Thursday, November 20, 2014

forgive me

I can only apologise, profusely, for what I'm about to do. I hate myself for doing it, but I am about to mention the C-word. 
Yes, as soon as you know, Christmas will be upon us. Well, for once, I've been thinking ahead and I've put this bumper pack of AJ goodies together just in time. This includes my book, 3 zines, bag, badges, postcards, greetings cards & stickers.
You can get your little mits on it HERE.
Sorry, again.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

come together

Last weekend I had one of those perfectly creative weekends. The kind of weekend that I wish all weekends were like (does that sentence even make sense? Do those words even make a sentence?).
SATURDAY
As you may or may not know,  I co-run Dr Sketchy Sheffield. You probably do, I certainly bang on about it enough. But, then why wouldn't I when we are THIS fabulous? This is what we created in the Backroom of a pub in Sheffield last Saturday.
When I say 'we' I'm talking about everyone who is involved in making these events happen, from myself and Lara, who run the shows, to the guys who play the music, take the photos, run the bar, the sketchers, and, of course, our amazing models. Just look how brilliant they are.
These girls are a Burlesque Dance Troupe who call themselves The Yorkshire Puddings. They've modelled for us before and they never fail to blow our socks off.

It has to be said, that I probably do less drawing than if I were just a sketcher, but there's something just as magical about creating the events as there is creating the drawings. Here's a couple of mine below, though, they don't always go to plan...

Big shout out to our Eric Murphy for these fantastic photos. You can see the whole set of them HERE.
 I LOVE Dr Sketchy and look forward to another year of cooking up themes and making this sort of magic happen.
 
SUNDAY
On Sunday I got to do a lot more drawing. It was Urban Sketchers Yorkshire's 50th event, and myself and fellow sketcher, Paul Gent, loosely organised a sketchcrawl/pubcrawl/pubscrawl in Buxton. Paul made the map, above.
 We started at 12 noon and went on into the evening. Just a lovely day, sketching my fellow sketchers.
Mel
Matt
Miriam
And, yes, we had to have a photo, to celebrate our 50th and, yes, I seem to be hiding.
 So, all in all, a perfectly sketchy, creative weekend. It's hard for me to imagine that it is only the last, say, three years that I've been drawing out and about and with people. I spent so long at home, drawing alone, I couldn't be happier that this whole new world opened up to me when I stepped outside of my house to draw. You get good things from being people, and you learn so much too. Thanks to everyone I spent the weekend with. It was a pleasure.
Phew, I'm exhausted now. That was the longest blog post ever!
If you're interested in finding out more and, perhaps, joining us at either Dr Sketchy Sheffield or Urban Sketchers Yorkshire then get in touch with me and I'll fill you in on the details. Or, you can follow the links to our Facebook Groups and have a little look around, get to know us and maybe I'll sketch you soon!
Click on links below;

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

rolling over

Here's another one for the knitters. As I said in my last post, I have been doing some design work for a knitting/wool/yarn centre. This was the finished design for their leaflets, website, promo, etc. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. And, I don't often say that.

The exquisite wools made such a gorgeous subject. The colours were just lush. Plus, I love pattern making which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. You can get your mits on this original, as it's up for sale HERE.

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

all my colours turn to clouds

I've been doing a little design work for a wool/knitting/crocheting centre recently. It took a few attempts to come up with a design that both the client and I were happy with and agreed on. This was one of the earlier attempts and the original is up for sale HERE. yes, I really really need a new phone (see last blog post).

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Monday, November 03, 2014

canned

Thank you for all the lovely, supportive messages throughout my month of sobriety during October. I raised over £300 for the charity, Macmillan Cancer Support. All in all, I've been feeling rather chuffed with myself, for not only getting through the month but for really enjoying it. I've been feeling better than ever.

Then last weekend I somehow managed to drive over my new, uninsured, iPhone. I know, you really don't need to tell me; I am an absolute twonk. So, now I need to raise to money for myself. Over £300 just to pay off the trashed phone and then enough to get a new one (although this time it's probably not going to be a brand new iPhone).

Anyway, that is the reason that I'm selling off a load of original drawings. There'll be more going into my Etsy shop over the next few weeks and I've reduced the prices of the originals already in the shop. Today this one went up for sale. I do like this one, actually. I may have changed the pens I've used over the years, and the paper, and the way I draw, but I can't imagine a time when blues and browns are will not my favourite colour combination.

You can get your paws on this original drawing HERE.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

talking about good things and singing the blues

Another thing I've noticed, since giving up the demon drink, is that you feel very smug when it come to putting your recycling out on the street.

This drawing is from my ballpoint pen zine How To Draw Like A Loon. This zine was previously thought to be out of print but over the weekend I found a handful of them in the boot of my car (as you do!). I have signed and numbered these final few and have put them for sale HERE. I am donating half of the price of them to the Cancer Support charity that I am supporting by going sober throughout October.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

the ghosts of night, the dreams of day

Had a lovely day yesterday, drawing for the love of drawing rather than for work. I always love catching up with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, my sketchcrawling buddies, too. We spent the day at the National Emergency Vehicles Museum in Sheffield. It was right up my tree. Loved the subject matter. I could spend another day, or ten, there. And, maybe even a night; apparently there are many ghosts in this former police and fire station. If you believe in that sort of thing, of course. I don't but I'm willing to have my mind changed.

