Saturday, 23 December 2017

Drawing resources guide pt4: drawing schools, prizes, suppliers

Here's the fourth and final part of the drawing resources guide. Here are links to previous instalments.
Part one: introduction, online resources, electronic resources,
Part two: drawing organisations, museums, galleries and libraries
Part three: books, journals and magazines, TV, radio and video.

This post covers:
Drawing schools
Prizes and awards

Drawing schools

Royal Drawing School
19-22 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3SG
This educational organisation and registered charity, founded in Hackney, London, by the Prince of Wales in 2000, aims to raise the profile and standard of drawing through teaching and practice. Now with five London campuses, it runs about 250 different courses each year, from classes for 10-18 year olds to an MA-level postgraduate programme, and international artists' residencies. It also runs events, lectures and free drop-in drawing sessions.

Ruskin School of Art
74 High Street, Oxford OX1 4BG and 128 Bullingdon Road, Oxford OX4 1QP
What is now the fine art department of the University of Oxford was set up by the writer and artist John Ruskin as the School of Drawing in 1871. While drawing still remains at the core of the degrees and shorter courses it now offers, these also embrace painting, sculpture, printmaking and other disciplines. (See Ruskin Library.)


These awards and competitions are open to anyone: subsequent touring exhibitions of selected and winning drawings can be an insight into current approaches. Selection is an excellent way to make contacts and network.

Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize (previously Jerwood Drawing Prize)
The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, formerly the Jerwood Drawing Prize from 2001 to 2017, promotes and celebrates contemporary drawing and is the UK's foremost annual drawing competition. An exhibition of work by selected artists tours the UK after a launch at its East End headquarters. Image: Solveig Settemsdal, the winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2016. © Hydal Dewachi.

John Ruskin Prize
This relatively new prize (the 2017 edition was its the fourth) is organised by the Big Draw with the Guild of St George, upholding the artist and writer John Ruskin's belief that drawing helps people to see and understand the world more clearly. It is open to emerging and established artists over the age of 18, with an exhibition of shortlisted artists' work.

Pastel Society Annual Competition
The society was formed in 1898, and now has a membership of around 50 professional artists. It organises workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations and lectures. Its annual exhibition, through which members are selected, includes works in pastel, oil pastel, pencil, chalk and charcoal.

Sketch Open
A biennial international competition of sketchbooks organised by the Rabley Drawing Centre (see page 9), with the aim of generating an impetus for creative activity, and reflecting the experimental aspect of drawing as well as the ordinary and observed. Selected works feature in a touring exhibition.

Society of Graphic Fine Art
The SGFA was formed in 1919 to promote drawing, and remains the only national society in the UK dedicated to it. While retaining a bias towards traditional, monochrome work, the society does accept more experimental work and that using colour. With more than 100 elected members, the SGFA has an open exhibition, regional exhibitions across the UK and publishes an online journal. 


There is still a wide range of independent art materials stores on high streets, despite the shift to online shopping. Drawing materials tend to be small and light, and ideally suited to postal delivery. This short list focuses on stores with online and high street presence.

Units 1 and 7, Bayford Street Industrial Estate, Hackney, London E8 3SE
As the UK's largest art materials store, Atlantis has a wide range of materials aimed at the professional artist, of which there is a large but falling population in east London. The store's noticeboard is an excellent source of contacts and items on sale.

Cass Art
Cass Art has 12 shops across the UK, and an online next-day delivery service. Stores host events and workshops, and a blog features the works of established artists and illustrators. The drawing section of the website carries a wide range of media and surfaces.

Great Art
41-49 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AG
Predominantly an online store, but with a large, recently opened retail outlet in east London, Great Art stocks around 50,000 products, including an extensive range of drawing materials.

An online store, with a print catalogue and three stores – two in London, and one in Gloucester. Jackson's drawing materials are searchable by medium and manufacturer. Its blog features artist interviews.

Follow me on Twitter @jameshobbsart.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Books, magazines, TV: drawing resources guide pt3

This is the third part of a drawing resources guide I created as an assignment as part of my postgraduate study at City, University of London. It doesn't claim to be fully inclusive, and it has a UK focus. There's a link to other parts of the guide at the bottom of this post, and an introduction to the guide here.

This post features:
Journals and magazines
Television, video and radio


There is a huge range of books about drawing on sale, from the most elementary "how-to" publications to monographs and critical discourse. The selection here focuses mainly on contemporary themes that explore the changing nature and great diversity of drawing through the eyes of writers who are also artists, art tutors, curators and gallerists.

