Monday, 26 March 2018
When I'm concentrating on a drawing I cant help but contemplate what else is going on in my life. I thought my 'quarry' work was behind me. Paid illustration has been scarce of late and temping in a warehouse has been a way of generating a little bit income. It's a totally different world to being freelance and nine miles away up some very steep hills.
I used a toothbrush and ink to create the splatter effect, masking out the area where I wanted the writing to go. Feels like I threw every technique I know onto these pages.
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
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 headed down by the duck pond which is the Thornes Park equivalent of a super highway. In the 40 minutes I was sat drawing on a bench...
1. Three groups of people stopped and asked if they could have a look.
2. A bunch of school girls out for a run shouted 'nice drawing'.
3. Aware of people slowing down to 'rubber neck' but not engage further.
4. One 'What is it?' comment.
I have to admit that over the 18 years I have been a freelance illustrator I have done a number of public drawing commissions for organisations in West Yorkshire, some even as far afield as (sharp intake of breath) Milton Keynes. I started out being shy and even embarrassed about drawing in public but learnt to trust in the drawing. The majority of people are delighted to see artists out and about. Some are wary (I've found using a camera causes more suspicion) and one will be down right rude. It's human demographics. The trick is to smile and not let it put you off going out drawing again in the future. I find being physically open with my posture helps too, this is something I've done since my eyesight started to deteriorate and things are now in focus at arms length. People passing can easily see what I'm scribbling and that I'm not collecting hostile intelligence in a note book.
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.
Thursday, 8 March 2018
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 Tweeted about 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, that an artist should be able to draw with anything citing the use of twigs in beautiful cave painting). I feel with the Parallel Pen I have found my illustrative voice, the pen is flexible enough with the marks it makes to fulfil a number of drawing styles, I just have to persevere and experiment and not over work it too much.
As well as pens I used a pencil to emulate Chris Riddell's style of drawing characters, just to give it ago. It was fun to do. Someone said when I posted it on Twitter that it's good to see but preferred my work. That was a nice thing to say but it made me question what is my work?
I did another piece using Mangaka Brush Pens and Photoshop. The brush pen bit was fine but colouring in Photoshop is not for me, taking twice as long to do compared to when I use watercolours. The brush pen tips wore down quickly, loosing that lovely fine line. I'm concerned about throwing away plastic pens at the moment, refillable, metal tipped pens are a lot more economical and keep the same line quality over a long period of time drawing.
So with those little forays into other tools I'm back where I started. There's nothing wrong with style over substance on this particular lovely Spring like day.