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1. ELCAF: Catifying The Public!

I did portraits of people coming to ELCAF today.
Here are some cool cats who turned up:










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2. Anti Austerity Protest: SKETCHES

I went to the Anti Austerity Protest today and took my sketchbook.
The march started at Bank. Here are some people assembling and wondering if they are in the right place.

Here they worked out that they are in the right place. 

Still at Bank. The streets are closed. The athmosphere is friendly. Drumming, chanting, leafletting.  Every few minutes a sudden cheer goes through the crowd, not sure why.

Lots of families here. The crowd is starting to move.

There's not much police, surprisingly. Much less than I expected. A lot more protesters than I expected... really a lot.

Some surreptitious tagging going on at Bank. There's the first helicopter.
The chap in the background is inviting people to join the Socialist Party, I think.

Moving into Fleet Street.
There's an overwhelming amount of groups. Goths against austerity, Chefs against austerity (here in the foreground). The blimp is tethered to a fire engine crewed by the Fire Fighter's Union. Lots of local groups turned up to protest about hospitals, council housing and assorted public services (there's Haringey).

Here's a cluster of artists, mostly.
And some music.


Someone was asking "why don't they chant back?" Because they are the National Union of Sign Language Interpreters. They are chanting, look.

The Strand is packed. There's a tired child with a CUTS KILL paper hat, she perked up afetr a few minutes of being carried.
Sisters Uncut had an impressive presence, their crowd spanned the width of the road.

Some masked people. Most wore their masks on the back of their heads, like this girl with the princess backpack and the YOUTH FIGHT AUSTERITY placard, and her mum.
That dragon statue is quite alarming from the back.

I've never seen so many people marching together, and I didn't see anyone being aggressive to anyone else. I just watched the news, they did get some footage of "fireworks" (smoke bombs, the colourful sort, I stepped over a pretty bright purple one in passing) and people dressed in black with masks trying to block a road. They didn't try very hard. No point anyway, the city was full of people peacefully protesting.


(This is all scanned with my handheld scanner, excuse any wobbles.)

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3. More Painting and Drawing - In My Element!


I thought you might like to see some more of the work I have been doing out in gorgeous Derbyshire landscape. 


Yes, I went back to Winnats Pass a week after my last excursion, to have another go. I started with the drawing above, warming up with good old charcoal and a skinny stick of black conte, for the finer mark-making.

It wasn't an official SketchCrawl day, but I let people know that I was going, so was joined by a handful of other sketchers, who popped in and out during the day. Nice to have the company. We were all taken by this particular view - stunning stuff! 


After lunch, once familiar with the lie of the land, I tried the same view again as an experiment, using Platignum writing ink (very water soluble), lots of water sploshing and then a wee bit of watercolour. The light had changed a bit by then though and we had lost those lovely long stripes of shadow:


I was interested in keeping the view basically representational, but creating a more abstracted and expressive interpretation of the shapes than the more literal drawing at the top. I got ink everywhere though, especially since the plastic pot I'd put it in had leaked. Black fingers again.

I did a watercolour next, from slightly further into the valley. I am still not entirely happy with the watercolours and very much still learning. The Peak District is the perfect place to practise though. So many beautiful shapes:


I was looking for a different view to finish, but didn't have time to climb to the far end of the valley and look back down, like I did last time, so I scaled the left side, to higher ground. There wasn't anywhere even vaguely flat to sit though and I had my work cut out, just stopping myself from sliding back down the steep slope! My rucksack kept trying to tip over and roll back down into the valley and I was sure that at any moment my brushes, water or palette would tumble away from me. 

I managed to get a painting done before any mishap, though my poor bottom was totally dead by the end:


I am still learning how the watercolours work at this scale - it's very different to using them for the smaller urban sketches I am more used to. It was the patterns in the landscape which I was excited by. For me it is all about exaggerating shapes and pulling out colours, playing with marks and textures. Perhaps my early textiles training is still in there somewhere, trying to get out! 

Here's how this one looks against the reality:


John had dropped me off in the morning and then spent the day hiking around the hills in the area. He arrived back in the valley while I was half way through this last painting, at the end of the afternoon, ready to take me to the pub for a well-earned dinner.

Another lovely and very productive day.  

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4. SketchCrawl Event at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park



Do you fancy doing a bit of sketching with me in the wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park


Well, why not book into the event I am running on August 9th. It's all free, but you need to register, as we have capped it at 40 participants and it is already filling up fast. Last time I looked there were just 11 places left! 


