Drawing

Thoughts on my drawing.

Slumber
‘Slumber’ Pencil on paper. Dec 2016

Once again, I have to confess to neglecting my blog. I’ve been busy teaching and drawing, and, more recently tidying up and paring back this website that I felt was becoming something of a beast that needed taming.

Like I say, I have been drawing; lots and lots of drawing whenever time permits. Drawing has dominated my creative output recently. It’s trumped my lettering and collage efforts. It’s been a really useful year for me. Having neglected drawing for many years—far too many years—I find it odd that I did for so long. Anyhow, as the old saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the next best time is now. Never has a truer proverb applied to me and my practice. No looking back, then. I’m just moving forward and going with the flow.

The process of drawing and the rediscovering certain tools and revisiting others has also led to my exploring new(ish) themes of that I can connect with and that have some visual potential to me. Recently, my lifelong interests in both factual history and folklore have been a point of exploration. I’ve been drawing those who keep certain ancient traditions alive, and who reinterpret them for a new age, such as Morris Dancers and their musicians. These have simply been portraits. In recent weeks I am wanting to explore themes that draw upon more imagination such a folk tales, myths and legends.  I’m having fun reading these tales and planning potential compositions and finding the process of drawing a wonderful escape from the often overwhelming speed and chaos of life. 

Hello!

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Some of my recent creative trials and explorations, all of which can be seen via the links above.

 

It’s been a while since writing any posts. However, despite this, I have been busy studying, drawing, making collages, lettering and, as ever, teaching. The blog will likely take on a more visual form from now on; populated with work and work-in-progress.

The site has had something of an overhaul. Nothing particularly slick, just a fresh theme, fewer pages and links and the addition of a Tumblr link as well as the Instagram feed. I want the site to have a more pared back look, and one that focuses a little more on my creative activity rather than those of others.

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E. H. Shepard. War Drawings

The E.H. Shepard exhibition at London’s House of Illustration is simply superb. Most of us will be familiar with his Winnie the Pooh drawings, but I, for one, knew little of his output beyond this. I was simply amazed at how effortless his work appeared to be in respect of creating beautifully fluid lines that captured human form, manner, and mood so accurately and so gracefully; even those sketches dashed off under the conditions of war. I was always taken by Shepard’s ability to capture so much with so little, evident of the Pooh drawings, but one can easily see how this skill was something developed early in his career. A beautiful and poignant exhibition.

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AOI World Illustration Awards, 2015 at Somerset House

 

© Phil Wheeler – Biodiverse
© Phil Wheeler – Biodiverse

Today’s visit to London’s Somerset House was essentially a day for thinking about all things Illustrative. On what had to be one of the most glorious of October days we went to the AOI World Illustration Awards 2015, previously known as ‘Images’.

The mission: We wanted to point out to our students that Illustration can be many things and that it comes in many forms. That might sound like a fairly obvious thing to say, but I am still slightly surprised by just how many people say that they can’t draw and therefore they’d be no good at illustration. There seems to be a preconceived notion that all illustration is based on being able to draw like an Old Master. Of course some form of ability to draw is useful—and it could easily be argued as being essential—and I would never play down the benefits of the ongoing practice of observed drawing, as this is a way to noticeably improve ways of seeing and recording; to develop a style of visual voice; seek visual themes of interest and discover what tools and materials you respond to and enjoy using. Even the benefits of casual doodling can lead to many a new idea. I could go on.

This year’s exhibition was a true smorgasbord of illustrative voices and we simply let the students explore the exhibition set with a task of writing their own review using some prompts for discussion. The feedback was great and it was interesting to see what styles of image making were attractive to individuals and the ensuing points of discussion.

I found the exhibits were excellent as was the variety of styles present. I was particularly taken by the illustrations of João Fazenda that were centered around Japanese folklore (immediately below). The echoing of traditional Japanese artistic simplicity came through and both the lively quirkiness of the images and the wonderfully  simple colour combinations worked so well as a striking collection.