Contemporary drawing: from the 1960s to now (2014), by Katharine Stout, Tate Publishing, London, 169pp, ISBN 978 1854379702
Written by a co-founder of the Drawing Room, London, this book charts the rise of drawing from a preparatory sketch for the main work, to a discipline at the forefront of contemporary art. Stout explores the many routes drawing can take, and its role as externalising thought, and as a means of expression rather than a means to an end, which can involve drawing without paper, perhaps as performance or temporal works. Artists featured extend beyond the Western canon.

Drawing projects: an exploration of the language of drawing (2011), by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern, Black Dog Publishing, London, 240pp, illustrations, ISBN 978 907317255
This book has a practical element of projects with an art school feel – the authors have experience of teaching at foundation and degree level – but insight and advice is included through 19 interviews with leading artists who draw, including Julie Mehretu, William Kentridge, Charles Avery and Jeff Koons.

The drawing book (2005) by Sarah Simblet, Dorling Kindersley, London, 264pp, illustrations, ISBN 978 1405341233
A book of part practical advice and part inspiration and art history, it encompasses information about the materials and techniques that can be employed and insights into the working methods of artists such as Rembrandt, Goya, Blake, Beuys and Basquiat.

The drawing book: a survey of drawing (2007), edited by Tania Kovats, Black Dog Publishing, London, 316pp, illustrations, ISBN 978 1904772330
Based on the Renaissance literary model of the commonplace book (in which noteworthy comments were written), this title explores the place of contemporary drawing through a compilation of works by artists including Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Whiteread, Tracey Emin, Sol LeWitt, Paul MacCarthy and Paul Noble that explore five themes: measurement, nature, the city, dreams and the body. It includes essays by curators and art writers.

Drawing now: between the lines of contemporary art (2007), edited by Simon Downs, Russell Marshall, Phil Sawdon, Andrew Selby and Jane Tormey, I.B. Tauris, London and New York, 128pp, illustrated, ISBN 978 1845115333
Drawings by 43 artists, including Tracey Emin, Paul Noble, Cornelia Parker, David Shrigley and Erwin Wurm, whose works typically are manifested through the practice of drawing.

Line let loose: scribbling, doodling and automatic drawing (2013), by David MacLagan, Reaktion Books, London, 176pp, illustrations, ISBN 978 1780230825
MacLagan traces the history and evolution of the three marginal forms of drawing – scribbling, doodling and automatic drawing – which embrace Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Psychedelic art and works by artists including Jackson Pollock, Paul Klee and Sol LeWitt as well as the less familiar and anonymous.

The primacy of drawing: histories and theories of practice (2010), by Deana Petherbridge, Yale University Press, 352pp, illustrations, ISBN 978 0300126464
Petherbridge, an artist whose work focuses on drawing, explores its role as "visual thinking" from the 15th century to the present day, and drawing's primal importance in generating ideas and problem solving. She argues that drawing has its own discrete place in artistic practice, its own codes, systems, materials and economy.

Vitamin D: new perspectives in drawing (2005), by Emma Dexter, 352pp, illustrations, ISBN 978 0714857138
Vitamin D2: new perspectives in drawing (2013), by Christian Rattemeyer, 352pp, illustrations, ISBN 978 0714865287
Vitamin D features the work of 109 contemporary artists selected by leading critics and curators, with work that reflects the current state of drawing as a medium. Vitamin D2, published 12 years later, did the same again, featuring 115 new artists from 40 countries who had become established during that interlude. Between them, the books are an excellent survey of contemporary drawing practice.

Walk the line: the art of drawing (2013), by Marc Valli and Ana Ibarra, Laurence King Publishing, London, 320pp, illustrations, ISBN 978 1780671109
Drawings by – and interviews with – 84 international artists who don't see drawing as a preparatory work or route on the way to another piece of work, but as a finished medium in its own right, and who often work on a large or even monumental scale.

Journals and magazines

The Drawer: revue de dessin
First published 2011
The Drawer, a French publication that takes its homonymous name from a person who draws and a place to store drawings, is published every six months. It features drawings in its widest sense, from artists, designers, architects and illustrators, to singers, musicians, choreographers and authors, who also answer a brief series of questions. Each issue takes as its theme the title of a book, film or piece of music with creative potential.

Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice (DRTP)
First published 2016
This peer-reviewed journal focuses on contemporary practice and its theoretical context, and aims to re-establish the "materiality" of drawing during an age of electronic media. Topics include papers as well as visual contributions.

First published 1990
This is a quarterly international review of graphic design and visual culture. As well as colour images, it features in-depth articles on illustration, design and visual culture.

First published 1999
Fact (see image) is an annual magazine for contemporary drawing that was founded in Norway in 1991 and based in Berlin since 2001. It focuses on artists' drawings with occasional interviews and essays. Each issue comes in a different design and format.

2016-January 2019
A quarterly independent print magazine about concept drawing, urban sketching and illustration that brought together well-illustrated interviews and information about the techniques used, which despite the title, was not restricted to pencil.

