Sunday, April 12, 2015

the fear of a people sketcher


Yesterday I went back to Gallery Oldham where I'd previously done research for the Museum job that I've talked about in my last posts. This time though I returned for a little mini sketch meet up with some friends.
When I was there last time I made this sketch, below, of the guy who worked in the gallery's lovely Naked Bean cafe. It was a sneaky sketch, I didn't show him but I did post the sketch on Twitter and the cafe saw it. They said that he loved it - even though i'd made him look pretty grumpy in it. Which he wasn't. He was the opposite to grumpy. 
Anyway, yesterday, when I returned and with the knowledge he was happy with the sketch I took the opportunity to get a photo of him with it. He said "I've never been drawn before. It made my day. I put it on Facebook and everything".
think the fear for all of us that sketch people is their response to it. Will they be offended? Will they hate it? I know it's my fear which is why I don't often show them. But his response made my day. This time it paid off.

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Monday, April 06, 2015

tamping!

My new zine, The Tamp, now has an advert. yes, I've hit the big time. This minature zine is not only a tiny newspaper but also a puzzle. The puzzle is putting the thing together and specifically getting the pages in the correct order. It'll only make sense if they are in the right order. I say 'make sense'...
The newspaper has a tiny comic strip, a tiny film and book review, tiny classified ads. So, as the man says 'READ ALL ABOUT IT!'. Limited print run, get your copy HERE.

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Sunday, April 05, 2015

getting with the programme

So, I'll be honest, this is basically a test post. For a long time my blog has just been chugging along. There was a time, way back when, when I would blog, religiously, a few times a week. Then social media happened.
Like many people, I suppose, I started 'blogging' there. It seemed easier. I'm not really interested in sharing the ins and outs of my life online, or social media, but sharing my artwork through those platforms seemed to make sense. Blogging suddenly seemed like much more of an effort. I mean you had to switch in the laptop and all that palaver. 
I blamed blogging, and blogs, for that - for being behind the times. Not catching up with social media. But it was me that was behind the times and not keeping up with the technology. It hadn't even dawned in me to download the Blogger app. But now I have. 
I took these photos on Friday. My friend and I, Kate of Emily Pickle design (haven't worked out if it's possible to add a link when blogging on your phone. Anyone?) took her 'pencil case' out to the pub to draw. Her pencil case/make up bag is filled with all sorts of goodies I'd never have dreamtof using to draw with. The drawing above is made with glitter mascara, liquid eyeliner and Christmas wrapping tapes amongst other things. I loved experimenting with all this stuff. I'll never look at an old eyeliner in the same way again.

Right, I'm going to put the laptop on to see how this worked out....

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Museum Week

 If you've followed my work in the past, you may know that a favourite subject matter of mine is collections. I've drawn collections of keys, badges, matchboxes, pens, buttons and souvenirs to name but a few. I've drawn souvenirs of all kinds, like in the drawing above, which comes from an entire sketchbook of collection drawings. Well, recently I've been commissioned by Greater Manchester Museum Group to create four drawings based on their collections from four of their museums.
I'm so thrilled about getting this gig. I've always wanted to draw museums' collections. I used to dream that I'd get a job cataloguing them all. It would be my perfect job, but unfortunately photography happened and then computers and so the call for museum collection illustrators and cataloguers waned. But, anyway, now I have the opportunity. My problem is how do you make just one drawing from each museum?
Well, firstly we narrowed it down by choosing the four museums from Greater Manchester's 21 venues. The first was Stockport's Hat Works Museum which is the building in the picture above. I already knew of, and love, this place. In fact we did a sketchcrawl there just a few weeks ago. It contains everything you need to know about hat making and the most amazing hats. But, not only do I get to visit the museums, but I also got the opportunity of looking through their archives and storage. This has been such a privilege, rooting through the stores, holding history (and antique top hats) in my hands.
 The second collection I'll be drawing is the Egyptology collection from Bolton Museum. They have an impressive collection of  Egyptology artefacts. Unfortunately, I didn't get the best photos from that trip but I did get a sketch of a dinosaur before I left the building!
 My third collection is from the natural History collections of Oldham Museum. I spent the best few hours with the curator, down in the cellar archives, surrounded by so many treasures of nature, whilst being educated on bugs and butterflies and birds nest. Actually, that too has been another joy and privilege of this whole experience, learning about, not just Natural History, the social history of this region and about the collectors. Learning from passionate people.
Again, I managed to sneak some sketching in before leaving the building. Well, what else do you do when waiting for the rain to stop?
 Today was my final visit and final collection. For that I went to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment to view their medal collections. I wasn't quite prepared by how touching an experience that would be. I shed a tear or two reading the heart breaking stories of the soldiers who lost their lives.
So, that's what I'm working on right now. My drawings were commissioned by the Museum Group for a new online shop they are building, which is coming soon. Very soon. Which reminds me, I don't have time to sit here blogging, I've got (a lot of) work to do.....
 
Oh, and unbeknownst to me, and quite coincidentally, this is actually Museum Week 2015. So Happy #MuseumWeek one and all. Go visit a museum because museums are great places. 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

something old something new something borowed...

