Friday, November 30, 2012

you've come a long way baby

When I began my first travel themed journal I filled it with the souvenirs I'd brought from my trips. Because back then I would never draw in front of people, and so I could draw the souvenirs from the privacy of my own home. In fact, when I made my second little zine I wrote inside "I am a reluctant public sketcher. Actually, that is a big fat understatement. The thought of drawing in public fills me with horror". That was about three years ago.

 And, here I am today. drawing on planes, and in airports, cafes, parks and streets. I made the sketches, above, on the way back from France. I was sat with a really nice French guy who watched me draw through the whole flight. He commented on my sketches and even suggested the passengers who I should draw. The guy who is asleep in the middle of the page was looking over my shoulder at what I was doing (when he'd woken up, obviously!) and the flight attendant came over to take a look. I didn't mind. At all.

 I don't know what has changed in a relatively short space of time. I'm certain it's not one thing. Sure, my confidence has grown and I worry less that people will think my work is rubbish. When I reflect on how far I've come it inspires me to keep on going. And, to keep pushing myself in directions that I never thought I'd go. Roads I never thought I'd travel down. Learning as much as I can to become the best illustrator that I can be. 'Cos, I love drawing. It's as simple as that really; I just love drawing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

after the rush when you come back down

It's taken a little time, after the Clermont Ferrand exhibition, to start getting back to normal. There's so much to process. So many exciting potential opportunities. That's the thing about an event like that (actually, there are not many events like that), it's not just the taking part and the sharing of you work whilst you are there. It's also all the little acorns you plant in people's minds and memories.

These are the things I have been pondering as I've done three loads of laundry today.

Oh, and if you are interested, there's a lovely little review about the Clermont exhibition, by my new sketching friend Omar Jaramillo, on the Urban Sketchers website HERE.

Friday, November 23, 2012

have you got a pen?

 For those who have asked, over the course of last weekend, I do indeed sell greetings cards with my drawings on. Well, I personally don't but do. And, there's 30% off until next Monday. With an offer like that I'm getting some myself!
They sell a range called 'have you got a pen?' which include these drawings amongst others. Here are the links; greetings cards, postcards and mini Moos.

And don't forget these limited edition Andrea Joseph bracelets are also available at Wristpix.
Excuse me for peddling my wares. But, I haven't done it for sometime. You'll forgive me, won't you? Cheers.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked, the way she'd act, the colour of her hair

The evening after I got back from France I went to a Dr. Sketchy event in Sheffield. It was called 'Drawn of the Dead' and  had a very spooky zombie theme.
After the high of the exhibition in Clermont Ferrand, and the way I've been feeling recently, it was EXACTLY what I needed.
 Not only did I get to play with my pens but also got to catch up with my sketching buddies, which was long overdue.
Really, really, enjoyed the evening. But, then, I always enjoy Dr. Sketchy. Music, wine, friends, drawing and zombies. What's not to like?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

it was raining outside but my love still shined

Hello folks. Once again, I am apologising for the lack of recent activity on my blog. I'm not blaming my drawing funk this time, but I do have a good excuse. I have been in France exhibiting my work at the wonderful Rendez-Vous du Carnet de Voyage exhibition. A big HELLO to all the lovely people I met there and a big THANKS for showing such an overwhelming interest in my work. There is nothing better than being able to share my sketchbooks with people 'in the flesh', so to speak. Nothing.

Anyway, more on that shortly. I need to unpack and catch up with my mail and all that stuff that goes on when you are in another world and another country. For now, here's a drawing I made on the plane back home.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

out of the sinking

Here's a piece that I have made for an upcoming exhibition organised by Cardboard Shelter (a charity that raises money and awareness about homelessness). They can explain, what they do, better than I can, so, if you are interested, check out their website HERE. Plus, there's some lovely artwork to look at.

But, the gist of it is that a bunch of artists contribute a piece of work, to be sold at the exhibition. No themes and just one rule; the artwork must be on cardboard. 'The idea of the cardboard canvas is a nod towards the material which provides shelter to many homeless'. I pinched that quote from their site. See, I told you they could explain it better.

