Wednesday, October 01, 2014

the corners of my mind

Today I start a month of sobriety, in an initiative by the wonderful MacMillan Cancer Support called Go Sober For October - which not only raises money for them but also gets us, taking part, to look at our own drinking habits.

My feelings about it change like the weather. One minute I'm really looking forward to it. Excited about the break. No alcohol for a month. I know I'll be more productive, I know I'll feel so much better, I hope the house will get cleaned.

Then it comes over me like a wave, a tsunami actually; NO WINE FOR A MONTH. And, it terrifies me. What will I do? It's those moments, those routines; Thursday after finishing work for the week; Friday night; chatting on the phone with Tim; early Sunday evening; whilst cooking; chatting on the phone with Mark. FRIDAY NIGHT!!!

From the far blurry corners of my mind I remembered something that I saw in one of Danny Gregory's books. I can't remember which, unfortunately, an Illustrated Journey maybe. In it, he gives tips on journaling and one of the ideas he shares is to go without something for a day (chocolate, alcohol, smoking, tv, the internet, etc) and journal about it. I think I may try this over the next 31 days. It would be the most fitting way of me to document the month ahead.

I'm not expecting the next month to be easy but then I remember the cause and it puts it into perspective. If your life had ever been touched by the amazing, and humbling job, that MacMillan do (or if the thought of giving up alcohol for a month terrifies you, too) please donate/sponsor me. You can do that HERE.
Cheers!

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

push it along push it along

If last month I was spending all of my time drawing in pubs, this month I seem to have been spending it all drawing on trains. I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of public transport. Firstly, I love driving, but, more than that, I don't like being stuck in a confined space with the general public. It's one of my 'things'.

But, necessity dictates and, as I've been back and fore to London and Sheffield all month, I've found myself being stuck in confined spaces with the general public. A lot.

It has, however, given me time to draw the general public. It's not the easiest way to draw. And, you have to hope they'll fall asleep - which they usually do - because they don't always tend to like being drawn. But there really is nothing else of interest, subject wise, on trains, I find. I've made a hundred, or more, sketches, over the last month. Mostly of people sleeping. I've actually enjoyed having that time, with nothing else to do but sketch.

Above, is a drawing of a friend who had no hang ups about being drawn. The two below are a couple of my favourite sketches out of a bunch of pretty bland stuff.
 


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Friday, September 19, 2014

oooo baby, here i am. signed, sealed, delivered. i'm yours

For those who have enquired, I have had another delivery of books from my publisher and so they are back in stock HERE. Cheers.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

i wanna say, i wanna tell you

 On Saturday I got to be part of a lovely event in Covent Garden, which was brought about by Moleskine in collaboration with Urban Sketchers. I was absolutely stoked to be asked to contribute, to the event, in way of presenting a 'learning session' to anyone interested in Urban Sketching. I was surprised, to be asked, too, as I'm not normally recognised for that kind of sketching - although I am an active member of Urban Sketchers Yorkshire - I suspect I was invited because I am a prolific Moleskine user and fan.

And so, I found myself up at an ungodly hour and on the six o'clock train down to London.
Which is, of course, when I started drawing.

 My first stop, on arrival in the city, was a Timberyard café in Covent Garden, where I met the Moleskine team and the other three sketchers, Adebanji Alade, James Hobbs and Olha Pryymak, taking part in the event. This, too, was a privilege as I have admired these guys work, from afar, for years. Then we were joined by members of the press and bloggers to discuss all things Urban Sketching, before moving on to our venues.
James and I were based at the wonderful London Graphic Centre for the day. I'd never visited before, but it really is a must for pen/stationery/notebook geeks (you know who you are). If you're in London, and you are such a geek, don't miss this place. Three or four stories of awesomeness, I have no idea how I didn't spend a fortune. Well, I do; I was kept busy, drawing the day.

In the afternoon it was time for my Learning Session, in which I talked about my journey from being a secret private drawer to taking that leap, joining an Urban Sketchers group, and drawing outdoors and in public. I also discussed some of my coping strategies for making that move, how it has changed my drawing and how it's changed how I view the world (now EVERYTHING is a drawing opportunity). Then we took to the streets for some more sketching.

It was a perfect way to spend an afternoon. And, again, it is another reason I love 'sketchcrawling' - just getting in that zone with a bunch of people who are passionate about drawing, talking, not talking, but always sketching. There were sketchers of all ages, too. Above are a couple of my sketches of the youngest sketchers.

Now, I know what you're thinking, and, no, there aren't that many moose roaming the streets of London. This one was on the wall of a flower shop - the one that Emily is drawing above. I know it's not what you might expect of Urban Sketching, but that was part of my class; there are no rules when it comes to creating. Just get out and draw.

If you feel intimidated by the big picture, by drawing a whole scene or street or building, then start by drawing little bits of it. Just draw the signs, or the bins, or the windows, or the people. The rest will come. You can add the rest of the scene in later. If you want. But, if you are curious about drawing outside, stop putting things in your way. I speak from experience. I came up with so many excuses for not doing what I wanted to do, but finally letting go of that was the best thing.