First published 2013
HB presents contemporary drawing practices as a "kind of exhibition on paper", and features emerging, marginalised and established artists from Quebec, Canada, where it is based. It gives precedence to imagery made using graphite, ink and coloured pencil rather than text. The initiative is run by five Canadian artist-run centres and a commercial gallery.

Open Arts Journal
First published 2013
Published by the Open University, this peer-reviewed open access journal for arts scholarship spans practitioners in such communities as art, architecture and design, curators and arts policy makers, and researchers in the arts and heritage sectors. Each contribution is published under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 3.0) licence. Five issues have been published since its first in 2013, each taking on a theme.

First published 1999
An online, open access, peer-reviewed journal hosted by Loughborough University School of Art and Design that is an arena for discussion and debate and research on contemporary drawing and visualisation.

Television, video and radio
Learning on Screen TV programmes were accessible through education institutions (UK only) on Box of Broadcasts (subscribers only) on 25 April 2017.

The Big Draw YouTube channel [Accessed 25 April 2017]
A selection of videos by the organisers of the annual Big Draw Festival (see page 6) that feature conversations with prominent drawers, and visits to artist-led drawing events.

Inside the Life Drawing Class
14 December 2010, BBC Radio 4, 30 mins
The re-emergence in popularity of drawing the naked human figure is explored and encouraged by the art graduate and TV presenter Anneka Rice.

Life Class: Today's Nude
2012, Channel 4, 30 mins
A series that gives viewers the chance to draw life models with a different well-known artist tutor for each task, including Gary Hume, Maggi Hambling and Humphrey Ocean.

Reportager Vimeo channel [Accessed 25 April 2017]
A series of short films that focus on the work of documentary artists that give an insight into working practices and inspirations.

The Secret of Drawing
2005, BBC2, 60 mins
A four-part series in which Andrew Graham Dixon explores the history of drawing and how it has been used by designers and architects.

Urban Sketchers YouTube channel [Accessed 21 December 2017]
The official YouTube channel of the Urban Sketchers organisation features videos about its workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events, shares videos of its regional groups, and educates viewers about the practice of drawing on location.

Ways of Seeing
2008, BBC4, 30 mins
The seminal four-part TV series presented by the writer John Berger originally shown in 1972, and which was adapted as a book of the same name, raises questions about how we look at works of art, and therefore how we make them.

What Do Artists Do All Day?
2013-15, BBC4, 30 mins
A documentary series that traces the everyday routines and working processes of prominent artists, including Cornelia Parker, Michael Craig-Martin and Peter Blake. The three series consist of 22 episodes in total.

Missed the others in this series? 
Here is the first one (introduction, online resources, electronic resources),
here is the second (drawing organisations, museums, galleries and libraries),
and here's part four (drawing schools, prizes and awards, and suppliers).

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Drawing resources guide pt2: libraries, organisations, museums

This is the second of four parts of a drawing resources guide I created as part of my postgraduate study. You can find the first part, which includes an introduction to what it's all about, here, and links to the others at the end of this post.

This post features:
Galleries and museums
Drawing centres


The Big Draw
Founded in the UK in 2000 under the name the Campaign for Drawing, The Big Draw is an arts education charity that promotes visual literacy and aims to get everyone drawing. It runs annual drawing festivals in more than 20 countries (taking up the month of October each year), with events at major venues such as the British Museum and the National Gallery of Australia, and locally organised activities and exhibitions. The Big Draw also organises research projects, campaigns, educational conferences and the annual John Ruskin drawing prize. Its patrons include Quentin Blake, Norman Foster and David Hockney.

Centre for Drawing, Wimbledon
The centre, based at the University of the Arts, London, focuses on developing research, debate and support for members of the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Graduate School, and has organised exhibitions and published books designed to enhance our understanding of drawing.

Sketchbook Project
Brooklyn Art Library, 28 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY11211, USA
This global collaborative project, based in the USA, hosts a crowd-sourced library of 36,000 artists' books contributed by people from more than 135 countries. Participants buy a book, draw in it and post it back. The books are digitised, tagged and made accessible at Brooklyn Art Library, and online under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence. Image: Brooklyn Art Library.

Galleries and museums

British Museum
Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
The UK's national collection of drawings is held at the British Museum, in the Department of Prints and Drawings. (While the National Gallery and Tate hold the nation's paintings, both also hold some drawings, particularly contemporary works at the Tate.) The British Museum holds around 50,000 drawings dating from the beginning of the 15th century until the present day.

Royal Collection
Windsor Castle, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ
Old Master drawings, 80 portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger, important drawings by Michelangelo and Raphael, and 600 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci are just a few of the drawings in this collection. Specialist research visits to the Print Room are by appointment only, subject to security clearance.