For this piece, I reworked one of the sketches I'd made at a Dr. Sketchy event, of the lovely Hell's Belle, on a piece of cardboard from an old, used, sketchbook (what else?). I knew that I kept those old pieces of cardboard for a reason.

Making this got me thinking; I hardly ever draw on coloured paper. I don't know why. I must do it more often. I like the effect and the tones I got from blending the graphite pencil into the grey board. But, don't hold your breath, I was saying something similar when I contributed to this good cause some time ago. Check THIS out.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

why i went missing

I've been banging on about this drawing funk for some time. Now, I'm not saying that this is the only factor, but it is certainly a BIG one. Recently, I've had to make some adjustments to my lifestyle. A couple of health scares, or warnings, have made me realise that things could not go on as they were and that I needed to make changes.

I've had to change my sleep patterns and go to bed at a more civilised time - rather than staying up all hours, drawing through the night. And, I've had to get up off my arse. My ever increasing arse. Since I started drawing I've just drawn obsessively. I couldn't tear myself away from my sketchbooks. But, I've done absolutely no exercise in these last few years. Really. Nothing.

So, finally, I've decided (well, my body did) that it was time to get up out of the chair and to start moving. It's funny, people often commented about how my drawings had such a stillness to them. It makes sense really, I was sat still, very still, whilst making them.

It feels good to be moving about and I hope that in time this view, the one I've been looking at for so long, will get slimmer. However, there has been one BIG side effect; the blank page. The dreaded blank page.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

for the roses

I can always tell when a new term has started from the amount of mail I get from students who have decided to study my work (I never fail to be astounded by that). If you are one of those students, I am very sorry but I just do not have the time to answer all of your questions. But, just for you, here's a little post that may make your research a little easier.
Here are a couple of previous posts on how I might go about creating one of my drawings, in this case a shoe;
How to draw the Adidas Gazelle (as seen above) HERE
How to draw a Converse boot HERE.
Here's a few interviews too. One for the excellent Empty Kingdom, Funky 44 and you can find a three-parter by searching the charming Make Do and Mend.
If that's not enough you could always purchase my zines. They contain a whole load of info (how I create the stuff I do, pen reviews, etc, etc). I hope that helps. Plus, of course, this is a whole blog that'll tell you everything you need to know (and everything that I want people to know). Go, do your research!

You can also follow me on Twitter, for all updates of new drawings and blog posts, HERE. Cheers, my dears.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

we're in for more rain

Well, another couple of weeks have passed and I am still finding it difficult to pick up a pen and draw. I made this little one some time back, in my mini Moleskine sketchbook, at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Tomorrow my sketch crawl group return to the park, for lots of sketching goodness, but I'll be working the day job so I won't even have a sketchcrawl to kick start some drawing. It's okay though. As frustrating as these periods are, I know it will pass. It will, it will, it WILL pass.

Huge thanks for all your kind and supportive messages in response to my last couple of posts. I'll have some drawings to share soon.

Monday, October 01, 2012

you can still hear sweet mysteries calling you

You know, I do this every single year; I think 'hmmm, I'm sure it's my blog's birthday soon' and then find out it was last week some time. Yep, six years of blogging. It's been an amazing six years for me. I've got nothing but love my blog but I often wonder whether blogging is still relevant. Do you know what I mean? With the rise and rise of social networking, and so many places to post ones work, I sometimes wonder whether blogging is a thing of the past. Anyway, while people still continue to visit, I'll keep on going.
I also always intend to do some birthday related drawing but that never happens either. Here is a new drawing, though. Like the last post, this one is also from my graphic novel idea. I'm really getting into (obsessing over) this idea, and story, again. It's hard to give time to these projects, with everything else going on, so I long for the day that a publisher agrees that this book needs to go to print and I get to give it the time it really deserves.
If you'd like to read the letter to Edward then click on the drawing.
And, if you'd like to see the rest of the book (so far) click HERE.
Finally, Happy belated sixth Birthday to my blog. I loves ya.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