I've a few original artworks, in my Etsy shop, going cheap.
The drawing above is brand new. I did it while waiting in the car park, in a local village, Hayfield, here in Derbyshire. It's the village where the BBC production called, funnily enough, The Village is filmed. Throughout the filming Hayfield was transformed into a village from 1914. Which basically means that they hardly did anything to it. It really hasn't changed much in a hundred years. 
Below, is an oldie.
You can find them both, and some others, HERE.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

one of the issues of working with marker pens

Saturday, March 21, 2015

a bit about creating poster artwork

Amongst all the other illustration work I do, I also co-run Dr Sketchy Sheffield and, so, being the sketching half of the team (my co-running partner is from the performance arts), I create the poster artwork. It's one of my favourite things to illustrate. Because it makes me feel closer to the poster artists, from days gone by, who's work I adore. I wish there were more call for poster artists. These days it's all done digitally so I like to buck that trend with purely illustrated posters (and I wouldn't have a clue how to do it digitally).

Now once we've set our theme for our Dr Sketchy event the idea for the poster image pretty much comes to me straight away. Sometimes without even having to think about it. Really, it's just there. I see it - the whole poster - fully formed. I then just need to put it onto paper.

Our next event (next Saturday, at the Greystones, Sheffield!) will be a celebration of dance. We have performers from different genres of dance modelling and, erm, dancing for us. We have a belly dancer, a breakdancer, a bhangra dancer amongst others. So, already I knew I had to get that info into the drawing. The first and original thought was of the kind of drawing in the image above. I think it's important to go with that initial idea if it has presented itself to you. I love those 'consequences' drawings. I've heard them called other things and somebody once told me that they were known as 'exquisite cadaver' drawings. I think that's such a great name, which conjures up all sorts of weird and wonderful images, so I'll be sticking with that.

I made a few exquisite cadaver sketches, like the one above, to try it out. To see if it worked. I'll be honest with you, I think the trial run above is still my favourite. I guess that's because it was the most spontaneous. Then when I'd got one that I felt would work as a poster image I sketched it out onto a 'proper' bit of paper. I always add the image first, leaving room for the text. Sometimes I will play around with where I want to place the image. I did with this one - I tried her on both sides of the page and central before settling on this composition.

For the text I always quickly research (Google) posters or fonts until I find something that fits. For example, I'll Google 'Bollywood poster fonts' or some such thing. This one was a combination of various fonts because of the variety of dance genres. When I find a font I like I loosely copy it. I don't measure out the letters, nothing technical happens, I just copy it by eye (is that even a saying? It looks odd now it's typed out). I don't want it to look exactly like the fonts I find. I want it to be my own version of them.

Anyway, that's a little (ish) explanation of how I create my posters. Now anyone want a poster illustration? I'm for hire. I'm always for hire.
 

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Monday, March 16, 2015

i drew a car


The Jaguar E-type has recently been voted Britain's favourite classic cars in this poll. I was commissioned to produce a drawing of it. It's not surprising that it is in the number one spot as it really is a thing of beauty.

I used pencil (a soft thick 4B) and marker pens, to make this drawing, both of  which are drawing materials that I've recently started using. I've never been much of a pencil girl. It doesn't really do it for me, but I kinda like these soft pencils now and again. The marker pen has been a revelation and I can't get enough of them these days. I did all the darker tones and areas with the markers, and it struck me that at one point I would have filled all that in with tiny cross hatched fine lines. Just the thought of doing that, now, brings me to tears.

You can see the rest of the list of Britain's favourite cars, and if you vote you can actually win this drawing HERE.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

the clay pot against the iron pot

A little while back I was asked why my book was more expensive in my shop as opposed to on Amazon. It is a good question. It is a fair question. I tried to answer it in an illustration. How else?
It is an issue that faces all of us that run a small business. There's no way of competing with the big guys, no way at all, there is no point in trying. But we do have an advantage over them and that is the service we give.
I am not making big bucks off my book, hell, I forgot to even mention, in this illustration, that I have to buy my book off my publisher in the first place - as well as the currency conversion and bank charges that that entails too. That's before the, above, process even begins. No, I'm just scraping by. Always just scraping by.
But when you do buy from a small business or independent seller/artist you are also supporting them in creating their work. Thank you for that. I really don't mind where people buy my book from. It is an honour that they do buy it at all.  
I'm glad I was asked this question. It's an important one and it gave me the chance to try and answer it. Quite coincidentally, I was chatting with my publisher, whilst I was in the middle of this drawing, about the price issue when he said "in French we say 'le pot de terre contre le pot de fer'. It's a kind of  David and Goliath" and that's how this drawing got the title.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

a strange dust lands on your hands

This week my class, at Sketchbook Skool, has come around again. The course is called 'Seeing' and is about, well, seeing. Really looking at your subject and perhaps seeing all those details that, if you weren't drawing, you'd never notice. I try to demonstrate this through one of my collection drawings.
Here are a couple of my drawings of one collection - my friend's collection of keys to be precise. They belonged to her father who had all sorts of collections. Most of these, I believe, were from model railways and clocks. I love keys. I love the symbolism of them and all the stories they could tell and doors the could unlock. I'm particularly happy with the drawing below. Don't know why. I just like it.
If you're interested, you can find out more about becoming a student at Sketchbook Skool HERE.

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