Art Libraries Society (ArLIS)
ArLIS is the professional organisation for people involved in providing library and information services and documenting resources in the visual arts. Its website includes an A-Z list of art libraries.

British Library
96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
While the Library's collection of drawings and prints became part of the British Museum's collection in 1808, it retains a collection that has been classified as "evidence" rather than art, on such subjects as topography, architecture, costume, science, natural history and garden design. Notebooks by Leonardo da Vinci, William Blake, Albrecht Dürer and Christopher Wren, as well as Persian, Chinese and Japanese drawings are in the Library's collection. A selection of drawings have been digitised and are available online.

Courtauld Library
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN
The library at the Courtauld Institute of Art is a specialist library within the University of London that provides a service to its own students and staff, but also to visiting scholars and researchers whose research needs cannot be met elsewhere.

National Art Library
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
The library, which is freely accessible to the public and located in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, holds more than one million items, including many with particular interest to the fields of drawing, prints, and the art, craft and design of the book. Around 100,000 drawings made in Europe and the USA across a wide range of periods, schools and styles can be seen by registered users on request in the Prints and Drawings Study Room. The library also offers access to online databases and image resources only available while at the building. A rotating exhibition of drawings is displayed in Rooms 88a and 90 of the V&A.

Ruskin Library
74 High Street, Oxford OX1 4BG
The library specialises in fine art, art history and theory, art techniques and human anatomy, and holds around 6,000 titles, 20 art journals, and more than 2,000 art-related pamphlets. A digital archive of its slide collection, which consists of more than 15,000 images, is available on the departmental server.

Stuart Hall Library
Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA - but currently closed prior to relocation
The focus of this special collections library and archive of Iniva (Institute of International Visual Art) is contemporary art from Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the work of British artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. Named after the Jamaican-born cultural theorist and sociologist, it holds monographs, catalogues, periodicals, DVDs and slides on the visual arts and culture, including drawing. (It's a great library, and where I have previously volunteered.)

Drawing centres

Dedicated drawing exhibitions may take place at many types of venues, including the major national museums and galleries already listed, but there is also a growing number of centres that specialise in exhibiting drawn work.

C4RD (Campaign for Recent Drawing)
2-4 Highbury Station Road, London N1 1SB
Located behind Highbury and Islington tube station, C4RD is a non-commercial curatorial space set up in 2004 that organises exhibitions, residencies and talks, and publishes books on drawing. The C4RD Community is an online register of artists with images, links and statements that reflect the broad scope of contemporary drawing. Programmes at C4RD include an online residency, and studio spaces for artists for whom drawing is a core part of their practice.

Drawing Projects UK
Bridge House, 10 Stallard Street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 9AE
Drawing Projects UK is a centre set up by the founder of the Jerwood Drawing Prize, Anita Taylor, to develop and promote research initiatives through exhibitions, events and workshops in drawing and contemporary art that is based in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. The centre has 12 studios and workspaces for artists, designers and makers, and offers mentoring and professional services for artists and curators.

The Drawing Room
Unit 8, Rich Estate, 46 Willow Walk, London SE1 5SF
The Drawing Room is the only public and not-for-profit gallery in Europe dedicated to drawing, and promoting its practice, theory and methodology. Founded in 2002, its solo and group exhibition programme includes the Drawing Biennial, and embraces traditional and experimental approaches. Studio tours, discussion panels, workshops and artist-led projects encourage dialogue and critical debate and contribute to contemporary drawing scholarship. Its Outset Study library contains around 2,000 books and 70 journals on international contemporary drawing since the 1970s. The centre is part of an international network of initiatives that promote interchange between artists, curators, academics and the public.

International drawing hubs, which offer similar services to the Drawing Room, include:
Belgium: Galerie The Drawing Box, Tournai
Germany: The Drawing Hub, Berlin
Netherlands: Kunstvereniging, Diepenheim
Norway: Tegnerforbundet, Oslo
USA: The Drawing Center, New York

Rabley Drawing Centre
Rabley Barn, Mildenhall, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 2LW
The centre, established in 2005, is a self-funded, non-profit educational organisation based in the Wiltshire countryside. Along with courses in drawing and printmaking, it runs events, exhibitions, artists' talks, a residency scheme and the annual Sketch prize and exhibition for artists' sketchbooks. The commercial Rabley Contemporary Gallery specialises in drawings, works on paper and prints by leading UK artists.

