Monday, April 21, 2014

the ladies of the bench

You know when a project takes over your life? Yeah? Well, that's exactly what has happened here.
Here's an update on the Books About Town / Wild In Art book bench project that I am working on. Last time, I posted about it, I had just received this giant open book that has now become part of the furniture in my living room.
Stage 1 was to prime the bench. I wanted a clean white background for my drawing - so a friend came around to help with that. That friend was not Dexter, despite it looking that way from the photo above. We just got over enthusiastic with the dust sheets.
That was the easy bit. Stage 2 is to transfer my drawings, which I originally made on A4 paper (20 x 30cm ish) onto the bench. It's not just enlarging the drawing, to such a scale, that's difficult. No. It's that the bench is not a flat piece of paper. Working the drawing around all the curves is tricky. But, I've started.
And, I did so whilst watching back to back Columbo over this Easter weekend.
Many people have said that this must be a daunting task. People often talk about the fear of drawing in a new sketchbook. The fear of the blank page. And, this is such a large blank page. But, I've never had the issue. In fact, I'm quite the opposite I love starting a new sketchbook with all the possibilities that brings. Procrastination is my issue.
So, I'm pleased that I've got going, whilst being watched over, and inspired by, my ladies over the bench; the Lady of Shalott; my teenage self; and, of course, Sue Townsend whose recent death has made choosing her Adrian Mole book as my theme for the bench even more poignant.
It also fills me with pride to be honoured to pay tribute to her, and Adrian, in this way.
You can read about how I got involved in this project HERE. I'll see you soon with some drawings, I hope. Although this has taken over my life. And my living room.although

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

well, it's so good to be here

Nice of Dexter to come and help paint the bench.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

just saying it could even make it happen

Natalie
Here are a couple of portraits that I made at our last Dr Sketchy Sheffield event 'Get Your Tatts Out'. They are both on A3 paper - which is why it's taken a while to upload them. One day I will get myself an A3 scanner and not have to cart them off to print shops to get them scanned. I'm pretty chuffed with both. I did them very quickly (they were 15 min poses) with marker pens. I did add some extra cross hatching, to Natalie, at home later. But most of the shading was done with a marker pen that's running out of ink - which is currently one of my favourite tools. No decent pencil case should be without a marker pen that's running out of ink! I've told you before; I ain't a pen snob. Anything goes.
Alexis
And, the blog title? Well, to those with discerning taste, you'll know that's a Kate Bush lyric. I've just found out that I'll be going to see her in concert in September! Eeeek, eeek and more eeek. I never believed this would happen; a) she'd ever play live again and b) I'd get tickets.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

London calling

I love this girl. She came through for me again.
She is a part of me; my teenage self.
I made two drawings of her some years back. They were, I guess, memory drawings.
They were about being in love with reading.
And, er, being a bit of a slob (nothing changed there then).

*****
Do you sometimes find that in creativity, and in life in general, I suppose, that a theme comes along, a recurring theme, and you just can't ignore it? You feel you mustn't ignore it. It's trying to tell you something. Like a message a from the universe. Well, that's what's been happening with me of late.

That theme has been books. Books, books, books.

Autumn last year the (first) book solely about my work was published; Andrea's Book (I really should go into that rather simplistic title at some point, but hey, that's another blog post). Ever since I have been signing, wrapping and packing them off all around the world. For the wrapping paper I've been using the drawings of my girl. I can't remember how it came about - it was some kind of happy accident as the late great Bob Ross would say.

*****
A few weeks back a friend sent me a link to a project that is taking place in London over the summer. From July, there will be a trail of 'book benches' displayed throughout the capital. It is a Wild In Art project, working in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, called 'Books About Town'. You can read and see more about it HERE. The link was for artist's to submit their designs for the chance of getting their own bench commissioned. Artists could choose from a list of books, all linked to London in some way, or come up with an idea of their own. That was the only rule; the book bench design had to have some link to the capital. The issue I had was that the deadline was nearly up and I had just a few days to choose a book and come up with a design.

I really wanted this gig and my head was spinning trying to get an idea together. I'd read quite a few books on the list, but many years ago and none of them were jumping out at me. Sleepless nights ensued as I went over and over it. But I was trying to force an idea and that's not how I like to work.

I continued to get on with the other things I need to do; going to work, signing and wrapping and sending lot's more of my books off around the world. Always coming back to my girl. There she was, she was still reading. What was she reading I asked myself. What book was she engrossed in I asked her. What was teenage me reading then? Then it came to me. 
*****
Back in the day, like many other kid of the 1980s, I was obsessed with Adrian Mole. A while ago I reread the books and they were still as funny and brilliant as when I first read them. I've grown up with the character and loved everything about him, from his political views (fiercely anti Thatcher) and his burning desire to lead the life less ordinary. I knew that's what my girl was reading. There was my book; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend. But what did it have to do with London? Adrian famously lived in the Midlands. Then I recalled that he went on a school trip to London. Tenuous? Actually, I don't think so. Suddenly I was feeling passionate.
So there it was. That was my pitch; 'The book I have chosen to illustrate is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. In the book Adrian, and his classmates, go on a school trip to London. For most people living outside of the capital, a school trip is usually their first experience of London. It was mine'.