I don't have all the drawings that I made, to share, here, as at the end of the day we tore them out of our books and hung them at the London Graphic Centre and the Moleskine shop. We didn't just tear up our sketchbooks though. No siree, we'd been drawing in Moleskine's new square Sketch Album which has perforated pages. Another great idea from Moleskine. Above are a couple of drawings by James and myself.

And, finally our day was finished. It was exhausting but exhilarating. There is nothing I enjoy more than talking about and sharing my love for drawing. I wish I could do this every day of the week. I guess I, kind of, do that online - which is great and all well and good - but, there is something about doing it with real live actual people!

As Adebanji finished his last sketch of the day, James and I went for a final coffee before I got my train home. But, as always with obsessive sketchers, a view from the window of Stanfords bookshop café proved to be too tempting. So, I squeezed one last drawing in before departing.

A big thanks to Moleskine and to Urban Sketchers for letting me be a part of this Moleskine Story, to the other artists and everyone who came along to sketch on the day. I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks y'all.

 Did, I say that was my last sketch of the day? I was lying. What else do you do on a train journey?

One observation I will have; if you are on the same train, in the same carriage, as a VERY drunk man then it's very comforting to be sat at the same table as a huge tattooed body builder. Even if he is wearing pink.

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

guess i'll have another round

I seem to have been spending a lot of time sketching in pubs over the last few weeks. It's kind of become one of those unintentional themes. An enjoyable one. What could make a better subject matter than a lovely old pub? And, I've been visiting quite a few. On Sunday evening I attended Pubscrawl in Sheffield; ten pubs turned into art galleries, or exhibition spaces, for the evening, hosting ten different artists. Such a great idea. Great to view art in these great British institutions.

The drawing below is from a Pubcrawl Sketchcrawl that myself and a friend hosted, here, in the High Peak. That day we took in seven or eight different pubs, drawing inside and outside of them. I drew this in the beer garden of our final stop.

So yeah, there's a definite theme going on. One that I'm quite happy to continue.


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Friday, August 29, 2014

take me up to the top of the city

So, it's nearly time to say goodbye to August, and summer, and Hello September. I like September. It feels like a month when changes can and will happen and I always welcome that. Plus, autumn is most definitely my favourite season. Even the word 'autumn' is lovely.

September, before it has begun, has a theme to it. I am paying three visits to our capital - which feels exciting and sounds expensive. At the end of the month I am going to see, and I can't quite believe I'm saying this, Kate Bush in concert. I know, how crazy is that? I hope she hasn't had a big strop by then and called the rest of the dates off. You wouldn't put it past her. And, I love her for that.

Mid month I am finally going to see my bookbench. It's been a long time coming, but at last, just days before it retires from the city, I'll get to see it, in situ, on the streets of London. Well, actually, in a churchyard in Greenwich. The photo, below, was taken by, and of, a couple of friends who recently visited.
Then there's next weekend and a rather fabulous opportunity that presented itself to me. You know, sometimes, a little gem of a 'job' pops up in your inbox? Sometimes, you don't even take it seriously because it sounds too good to be true? Yeah, that.

Next weekend, on Saturday 5th of September, I will be drawing for, and representing, MOLESKINE and URBAN SKETCHERS in COVENT GARDEN. It's true! Please come along. We're there all day for a big old sketchathon. Come! Draw! Plus, rumour has it, that there may just be free Moleskines. Oh yes. You'll need to get there early to catch one of those lovely worms.

Oh, oh, and I forgot to mention the rest of the Covent Garden sketching team. I'll only be sketching with, ahem, Urban Sketching correspondents Adebanji Alade, James Hobbs, Olha Pryymak. Eeeeek! I already feel like a fraud.

Full details of the event can be found HERE. Even though our Learning Sessions are sold out still come along. We'll all be hanging out, sketching, all day. Hope to see you there.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

me, myself and the Gents

Me, drawing, by Paul Gent
I'm very lucky to have met some really wonderful artists over the last few years. Artists from around the world. I've met them online, then met them in person. In many lovely parts of the world. Plus, as well as that, I regularly meet up with some brilliant artists closer to home.
Me, drawing, by Miriam Gent
These drawings, of me, were made by a couple of extremely talented friends, Miriam and Paul Gent. They were created, just a couple of weeks ago, on a local Sketchcrawl/Pubcrawl that we three planned (in the pub). It was so local it went through the streets we live on.
Me, drawing, by Paul Gent
It's amazing, when you look, what and who you'll find on your doorstep.
I couldn't love them more; the drawings and the Gents.
 

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Nora

Saturday, August 16, 2014

i am still right here

For everyone feeling like shit today.
A new range of products, lotions and potions that I may, or may not, be bringing out in the future.
Probably not coming to my Etsy shop very soon.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

COMING SOON!

Coming soon, to my Etsy shop, limited edition, book bags. Featuring a series of amazing ladies/muses and starting with Nora, the original tattooed lady.

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