wish i knew you well

A big thanks, guys, for the response to my last post. It's been a difficult couple of weeks - which I will blog about, shortly. I've been struggling with desperately wanting to draw but not being able to pick up a pen. I'm not sure that I'm out of the drawing funk wilderness quite yet but earlier in the week I sat down with my sketchbook to put something down on paper. I wanted to draw something without thinking too much. Something from deep down. And this is what happened! Actually, I don' think it's anywhere near finished yet but I just wanted to post something.
You may know that I have many sketchbooks on the go at one time. At a rough guess, I reckon I currently have about ten that I dip in and out of. And, I theme them. Yes, yes, I know it's sad. For this drawing I reached for a Moleskine sketchbook that holds the idea for a graphic novel I'm working on. I think it's an amazing idea. My next step is to find a publisher who feels the same. So, if you should know of any publishers just waiting for a graphic novel crammed with obsessively detailed drawings, as well as joy, pain, beauty, rage, sadness, courage and love then please send them THIS LINK. Ta!

Monday, September 17, 2012

but something real to me

 A while back I did this project for Buxton Festival's production of James and the Giant Peach. I produced a number of drawings that were used as backdrops to the performance. It was a great experience all round, especially seeing the final production and my drawings so BIG.

For some time now I've sat drawing. And drawing. For around about seven years in fact. Since I picked up my pens, back then, I've never stopped. I've always felt that, because I haven't been drawing for a huge amount of time (relatively speaking), I need to squeeze as much of it into my day, into my life, as possible. This has meant that other areas in my life have suffered and been neglected whilst I just draw draw draw.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Drawing has become everything to me. It's taken over my life. I feel it might be time to think about redressing the balance. But just thinking about it has thrown me into a bit of a funk. Wondering how I do that - because I still love drawing so much. If anyone has all the answers please let me know. 'Cos, I'm struggling.
Photographs courtesy of Buxton Festival.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

a nice cup of tea and a sit down

Last Saturday our sketch crawling group met at Sheaf Valley park in Sheffield. The event was an open day to celebrate how this piece of wasteland has been developed into a park with amphitheatre. Our sketchcrawl group had a stall/stand at the open day so that we could share the drawings that we have made of the city over the last couple of years. We were also pomoting sketchcrawling and signing up new members. I made the drawing above, of the said amphitheatre, whilst taking my turn in manning the stall.

An open day is brilliant for sketch crawling with all sorts of different events going on; live music, dancing, dog show, etc. There was an a amazing traditional Mexican dance group, Son de America, who brought colour, sunshine and big smiles to the day. They were a little reminder of all the fabulous and diverse things that people are doing througout our cities to bring some joy into our own and other people's lives. A bit like sketchcrawling, really.

Just across from our stall was a vintage 1950s tea and cake stand which was a gift for us sketchers. I could have spent the whole day just drawing that alone; lovely ladies and girls serving proper tea in china cups from proper tea pots whilst looking gorgeous. Oh, and homemade cakes. I didn't really make the most of that drawing opportunity because I got so distracted by everything else going on. I did however, at the end of the day, as things were winding down, make this little drawing of one of the girls sitting down for a well deserved cuppa.

Another great day with my sketchcrawling buddies.

Monday, September 10, 2012

a shaggy dog's tale

click on drawing to view
On Saturday our sketchcrawl group attended an open day for a park in Sheffield. It was an afternoon choc full of all sorts of drawing opportunitiess. There was music, dancing, food all the kind of stuff you'd expect to find at such an event. I managed to make a few drawings which I'll post shortly, but for now, here's a drawing from my favourite part of the day; the dog show. And, specifically, the 'waggiest tail' round.

Now, I don't know if you've ever tried to draw the waggiest tail round of a dog show? Well, if not, I can tell you, it's not easy. There's a whole lot of wagging going on.

