Posts Tagged ‘Sketching’

I’m still here…honest!

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Oh dear, poor, poor neglected blog. Over 3 months since my last post!

Outside of work I have a habit of getting completely absorbed in new projects. I only seem to have enough room in my head to focus on a few passions at once and when I get into something new this usually means that I start to neglect something else (like this blog).

Over the past few months I have found myself focusing on a few new projects. I will update you on these over the next few posts.

However I have been inspired to start posting here again…

Last Saturday I had to go up to South Yorkshire to work, but once I had finished in the afternoon I had a little time to spare before I needed to head home to London and I remembered reading in Lynne Chapman’s blog that the Sketchcrawl North group was meeting in Sheffield. I couldn’t make most of the day (a visit to a museum in the morning) but I made it in time to join the group and catch the end of the first Dr Sketchy event in Sheffield.

Dr Sketchy’s is a global franchise, they bill themselves as the anti-art school. At their events they get together fabulous (and raunchy) burlesque performers to pose for an audience of sketchers. They also run several competitions during the course of the event in which they ask the performers to choose their favorite drawing of their pose. The Sheffield event had a 1920s theme which carried through the costumes, music and the competition prises.

I only made it for the last 3 poses but my 2nd sketch (above) won me this prize. A fabulous Gin bottle necklace by Tatty Devine!

After all the sketching had finished the group made their way down to the bar to share sketchbooks. I was in for a real treat. There were some fantastic sketchbooks for me to see. I also got the chance to look at not only Lynne’s wonderful sketchbooks full of wonderful loose, fluid colourful sketches but also one of Andrea Joseph‘s beautiful detailed sketch books. I have followed both Lynne’s and Andrea’s blogs for some time and I always look forward to their posts so it was wonderful to not only have the chance to meet them but also to see their fabulous sketches in person! If I’m honest I was probably a little bit starstruck ;)

All in all I had a great day (even if I did have to work on a Saturday) and it was lovely to meet such a talented bunch of people, Hopefully I will have reason to travel up north and join them again sometime in the future.

Shad Thames Meetup

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

It’s been a while since I have done any location sketching and it seems I am a little rusty. When I met up with Drawing London on Location a few weeks ago I spent most of the day struggling with the perspective on Shad Thames. I didn’t manage to complete the drawing but while my friend Jon and I were sat on the floor sketching we did get to learn a little of the history of the area. A young lady passing by stopped to chat to us and asked if we knew anything about the area. We thought she was asking as she wanted to know for herself but it turned out that she has lived in the area all her life and thought that as we were interested enough to sketch the buildings she loved, we would probably like to know more about them.

Shad Thames, completed in the 1870s, was apparently the spice district of London and the warehouse buildings that we were sitting amongst were originally used to store spices shipped in via the Thames. She pointed out that the building we were sitting next to was used to store salt and that the walls were so inpregnated with salt that they would never hold a coat of paint. She also pointed out the spices stored in several of the other buildings and explained that the building opposite us was used to store Cardamom and apparently still smells of Cardamom whenever it rains. Though less so since the area was renovated by Terance Conran and all of the buildings were cleared out and converted into up market housing and restaurants etc. Before this, the area had sat empty and unused for some time but when it was at it’s industrial height and the warehouses in Shad Thames were being built, the area had captured the imagination of Charles Dickens who based the story Oliver Twist around an inlet just a little further down the river. Hopefully I have remembered and recounted what she said faithfully.

I think I have mentioned before how sitting and sketching in public makes you fair game and available for conversation. Even in a place like London where people tend to be anonymous and insular. Sometimes this is a pain especially if you feel self-conscious about drawing in public. But every now and then you meet someone who has something very interesting to say and has obvious passion for their subject matter and I feel very glad that I have this chance to open myself up to Londoners who I would not normally have the chance to speak with.

As the day drew on I realised I was not going to get much further with my drawing of Shad Thames and I was craving putting some colour to paper so I moved on to do a quick 40 min landscape watercolour sketch of Tower Bridge from the Waterfront near the Design Museum. I may go back to finish the Shad Thames sketch but Mat convinced me to scan it as it is. For some reason he really likes it as it is.

Hyde Park Meetup

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

The weekend before the Easter weekend I met again with Drawing London on Location. This trip was to Hyde Park and Holland Park, again it was lovely weather for sketching outside.

We started off in the gardens opposite Lancaster gate…

Then moved on to the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall…

And finished off the day in Holland Park…

Natural History Museum

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

A couple of weekends ago I went out with the Drawing London on Location meetup group again. They were great company as usual but I had a very difficult day of sketching. I got off to a bad start as the tube was delayed so I missed the group meet at the tube station. I then spent at least an hour walking around the very busy Museum of Natural History trying to find something I wanted to draw. Everything that initially looked tempting was either too involved and would take too long, too crowded or at second glance just not right for me. I ended up spending the morning sketching a statue of a ‘bloke with a funny shaped head’ (Mat’s take on my sketch of Darwin). Then after meeting with people for lunch I ended up spending the best part of 2 hours searching both the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum again and finally in desperation did a few 10 minute sketches of the other sketchers. The (frankly crappy) results are below. The sketchers shown are Adam on the left, Lee on the right and some bloke who wasn’t with our group in the middle.

