme. A map of the world, with tables set out as different countries with travel labels pinned to the map listing the guests on each table/country!; A ships wheel for guests to post their polaroid pictures of the day ; a vintage suitcase for guests to put their cards!. The celebrations continued into the evening with dancing, a DJ and wonderful music from the Old Dirty Brasstards, a 10-piece drum and brass band! This was my last (and somewhat tired!) sketch. What a wonderful day to have the privilege of capturing!
Completion of the drawings
At the end of the day I had 3/4 completed the drawings. The main things to add were darks, textural details and minimal lettering. After scanning the completed drawings at high resolution (for later sharing with the clients), I was able to parcel them up for sending to London! This was a little nerve wracking as I am used to handing the drawings over in person, but it worked well. Guaranteed next day delivery and tracked, having packed in a box within a box! The presentation is all important as the wedding couple are going to be unwrapping them and it is the first time they will have seen the completed drawings ‘in the flesh’. For this wedding, what other than a box wrapped in a map would have worked, complete with hessian tie and luggage label card!
What the clients said
I kept the wedding couple in the picture (literally and metaphorically!) through sharing on social media and in emails. On the day, they even managed to take a glance as I was drawing, expressing their delight. Then as I completed the drawings, I shared where I was up to. This culminated in them receiving the drawings parcel, 6 days after the wedding. I am absolutely thrilled with their feedback:
You (Liz) were the perfect professional, blending into the background and capturing a unique picture of the days events. The finished articles are stunning and a beautiful keepsake for years to come. We Cannot reiterate how fantastic your (Liz’s) artwork is & how pleased we were with having you at our special day.
Job Done! Really looking forward to the next one now, which is in Cheshire early July!