 There was a very specific colour scheme too. Reds, blacks and a little yellow were the colours of the day. I managed to not take seventeen pencils cases, which is an achievement for me, and narrowed it down to just the three sketchbooks. I always try to take some tools that I wouldn't normally draw with at home. I try and play a bit more on sketchcrawls. It feels like the right place to do that as you often encounter subject matter you wouldn't normally choose to draw. The red Bingo dabber was an inspired choice of pens.

 Here's something I've noticed during October, as I'm participating in Go Sober For October, I do a lot more with my weekends. It's much easier when you're not factoring in a 'big night' or a hangover. That's just another benefit to being sober; doing more stuff with your time. Just look at how my blogging has increased in the last month!

 The museum holds a vast range of fire service related memorabilia that had previously been sitting in attics and local fire stations all over the county and amongst the exhibits were prisoner files from the last century. I found these the most fascinating of all, and below are my drawings of some of the mugshots from around the 1940s. It's funny how just by drawing somebody, spending that time studying someone, you can feel a real connection with them. I don't just want to now more about the faces I drew, I feel an empathy, sympathy, for them. Protective towards them even, like I knew them. I guess what I'm trying to say was that I was touched by them. Maybe I do believe in ghosts.




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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the changing man

Here's just a little (it's all relative) something I knocked up in my sketchbook.
The story of the drawing goes a bit like this...
Sometime back in May I went to my friend, and Dr Sketchy partner, Lara Gothique's fabulous vaudeville extravaganza (I do love that word, extravaganza. In fact, I love both of those words; vaudeville and extravaganza) called Cupid Stunts. I sketched the whole show that evening. I came away with a load of drawings. Over twenty quick sketches.
One of the fabulous artistes that night was a Victorian strong man called Sir Leopold Aleksander. I got a good handful of sketches of him. They were pretty much all as below - simple line drawings.
Over the last couple of weeks, as I have been living a life of sobriety, I seem to have a bit more time on my hands in the evenings. Time to do the things I've wanted to do for ages but not got around to because wine got in the way. Time to go back through my sketchbooks and rework some of those quick sketches that needed a bit of the AJ treatment. So that's what I did with the, now, tattooed gentleman above, and, at some point, will do with the sketch below. Sure, they don't exactly look like the Victorian gent, but that's what happens when you a) sketch in the dark and b) complete the illustration using only your memory and a lot of imagination. And, that's what I love about drawing.
Thanks to Sir Leopold for the use of his body(?!)
Thanks to Lara for her fabulous show.
And thanks to Go Sober For October for giving me the headspace to draw instead of drink wine! 
If you can spare a bob or two please donate to my sobriety challenge. I am raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support. The most worthiest of causes. You can do that HERE.
And if you'd like to see a vaudeville extravaganza, and are in Sheffield next weekend (a long shot, perhaps), Lara is putting on another. Check it out HERE. Take your sketchbook!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Nora

 Hi folks, I have a small, limited edition, set of these bag and badge ('button' in the US?) sets for sale.
The tote bags feature my illustration of Nora Hildebrandt, the original tattooed lady, on the front and back.
 The badges feature a couple of examples of my drawings and a couple of examples of my lettering work.
Also, I'm making a donation, from each set sold, to MacMillan Cancer Support, who I am fund raising for this month - by being sober!
 
You can get your paws on them HERE. Merci!

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

and i say, it's alright

I always think that as long as I come away from a day trip or sketchcrawl or Dr Sketchy or any sort of drawing event or opportunity with one 'good' drawing, or, at least, one drawing that I like, then I'm happy with that. That's all I ask for. Just a memento of the day.
 By the time I was leaving London last week I still had nothing, apart from a few prosaic, pretty average drawings of people on the train there, and it was getting dark. I'd gone to the city with a drawing in mind. There's a sculpture I wanted to see and I'd packed the yellow and orange pens especially for it. But, our time there went so quickly that I didn't even get to see or draw it. But, that's okay, that's another trip
 .I didn't want to leave though, not without something, a souvenir, to take home. So, just before I caught my train back, I dived into a café on the corner of Tottenham Court Road for a cuppa and a draw.
 I missed my next train home. So, I had an extra hour to spend drawing the souvenir shop on the opposite corner. I got another cuppa.
 Is it a 'good' drawing? Do I like it? Not really. It's alright. Ish. But, I feel like that about a lot of my work. I need to close the book and put it away for a while. I almost always feel differently with time between it. Who knows, I might even like my souvenir from London in a few months time. Right now I doubt it, but you never know.
 And here's a couple of prosaic, pretty average sketches of people on the train...

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