The world has changed considerably since my last blog post a couple of weeks ago when I shared my new exhibition: About Ashton in the market hall Ashton-Under-Lyne. As we end our first week in lockdown in the U.K. every day seems to present some fresh unfamiliar challenges. Whether around health, family, money, work-the list seems endless. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and consumed by it. But on reflection, taking stock and forging new approaches could be just what we need.Continue reading
As of today, Tuesday 17th March 2020, my About Ashton exhibition is on show in the Market Hall, Ashton-Under-Lyne!! You can read more about the venue in a previous blog here. After a few months putting this work together, it feels like a mixture of excitement, nerves and relief! On a practical note, it is likely that many fewer people will get to see it in person than we originally thought. This is because of the unprecedented times we are witnessing with Corvid19. But I want people to be able to have a good look at it and hear what it’s all about. Even if they can’t get to the market hall.Continue reading
I’ve delivered a wide variety of exciting commissioned illustration projects throughout 2019. These include: a number of building-related commercial pieces. A wedding in Cheshire. Several key reportage (visual journalism) illustration projects and a book cover! Although I have shared some of these projects in dedicated blogs, this blog is an overview of some of these illustration projects.Continue reading
Manchester Histories, in partnership with Manchester City Council, commissioned me to document ‘From the Crowd‘ in a series of Reportage of Peterloo 2019 illustrations. You can read more of my reportage work here. This Peterloo 2019 production is a musical theatre piece, co-produced with Walk The Plank and Brighter Sound and involving a large number of volunteers (Laurels). These volunteers then supported members of the public to deliver this impressive collaborative performance. In the words of the production’s Creative Director, Evie Manning (CommonWealth): ” From the crowd is a dialogue between 1819 and 2019. We’ll be remembering those that protested and lost their lives at Peterloo and those whose lives today are affected by different oppressions”Continue reading
This blog is about the types of sketches I create and their different functions.Continue reading
This last week I took part in the oneweek100people challenge, promoted through the Urban sketchers social media sites. The idea is that you post your people sketches on line each day and try to hit 100 in the week. This is the first year I actually completed the task and it got me thinking about the importance of continued practice, continually learning and honing skills. This is important both to improve my own art but also to be a good teacher. In two weeks time I will be starting my own series of sketchbook sketching day workshops in my studio.Continue reading
Over the last few years, I have developed an interest in capturing events and activities through drawing. This so called reportage approach has so many outlets! I have been commissioned to capture reportage: one-off events, weddings and festivals and series of activities to name a few. Telling stories of places and occasions through drawing is my passion! With a background in landscape design, I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to record a garden Masterclass in drawings recently. This blog describes the day. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I blogged on here. No excuses so I’ve decided to get back to it with a post about Persevering with People drawing. In fact capturing people (in my drawings) is something that is often on my mind (perhaps more so than any other element of drawing). This is because capturing busy places and people is a focus of some of my commissioned reportage work, including weddings and other events. My view is that like most aspects of drawing, constant practice is required and maybe this is even more so with people! When I don’t draw people for a while I definitely notice and find it more difficult. The way I capture people, the materials, the type of drawing, the level of detail etc, is also a source of internal debate! Continue reading
Last week I was sketching in Porto! I was fortunate enough to get over to Porto in Portugal for the 9th Urban Sketching Symposium. Continue reading
Last weekend I attended a wedding at Tower Bridge where I was commissioned to draw the occasion. You can read more about my drawing at weddings here. Usually, as I am based near Manchester, my weddings are in the North West. Often my clients are very familiar with my work and drawing style and like my reportage approach! Despite that, there is always a degree of nerves, especially ones at such impressive venues as Tower Bridge and Dickens Inn, St Katherine’s Dock!
Since January of this year I’ve been working on a little exhibition of my work called: From Chorlton To The City. The exhibition is at The World Peace Cafe, The Kadampa Meditation Centre, Chorlton. The preview is on Friday 4 th May 5-8 pm. In this second part of a two-part discussion about the work (you can read the first part here), I’ll explain the illustration techniques I’ve used. There are 3 different types of images in the exhibition: Colour-first sketches; Ink-first maps and Collages. Each approach requires specific techniques.
Since January of this year I’ve been working on a Chorlton exhibition of my work called: From Chorlton To The City. The exhibition will be held at The World Peace Cafe, The Kadampa Meditation Centre, Chorlton. The preview is on Friday 4 th May 5-8 pm. In this first part of a two-part discussion about the work, I’ll explain what the exhibition is all about.
I can’t believe that we are already into February and My last blog was over a month ago! To be fair I have moved and it does take a while to settle and organise. Excuses aside it’s good to be back! As this is my first blog of the year I thought I’d share my plans for 2018. I’m really looking forward to the challenges of some new approaches: The ‘What Next’? My commissioned reportage work including several weddings (London and the North West) will also continue to be a focus of my time this year. I am also always on the look out for new reportage projects. Here are some additional things to keep me busy!: Continue reading
Last week,after 11 years living at Irlam’O’Th’ Heights , SaIford M6, and several of them spent sketching Salford, I fled for the hills. (Mossley to be precise!) Actually, it took a number of trips, over several days and there was little in the way of fleeing! This post shares a small selection of my illustrations of Salford completed over the last few years ( I wasn’t sketching regularly when I first arrived). They range from the streets immediately surrounding where I lived to the well known public locations that Salford has to offer like Salford Quays. There are stories associated with many of them and I will mention a few as I go.