The first part of this resources guide can be found here. And the others:
Part 3: books, magazines and journals, TV, radio and video,
Part 4: drawing schools, prizes and awards, and suppliers.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Drawing resources guide pt1

As part of my postgraduate study at City, University of London, I created a drawing resources guide. It seems a good idea to share it here too - it's pretty much copied and pasted as it was for that assignment. It doesn't claim to be fully inclusive, and it is UK-centric, but I came across useful and to-me unexpected things as I researched it. I've spread it across four posts. Links to subsequent parts can be found at the end of this post.

This post covers:
Online resources
Electronic resources


This resources guide is aimed primarily at artists who have some experience of drawing, perhaps through an art or design school education at foundation or undergraduate level. There is a big industry aimed at those taking up drawing for the first time, which this guide does not generally include, although less-seasoned artists should still find useful points of contact here.

Drawing has been having something of a renaissance in recent years, and many of the resources referred to here are relatively new and rising to prominence. They range across books, publications, libraries, museums, television and art materials stores. Two-dimensional graphic work, especially when small and highly portable, is easily scanned and shared online, and the internet has led to a variety of online communities: website addresses are included where appropriate, and street addresses for those in a specific location that can be visited. They are almost entirely UK-based, although references to a few international organisations are also included.

Many of the resources listed below make the most of the variety of social media on offer – which at this time means Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo or YouTube. These give the opportunity to make contact with artists with a similar interest in drawing, with all the benefits that can bring. But there are a growing number of centres dedicated to drawing that run events, workshops, lectures, competitions or exhibitions where it is possible to see works as they are best viewed: in the flesh.

Online resources

Formerly a monthly print magazine (Artists Newsletter), but now entirely online with a membership of more than 20,000 artists, a-n includes news, exhibition reviews, blogs, campaigns, business advice, job opportunities and networks to enable contact with other artists and curators. Although a-n is aimed at practitioners across the whole range of contemporary practice, it is an important hub for those who draw. 

Axisweb was set up in the 1990s by the then Arts Council of Great Britain as a slide index located in Leeds as a means by which commissioners could search for artists. It now presents the work of more than 3,000 selected artists through its online Axis Directory, and acts as a focus for curators, commissioners and the public. The website includes video playlists, an Artist of the Month, a series of guides to help artists on such subjects as writing a CV and building an online presence, and curated and editorial sections for user-generated content. 

DRAW International
DRAW International describes its role as "fostering artistic research to promote and reveal ideas within a contemporary context". This centre of research for postgraduate art and design education is based in France, and organises residency programmes in its studio spaces, along with lectures, conferences, tuition and exhibition space.

Drawing Matter
This growing archive includes architectural material that focuses on drawing as the "exploration and discovery of ideas and means of suggesting them". The website, along with events and other activities, encourages a widening discourse on the ways innovation and creativity are advanced through the sketch, the sketchbook, the study drawing and rendering. The website provides factual information and short texts that relate to drawings it presents from the archive, organised under themes such as Drawing of the Week, By Invitation, and Topics.

Drawing Research Network
An international network of institutions and researchers, artists, designers and educators who are involved with the promotion of drawing as a practice, either professionally, academically or through everyday activity. 

Graphic Witness
A website dedicated to graphic imagery making a social comment dating from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Subjects include the terrorist attacks on the USA in September 2001, the Mexican revolution, and Soviet poster art.

Hatch describes itself as providing a community and platform for drawing and related areas of research, practice and exploration. Its AIR (artists in residence) programme features collaborations with artists who propose and undertake specific drawing-based projects. Hatch was founded in 2012 as a research project under the PLaCE Research Centre at the University of the West of England, Bristol (see below).

LAND2 ("land squared") is a national network of artist/lecturers and research students 
with an interest in landscape/place oriented art practice founded in 2002, and hosted by Leeds University. It meets for symposia and conferences and for presentations of 
members' work, and has links with PLaCE International (see below), with which it has similar aims and interests.

PLaCE International
PLaCE International (Place, Location, Context and Environment) is a consortium of academic research centres and individuals who address issues of place, location, context and environment (the initials of which contribute to the group's name) across various disciplines, through research projects, creative programmes, educational activities and international partnerships. Founded at the University of the West of England, Bristol, it is now located at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, with links to the University of Minnesota, USA, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Université de Nantes, France.

Reportage artists such as George Butler and Olivier Kugler are still in demand for the unique insight that their work can bring to events that are newsworthy, such as the war in Syria or homelessness. Reportager focuses on drawing as reportage, visual journalism, documentary drawing and illustration as a visual essay, with its website acting as an editorial space for the dissemination of good practice. It includes news, opportunities, links to reportage projects, films, and information about leading reportage artists.

Thinking Through Drawing
An independent education and research network that hosts symposia, fosters collaboration, and runs occasional educational courses and workshops.

Urban Sketchers
Urban Sketchers is an international non-profit network of artists who work on location, sharing work online at a central international website and at a local level through social media. Groups meet to draw and exhibit together, and there is an annual international symposium and workshop programme. (Image: the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester, 2016.)