Just like with a regular SketchCrawl, there will be no tuition: it's more about getting fresh inspiration by working alongside other sketchers and empowering one another to feel comfortable about drawing in public. We will be working our way around the park, drawing and painting together, with a couple of 1 hour sketch-stops both before and after lunch, hopefully all in the sunshine. 

Just grab a sketchbook and whatever materials you like using and come along. Don't forget to book your place first though.


If you want to learn more about either SketchCrawling, or get a preview of the YSP, take a look at this lovely little film we made on one of our previous visits:


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5. An Amazing Day: Plein-Air in Winnats Pass


I have been more or less padlocked to the computer during the week, which is really frustrating on sunny days. So, when I saw a forecast for particularly lovely weather, I decided to sneak a day off to go out sketching in the landscape. I knew exactly where I wanted to go:


Well wouldn't you? Isn't this an amazing photo by the way? The sky doesn't look real, does it?

John and I had already hiked through Winnats Pass, in Derbyshire, one Saturday afternoon recently. 
It was windy and cold that day, but the light and the shapes were so extraordinary, I had to sit down on the spot and do a quick sketch:


This time though, I could relax and luxuriate in the sunshine. John dropped me off and went on a long walk while I settled down to try and capture the fabulous sharp shadows. I took A3 sketchbooks, because it's such a massive landscape. It's very unusual too, because the really rugged crags are up close on both sides, giving you the ability to see detail and grandeur all at once.

This is my favourite from the day I think. I tried all different media, but compressed charcoal seemed to really get across the contrasts:


I tried watercolour, but couldn't seem to get the results I wanted. I am really still learning how to use paint, whereas I am totally comfortable when I am drawing. This is my first attempt. It started out quite interesting, but got a bit flat as I worked into it:


I tried again. The second one has kept more spontaneity, but still doesn't do interesting enough things or properly exploit the effects of the watercolour:


I did various other sketches in charcoal, getting black ingrained into my fingers and fingernails...


...but I also tried experimenting with watercolour pencil to add definition to the paint and combine the different sorts of mark-making:


I tried using my Sailor pen, but the line variation which I love so much is not as powerful at A3, so it couldn't hold the page without colour, which definitely helped:


It was a really enjoyable day. Even when things weren't going quite right, it was impossible to get grumpy! It is such a magical place, I will have to go back again. I've really only scratched the surface.


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6. Reasonable Art Materials Review: BIC easy click fountain pen

Here's a little review for those of you who are considering trying out fountain pens but don't want to spend much: an OK pen for under a fiver.


I needed a new cheap fountain pen to write with - I always write with fountain pens, it helps my handwriting. Ballpoint pens tend to run away and scrawl when I use them. I don't like writing with my sketching pens, they aren't designed to move that quickly.

I wanted a pen that uses standard cartridges - normally I like writing with LAMY pens, but the cartridges are expensive, and although converters are available I don't want to carry a pot of ink around to refill it.
I had to climb up a ladder at the stationer's to get to this one, they put it out of reach, probably because it's so very cheap. Anyway, it's surprisingly nice to use: it's got a chunky grip, so it would be good for school children to use and it won't give you writing cramp as quickly as a slim pen.


It's got a very pleasing mechanism that grabs the cartridge and clicks it into place, so no accidental messy unscrewing.

You can write quickly with it, it's not the smoothest but it doesn't scratch - a good everyday writing pen.


If you want a fine line to scribble with, you can turn it upside down - that means that the grip isn't as grippy, but it's a nice line, good enough for a quick sketch when you didn't take any fancier equipment along.


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7. Rediscovering the Archive


One of the very pleasing by-products of the drudgery of all the scanning I have to do at the moment, is that I am getting to look back over all my favourite sketches of past years - well, the ones of people anyway. It's been an interesting journey. Every image is imbued with memories. Some are a record of an important or touching occasion, like the day I came across this little girl and her brother fishing for their dinner in Kerala and ended up in their home, singing carols with their family:


Some are interesting because I tend not to work in the same techniques any more. Some are just old favourites that make me feel good about myself. It's never a bad thing to look back at work you are proud of: it's great for the confidence, which is in turn good for feeding back into new creativity.