*****
So, that's the story of how I ended up with a MASSIVE open book, or bench (depending on how you look at it) in my living room. Yes, my idea was selected and yesterday there was another book in my life. I like to think having a huge open book staying with me is symbolic. I haven't decided what it symbolises yet. I hope it'll reveal that over the next two months (yes, TWO months).

OH! Oh, and my design for the bench? Well, there could only be one thing . I say one 'thing', but I mean one girl. Yes, I was all so obvious really. It was always there. She was always there.

I love this girl. She came through for me again.


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Saturday, March 15, 2014

these prints of our feet

Last night I dreamt that I made this drawing. I never dream about drawing. This morning this drawing, that I did in my dream, was as clear as day so I quickly got it down on paper before I forgot it. I have no idea where it came from or what it means, but I love the stuff that the subconscious throws up.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

long may you run

Last Saturday we, at Dr Sketchy Sheffield, held an event celebrating the art of tattoos. I'd been wanting to do a tattoo themed event ever since I took over the running of the branch with my co-co-ordinator Lara Gothique. The idea of drawing people who are covered in drawings really does it for me.

Plus, it was a great opportunity to get some male models on board. We haven't had anywhere enough guys modelling for us - although they were pretty hard to convince. Who'd have thought these inked up guys would be so shy?

We had a great mix of guys and girls. I did these black and white drawings at the event. I added colour at home, later.

The other great thing about being the artist, in our partnership, is that I get to set some drawing exercises. My exercise for this event was to draw the (model's) body through the tattoos alone. It was more difficult to do than I'd imagined, and I still ended up adding some body lines to my attempt (above).

Despite my car braking down en-route, and being totally stressed out by that by time I got there, I still managed to get a whole load of sketches done. Many more than this in fact, but the rest were on a larger A3 sketchbook - and I'll have to get them scanned by somebody with an A3 scanner.

I'm always so impressed by the events we create. Obviously, it takes a whole lot of help from the people who get involved just for the love of the event. From the DJ, to the photographer, to the runners, to the sponsors, to the venue and the amazing models. We appreciate and thank them all. And, of course, to all the sketchers that come along and have fun, draw and ensure that Dr Sketchy Sheffield continues.
Plus, if that's not impressive enough, where else do you get to draw a tattooed Reverend? I'm guessing nowhere. I may be wrong, but if I were a betting woman I'd put money on it.

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Saturday, March 08, 2014

ink on a pin, underneath the skin

A couple more of my posters for our Dr Sketchy Sheffield events. I just love doing this poster artwork. I've been wondering why I enjoy it so much. It's obvious really, that mix of illustration and text really floats my boat. Maybe I should hire myself out as a poster artist. Have an event that you need a poster for? I'm your lady.
You can read a post about one of my poster artist heroes, the legendary Toulouse Lautrec, and see more of my own creations HERE.

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Saturday, March 01, 2014

this is ground control

Hi folks, just in case you were wondering if and why I've fallen off the face of the earth, thought I'd leave this quick note. Due to yet another truly frustrating wifi cock-up (by my provider, now ex-provider) I haven't had any internet access at home for over a month. Yes, I'm going insane. As well as that, during that whole process I've also lost my email account; including all my business contacts. Big apologies if you have tried to get in touch with me via email. I'm trying to sort it all out but it's one really frustrating task which has reduced me to tears and rage on many occasions.
 
I should (I'll believe it when I see it) be back online on Thurs 8th March.
In the meantime you can find my books, zines and other bits and bobs HERE in my Etsy shop.
Cheers, my dears.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

i'm going to wait until the morning comes

Here's a new drawing. Brand new. I'm really happy with it. It's one of those drawings that reminds me of why I draw. If that makes any sense?

It's an example of one of the processes I use when coming up with a piece of work; sometimes a drawing will just pop into my head. Fully formed. I have no idea where it came from, or why it came, but suddenly it's just there. Then it waits around for me to put it onto paper. I sometimes try to ignore it, but when it's there it's there. It doesn't go away.

So there he was. This French guy sat in his kitchen, feeling a little fragile, after a night of partying. Fag in mouth, coffee in hand. It took me 2-3 years to get around to putting him on , but a couple of days ago I picked up my sketchbook and within 2-3 minutes he was born. A few hours of cross hatching followed.

I based the character on a guy I met a few years back in France. He wobbled up to this sophisticated artist's award ceremony/party, on his push bike, in a flat cap and old coat, fag in mouth looking a little wasted and yet sickeningly stylishly European. He then made his way around the place, taking advantage of the free booze. I immediately thought "that's the guy I want to party with".

And we did. And it was a great night.

There's this Ray Davies quote I heard when watching a documentary on The Kinks, that has always stuck in my head. Well, if it wasn't a Ray Davies quote it was by his brother, Dave (?). It goes "It's not how something is reported, it's how it's remembered. That's what they call poetry".

I love that quote. It's also why I love this drawing.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Edna

A sketch in three stages. The original line drawing, above, I made at our most recent Dr Sketchy Sheffield event featuring Burlesque dance troupe The Yorkshire Puddings.
In the second stage I added a little shading, in the form of cross hatching, and some stronger lines.
Then finally with colour - for which I used colour pencil. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered. I think I like the original line drawing the best. Oh well.

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