Electronic resources

These online resources are invaluable for research into recent graphic art, with access to full text, indexing and abstracts. Subscription based databases may be accessed through institutional log-ins, and through libraries, such as the National Art Library.

Art Full Text (EBSCO)
This includes full text articles, indexing and abstracts from more than 300 publications, and indexing and abstracts for peer-reviewed journals and dissertations with an art theme, including the graphic arts.

Art Bibliographies Modern (ProQuest)
Abstracts of journal articles, books, essays, exhibition catalogues, and reviews of modern and contemporary art dating back to the late 1960s.

Artist Biographies
This is an online biographic dictionary of British and Irish artists and designers, which includes movements, schools, organisations and galleries, with a focus on the 20th century.

Artstor is an online resource with a mission to enhance scholarship and teaching 
through digital images and media. The not-for-profit digital library includes more than 
2 million high-resolution images from 280 collections. They are searchable through keywords, dates, geography, classification and collection from institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Berlin State Museums.

Oxford Art Online
Oxford Art Online is the access point to a range of authoritative art reference resources, including Grove Art Online, which includes biographies, articles and images, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, with 170,000 artist entries, and The Oxford Companion to Western Art, among others.

See also: 
Part 2: drawing-related organisations, museums and galleries, libraries and drawing centres,
Part 3: books, magazines and journals, TV, radio and video,
Part 4: drawing schools, prizes and awards, and suppliers.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Digital and tangible sketchbooks: my postgraduate research

My postgraduate research into the collection and accessibility of sketchbooks in the UK's galleries, libraries, archives and museums, which has kept me busy for the past 12 months, is now finished and published online. (Cue the sound of popping corks.) You can find it on Humanities Commons at:

[Update: I am happy to say that it has won the RT Bottle Prize, which is awarded by City, University of London to an outstanding library science dissertation contributing to professional practice.]

Its appeal may be a bit niche. Essentially, it's about how sketchbooks can be found and accessed in the UK's institutions. To do this, I interviewed a handful of people, mainly artists, about their experiences of going into the archives to research sketchbooks, and then sent a questionnaire to sketchbook-holding institutions about how they are collected and accessed – a magnificent 55 of these responded. The sketchbooks weren't just those that belonged to artists, but also those of designers, filmmakers, engineers, architects and others.

Arranging to see and handle sketchbooks in an archival situation requires a bit of forward-planning and organisation, but getting your hands on them can reveal their contents more fully than when they are viewed as printed reproductions or digitally. To hold them and turn their pages in your hands is to better understand them.

But there are many digitised sketchbooks available online that don't require you to head out to the archive to view them in person. Digitisation broadens accessibility to a global scale, and more and more institutions are turning towards sharing their sketchbooks this way: the Hunterian, Glasgow, the Henry Moore Institute, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Tate Archive are examples of those that show them online. There are, of course, many more.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Around London in 2017

Bell Lane, London E1

Here are three drawings from recent Urban Sketchers gatherings around London: above, a glimpse of the Gherkin from Bell Lane in the East End...

Commercial Street, London E1

... towards Commercial Street from the churchyard at Christ Church, Spitalfields...

Lambeth Towers, south London

... and a view of the charmingly brutalist Lambeth Towers from the grounds of the Imperial War Museum. There's a link to the planned programme of gatherings in 2018 on the London Urban Sketchers website, found here. Everyone is always welcome.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Sketchbook exhibition opens in Lancaster

Sketch 2017, the touring show of 100 sketchbooks, including two of mine, is heading to its final venue, at the Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University, where it will continue from 20 November to 15 December 2017. It's an exhibition where you can get your hands on most of the sketchbooks on display, rather than peering at them in a glass box. There's more information about opening times and location on the gallery's website

Meanwhile the group show of drawings at the award-winning Timberyard cafe in Noel Street, Soho, London, comes to a close on Friday 24 November. Time is short if you want to pay a visit there...

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Drawing for DocPerform

I was commissioned to draw an image for this month's DocPerform 2 symposium at City, University of London, which considers the future of documents and the documentation of performance. It was an enjoyable project to take on, and features two recognisable London venues and another one plucked from the imagination.

See more of my drawings on Instagram or Flickr.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

In a Cornish field

We had a week in the late summer visiting the lovely farming relations on the north Cornwall coast. We pitched our tent with a view down the coast towards Land's End, and between the showers there was time to get out a brush and black ink – I'd left the pens behind, intentionally, in London.

The way ink from a bottle is used has to be different from ink from a pen is used, yet my instinct here is largely the same. A few people mentioned the change in "style", but it doesn't feel like that, nor was it meant as that. The forms that can be created to show a tree or hedge seem more suited to a wash of liquid ink than the lines of black pen, as I mentioned in my previous post.