It's rather ironic but, since I have been working on this book, I seem to have been drawing people far less. I don't know if you have noticed, but I have got rather into architecture this last year and have been far less prolific on train journeys than I was in 2013/14. I'm not sure why. Anyway, looking back through the archive has inspired me to get back to it. 


I need to get some people-practise in to be honest. I have a 2-day job coming up next month, as Artist-in-Residence at a conference, at Manchester University. There'll be nothing but people to draw and I have volunteered to do a short presentation of my work at the end, to show the delegates what I have been up to. No pressure... 



It's a good job that I am a show-off! 

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8. SketchCrawling in Doncaster: Great Architecture!


I can't believe that I have lived in Sheffield for so many years and yet never before visited Doncaster, which is just half an hour away on the train. 

I discovered by chance that there was a lovely Minster there, so did a quick search to see what else there was to draw. That's how I found out about the gorgeous Corn Exchange, which made my mind up to go there, for the next meeting of Urban Sketchers Yorkshire.

That was last Saturday and, at last, we had a lovely day with NO RAIN - hurrah! It was so relaxing, sitting on the grass, peacefully drawing the Minster in the sunshine. It was very gnarly, with loads of gargoyles and a fabulous rose window. I intended to do various sketches, inside and out, but got very into one complex drawing, so ended up spending the entire morning on just that. I used my Koh-i-Noor 'Magic' pencil to get the multi-coloured line, which gives a softer finish than black and doesn't overpower the subtlety of watercolour:


I'd made yet another concertina book before the visit (I can't use the 35 I made recently, as they are to be saved for my residency). The concertina format was perfect, because it could expand with me as I worked my way up the building. I like to draw big enough to explore the nooks and crannies, so would never have been able to fit it in otherwise.

We had lunch at The Red Lion, which looked from the outside like a little, traditional pub, but unfolded like a tardis once you got inside. Wetherspoons had recently spent millions on it. The indoor restaurant was a bit busy, but there was a lovely courtyard garden: a real suntrap. We pulled 4 tables together and spent a very enjoyable hour chatting, eating and, of course, doing quick sketches of one another. This is me, between two newbies sketchcrawlers, Richard and Alec, sketched by another first-timer, Steve Beadle:


We had about 6 new members this time, so there was loads to talk about. As we were leaving, one of our first-timers, from Doncaster, pointed out two enormous paintings on the wall of the restaurant, one of Doncaster Market and another of the race course. He had been commissioned to do them by Wetherspoons. We were all suitably impressed!

The Corn Exchange had the sun behind it. I could tell that squinting at it all afternoon would give me a headache, so I wandered around the adjacent market for a while, looking for other things to sketch. It was no good though - the grandiose building pulled me back. 


Again, I got caught up and so spent all my time on the one drawing and never even got to see the inside. The concertina did its work again: this time expanding sideways. The building was huge (I had to work really hard to make myself fit it into the height of the book). There was a lot of fiddly detail, so I worked in pen this time, tinting it right at the end.

Here's a photo I remembered to take (for once) of some of the group in action:


We went back to The Red Lion for the sharing. There was some amazing work done - really inspiring stuff. I always enjoy nosying through people's sketchbooks. Having so many new members gave me plenty to look at and there was lots of 'wow'ing.


It was quite late by the time we started for home. I ended up on the train by myself, and was lucky enough to have a 'snoozer' opposite, so got out my rainbow pencil again. I showed it to him as I got off.

I had a really smashing day and I met some lovely people. I've got to go back some time though, and have another go at some of the other views of that Minster.

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9. Sketch Day No.3: My Visitor from Paris



One of the lovely things about the Urban Sketchers group is that we are like a family. If you are travelling, you can always look up any sketchers in the area and they will happily meet up with you for a bit of sketchcrawling.

Yves Damin is a fabulous sketcher. He lives in Paris, but has relatives in Sheffield. Which means that we have twice been lucky enough to have a visit from him. He came this time last year, so Urban Sketchers Yorkshire got together to spend a day sketching with him 
in Sheffield City Centre.  I was absolutely delighted when he told me that he was coming back this year.



We met up with half a dozen other members of Usk Yorkshire after lunch on a Friday afternoon and sketched into the early evening.  We started local to me at Nether Edge crossroads, drawing the shops. This is the sketch Yves did. He has really captured the feel of Nether Edge:


I got a bit cross with mine. I ploughed straight in with paint, the way I do, with no planning, which was a bit unwise with such a complex view, so the drawing underpinning the sketch doesn't bear close inspection. It's not quite as bad in hindsight as I thought at the time (often the way). 



