Saturday, May 31, 2014

comes a time...

 ...when you just have to stop pissing around, avoiding what needs doing, and buckle down to it.
 This girl, and bench, will be leaving for London VERY soon.
As usual, I've left ALL the work until the last minute, but there's nothing like a deadline to get things moving.
 Anyway, just thought I'd give you a little update on how this project is looking (excuse the poor quality photos).
And the poor quality words too. I've lost the power of speech. Still, just a week of sleepless nights ahead of me and then I'll be back to normal. Whatever that may be.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

get out of town, think i'll get out of town

 Here are the two sketchbook spreads that I mentioned in my last post. Both were made whilst in Amsterdam filming for Sketchbook Skool and both were finished when I got back home.

The top drawing is a drawing that I wanted to make when I went to Amsterdam. I guess I wanted to make it before I went out there. I knew that I wanted to get at least one drawing of those old Dutch tall, thin houses along the canal banks. But, that's not all. When I saw this drawing in my mind, this is the style and these are the lines I wanted to achieve. And, that doesn't always happen. Sometimes, I have no idea where the pen will take me.

The second is a sketch I made at Erasmuspark in Amsterdam. I just added colour pencil at home. I shouldn't have bothered with the lettering though.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

tulips (drawings) from Amsterdam

Last weekend I had a trip to Amsterdam to film my classes for Sketchbook Skool. I'll be a tutor in the second Semester, which kicks off on July 4th. I was met by the co-founder of the skool Koosje Koene and we spent two full days of filming.

I have to say I was more than a little nervous. I am not a natural in the front of the camera, in fact it's probably one of my biggest fears so if you are signing up to the second semester then please understand!

I really enjoyed the whole project, though. More than I thought I could, which was thanks to Koosje. I think we worked well together and I hope that my videos will be enjoyable, informative and useful, despite my awkwardness.

As well as filming we got to hang out in Koosje's neighbourhood a little. We ate some great food (those guys really know how to eat well) and, of course, we did a little bit of drawing.

I remember, at one point, discussing, with her, some of the other sketchers I'd met over the last few years and saying "some of them are REALLY obsessive, really hardcore sketchers". I then proceeded to make 17 drawings in my short stay! Turns out I might just be a little bit obsessive myself.

Here are thirteen of the sketchbook pages I made. I also did a couple of 'finish at home' jobbies - which I'll post later. And, of course, one drawing that will be revealed at Sketchbook Skool. The other sketch I made was so bad NOBODY will ever be seeing it. Koosje asked what I do if one of my pages goes wrong. I said "collage". Her musician husband, Pascal, said "ah, in music we call it a medley". I liked that quote.

One evening we sat outside a great restaurant, in the sun, where Koosje and Pascal are regulars. I drew the  guy in the cap, below, whom Koosje called 'an old sock' - which is an expression for a young guy person who has an old soul (I guess). Again, I liked that expression and the magpie in me will be flying off with these and storing them for future use.

Koosje also remarked on how quickly I made my sketches. That, again, is something I'd never noticed about my own drawing. And it came as a surprise to hear, as over the past few years I've sat labouring over drawings that take hours and hours and hours. But, she is quite right. It's true.

I've taught myself how to draw really quickly more recently. Yes, I still do my long highly worked-up time consuming drawings, but I've also learnt to capture things as they are happening. It's not only a totally new way of drawing for me but it has also opened up a whole new way of seeing the world. I'll tell you how I did that sometime - but that's another film/class/blog/song.
So, that was my weekend. I had no idea at the beginning of May that I'd be making this trip so it was an unexpected surprise. I also got an extra day in Amsterdam to wonder around, in the sunshine, drawing whatever took my fancy.
When I look at the drawings I made there it makes me realise how far I have come in the last few years. Just two or three year ago, I'd never have been able to do this stuff. I'd never have drawn people on the plane, in the park, having coffee. But that's what keeping a sketchbook or illustrated journal does. It's not just a place to document your life, but also somewhere to work on your skills and techniques.

 And, just one more observation I made on this trip; if you ever thought that being cabin crew was a glamorous job then you ain't ever been on the weekend stag-party flights from the UK to Amsterdam. Those guys deserve medals.

Monday, May 12, 2014

fruit tree, fruit tree

So here's another thing I have on this month; I am exhibiting, as part of the Derbyshire Open Arts weekend, on the 24th-26th, at Pear Tree CafĂ© in Whaley Bridge. That's if I have anything to put on the walls. I've never had so much work on. I'm not complaining. I just can't quite keep up.
I'm off to Amsterdam shortly to film my classes for next semester's Sketchbook Skool. And then there's the little issue of the MASSIVE book/bench, in my living room, that I have to start, I mean finish, by the end of this month. That'll then be making it's way down to the streets of London ready for the Books About Town trail which begins in July. 
 I'm exhausted just thinking about it all. Coffee! Please!! Make mine a quadruple espresso.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

cupid stunts

On Saturday night I went to sketch a Vaudeville extravaganza in the gorgeous Art Deco Library Theatre in Sheffield, called 'The Velvet Burlesque presents Cupid Stunts'. The show was all down to the sheer hard work and creativity of my Dr Sketchy partner, Burlesque teacher and performer, Lara Gothique.

I sketched the whole show, from beginning to end.
I sketched from before the doors opened...
 To the audience members arriving...
Some of them dressed to the nines...
 I sketched all the amazing acts. From fabulous Burlesque...
to a Victorian strongman.
And, I also sketched all those unexpected moments, that didn't go quite to plan, in between... 
 Plus, I sketched the audience's reaction to those moments...
I've wanted to sketch a whole show like this for a while. It's fast furious drawing. These are just a fraction of the sketches I made. Not bad for, basically, drawing in the dark.
Next time I'd like to venture backstage and draw the build up to the show too. Really get amongst the sequins and feathers. What do you think, Lara?