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1. well, it's so good to be here

Nice of Dexter to come and help paint the bench.

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2. just saying it could even make it happen

Natalie
Here are a couple of portraits that I made at our last Dr Sketchy Sheffield event 'Get Your Tatts Out'. They are both on A3 paper - which is why it's taken a while to upload them. One day I will get myself an A3 scanner and not have to cart them off to print shops to get them scanned. I'm pretty chuffed with both. I did them very quickly (they were 15 min poses) with marker pens. I did add some extra cross hatching, to Natalie, at home later. But most of the shading was done with a marker pen that's running out of ink - which is currently one of my favourite tools. No decent pencil case should be without a marker pen that's running out of ink! I've told you before; I ain't a pen snob. Anything goes.
Alexis
And, the blog title? Well, to those with discerning taste, you'll know that's a Kate Bush lyric. I've just found out that I'll be going to see her in concert in September! Eeeek, eeek and more eeek. I never believed this would happen; a) she'd ever play live again and b) I'd get tickets.

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3. London calling

I love this girl. She came through for me again.
She is a part of me; my teenage self.
I made two drawings of her some years back. They were, I guess, memory drawings.
They were about being in love with reading.
And, er, being a bit of a slob (nothing changed there then).

*****
Do you sometimes find that in creativity, and in life in general, I suppose, that a theme comes along, a recurring theme, and you just can't ignore it? You feel you mustn't ignore it. It's trying to tell you something. Like a message a from the universe. Well, that's what's been happening with me of late.

That theme has been books. Books, books, books.

Autumn last year the (first) book solely about my work was published; Andrea's Book (I really should go into that rather simplistic title at some point, but hey, that's another blog post). Ever since I have been signing, wrapping and packing them off all around the world. For the wrapping paper I've been using the drawings of my girl. I can't remember how it came about - it was some kind of happy accident as the late great Bob Ross would say.

*****
A few weeks back a friend sent me a link to a project that is taking place in London over the summer. From July, there will be a trail of 'book benches' displayed throughout the capital. It is a Wild In Art project, working in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, called 'Books About Town'. You can read and see more about it HERE. The link was for artist's to submit their designs for the chance of getting their own bench commissioned. Artists could choose from a list of books, all linked to London in some way, or come up with an idea of their own. That was the only rule; the book bench design had to have some link to the capital. The issue I had was that the deadline was nearly up and I had just a few days to choose a book and come up with a design.

I really wanted this gig and my head was spinning trying to get an idea together. I'd read quite a few books on the list, but many years ago and none of them were jumping out at me. Sleepless nights ensued as I went over and over it. But I was trying to force an idea and that's not how I like to work.

I continued to get on with the other things I need to do; going to work, signing and wrapping and sending lot's more of my books off around the world. Always coming back to my girl. There she was, she was still reading. What was she reading I asked myself. What book was she engrossed in I asked her. What was teenage me reading then? Then it came to me. 
*****
Back in the day, like many other kid of the 1980s, I was obsessed with Adrian Mole. A while ago I reread the books and they were still as funny and brilliant as when I first read them. I've grown up with the character and loved everything about him, from his political views (fiercely anti Thatcher) and his burning desire to lead the life less ordinary. I knew that's what my girl was reading. There was my book; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend. But what did it have to do with London? Adrian famously lived in the Midlands. Then I recalled that he went on a school trip to London. Tenuous? Actually, I don't think so. Suddenly I was feeling passionate.
So there it was. That was my pitch; 'The book I have chosen to illustrate is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. In the book Adrian, and his classmates, go on a school trip to London. For most people living outside of the capital, a school trip is usually their first experience of London. It was mine'.

*****
So, that's the story of how I ended up with a MASSIVE open book, or bench (depending on how you look at it) in my living room. Yes, my idea was selected and yesterday there was another book in my life. I like to think having a huge open book staying with me is symbolic. I haven't decided what it symbolises yet. I hope it'll reveal that over the next two months (yes, TWO months).

OH! Oh, and my design for the bench? Well, there could only be one thing . I say one 'thing', but I mean one girl. Yes, I was all so obvious really. It was always there. She was always there.

I love this girl. She came through for me again.


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4. these prints of our feet

Last night I dreamt that I made this drawing. I never dream about drawing. This morning this drawing, that I did in my dream, was clear as day so I quickly got it down on paper before I forgot it. I have no idea where it came from or what it means, but I love the stuff that the subconscious throws up.

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5. long may you run

Last Saturday we, at Dr Sketchy Sheffield, held an event celebrating the art of tattoos. I'd been wanting to do a tattoo themed event ever since I took over the running of the branch with my co-co-ordinator Lara Gothique. The idea of drawing people who are covered in drawings really does it for me.