Another sketcher who did a far better job of Nether Edge than me was my friend Sian Hughes, whose work is just gorgeous:



Next, we went to the Abbeydale Picture House: once a grand cinema, music hall and restaurant, now sadly out of action. It's been derelict for years, but is still beautiful. It's pretty enormous too, so this is just a tiny section:



Most people went closer to draw details, but I sat on the opposite side of the road with Yves and Justine. Justine is a fellow illustrator, who has lived round the corner to me for years, but neither of us knew until she came on Saturday's sketchcrawl - I love the way sketchcrawling has linked me up with so many like-minded people from my area (and well beyond). 



We were sitting outside a barber's shop which had a big front window, so the cutters and their customers were watching us in action. The lovely sketch on the wall is the one Yves did - he preferred the view down the street to the Picture House. 

It was a bit cold, so most people headed home at that point, but the three of us kept going. We wandered about for ages, looking for a cafe with a window so we could sketch from indoors, but everywhere was closed, as it was getting late. Eventually, we found a fish and chip shop who let us sit in their window. This was the view:



It was only when I was half way though the drawing that I realised that, by pure coincidence, I was sketching the very barber's shop where we had been sitting earlier:



As I finished off, I glanced at my watch and discovered to my horror that it had somehow become 7pm. I was going out to a dance at 8.00 (I still do my beloved jiving), so had one hour to get home, make and eat some dinner and change into my glad-rags! Yves took this quick photo and I was in such a rush that forgot to take one of him (so sorry Yves - what a rude host!). 



Despite the slightly undignified scurry at the end, it was a really nice afternoon. Yves is such a lovely person as well as being a super-talented sketcher and his visit was a great excuse to get out in my local area with a sketchbook (I almost always end up sketching elsewhere).

Needless to say, the glad-rags and the dance took preference over the dinner: that's what bananas are for :-D


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10. Part 2 of the Creative Juice Podcast

Because practice makes perfect, part 2 of the podcast I did with Margot and Jeb on practice!

http://thejuicecast.com/practice-practice-practice-part-2/

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11. Observational Sketches

Here are some of the sketches I've recently been doing.
I do a lot of observational drawing using a fountain pen and a portable watercolour set.
I tend to draw people as cats.


Icons of Elegance performing at Jamboree

Audience
Supporting act

Audience






Hot Dogs in Shoreditch

Posh birthday party at the World's End Pub

Piccadilly Line from Heathrow


Wapping, a cold Spring day
Board game testing

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12. My Personal Sketching Kit: What I Carry and Why


I have been writing a section from the beginning of my book, discussing different art materials and looking in detail at the kit which I carry and why. Getting your personal kit-bag sorted is important, because you don't want to be fussing about what to take or leave behind, each time you go out. It's difficult, because we all know what it's like to want the very thing you left at home.


Nevertheless, you need to make decisions and pare things down. It's good to travel light, otherwise you aren't able to carry your kit with you 'just in case'. I have 3 versions of my kit. The slim-line version is just my trusty Sailor pen and an A5 - A6 book, which you don't even notice you're carrying. I tend to have these in a pocket most of the time, because you never know. 


The next step up is to add my watercolour pencils, a waterbrush, a sweat-wristband (for cleaning the brush) and a knife. That's my medium kit and a good on-the-train kind of size: enough to see me though the odd hour here and there.


My full kit, for sketching day's out, is still pretty compact as I hate being loaded down. All the art equipment packs up into a zipper bag, the size of the average toiletries bag, which slips easily into a large handbag, along with a sketchbook or two. 



If it's an urban day, I usually pop my mini-stool in my bag too, so I don't have to look for benches or doorsteps. It weighs nothing and fits in a large handbag:



If I'm going rural, this foldaway sitting-mat from a camping shop is way better, because of uneven ground:


I have had to unpack my full kit this week and photograph every individual element for the book. This is because I want to dedicate a spread to peering inside my kit-bag, with pictures of everything and annotations, telling people exactly what each item is and why I have chosen it. I photographed 28 different items like this:


My snaps are not the photos we will end up using, but the designers need to know what everything looks like, so they can design suitable graphics for the page. Once that's done, the publisher will commission a proper photographer to take the pictures they need. In the meantime, I have been writing all the text.

If you are interested in getting some of the specific items like the Sailor or the stool, I have put together some links to where I got them. It's on Facebook here, as part of the Usk Yorkshire website.