What felt new was perhaps not. They reminded Ms S, who would know these things, of what I was doing in the 1980s. So much for change.

You can see more of my work on Instagram and Flickr.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

With black ink in Wales

Wales was wet when we went there, admittedly. We expected it to be, especially because we were staying under canvas. But I'm not sure it was quite as dark and forbidding as the drawings that I did there looked when viewed in my sketchbook now. I took a bottle of black ink, one waterbrush and one small sketchbook (one of three handmade by Daughter 2 and given to me for my birthday earlier in the year). It's easier to travel light, especially as the laptop with the unfinished dissertation was taking up space in the shoulder bag.

There's something about the landscape that seems to call for broader sweeps of ink than is possible even with a chunky marker pen. The feeling was the same when we visited the Brecon Beacons for New Year a while ago, except then I took green and blue inks as well.

The top two images here are from directly outside our bell tent (complete with woodburner) across the fields towards Cilgerran. This one, above, shows the contorted strata of the headland at Cemaes Head, which is on the cliff path that runs along the Pembrokeshire coast. It may not be the best way to judge a work, but of the three drawings it was the least liked when I posted it on Instagram, and yet it is the one I like most. It's a grim thing to be led by the hunt for "likes". The temptation is almost to try to post something that no one will like at all. I'm inclined to think it would lead to some interesting discoveries about your own work as you set about this task.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Inside the library

Senate House Library, UCL
I'm spending the summer – or most of it – working on my postgraduate dissertation. My research is into the ways that sketchbooks are collected and accessed in the UK's institutions, which means a lot of time spent in galleries, libraries, archives and museums. This may not seem too arduous a task, and I'm not complaining: this is exactly what I am interested in. But time slips by and my old familiar friend the deadline is awaiting me at the end of September, so the pressure is on.

Northampton Square Library, City, University of London

Last week, for instance, I was at the British Film Institute archive looking at the sketchbooks of Derek Jarman. Next week I'm at the British Museum to see the books of Terry Frost and Roger Hilton, among others. I have other visits planned. The field of sketchbook tourism awaits: check the catalogue, arrange a visit to the archive, and get your hands on great sketchbooks. There are many more ready to be seen around the UK than you probably imagine. And while some are better than others, they can be a fascinating insight into not just the work of the artists, designers, architects, filmmakers and others who filled them, but their lives also.

British Library foyer

I'll post a link to my dissertation later in the year, when my data is collected and my research is submitted. Meanwhile, here are a few drawings from inside some of the libraries I have worked in over recent months, while the sun shone outside.

See more drawings here.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sketchbook show opens at Rabley Drawing Centre

The opening of the Sketch 2017 exhibition of 100 artists' sketchbooks at the Rabley Drawing Centre in Wiltshire was unlike any I had been to before. And I mean that in a good way. Apart from a few fragile sketchbooks behind glass, they could all be picked up and leafed through, some placed on shelves around the wall, others in a multi-sided bookcase. That sounds dangerous for a packed private view, and so precautions were taken: no drinks in the room with the books, and protective gloves for everyone handling the books. (But gloves or no gloves? There's a debate about which is best.)

I have two sketchbooks in the show, one A6 sized (above) and one A5

Sketchbooks, perhaps because they close shut, seem to demand an invitation from the owner before they are studied. To go unbidden between the covers of someone's sketchbook feels like an invasion of privacy. But here, deliciously, were 100 sketchbooks – two of them mine – declared free for consumption. We all worked our way around the room, flicking gently through the pages with gloved hands.

A lot of those people present were the 70 represented artists keen to see how others fill the pages of their books. The diversity was marked. Sketchbooks come in so many sizes and formats, homemade and shop-bought, huge and tiny, pristine and studio-scarred, stuffed and minimal, observational and experimental. If we say there is an average of 40 images in each sketchbook, that means the modestly sized gallery at Rabley Drawing Centre currently has about 4,000 works of art to examine.

How would this have compared with viewing the sketchbooks digitally? Much of the enjoyment of the show was the weight and feel of a book in the hands, the textures and smells even of the mediums used and fixatives added, and the chatter and interaction as people mixed around the room. Seeing them digitally would be better than not seeing them at all, but it would be a different experience.

The exhibition continues at Rabley Drawing Centre, which is near Marlborough in Wiltshire, until 17 June, before it goes on tour. There's more information about the tour and participating artists here.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Selected for Sketch Open 2017

I'm happy to say I've had a couple of sketchbooks selected to be shown in the Sketch Open 2017 drawing prize exhibition at Rabley Drawing Centre, near Marlborough, Wiltshire. The show of 100 books starts there in May, and then goes on tour. I'm grateful to be included in such great company.