Plus, it was a great opportunity to get some male models on board. We haven't had anywhere enough guys modelling for us - although they were pretty hard to convince. Who'd have thought these inked up guys would be so shy?

We had a great mix of guys and girls. I did these black and white drawings at the event. I added colour at home, later.

The other great thing about being the artist, in our partnership, is that I get to set some drawing exercises. My exercise for this event was to draw the (model's) body through the tattoos alone. It was more difficult to do than I'd imagined, and I still ended up adding some body lines to my attempt (above).

Despite my car braking down en-route, and being totally stressed out by that by time I got there, I still managed to get a whole load of sketches done. Many more than this in fact, but the rest were on a larger A3 sketchbook - and I'll have to get them scanned by somebody with an A3 scanner.

I'm always so impressed by the events we create. Obviously, it takes a whole lot of help from the people who get involved just for the love of the event. From the DJ, to the photographer, to the runners, to the sponsors, to the venue and the amazing models. We appreciate and thank them all. And, of course, to all the sketchers that come along and have fun, draw and ensure that Dr Sketchy Sheffield continues.
Plus, if that's not impressive enough, where else do you get to draw a tattooed Reverend? I'm guessing nowhere. I may be wrong, but if I were a betting woman I'd put money on it.

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6. ink on a pin, underneath the skin

A couple more of my posters for our Dr Sketchy Sheffield events. I just love doing this poster artwork. I've been wondering why I enjoy it so much. It's obvious really, that mix of illustration and text really floats my boat. Maybe I should hire myself out as a poster artist. Have an event that you need a poster for? I'm your lady.
You can read a post about one of my poster artist heroes, the legendary Toulouse Lautrec, and see more of my own creations HERE.

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7. this is ground control

Hi folks, just in case you were wondering if and why I've fallen off the face of the earth, thought I'd leave this quick note. Due to yet another truly frustrating wifi cock-up (by my provider, now ex-provider) I haven't had any internet access at home for over a month. Yes, I'm going insane. As well as that, during that whole process I've also lost my email account; including all my business contacts. Big apologies if you have tried to get in touch with me via email. I'm trying to sort it all out but it's one really frustrating task which has reduced me to tears and rage on many occasions.
 
I should (I'll believe it when I see it) be back online on Thurs 8th March.
In the meantime you can find my books, zines and other bits and bobs HERE in my Etsy shop.
Cheers, my dears.

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8. i'm going to wait until the morning comes

Here's a new drawing. Brand new. I'm really happy with it. It's one of those drawings that reminds me of why I draw. If that makes any sense?

It's an example of one of the processes I use when coming up with a piece of work; sometimes a drawing will just pop into my head. Fully formed. I have no idea where it came from, or why it came, but suddenly it's just there. Then it waits around for me to put it onto paper. I sometimes try to ignore it, but when it's there it's there. It doesn't go away.

So there he was. This French guy sat in his kitchen, feeling a little fragile, after a night of partying. Fag in mouth, coffee in hand. It took me 2-3 years to get around to putting him on , but a couple of days ago I picked up my sketchbook and within 2-3 minutes he was born. A few hours of cross hatching followed.

I based the character on a guy I met a few years back in France. He wobbled up to this sophisticated artist's award ceremony/party, on his push bike, in a flat cap and old coat, fag in mouth looking a little wasted and yet sickeningly stylishly European. He then made his way around the place, taking advantage of the free booze. I immediately thought "that's the guy I want to party with".

And we did. And it was a great night.

There's this Ray Davies quote I heard when watching a documentary on The Kinks, that has always stuck in my head. Well, if it wasn't a Ray Davies quote it was by his brother, Dave (?). It goes "It's not how something is reported, it's how it's remembered. That's what they call poetry".

I love that quote. It's also why I love this drawing.

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9. Edna

A sketch in three stages. The original line drawing, above, I made at our most recent Dr Sketchy Sheffield event featuring Burlesque dance troupe The Yorkshire Puddings.
In the second stage I added a little shading, in the form of cross hatching, and some stronger lines.
Then finally with colour - for which I used colour pencil. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered. I think I like the original line drawing the best. Oh well.

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10. lost in France

I started this drawing on New Years day. It felt good to start the new year drawing. I really needed to. With everything else I've had going on, I haven't really got lost in a big detailed drawing in a long while. This is the first in what I hope will become a series. It was drawn from a mish mash of photos, and memories (and a bit of imagination) from a trip to France in November. I've always loved France. When I was young I used to wish I was French. My favourite film is French. It's the country, outside of the UK, I've visited the most. For the last few years I've exhibited my work in France. And, now, of course I've had my book published by a French publisher.