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13. Birth of a Morning Glory - Sketch

Slowing getting the hang of these videos. :)


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14. FB Sketch Challenge....












Day One: FB Sketch Challenge












































Day Two



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15. Rain, Fashion and the Contents of Bottom Drawers...


It's been a while since I got the fantastic news that I have been awarded a grant from The Leverhulme Trust, to spend a year working with The Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives at Manchester University, shadowing their research projects with my sketchbook in hand.


Unfortunately, because we wanted the project to span a single academic year, we set the start date as October 2015 - ages to wait when I'm so excited! In the meantime, we can at least start planning, so Professor Heath from The Morgan Centre came to the studio this week, for a meeting.


I have learnt that the main project I am working on is studying the effect the weather has on us Brits - more painting in the rain perhaps! Plus there is also a project around 'Dormant Things': objects we all own, which we don't need or even really want, but can't quite bear to throw away. Cellars, attics and bottom-drawers everywhere are packed with them.


Another couple of bits of research I might dip into are going to involve interviewing people on the streets of Manchester. One is about how people interact with public spaces and the other is looking at street fashion. That should be quite a challenge - my speed sketching will come into it's own!


I've also been commissioned separately to shadow their conference in July. The theme is 'Atmospheres' and they have some fantastic presentations booked in. It sounds like it is going to be fascinating, over and above the fun I am going to have recording it in my sketchbook. I will be co-delivering a presentation with Prof. Heath about our project and, as with the ASCEL conference, I will have a short slot on my own near the end, for showing what I have been drawing during the event and talking briefly about Urban Sketching.


Such a fun job. Can't wait.

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16. Color Me Crazy

Today I embarked on combining techniques, process, and drawing developed throughout last year. I started a personal piece, but now it's time to apply it to the real world, a custom request. I did my research and concept sketch, now ready to paint.

I had to start with my color palette. As much as I love color, my head spins very fast and gets dizzy when trying to figure out the best combination of colors. I know what WORKS, but until I see it visually, I'm a jumble of thoughts.

This is where Design Seeds color palettes come into play. They're amazing! At first I didn't really care for them because most show subtle or value changes. This time I went to pinterest and found many palettes with variety. I'm stoked!



I based my choices on the photo being used for the color swatches. If the photo works...which is usually nature...then I know the color works. I also like how you have more colors to choose from BECAUSE of the photo. They don't swatch every color. Having those extra choices are great for backgrounds.

Once I print out the palette I go to my home made glazing color chart and view finder. I search for the colors within the palette and jot down the colors I need to re-create it. This takes a lot of the guess work out so I save time in the long run.


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There are two charts I'd like to point out. One is a mixed color chart. Here each square has been individually mixed and applied. Very grueling, especially if you have 20 colors in a palette like I do! I started this one years ago when I first stumbled upon this method by Suzie Short. I never finished it. :( Unfortunately my palette has changed so I can't use most of it.


The second one is a glazed color chart. Here you paint one set of color strips vertically, let them dry, and paint a second one horizontally, "glazing" one color on top of the other. I prefer this method and I grabbed it from this video by Kelly Eddington. Although it's for laying color on top of one another, not mixing, I can work from there and mix on my palette. I usually test the color out on a scrap piece of paper and alter it just a tad if I need to. Very rarely.


The other brand new approach to painting is the skin. I did a very traditional technique, wet onto wet. It's usually quite difficult since I paint so small, but thought I'd give it a go instead of my usual wet onto dry. To my surprise, it worked very well, and gives me a great base to start with. Yay! I used my usual gold, rose, and phthalo blue too. :)



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The Daily Sketch



I have discovered I'm not too chic about keeping up with a daily commitment. It's the effort that counts right? Numbering the Daily Sketches has already been off several times, so instead, I'm simplifying it more and NOT numbering them. They are dated, and that's enough for me. Just assume they'll be in each post. ;)

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17. Stockport Hat Museum with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire


Saturday was January's SketchCrawl outing for Usk Yorkshire. I met 6 other members at Sheffield Station and we took the train to Stockport. It was the day of all the gales and we had not been on the train long when they announced we couldn't get to Stockport because of a tree across the line!


Fortunately they cleared it just in time and we got to Stockport's Hat Works in plenty of time to meet up with another 25 members, including people who had travelled from Manchester, Derbyshire, Macclesfield, Hull and Birmingham. 



