Wednesday, 10 April 2019

This sketchbook: from Brexit to Google's new HQ



Here are six pages from one of my current sketchbooks: an A6 one that I generally use across an open page so the gutter runs down the centre of each image (and hence down the centre of this blog post). The sketchbooks always end up telling a kind of story through what I have drawn in them, and during this one (so far) it seems I have been demonstrating against Brexit (above), travelling on the train to see my dad, drinking coffee in cafes, walking with N, and watching London's skyline change. Here they are, in no particular order.

From the London to Market Harborough train

A walk around Woodberry Wetlands

Cafe in Bloomsbury

St Martin-in-the-Fields and South African Embassy, Trafalgar Square, London

London's new Google HQ rises in King's Cross



Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Five pages from Sheffield and the Peak District


We get the train north from St Pancras to Sheffield, and then head on to Edale in the Peak District, which starts almost as soon as you are out of the city. Standing to draw on Sheffield's street corners with Saturday shoppers all about (above) makes using a pen the natural choice. I prefer to stand up to draw partly because I can work from exactly the point I want to, but also because I can shift around several paces in each direction to make better sense of what I'm looking at. Most importantly, perhaps, is that it means I work quickly and resist the temptation to worry about piddling detail or try to make things look vacuously pretty. There's no need to set out an array of equipment: it's just a pen and a book. I'm not keen to hang around. (The odd bit of colour below is added back in the hotel.)


Barely knowing the city, I end up taking the inevitable choice of city centre subjects, such as the cathedral and winter gardens, rather than the places that may have better represented the city if I'd had more time to explore or arrived with better knowledge. We find some of these places later – the great restaurants of London Road, and the post-industrial grit of Kelham Island – by which time it's too late to draw anyway.


Having travelled on to stay at the Rambler Inn at Edale, thirty minutes away by train, I get the inks out on the window sill to work. The railway line from Sheffield leads up through this valley and behind Lose Hill on the right. It's a less linear scene than found in the city, and the logistics of taking lids off three pots of ink are easier than when working outside, so it seemed a more obvious medium to use. Later, I do another of the same view...


... and then a final one looking out of a window facing towards Kinder Scout. The Peak District strikes me as a more inky kind of place than Sheffield. I'm not saying places always have a medium that is best suited to them, but, for me at least, it seemed like it this time.


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