The starting place-The streets around where I lived
It was whilst walking my greyhound down Sumner Road in Irlams ‘O’Th’Heights that I had this need to be able to draw my surroundings more effectively! As a trained designer, I was frustrated with my drawing abilities and decided I needed to draw much more regularly (and better!). From that day, I just made a start, then I joined Manchester Urban Sketchers. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sketching Salford: Museum and Art Gallery
For the last couple of years I have been a member of Salford Art Club that meets and exhibits at the Salford Art Gallery. Coincidentally, as of 9th December 2017 there is a Manchester and Salford Urban Sketching Exhibition at the Art Gallery. Like a number of other urban sketchers, I have several pieces in the exhibition.
Sketching Salford: in Monton
I often went to Monton to sketch. It has an interesting high Street and the Bridgewater canal runs nearby. I was also invited to capture the Bridgewater Weekender day held on Worsley Green.
Sketching Salford: those well known places and famous buildings
There are numerous amazing buildings and well known areas in Salford, including:Salford Quays, Media City and Salford Lads Club. The very first sketch I had printed and sold was of the Lowry. War Horse was running a the Lowry and one of the lead actors saw my sketch of the venue, including the WarHorse trailer. He was keen to buy a copy, which we did. We also auctioned a copy, signed by all the warhorse actors, for charity.
Sketching Salford before I left
Although the weeks before and during the move were hectic, I managed to create these last black and white sketches. They include the local streets and some views/buildings (like my local garage) that I had always had in mind to sketch, but hadn’t! I have only recently created black and white sketches as a matter of course. Now that I have the Duke Confucius 551 fude, I am enjoying the simplicity and clarity of these simple drawings.
Salford, I’m going to miss you. Because you won’t be on my doorstep, I will not be sketching you regularly. But I will be back. Onwards and Upwards, quite literally as I am in the Hills now in Mossley, Tameside. I will be posting my local sketches and those further afield as usual so please stay tuned for more of my sketching adventures. Wishing you all a very peaceful and healthy 2018. Thank you all so much for all your support and comments in the last year and here’s to a fabulous 2018 for us all!
I can’t believe that its been so long since I posted on here, the topic of this blog will give you a better understanding of why!
I have never been a very fast sketcher so snappy sketching has not been a particular focus. This is despite the fact that I do a lot of capturing things as they are happening in my drawings!- my subjects are very varied from weddings to events and special occasions to the development of places and capturing aspects of scientific research. You can check out some of my #reportage projects here.
In order to manage my time better and achieve a finished sketch more quickly I have historically turned to colour first. I love this approach but with an A4 size or more it still takes hours rather than minutes. Then a few months ago lots of things started to change. Well they say that a change is as good as a rest! I got a small studio; an additional job; I was travelling more.. You get the picture! Sketching every day was not going to be easy and pretty much impossible in the way I had been sketching. I started to take my trusted Duke Fude and notebook in the car and spend 15 – 20 min maximum ( often no more than 10) sketching before work. Under these circumstances, colour wasn’t an option and I wanted to create illustrations that had at least some identity with the place/people!
A preferred approach to snappy sketching :
- My sketchbook is anything that has good quality cartridge paper (that doesn’t have to take watercolour) and is no bigger than A5 size. My current sketchbook for this type of drawing is an A6-size handbook with a hard cover.
- I use only one drawing implement. My current preference, virtually exclusively is the Confucius Duke 55 fude with black ink. This wonderful pen enables me to vary my line width and add darks easily.
- My preferred drawing approach is single line contour (at least in principle!). That way, even though I don’t have time for endless measuring, I can use the contour approach to get a reasonably proportional sketch. Sometimes, when I am in a hurry, I try to cut corners and it really doesn’t work very well!
- Most of these sketches are done from the warmth and comfort of the car. Although people sketches tend to be on a bus or cafe. Busy street scenes have also been captured standing in the street.
- I try to use simple texture and darks to add depth and interest to the sketch. This is even more essential in a black and white drawing.
- I’m still keen to have a layering of foreground, middle ground and background to create depth in the sketch, using weight of line and detail to try to convey this.
- Simplification is critical at this scale and I try to fade the detail out towards the edges of the sketch.
Recent Snappy Sketching examples
On the way to work
Top and Middle Mossley
Bottom Mossley (Manchester Road)
Around Woodend Mill, Mossley
Sketching from the street :
As you can see, there is nothing particularly new about the approaches I am using. But I haven’t done this type of sketching routinely before. It’s useful to have a range of approaches for different situations and this simple quick technique means that however time-poor I am, there is always a sketch to be done!.