Drawing In Public Experiment

Today was a day for running around the park to keep my fitness level up. It's a nice day, not too cold and the sun breaks cloud now and then. Some places are slippery with mud but I manage to get around most of the parks callisthenic exercise points.
Someone on Twitter recently asked if I get bothered by inquisitive people when I draw outside. I tend to creep around areas that are away from the main footpaths, looking for something interesting to draw. I use my run as a way to check out what's what and then return and draw it afterwards. I've been drawing in my sketchbook regularly since October 2017 and the amount of people I've said hello to has been tiny, I think maybe two people have approached me to see what I was up too. I really don't mind it, I spend far too much time by myself so any human interaction is welcome at this stage.
Today's experiment was to draw somewhere in the park that was a bit more public than my usual lurking around in the bushes, I …

In search of chocolate

Legend tells of a Supermarket in Wakefield that sells food and quality continental chocolate at reasonable prices. I've walked from Agbrigg to Aldi (Kettlethorp?) a few times over the years. I don't drive and it is difficult cycling hills and busy dual carriage way so walking is sometimes the best way to get there. The best way during the summer months maybe. Recent snow and rainfall have made the fields very muddy for normal footwear. I've got a good pair of boots so it's just an annoyance getting messy. I managed to rinse off most of the mud in a big puddle before I went traipsing around the shop.  

Had to redraw one of the boots, it came out huge compared to the first one. I didn't notice until I finished the line work. I whited out the big boot with FW white acrylic ink and had another go. The ink isn't totally opaque so there is a ghost residue of the covered drawing. I like that effect.

Style Over Substance

Walked through Belle Vue Cemetery on my way to Sainsbury's today. Even though we had a bit of snow in the night there is definitely a Spring feeling to the day. Regretting layering up to go outside, I was sweating uncomfortably on the journey home.
I've been wavering recently over my use of the Parallel Pen. Drawing exclusively with it since last October it felt like my mark making was becoming style over substance. I have spent the last few weeks trying other pens like the Lamy Vista  and the Platinum Carbon Pen. Doodling with them was fine  although the thought that I was taking a step backwards kept rearing it's ugly little voice. Coincidently, today the illustrator Jeffrey Alan Love Tweetedabout sketchbooks and I think what he had to say about finding your style struck a chord with me (and the distinction between sketchbook and finished work).
I've written before about how I do draw better with some pens than I do others (and how that goes against popular thinking…

Walton Herbs Hand Drawn Location Map

Have spent the last few days tweaking an illustrated map of Wakefield. It was commissioned by Walton Herbs as part of their PR for the new year. I hand drew all the elements separately (Map, Frame, Herbs, Buildings etc) then assembled them in Photoshop which made things a lot easier than hand drawing the thing in one go. One of the biggest challenges when making a hand drawn map is scale.
In reality the selected area that the brief stated would fit portrait proportions better but that would also mean big  areas of unrelated detail, important 'microscopic' roads and a whole lot of time drawing unnecessary details. My job was to balance the clients wishes with the budget and edit the image into something visually pleasing in a landscape format.
I used Google Maps as my starting reference point for the Wakefield area, roughing out the design with a brush pen to get bold lines. In Photoshop I scaled, skewed and distorted the map into a shape I was happy with (that's where the &#…

Foraging in the Bushes

Set back from the road drawing a clump of trees in the park after my run.

Stood fairly still and I am soon joined by a foraging rodent. It doesn't really pay that much attention to me, after sussing I have nothing edible upon my person. I am surprised at how long it does hang around, jumping in and out of a rotting log a few feet from me.

Hourly Comic Day 2018

February the 1st is international Hourly Comic Day where creatives document their day hour by hour and post it online with the hashtag #HourlyComicDay. This is my fourth year of  attempting an hourly comic and I loath it but still feel compelled to participate. I justify the pain in that I have a history of doing diary comics and it's the perfect excuse to dip my toes back in the personal documentation pool. I also get a fairly good response from social media which breaks the solitary loneliness of the work at home illustrator.
I hate it because I end up drawing drawings of me drawing because that's what I was doing at that particular hour later on, which I  personally find a bit boring. After the 2pm instalment I was catching up with the hourly comic, answering emails, doing a bit of planing on a small illustration project. and reading a script for another more involved planned project. Necessary behind the scenes type endeavours that makes the stuff 'up front' work.

Running, Drawing, Taking Notes

I spotted a small patch of Snow Drops in the park today and then promptly set about drawing another broken, gnarly tree. This got me thinking that Spring is there waiting to do its thing.

I use my phone to take reference photos. I aim to do 80% of the sketchbook drawing on site and a photo is good for referring back to what I was drawing. It also provides me with the time that I started the drawing which is part of my documentation style. Doing the writing back at home just makes for a neater hand for the reader and I can check my atrocious spelling.

If a particular thought occurs to me as I run around the park beforehand then I make a digital note, not worrying too much if it makes sense. Sometimes auto correct is a pain (deadest > dearest). Its a good way of me remembering as I would never recall the phrase or intention by the time I get home.

Contemplating My Own Mortality

A couple of sketchbook pages. Went running around Thornes Park on Tuesday. I usually treat my 40 minute run as a reccy for something interesting to draw in the park, spied this bulbous tentacled tree and returned after my exercise to draw it. Definitely a feeling of an Elder God from this tree.
Wednesday I had a meeting with a client not that far away in Walton and on the way home took a detour to Walton Colliery Nature Park. A cold day but it was really peaceful by the waterside. I planned on colouring this sketch in the evening but the news of Mark E. Smith passing away kinda took the wind out of my sails. I wasn't a huge Fall fan but he obviously had an effect on me, as I spent the evening listening to their music on 6Music contemplating my own mortality.

Losing Control in the Rain

It was sleet and rain today as I ran around the park. I thought I had found a shelter under a tree to draw but there was plenty rain getting through. I use water proof ink in my Parallel Pen, even so the page was soon soaked. Ink transferred to the opposite side in a Rorschach Inkblot meets Chinese Brush Painting effect when I closed the sketchbook to get home and dry out.

It felt kinda nice to lose control over what I was drawing. And it felt nice to get warm and dry out at home too.

Sketchbook Thornes Park

Found a little corner of the park that I've not explored. Rain is making everything look ultra real. Ivy is a lush green in the shadows. I watched squirrels messing about up in the tree canopy. Marvelling at them hanging on to the end of the very thinnest of branches. Was a bit disturbed when one fell about 15 feet and hit the grass and mud. It didn't seem that phased being dropped on its head, getting up and scampering back into the foliage.

Stormy Weather

Parkland horizon on a stormy day.

Walking the long way home

Hadn't eaten properly by this point, coffee and fudge cake for breakfast in town. Full of cold although I feel pretty chipper at the moment. I'm crossing over Wakefield's park lands and pass the pull up bars at Thornes/Holmfield Park. I try a few pull ups, get to 12 and can do no more. I can normally do 24.