So this is a love letter to France. Je t'aime.

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11. sing, sing a song

You know, you can find drawing opportunities anywhere and everywhere. At the end of last year I went out, with some of my sketching friends, to draw some local community groups doing their thing. This was from the rehearsals of a local male voice choir. I intend to do more of this sort of stuff in 2014. You should try it too. It's fun.

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12. the road to Whaley Bridge

Some time ago, seven months ago in fact, I made this map for the Derbyshire Open Arts exhibition.
A little while later this phone box, above, arrived in the town of Whaley Bridge.
 The guys who were responsible (Whaley4Wards) for bringing the new old telephone box to town saw my map.
 And tracked me down.
And this was the result.
The telephone box became an information box
and I made a new map for it.
The only problem I have, though,
is that there were lots of photos taken
and I'm spoilt for choice
and want to post them all
but I'll leave you with the best...
Photography by Chris Tetley.


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13. Happy New Year from me, myself and I

Me, drawing, by Lynne McPeake
Happy New Year to you all folks. I hope 2014 is full of drawing, drawing and more drawing.
Me, drawing, by Paul Gent
That's how I intend to spend mine anyway (although I should know by now to never say that sort of thing - as once it's been said you can guarantee to bring on a three month drawing funk).
Me, drawing, by me
 If drawing ain't your thing I hope your 2014 is full of whatever makes your heart sing.

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14. some things what I did in December

November was a (creative) whirlwind of a month. December has been calmer, but has still had it's moments. I've managed to find opportunities to be creative or share my creativity with others. At the beginning of December I did a local event, a kind of craft fair, I guess. I would never have thought that would have been my thing, but you know, in the future I'll be more open minded. It was a lovely day spent with local creative people (including one of my drawing buddies, Paul Gent), I sold lots of stuff (you can't knock that), I got to make a drawing (above) and there was even a pop-up Swedish café. To be honest, that's what sold it to me. Damn, I've never tasted mushrooms that good. I intend to do more of this kind of thing in 2014.
It was back home to Wales for Christmas. One afternoon my nephew and I went over to Mumbles. The aim was to get ice cream at Verdi's café and ice cream parlour - mid winter is always a good time for ice cream, I find. I've made the same trip the last three times I've been back home and every time it's been closed. It was closed. So we ended up in the arcade on Mumbles Pier where, despite his blatant cheating, I whooped  his ass at table hockey and shooting aliens.

 Later that evening we did some drawing and created a monster.

Today was probably the first day in the whole of December that I've not had anything pressing to do. Well, there's a whole list of things that need doing (sorting my poor broken car out, tax returns, cleaning, etc) but nothing that couldn't wait another day. So, I spent it doing exactly what I wanted to; nothing much. I didn't put any make up on, talk to anyone, go out of the house, hell, I didn't even get out of my pyjamas. Bliss. But I did do some drawing - well, colouring in. Oh, and blogging. Today, I finally blogged some new drawings. Hope you like them.

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15. I wish you...

...a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. My New Year's resolution is to stop neglecting my blog. Have a good one y'all. See you soon.

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16. November November

November was a good month. A good creative month; book launch; book signings; foreign travels; exhibition; collaborations; Dr Sketchy; school visits; Uni visits and all wrapped up with a Sketchcrawl on Saturday. I need more Novembers. But with more sleep.

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17. i want to do whatever common people do

I've been obsessing over this guy recently. I've always been a fan but, just of late, I've fallen for him in a big way. I don't know why that is. Maybe it's because I've recently spent some of my evenings in a seedy bouchon in France or because I have been designing and illustrating posters for the Dr Sketchy events that I co-run.

I've always been a big fan of poster artwork from the Victorian freak show posters to the drop dead gorgeous Art Nouveau. And, of course, Toulouse Lautrec. This really was art for the people. The working classes. The common folk. Of which I am proud to be one.

Here are some of mine. I can honestly say that I've enjoyed making these above all of the recent work I've made. I hope it shows.





And, now my mind is racing with ideas of creating a Dr Sketchy Sheffield does Toulouse Lautrec event. Now, there's a poster I cannot wait to make.

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18. late at night when the world is dreaming

In the last couple of weeks I've launched the book, been to France to promote the book (it's been published by a French publisher), organised a Dr Sketchy event, school visits, etc, etc.
So currently everything is a bit, well, you know (see diagram).  I'd like to say a huge thanks to everyone who has ordered my book. I hope you love it. I'm catching up on all the book orders - I've now sent out the majority and by Monday I'll have signed and wrapped and packed and addressed and posted every last order. I'll have a cleared the decks. Unless, of course, you'd like one?

