Sunday, 28 October 2012

St. John's Church

It's a quiet Sunday and I have made my way out of town to St. John's Square, it's not far from Wakefield Town centre and consists of a square of very nice looking houses with a small park and Church in the centre. I lock my bike to a tree and notice the empty Horse Chestnut Cases at my feet. The weather today is bright and fresh and crisp, perfect for cycling and perfect sitting on a bench, drawing type weather.

I sit close by the church building, opposite is a bench with a really nice inscription "wherever love, laughter and music abide, I am there in spirit - Sean Turner". My moment of contemplation is broken, first by the distinctive smell of marijuana and then by the increasing laughter of teenagers who I hadn't noticed sitting on the St. John's Church steps.

I make a few more notes and take a few more photographs of the surrounds for reference and then it's time to go home for the afternoon. I walk part of the way, getting on my bike at the Town Hall. From there I manage to cycle downhill, passing through green lights and over car free roundabouts at HIGH SPEED! Only pulling on the brakes and making a left turn when I reach Sainsburys on Ings Road. The exhilaration of speed and the realisation that wasn't the brightest thing to do and maybe, just maybe a tiny bit of passive smoking left me feeling breathless and genuinely feeling ALIVE.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Registry of Good Deeds

A late evening stroll into town.
I am a freelance illustrator who works from home, even if that quirky home is a coal yard on the outskirts of Wakefield it's good to get out for a wander now and then. I know where the 'Registry of Deeds' is  in Wakefield, not having a need to go there though I was not sure of the route. Taking into account that there is a lot of redevelopment going on in and around that area, it was a bit hit or miss if we were going to get to Margaret Street where the building resides. The redevelopment of that area has been on going and is  now coming together and looking great, opening up vistas and new views of the city's old buildings and making Wakefield feel a lot more cosmopolitan than it has ever felt in my 12 years here.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Black and White Line Work

Black and white line drawn freehand
Next will come the words, then after that the water colouring over the top. I used my photos for building reference, other than that it's just pen ink and paper so far. Must apologise for the poor photo quality, it's late and I'm too tired to fire up my scanner.

I did the drawing in Helen's shed away from distracting cats and internets and could hear the wind pick up a bit outside. I watched for a bit as it brought a few twigs and dead branches down to Earth. I might have to go up there tomorrow when the wind abates and trim some of the larger branches away before they come  down of their own accord.

Friday, 12 October 2012

When Time Stood Still

Westgate as seen from carter Street Car Park.

Westgate is one of the busiest streets in Wakefield, traffic entering and leaving the city centre is continuous and the various businesses of bars, banks, cafes and theaters makes sure there is plenty of foot fall along the street. Usually you are passing through from A to B, windows wound up, head phones on, metaphorical and physical blinkers to the fore. It's the same for a lot of city centers,  how often do you get to stop for five minutes and just observe in this day and age of CCTV. This is what I did, taking photos and making notes the isolating pretense that today I am up to something useful. There are quiet times, people disappear, noises stop and even the pigeons have a nice sit down.

I like this view, the opulence of 57 Westgate's roof clock in stark contrast to the backs of the street buildings, a little bit grimy and crumbling with age.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Magnificent Buildings

Wakefield, like most towns, has lots of grand buildings hidden away behind commerce frontage or intermingled with modern functional structures. Monarch House and Dr Crowther Almhouse's are two buildings opposite a huge supermarket car park entrance. Wakefield obviously needs huge supermarkets and car parking facilities but it also needs these buildings from another era to remind us that things can look different and can look grand. I spent 20 minutes under what might have been Sycamore trees making notes and sketches and taking photos, the season is changing.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Drawing Over Photographs

Where it starts, note book with page layouts.
I am doing another Wakefield diary page which involves a bit of architecture drawing on a blustery day. I tried drawing the buildings freehand but couldn't do them justice. I had taken reference photos and thought about why I was trying to reinvent the wheel image wise, I could spend the rest of the week trying to get this page right when really, all I want to do is get outside working on the next page.

I thought about printing the photo off at the size I wanted and then tracing it onto watercolour paper using a light box. This is a similar although slightly different way, upping the contrast of the photo in Photoshop and printing it out in a light blue colour. Light enough to take ink and watercolour over the top.

Low opacity photograph printed blue scale onto watercolour paper, ink applied over the top.

What I like about this approach is the way it blocks in areas, giving you a silhouette to work to for accuracy and key points but allows you to still create a fairly hand drawn image over the top. You still have to probe with your mind and eyes to find where the line goes, like drawing from life really.