Thursday, 21 July 2016

A Ford Cortina for Florian Afflerbach

I've had my eye on this 1970 Ford Cortina, which is parked outside a house around the corner, for a while since I heard the dreadful news about Florian Afflerbach. Florian was a German architect involved with the Urban Sketchers movement who was killed in a traffic accident in May aged 35. He made sensitive pencil and watercolour works of cars, among other things. A tribute to him can be found on the Urban Sketchers blog. There's going to be an exhibition of car drawings by Urban Sketchers around the world as a tribute to him at next week's USk symposium in Manchester, and I'm taking this one.

I never met Florian, and didn't know him, but I feel that I got a bit closer to him by sitting on the kerb to draw this. My parents had a Cortina in the 1970s, and just to look closely at this crumbling example took me back. I admire Florian's drawings even more now too; this doesn't look anything like a Ford Cortina.

Monday, 11 July 2016

The house of the Brexiteer


Boris Johnson's house in Islington is on one of my regular cycle routes into the city, and in the brutal political atmosphere of the past few weeks since the dismal vote to leave the European Union, it had often appeared as a backdrop on the news, surrounded by the media, as its Eurosceptic occupant set about his business. By the time I drew it, the circus had moved on, and a last few cameras were disappearing into the back of a van.
Johnson, having betrayed Cameron, was in turn stabbed in the back by his mate Gove, who was stabbed in the front by practically every other Conservative MP, leaving the field open, eventually, for Theresa May to become prime minister. It's been a turbulent time in UK politics, in which all the leading Leave campaigners, having got their way, have left the field.
This is all true as I write, but could be out of date by the end of the day.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

New routes

Victoria Embankment Gardens, London

My regular 12-mile daily commute on my bike from Stoke Newington to Vauxhall has adapted over time. Safety rather than speed has always been uppermost in refining my route. I like the backroads and old lanes through the city – with names like Back Hill, Shoe Lane and Tudor Street, and on past the London Eye and Houses of Parliament. The city seems a different kind of place just a street or two off the main routes.

Waterloo Bridge

The biggest change to my route came a few weeks ago with the opening of a new 1.5 mile stretch of segregated cycle lane along the north bank of the Thames from St Paul's to the foot of Big Ben. It meant I could say goodbye to the hazardous crossing of Blackfriars Bridge and having to thread my way past construction work towards the National Theatre and Westminster Bridge. London is hardly a cycling-friendly city even now, but things are improving.

County Hall, St Thomas' Hospital, Waterloo Bridge

The new north bank route meant different views: these drawings show the south side of the river that I used to cycle along until a few weeks ago. My journey was suddenly quicker, and I found I had the chance to stop and draw the views up and down the river in the time I'd saved: the cluster of towers on the South Bank downstream, and the old County Hall, St Thomas' Hospital and Lambeth Palace upstream. In Victoria Embankment Gardens, just across the river from the London Eye, people lingered in the sun after work before going home or heading out for the evening.



Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Who is in Pen and Ink?


Pen and Ink is, I am happy to say, published now in the UK by Frances Lincoln. It features the work of 34 artists. They are an international lot, from 10 countries, but they all use pen and ink, although often in very different ways.

These are the artists whose works it contains:

Phoebe Atkey, UK www.phoma.co.uk
Cachetejack, Spain www.cachetejack.com
Cynthia Barlow Marrs, UK www.cbarlowmarrs.com
Michelle Cioccoloni, UK www.cioccoloni.blogspot.com
Caroline Didou, France www.cdidou.tumblr.com
Nicholas Di Genova, Canada www.nicholasdigenova.com
Jedidiah Dore, USA inkandsword.com
Rohan Eason, UK www.rohaneason.com
Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri, Spain www.flickr.com/photos/42114709@N05/
Pamela Grace, UK www.pamelagrace.co.uk
Marina Grechanik, Israel www.marinagrechanik.blogspot.co.il
Tyga Helme, UK www.tygahelme.com
Amer Ismail, UK www.tendtotravel.com
Sabine Israel, Germany www.sabine-israel-illustration.com
Nina Johansson, Sweden www.ninajohansson.se
Loui Jover, Australia www.saatchiart.com/louijover
Oscar Julve, Spain www.oscarjulve.com
Eleni Kalorkoti, UK www.elenikalorkoti.com
Fred Kennett, UK www.fredkennett.co.uk
Olivia Kemp, UK www.oliviakemp.co.uk
Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, Malaysia www.kiahkiean.com
Chris Lee, UK www.chrisleedrawing.co.uk
Dalit Leon, UK www.dalitleon.com
Michael Lukyniuk, Canada www.michaelsscroll.blogspot.ca
Fred Lynch, USA www.fredlynch.com
Joe Munro, UK www.joemunro.com
Fraser Scarfe, UK www.fraserscarfe.co.uk
Rolf Schroeter, Germany skizzenblog.rolfschroeter.com
Suhita Shirodkar, USA sketchaway.wordpress.com
Mike Slaton, USA mikeslaton.culturalspot.org/home
Swasky, Spain www.swasky.es
Susan Toplitz, USA www.flickr.com/photos/52358552@N06/
Patrick Vale, USA/UK www.patrickvale.co.uk
Wendy Winfield, UK www.wendywinfield.com
And there are some by me.