Rabley Drawing Centre, Marlborough, 21 May-17 June 2017
Black Swan Arts, Frome, 22 July-3 September 2017
Plymouth College of Art, 9 September-6 October 2017
Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University, 20 November-15 December 2017

Friday, 3 March 2017

Routes through a sketchbook

One of the intriguing aspects of drawing in a sketchbook is how, assuming the book is drawn in from front to back in chronological order, a narrative builds up over time. I did this, then I went there, then I drew that. The thread of your life unwinds, sometimes accurately and comprehensively, sometimes less so. Images may fall into an order that seems rather haphazard, but that is the order in which events unfolded. The travel sketchbooks hold together best: such as the one that contains the drawings of a Spanish seaside town over 20 consecutive pages that we visited one summer, or the evolving journey taken on a drive south towards the sun. A theme can build up, but this isn't always so.

James Hobbs, Hampstead Heath, London

Most of my sketchbooks, however, contain drawings gathered sporadically over time depending on where I find myself with a chance to draw. They are usually drawings of London, because that is where I live. But London is lots of places, not one. Subjects leap about from one page to the next. Drawings are in the book because there was the time and opportunity to draw each one, rather than because of a specific goal to consciously record every step of every day. That may be the way some people work, but not me.

 James Hobbs, the Embassy of Ecuador, London, home to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
All of the drawings in this post are in one incomplete sketchbook from this year. All are of inner London, some almost rural, others overtly politcal, or architectural, or both. The demonstration by Downing Street captures a local moment (the newly inaugurated President Trump's travel ban) of an international movement that will perhaps be remembered in 50 years' time. A few pages away is a drawing of a group of trees on the edge of Hampstead Heath that hold no such significance at all. They happened to be there when I had the chance to draw. I simply liked the way the composition fitted together and how they let me play with the kinds of marks the winter foliage suggested.

James Hobbs, the view east from Tate Modern's Switchhouse
And so life zigzags its way along. Embedded in each drawing are the deeper stories that perhaps only I, and my friends and family, will recognise, such as why I was somewhere, and who I was with. We choose what we draw, and we choose what we don't. Perhaps the real significance of what ends up in our sketchbooks only becomes truly apparent years after we have filled them.
James Hobbs, Downing Street, London:
a march against Trump's travel ban

There are more of my drawings on Instagram and you can follow me on Twitter.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Two things: a Dutch book and a magazine

Pen and Ink is out in Dutch now, published by Librero. You can buy it here. It features the drawings of 34 artists from around the globe, who all, surprise surprise, use pen and ink in one way or another. It was published in the UK (Frances Lincoln) in 2016, and also in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

The second thing is that I have an article about sketchcrawls (that means getting together to draw on location as a group) in the April 2017 issue of the Artist magazine, out now. There's a link to the article here.

You can see more of my drawings @jameshobbsart.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Inside York Minster

We're back from a family weekend break in York, having met up with Daughter 1, who is studying at Newcastle University. There is a lot of history to encounter in York, and we intersperse the tourist things with cafes and cake, like you do.

We brave the walk around the city walls in winds and stuttering sleet, and warm up (relatively speaking) in the minster. The 16th-century Rose Window (top image), which I drew to the atmospheric soundtrack of choral evensong, survived fire damage in 1984 after the minster was struck by lightning. The building's stained glass windows – some up to 600 years old – are amazing, casting light onto the stonework even in these wintry days.

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Monday, 16 January 2017

New drawing show opens in Soho

I have a few works in a new small show of drawings and digital prints at Timberyard Soho, which continues into the spring of 2017. Here I am with fellow exhibitors Nick Richards, Isabel Carmona, Jo Dungey and Isabelle Laliberté.
Timberyard Soho (it has won so many awards it's impossible to list them all here) is at 4 Noel Street, London W1F 8GB, close to Brewer Street and Oxford Street. Our thanks to Darren and his great team at Timberyard for inviting us to show again. Works are for sale.
How to find Timberyard Soho.
Opening times and more info here.
Me on Instagram.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Search by Image

Inspired by Sebasian Schmieg's exhibition Search by Image at the Photographers' Gallery, London (until 29 January 2017), I've been doing image searches for some of my drawings. (Schmieg's show uses speeded up Google image searches so that visually similar views are shown almost as videos, merging and flipping through themes.) My own more laborious process threw up intriguing similarities such as these. Find Search by Image here. Have a go.

New construction work in Shoe Lane, London:

And its most visually similar images, are below.

And here's Woodberry Wetlands wildlife reserve in north London:

...and a sample of its most similar images found through Google's Search by Image.
Let's hear it for algorithms and metadata.

Follow me at @jameshobbsart.