During the morning more and more people turned up, so that about 40 of us were there for lunch in the cafe. Luckily there was virtually nobody else there, unluckily, they had only two people on duty (one who was on their first day), so it was chaos! After nearly an hour's wait for my sandwich, I started this sketch, because that was a sure way to ensure my food would arrive, and it did.


The museum itself was fantastic, with hats through the ages and across cultures, as well as lots of contemporary designer hats, some elegant, some bonkers, all wonderful to draw. It used to be a working factory, so the basement area had all the machines to show how the hats were made, as well as mock-ups of the original milliners shop, with this gorgeous old till:


There was so much to explore, I didn't even get to see one floor, so must go back. That's the only problem with sketching - you have to make quick decisions about what to draw, so can't spend all day looking round.


At 3 o'clock we all walked next door to The Plaza: an original Art Deco cinema. Look at this decorated interior:


There was a lovely, traditional tea room upstairs with white tablecloths, amazing cakes and waiters in all the gear. We had pre-booked but, once again, they had real trouble with such a big group. I attempted a really quick sketch, but mostly we were chatting and planning future outings:



Because it took so long to serve us all (and took several attempts at ordering on our table), half the group had to leave before we got around to sharing the work. There were still more than enough sketchbooks left to fill one of the tables though:


Despite the difficulties, it was real fun to have such a fantastic turn-out (the best we've had since the York Minster day). I was especially pleased to have about half a dozen new members with us.


A huge thanks to Lynne McPeake and Andrea Joseph for taking over the organisation of the event for me. Thanks as well to Kerry Davies for most of the photos. I'm always so busy, I generally forget to take any. 



Another brilliant Urban Sketchers day out, sharing what we love and meeting lots of new people.  

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18. An Urban Sketcher's Manual: Drawing Fluid Lines


I am still writing my book for most of the working day at the moment, taking advantage of the opportunity to focus on one task, while I can. It's a bit like writing this blog actually, in that I am sharing tips and hints about how I work, but with a slightly different focus and format


I'm enjoying the opportunity to talk about other people's work sometimes as well, but for the most part I am analysing what I do when I am drawing people in various situations, which of course makes me think differently about things which I have learned to take for granted.


This week, I decided to go back to basics and talk about how a fluid line is so much more useful that straight lines, when it come to sketching people, because basically, people are curvy. Straight lines tend to make them look stiff and lifeless. So, a couple of spreads in the book are dedicated to looking at how you can develop a more instinctive, fresh line, which will bring your characters to life and help communicate the sense that you have captured them mid-movement.


For the more hesitant sketchers amongst you, those who tend to twitch their pencil back and forth, barely moving, I talk about drawing from your wrist, elbow and even shoulders because, if you don't move your arm, you can't move your pencil expressively. 


I demonstrate blind-contour drawing too, which is a great way to get your line loosened up, and I show how contour drawing helps you to hang onto the principles of instinctive eye-to-pencil sketching on an everyday basis. 

Not forgetting of course, how a quick, linear sketch can be done with a paintbrush too - what a gorgeous, expressive line watercolour can give you if you keep your hand fluid!



We have a title now by the way. It's going to be Sketching People, with the subtitle, an Urban Sketcher's Manual to Drawing Figures and Faces.

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19. HoHoDooDa 2014 Day 10,11 and 12

Santa fro zen

Yep, I’m counting all three characters again. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, stop on over here for links to see what the rest of the HoHoDooDa doodlers are doing.

Oh, and if you are wondering what the heck HoHoDooDa is, check this out.


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20. HoHoDooDa Day 13 (late)

o holey knight

Alright, I realize these moths would have to be iron and steel eating moths to put holes in armor… but hey, creative license.

Why not take a stroll on over here for links to see what the rest of the HoHoDooDa doodlers are doing.

Oh, and if you are wondering what the heck HoHoDooDa is, check this out.


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21. HoHoDooDa 2014 Day 14

HoHoDooDa fight

The first rule of Fight Clause is: You do not talk about Fight Clause.

Why not take a stroll on over here for links to see what the rest of the HoHoDooDa doodlers are doing.

Oh, and if you are wondering what the heck HoHoDooDa is, check this out.


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22. HoHoDooDa 2014 Day… oh who knows

god rest ye merry gentlemen 2

Just when you thought you were safe from puns for the rest of the holidays…

Why not take a stroll on over here for links to see what the rest of the HoHoDooDa doodlers are doing.