Monday, September 03, 2012

turns my whole world misty blue

An update on this commissioned drawing here. I started step-by-stepping it a little while back (you can see the first stage in this post) but due to some urgent deadlines it has progressed very slowly.
On a personal level this really is one of the most important drawings I've ever made. Probably THE most important. The commissioner (is that even a word?) gave me free reign over everything - subject, size, materials.
Whilst that's the best kind of commission it does present you with a different kind of pressure from working to a brief. But, it also shows an amount of trust that touches me deeply. This image just came into my head as I drove home the day it was commissioned. I have no idea where from. And, I LOVE that.
I've not only been step-by-stepping it here, but also with the person who I am painting it for. I take it to show him at various stages and we talk about it and what it means to both of us. He said it reminded him of Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott (which again touches me no end). Not only do I love that poem but my all time favourite painting is Waterhouse's version - SEE.
When this image popped into my head it came fully formed. I knew exactly how I wanted it to look. I wanted to create a piece of work that paid the same kind of attention to detail that the Pre Raphaelite's would have. It's a big piece too; over A2 in size. Which is why it's difficult for me to share with you - excuse the rubbish photographs.
The deadline for this piece is the 17th of September, when it needs to be finished and framed. So, basically what I'm looking at is two weeks, whilst working the day job and other illustration jobs, to create my Pre Raphaelite masterpiece.

No, need really. I'll say it to myself; good luck with that!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

and it's you and it's me

A couple of drawings from the last two Dr Sketchy Sheffield events here. Above is the lovely Ieva modelling at the Greystone's pub, Sheffield. My fellow sketchy mates and I discussed this pose on our drive home that night, and all agreed it was definitely the most difficult of the evening. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when I got back and looked at this drawing. I'm just not so sure now I see it on screen.
So onto Tom, who I believe, was out first male model. This was at the Dr.Sketchy/Tramlines festival. When he first got into this position I wasn't confident about being able to make him look, um, human even. But, the best thing, I find, is to stop listening to those voices in your head and not even attempt to make a 'good' drawing. It's at that point you can relax and just play with your pens.
And, just in case you don't believe I drew this (not that there's any reason you shouldn't!) here I am in action. My drawings were also used to advertise this event, as you can see below and here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

tell me, have you seen me?

Friday night saw the first ever evening meet for our Sketchcrawl Sheffield group. And, what a gorgeous art filled evening it was. We started at the preview evening of illustrator Mick Marston's stunning exhibition, Outlook Gloomy, with  Bright Intervals, at Pete McKee's ultra smart little gallery in Sheffield. It's a really clever, funny and oh so stylish exhibition and if you are in Sheffield you must visit. I insist.
Afterwards, we met up with some other sketchcrawlers and continued our evening at a Moroccan restaurant, Ottos. Coincidentally, the first time I visited Pete's gallery, some months ago, I made a sketch of the restaurant from my car (above). It was because of that sketch I ended up booking this place. You see, iillustrated journals can come in very handy in so many ways; from passing five minutes in your car to booking somewhere to eat!

Anyhow, whilst it was not so easy at a table filled with cutlery, crockery, glasses and drinks I managed a couple of the drawings. And, I'm sure we'll do it again.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

hanging out my old love letters

The problem with having lots of illustration work on is that all of one's own projects get pushed aside. Not that I'm complaining about having lots of work on. I live to draw. I did, however, take a little time out, from the paid work, to make this drawing above. I got the letter, and felt heart, through the mail the other day. It had to be drawn and I haven't finished with it yet. Nope, I just cannot resist Air Mail. And just to prove it, here are some of my old love letters...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

feelin' allright

I did these two quick sketches, of my nephew, the weekend before last, when my family came to stay. I took a long weekend off from drawing (apart from these) because I knew that right up until mid September my eyes are going to be taking a right old battering, so to speak. Yes, I have so much drawing work on that I've also had to take time off from my day job.
It might only be a month off work but it marks a milestone for me. For this month, for the first time, I am an illustrator. A full time illustrator. And, it feels pretty good. Pretty good.