© João Fazenda – Japanese Folktales
© João Fazenda – Japanese Folktales

I was also struck by the incredible paper constructions by both Gail Armstrong and Sam Pierpoint, that latter producing the most incredible skull of waves crowned with a ship. Entitled ‘El Jimador Skull’ this formed part of a contribution to celebrate The Day of the Dead. As well as the compositions I find the engineering simply fascinating.

Andy Ford’s ‘Cel-EGG-Rities’, painted eggs of celebrity faces were simply brilliant, as was the use of Twitter that helped to generate suggestions for them. (See John & Yoko below)

For both technique, message and depth of meaning many were drawn to the poignant works of Olivier Kugler whose illustrations drew attention to the plight of Syrian refugees and their ability to live through adversity. The simple style of drawing and colour, peppered with hand rendered typographic messages gave a sensitive and personal voice to the topic.

In short, I found the perfectly curated collection simply brilliant. The quality of work was incredible and as a means of introducing some of our students to the wider world of illustration it was great. To round the day off we issued each student—tutors too!—with a blank postcard and asked for the card to be illustrated with an image or text of their choice; simply something connected to their day in London. The cards came in and we posted them as the 9th October was World Post Day and perfectly timed with our illustratively themed day.

The exhibition ends  1 November 2015. Anyone with a passing interest in graphic arts should not miss this exhibition.

#sampierpoint #illustration #papercraft #skull #paper #design #somersethouse #worldillustrationawards

A photo posted by Tim Bones (@mrtimbones) on

#illustration #eggs #lennon #yokoono #johnlennon #somertsethouse #worldillustrationawards #andyward A photo posted by Tim Bones (@mrtimbones) on

#worldpostday #postcard #illustration #curiouseventsday #thegraphicdesignproject #westkentcollege

A photo posted by Sancha de Burca (@sanchagdp) on

Mail me Art: A Mail Art Project

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Recently I’ve been trying to find time to indulge in independent, creative projects. Teaching for three institutions and having three young kids doesn’t leave much time for doing my own thing and so I’ve been seeking ways to incentivise me to get things done, I’ve also been discussing with one or more of my students the issue of trying to capitalise on finding time and seeing what one can achieve within a very limited time. I have been extolling the aims of this video by Cy Porter on the theme of Littleing it to Death by which Porter outlines tackling potentially larger projects by approaching them by do a little each day. So now practicing what I’ve been preaching I’m looking to do something each day. This little effort was a entry for a Mail Art project for Mail Me Art which “is a project that has brought together an international community of artists and illustrators, amateur and professional alike, through art in the form of mail.” This took about 2.5 hours and I left it until the day of the deadline. If I’m honest with my own critique, the composition isn’t great, neither is the lettering but I’m pleased with the doodle-like technique that emerged and the some of the mark-making. I really like the concept of mail art and hope to do more of this.

Reference: http://www.mailmeart.com

‘Time: Tattoo Art Today’ at Somerset House

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Today was the first of our annual college trips for new academic year. Time to get out of the design studios, look up from our Macs and seek inspiration from elsewhere. This time it was a visit to London’s Somerset House to see ‘Time: Tattoo Art Today’  The exhibition is unique. Some 70 tattoo artists have been commissioned to create a work of art and inlcudes work from Ed Hardy, Horiyoshi III, Rose Hardy, Chris Garver and Claudia De Sabe. What struck me immediately was just how talented these people are when not working on skin. Works included painted sculptures—two of my favourites being Chris Garver’s ‘Indigo Dragons’ and Henk ‘Hanky Panky’ Schiffmacher’s ‘ACBC’, a mesmerising and sensitive portrait of a tattooed Christ. (Directly below)

The theme of ‘time’ lead to many of the artists producing works reminiscent of medieval memento mori, clearly referring to our measured time in this world, along with the message that youthful beauty is fleeting.

The collection is incredibly diverse and is well worth the visit, but don’t expect to see tattoos, that’s not what’s on show! However, it would have been a bonus if only to have had a small image of each tattoo artists’ work, just to give the viewer a glimpse of what they create as tattooists. It is a great exhibition, and, for the most part, entirely unpredictable as you move from piece to piece.

Time: Tattoo Art Today ends October 5th.


Above: ‘Rouge’ (detail) by Rose Hardy.