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19. and finally...

 You know, when I started out drawing I never imagined where that would take me. I was just doing it for the love of drawing. And, then after a while I began to believe that it could become something else, something more, it could be what I want to do with my life. Then things start happening and you get to a level of success. And then, you end up doing all sorts of other stuff that keeps you away from the drawing. That's how I've felt recently.

But then you have to take a step back and take a second to see where the drawing has actually taken you. I don't know if any of that makes sense. I'm tired. But I think I know what I mean.

Signed copies of my book (!), a book about my work (!!), is now available HERE.

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20. penanarama

Here's a piece  made for one of my favourite sites; Cult Pens. I'm often asked to do link swaps or advertise or review products or sites but never do it. It's not my thing. I only ever mention a product or business if I feel passionate about them. And, Cult Pens I do. They, to me, are the best place to buy pens in the UK. Huge stock of millions of pens. Every pen you could need. Plus, the service is excellent. Pens delivered to your door the next day. Fab.

Anyway, the reason I did this drawing was for the banner of their newsletter and because I'm 'Artist of the Month'. So, there are drawings, an interview and, erm, photo HERE.

Plus, this original drawing is for sale HERE.

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21. i heard it in the wind last night

Recently I've been getting out and about drawing in my local area. Not just sketchcrawling or urban sketching but drawing local people doing their thing. If you love drawing there's no end of subject matter out there. No end of people filling their evenings or spare time with whatever floats their boats - whether that be knitting or skateboarding or singing. I love this kind of drawing and, I find, it's always a bonus when there's music involved.
 
Here's just a couple of the many sketches I made at the High Peak Orchestra rehearsals.

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22. you'll have to trust it

A double spread from my latest zine How To Draw Like A Barmpot. These art zines are filled with ideas and info that will, maybe, might get you drawing. From favourite pens to exercises like this one - which I made up, off the top of my head, as I was creating the drawing. I can honestly say that is my favourite favourite things to do. Just letting these ideas reveal themselves to me and unfold on the page in front of my very eyes. It's a bit like magic.

All my zines available HERE.

Now picture yourself in a room...... Read the rest of this post

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23. carry it home in a tote sack

 Here are two drawings from the same day and the same place. They are, I think, examples of how a drawing can go either way. I drew them both at a field day and they are of a stall that was a celebration of all things bread. It mapped the story of bread from back in time and from around the world. Very interesting and very tasty.

The top drawing pleases me quite a lot. It's got a touch of the Patrick Caulfield about it (who I absolutely adore). The bottom one is atrocious. Way too much going on and way too overdone.

You win some, you lose some.

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24. there's a lot to learn for wasting time

For the first time in a long time I haven't had a deadline looming - I cleared them this week. Yes, there's a book launch, an exhibition and two Dr Sketchy's to organise, but I had a free day yesterday not worrying about getting one or another job finished. So, I spent the afternoon doing what I love best; driving, eating and drawing.

I pride myself on knowing where to get the best cakes, sandwiches, breads, chips, etc, in the Peaks. Tearooms are my area of expertise. Rosie's is a fab little tearoom in the lovely Hayfield village and does THE best brownies around. And so it should as it is run by an American lady and her husband. I found this cute little video, about Rosies, whilst searching for their website.

There was also the added bonus of this cutie, below, waiting outside for her owner to finish their tea and cake.

How long are you going to be?
Are we going yet?
Oh, come on.
Thank gawd for that.

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25. i get my back into my living

A huge thanks for all of the comments and support, in my last post, for my new book. I am very touched. It'll be a whole load of new excitement, as will going to France to publicise it. In all honesty, I'm totally exhausted just thinking about it. But in a good way.

 I seem to be working non stop these days. Burning myself out, not getting enough sleep. But, I don't think there's any other way if I want to make a living and career out of this illustration lark. And, I do. I do everything I do for the love of illustration.

 And, here's another of those things I am doing for the love of it. I've recently taken over the running of Dr Sketchy Sheffield - along with my business partner Hell's Belle (yes, just having a business partner called Hell's Belle is a dream come true). I became a Dr Sketchy addict from the first event I attended, so when the opportunity came up to co-run the gig I couldn't say no.

Again though it's turned out to be more work than I'd anticipated because as soon as one event is over we're planning and promoting the next.

So, that said, if you are in the Sheffield area why not come along to our next event (above) and draw with us? It really is a lot of fun. I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't.

Or check out our Facebook page, to see what we get up to, HERE. You see, never stop working.

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