Monday, August 21, 2017

urban sketching and beyond

Last year I created the illustrations for a children's book called Towers Falling. My drawings were meant to be the drawings created by one of the main characters, a boy called Ben. Just thought I'd show the process from my urban/observational sketches to the final illustration.
 As soon as I got the brief I knew (in my head) what I wanted the sketchbook pages to look like. I'd spent a good couple of years filling up these small cheap sketchbooks with quick drawings of buildings and people. Mainly people. These pages were my starting point.
I really liked the layout of the one above, with the different size faces.
I also wanted all the people, to be authentic; to be people that I'd sketched from life, on trains, planes and in cafes.
The brief here, was to illustrate a couple of Ben's sketchbook spreads, that he'd made of commuters on the subway. I chose this girl, above, to begin with - mainly because it was one of my favourite observational sketches. It's so much easier when they're asleep.
Starting with her, I then worked in the other characters around her, filling up Ben's sketchbooks with characters from my own (get's confusing, doesn't it?).
 A few friends, and people I sketch with, ended up becoming people on the subway too. And, I squashed another girl, from one of my favourite train sketches, below, in on the bottom left. Sure, it's not exactly like her, but that's why we have our artistic licenses.
I love how these random people have made their way into the story. I find myself creating whole new characters for them, as I draw them commuting on the New York subway. They take on a whole new life, out there in the world.
Urban sketching, observational drawing, whatever you want to call it is something I do to improve my skills. I don't associate myself, or my work, with a specific genre or group. I don't consider myself as an 'Urban Sketcher', it's just something I do a lot of. But, it's just a part of my work. I like the way I've embroidered it into my book illustrations here. I like taking it a step further.
Dunno why. Just do.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

why i went missing

I've been spending a lot of time here recently. It was why I went missing, from this blog, for a few months earlier in the year. I've been at The Links. It's an apartment block in New York. On Lexington Avenue to be precise. The tenants are so damn weird. And intriguing. And that's why I couldn't leave. I've been sat in Apartment 24 studying them all. I'll tell you more about them some day.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

the reasons i love ink

The reasons I love ink (part 1)
This
This
 This
Oh, and this
And all of this.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

late at night, when the world is dreaming

No matter how much I try to change (and believe me, I've tried everything) I'll always be a night owl. I just love working at that time of night/morning. It seems that at any given time, I'll have a million and one ideas, never focusing on one and seeing it through, swimming through my head too. In last night's midnight creativity session I was playing around with the idea of making a pop-up sketchbook filled with upside-down portraits of women who have left their mark on this world and on me. I know, I know, it's just so predictable. Everyone, and their mother, is at the pop-up-sketchbook-of-upside-down-drawings-of-inspirational-creative-women thing, right?  Erm, oh, just me then?

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Monday, August 14, 2017

For the love of Tove

No. No. No cat. Not on my drawing of Tove Jansson.
Oh, you are.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

a new affair

Recently I've had this urge. An itch to scratch. I just cannot get enough of colour. Specifically watercolour. It coincided with the landscape stuff I've been doing (in my last couple of posts), and has pretty much taken over all of my work.
 I've always known that urge would come knocking on my door one day. My watercolour set has been patiently sat there, like a book that you're really excited to read, that's been in the pile of books by the side of your bed, just waiting for it's time to come.
 I'm not impatient about stuff like that. I totally believe that you shouldn't try something because it's the thing to do, or cos everyone else is doing it or because it's there. I wait.
 Until I really really want to do it. Until I have no choice in the matter.
 Now, you see, I LOVE ink. I am head over heels with it, but lets face it, ink is a pain in the ass. It's a pain to take out. It's high maintenance. I'm not talking about just taking out one colour, that's fine, but if you want a full palette it's just an impractical pain in the butt. And, believe me I tried to make it work.
 So, after a year of juggling dip pens and three or four bottles of ink on a street corner, or scrubbing the table at your regular café because you'd spilled the bulletproof black ink, again, the watercolour set caught my eye.
 Sure it isn't quite as dramatic as Mr Ink, he's more subtle, but, you know, more reliable. True, he's not as intense either, but, you get twelve colours in one set and he doesn't leak all over your bag. And, anyway, I'm kinda enjoying his subtle flatter tones. Plus, it doesn't show you up in your local café.
Yes, I have started falling for watercolours.
 I haven't got a clue what I'm doing yet, but I don't care. The fun bit is finding out where this new affair will go. And, if that turns out to be nowhere that's okay too. I'll have new stuff in my locker.
I've always loved monochrome drawings but it feels liberating to not be tied to that black line.


Prints of my new landscapes now in my Etsy shop
(sorry to be peddling my wares but I have bills to pay. Lots of bills).

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