We were all saddened to hear the news that Fred Kennett died in May, shortly before the book's publication in English.

Pen and Ink is already available in French and German, and further international editions are planned. The UK edition is available from all the usual places, in your local bookshop and online, and worldwide from here.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Around Westminster

Home Office, Marsham Street

Two drawings from around Westminster, which were done on a recent gathering of London's Urban Sketchers. Close to the Palace of Westminster there was the usual tourist throng and road closures in preparation for the State Opening of Parliament. A couple of streets back, though, and you could have a street almost to yourself. 

Victoria Tower from Great Peter Street, Westminster

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Woodberry Wetlands opens

https://flic.kr/p/GA8ynY

It's not often a nature reserve opens up near where you live, especially when you live in inner London. The new Woodberry Wetlands – opened last week by the naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough – has been created on a reservoir fed by the New River, which was opened in 1613 to bring fresh water to the growing city from the chalk streams of Hertfordshire. (F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have boated here while staying nearby.) While new housing rises abruptly on the reservoir's north banks, the view south is low-level and misleadingly rural, although there are glimpses of the Shard, Canary Wharf and the Post Office Tower in the distance. It's hardly the countryside – the sound of planes and sirens put a stop to that – but it's a restoring urban escape to greenness, nature and a slower pace.

https://flic.kr/p/Fu8sWp

The reservoir, which is still supplying water to us London's inhabitants, is home to kingfishers, buntings, grebes, snipe, herons, terns and more, as well as dragonflies, butterflies and bats. Some birds migrate thousands of miles to spend the summer here in Hackney, the guide tells his cosmopolitan audience, to murmurs of appreciation. The reservoir was off limits to the public for nearly 200 years: clean water was such a precious commodity at the time it was built, it was fenced off. Now we can follow the volunteer-built trail around its perimeter and stop in its Coalhouse cafe, train the binoculars on the reeds, and enjoy the warmth of summer that has suddenly arrived. And it's just a 17-minute tube journey away from Leicester Square.

Follow me on Instagram: @jameshobbsart


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Pen und Ink: published now

My new book Pen and Ink is, I'm happy to say, published now in a German edition by EMF, joining the French edition. The English language edition will be published next month, June 2016, and other translations are anticipated over the coming months. I'll post more news about those nearer the time.

My thanks to the artists who have generously allowed me to use their work in the book.
Q: Who are these artists?
A: This is who they are:

Phoebe Atkey, UK www.phoma.co.uk
Cachetejack, Spain www.cachetejack.com
Cynthia Barlow Marrs, UK www.cbarlowmarrs.com
Michelle Cioccoloni, UK www.cioccoloni.blogspot.com
Caroline Didou, France www.cdidou.tumblr.com
Nicholas Di Genova, Canada www.nicholasdigenova.com
Jedidiah Dore, USA inkandsword.com
Rohan Eason, UK www.rohaneason.com
Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri, Spain www.flickr.com/photos/42114709@N05/
Pamela Grace, UK www.pamelagrace.co.uk
Marina Grechanik, Israel www.marinagrechanik.blogspot.co.il
Tyga Helme, UK www.tygahelme.com
Amer Ismail, UK www.tendtotravel.com
Sabine Israel, Germany www.sabine-israel-illustration.com
Nina Johansson, Sweden www.ninajohansson.se
Loui Jover, Australia www.saatchiart.com/louijover
Òscar Julve, Spain www.oscarjulve.com
Eleni Kalorkoti, UK www.elenikalorkoti.com
Fred Kennett, UK www.fredkennett.co.uk
Olivia Kemp, UK www.oliviakemp.co.uk
Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, Malaysia www.kiahkiean.com
Chris Lee, UK www.chrisleedrawing.co.uk
Dalit Leon, UK www.dalitleon.com
Michael Lukyniuk, Canada www.michaelsscroll.blogspot.ca
Fred Lynch, USA www.fredlynch.com
Joe Munro, UK www.joemunro.com
Fraser Scarfe, UK www.fraserscarfe.co.uk
Rolf Schroeter, Germany skizzenblog.rolfschroeter.com
Suhita Shirodkar, USA sketchaway.wordpress.com
Mike Slaton, USA mikeslaton.culturalspot.org/home
Swasky, Spain www.swasky.es
Susan Toplitz, USA www.flickr.com/photos/52358552@N06/
Patrick Vale, USA/UK www.patrickvale.co.uk
Wendy Winfield, UK www.wendywinfield.com

And there are some drawings by me as well.

You can find out more about buying the German language edition, translated by Annika Loose, here.