For some reason lately I have found it difficult to settle to anything. I’ve found it hard to get into books I’ve been trying to read, hard to keep working on the more involved drawings I have been doing, hard to find new things I really want to draw. Even simple decisions like what to eat for tea were becoming hard work. It is so frustrating and upsetting when you find yourself having to put a lot of effort into things that normally happen by themselves and feeling indifferent about things that ordinarily bring automatic pleasure. I have had occasions since I started drawing again when I have headed out to draw and had to head home frustrated and angry as nothing seemed right. But it has never been this difficult. I have to feel enthusiastic about the subject matter when I draw otherwise I can’t get into it and don’t enjoy it. Having only just rediscovered my enjoyment of drawing I feel quite anxious that I could lose it again.

Anyway, the apathetic, indecisive mood does seem to be on it’s way out now. I have very recently managed to finish the large project that I mentioned a couple of posts ago (I’ll post it here soon) and I’ve had a couple of other ideas for drawings that I am looking forward to exploring. I’m planning to go out sketching on location again this weekend so we’ll see how that goes.

Hunterian Museum

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Last weekend I met up with the Drawing London on Location meetup group again for a visit to the Hunterian Museum. This is a museum of medical and surgical history, a collection of very strange gruesome exhibits including preserved dissected animal and human body parts many of which are deformed. It proved to provide some very strange but interesting subject matter for drawing. Seems somehow apt to be writing about this on Halloween.

Firstly I decided to try to draw the main room with all of it’s tall glass display cabinets which reach from floor to the top of the double height ceiling lining the sides of the mezzanine gallery. This was a very striking sight with all it’s brightly lit jars full of pickled body parts. However did not enjoy this sketch at all and once I had got about halfway through and realised I could not save it I rushed to the end to find something more enjoyable to draw. I then moved on to draw a couple of skulls. I remember my art department at school had a skull, there is something very satisfying about drawing skulls although you do find yourself wondering who they originally belonged to.

This was the first graphite pencil sketch i have done since I started drawing again. Very quick, easy and fun. Sorry for the poor blown out scan. I was using my A4 moleskine and a double spread will only fit in an A3 scanner. The A3 scanner I have access to doesn’t deal well with either colour or contrast.

Goodbye Jon

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

A couple of weekends ago Mat and I took a trip out to Bankside to meet a friend. I had a terrible cold but this trip had to be made as this was our last opportunity to see Jon before he flew halfway around the world to live with his partner Jo and their new baby daughter in New Zealand. Jon was one of our housemates and one of my best friends at university, he was also one of my bridesmaids at our wedding (don’t worry I didn’t make him wear a dress).

As I wasn’t feeling well I decided to keep my hands busy by sketching while we talked (so I wouldn’t be tempted to drink too much beer). I’m not good at concentrating on two things at once. I managed to keep up with the conversation OK but had to keep stopping. It feels so rude to talk to someone without giving them eye contact.

It was the last warm weather of the year so we were able to sit outside in the sun quite comfortably. I decided to draw Jon into the sketch to help me remember the day. (You can also see Mat’s Lap on the right, I think he is happier when I don’t draw him in).

I am very sad to be saying goodbye to Jon. Seeing him to say goodbye made me realise how little we had seen of him and Jo over the past few years and now we will probably not have the chance to see them again for some time. But I am also very excited for them starting this new chapter of their life together as a family.

Jon I’ll miss you! I wish you all the best and really hope we keep in touch!

Tate Modern

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Here’s the sketch I did inside Tate Modern. This took quite a while, I’m too old to sit cross legged on a concrete floor for so long. I kept getting dead legs. Otherwise it was quite fun.

I also had another play around with Autostitch on the way home, it’s by no means perfect but it’s so easy. I’m quite impressed.

Last Day in Northumberland

Friday, October 15th, 2010

On our last day in Northumberland Mat and I took a walk along the beach from Beadnell to Low Newton by the Sea. When we got there we sat outside The Ship Inn and had lunch and a couple of pints of very nice beer brewed in their on site microbrewery.

Mat decided that we couldn’t walk back ;) so his Dad came to pick us up. I did this 20 minute sketch of Dunstanburgh Castle using Conte Crayon while we waited at the top of the hill above the village.

This was my last sketch in Beadnell also drawn on the last day.

Beadnell Bay

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

I need to get caught up as I’m a little behind with my blog at the moment. A few weeks ago I spent a week on holiday in Beadnell in Northumberland with Mat and his side of our family. While we were there I managed to fit in a few sketches. This one shows Beadnell Bay in brush pen and watercolour.

Drawing on Location Meetup Hackney City Farm

Monday, October 4th, 2010

I have been looking around online for some other people who sketch in London and I recently found a Meetup group who meet once a fortnight to go drawing on location around London. The weekend before last I went to join them at Hackney City Farm and then Victoria Park. Two places quite close to home, the first I did not even know existed and the second is a place I’ve been meaning to go sketching for a while. I had a play around in grayscale at the farm using three shades of grey Kuretake Zig Real Brushpens and then did a little conte crayon sketch of the Victorian water fountain at the park. We finished up in a pub to check out each others sketches over a few drinks. It was great to meet some other sketchers, all in all a very enjoyable day.

this piggy in the middle snored very peacefully the whole time I was sketching her

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Amy Stace published on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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