Oh, and if you are wondering what the heck HoHoDooDa is, check this out.


1 Comments on HoHoDooDa 2014 Day… oh who knows, last added: 12/22/2014
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23. How to Sketch People: Starting on the Text


At last! This week I have finally started properly writing my book.

I don't need a massive amount of text per spread. I am typically writing 200-300 words of general text on each spread and then the rest is explanation and teaching points attached to specific sketches. That's why the sketch-selection is so important.


The tagging system John devised is working really well. At the touch of a button, it shortlists each category for me, pulling from a pool of over 430 sketches we photographed last week (very glad that job is over), which makes it SO much easier for me to pick the 3 or 4 images I need for each spread.

I don't have to start from the beginning and work my way through chronologically as, for the most part, sections stand alone. My editor explained that, for this kind of publication, people rarely read from start to finish anyway: they tend to dip in and out all over the place. She suggested I begin where I feel most confident. 

So I started with a chapter called Drawing Strangers is Scary. I find that sketchers are very inhibited by the thought that they might be 'caught in the act' while drawing someone, so I have written about tricks for keeping a low profile, but also what happens when you are discovered. The chapter then goes on to look at how you choose people to sketch, thinking about different locations and activities and how easy or tricky they typically are. I couldn't go through every possible option of course, so narrowed it down to 10, which are either recommendations or which have unexpected advantages of disadvantages. This is the chapter where the spread we did for the presentation, about drawing on the train, will go.


Meanwhile, my publisher has sent out a call to various urban sketchers, asking for examples of people-sketches. We won't need many more guest contributors, as I have already selected quite a few, as I mentioned previously, but they say it's good to do, as the perfect image for one of my teaching points may drop into our lap.

These are all sketches which have made the grade into that initial chapter, as far as I am concerned at least (but of course everything still has to be run by my editor and set by my designer - I am not even thinking about layout).


By the way, if you missed the beginning of this project and want to follow the progress of this book from the start, just use the Sketching People label on the right hand panel and scroll down. There have been 10 posts so far.

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24. Urban Sketchers Yorkshire's Christmas Bash


Merry Christmas everybody!

I have been so busy working away on 
my sketching book, that I forgot to tell you about the Christmas party I threw recently. Each year Urban Sketchers Yorkshire has a seasonal do. Sometimes we go out, sometimes it is at my house, as it was this year.


Everyone contributed food and drink, so I didn't have to do any work (my kind of party). T
here was so much to eat! We piled it high then sat round and drew it as we scoffed. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any photos before we'd gobbled the best part of it.

I think at least 25 people turned up throughout the afternoon. To allow people to sit, we had to use both rooms. I cobbled together a 2nd table from coffee tables pushed together, so those in room 2 had some food to draw (as well as nibble on):



After we had finished Round One of eating, I laid a fresh, white (paper) tablecloth under the pudding course in the dining room, and people sketched directly onto that:


It was fun because it was a bit silly, and was a good exercise in being less precious about our work, as we all knew that, inevitably, the cloth was going to be put in the bin at the end of the day:


Then we tried something else which was even more unusual. One of our members from across the Pennines, Mike Dodds, bought a stack of paper espresso cups. We gave them out and everyone sketched what they could see around the room. This is one of my favourites, by Rich Wells:



The little cups were really lovely but, as you can tell above, photos didn't really do them justice so, next day, John and I filmed some of them. Here's one of the little films. Please forgive the amateurishly ragged start and finish - there was no time to mess about editing:


 
Our last game of the afternoon was 'sketch speed-dating'. We crammed about 15 people around the dining table then John rang the old school bell, which you can just see in the background of the film (VERY loud!!). Then we had two minutes to sketch the person opposite. When the time was up, he rang the bell again (poor ears...) and everyone moved one seat along and began again. Here are some of my two minute sketches:


When people had gone, I took some photos of the tablecloth sketches and put them together into a montage:

SketchCrawl Xmas paty: shared tablecloth sketching

It was a really lovely afternoon, with such a great atmosphere. I can't wait until next year, though we have a hard act to follow now, and I will have to think up some more fun things to do...

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25. It's been a very long dry spell...

It's been a very long dry spell with my being able to sit down and draw or paint. A form of this doodle has been in my sketchbook for a while now… I think it's finally time to bring it to life.Here is the first rough sketch. It is a work in progress.

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