Don’t get too impressed; the above image is a giant cheaty cheat of a watercolour. As a friend pointed out, I haven’t suddenly gained the drawing skills of an autistic savant – instead, I traced an image of Holborn station from a popular online mapping service. I didn’t do any of the proper watercolour stuff like visiting the site to make sketches or scout locations.
Tracing the image was a somewhat tedious chore, but then I had the above picture, which I printed out on a piece of paper and coloured in using my expensive German paint set. I then scanned in the coloured version and used one of Photoshop’s handy “automate” functions to align the scanned version with the crisp digital version.
Was this fun to do? Uh… not so much. Was the image nice to look at? Ehhhh somewhat, but the watercolours didn’t really add that much. And, despite my best intentions, this really took some time.
It’s been too cold for me to go out and do much drawing, but as winter slowly ends I’ve been getting out and doing some drawings. Above are drawings from the British Museum, in a junk notepad that I got from a newsagents.
(Small piece of advice to a certain sketchbook maker; if you sell a pad as “plain”, don’t put your brand name in the corner of every page. Also, your paper quality is really bad.)
Over the winter I started keeping a diary comic blog, which is why I’ve not been posting up a lot of stuff here. It’s a commitment to doing one comic a day, which doesn’t seem like a lot… but it actually takes quite a lot of time. I’m learning a lot from doing it.
This is one of the early comics, from when I first started doing it. I was using a really small A6 pad, and ripping out the pages to scan them as I went along, which gave me this great feeling of freedom. Not all of the things you make have to be permanent, right? Sometimes you can rip a page out of a notebook! My sketchbooks end up having such a large of time in them that they always feel ‘precious’, so just knocking out the small sketches was pretty good.
My recent comics have been A5 in size, which might have been a mistake – it’s allowed me to do some different things, but on days when it’s hard to do a comic, or when I’ve not had a lot of time, I’ve put it off. That means that I now have a big backlog of comics to draw! I’ve made copious notes, but not every day has been chronicled as well as others…
In the long run, I don’t think doing a diary comic is going to be feasible forever. I’ve already had some flack for how I present people around me, and – to be honest – my life isn’t that interesting. But for now, it’s an interesting project to work on. Perhaps if I was going to do it again, I would have not shaved my beard off half-way through last month, as I became much harder to draw…
Finally, I made a bunch of my earlier comics available as a zine. This is my first zine! I’m quite excited.
I went into London to see the most recent Laydeez Do Comics at Foyles Bookshop. Now, I’m not going to write a bunch about that because there is this awesome blog post about it, so you should just go read that. I met my friend Scarlett there, and she did her own comic about the day. Mine will be up at my diary comic blog because that’s what cool kids do, all the cool kids have diary comic blogs.
(Although I am not a cool kid anymore as I am too old.)
I have almost finished drawing in my awkwardly sized square notebook. It’s not been a good choice for drawing people when out and about, because it’s hard to hold and it’s the wrong shape to go in a pocket. I still love the Seawhites of Brighton brand, and I would probably tell anybody to get one of their notebooks. These are drawings done in pencil and then I’ve bumped the contrast up so you can see the lines better.
Wow, I think this is like the worst blog-post I’ve written. I seem to have forgotten how to words. I used to be able to word arrange real good, now I’m just throwing them at the screen and seeing what happens.
Here’s a watercolour I did whilst waiting at Kings Cross for a train. I’m doing an evening course at City Lit, and I keep missing my train by about a minute, and then spending forty minutes bumbling around trying to fill my time. This week I sat and sketched.
Of course, the problem with the new Kings Cross is that the redesigned roof is awesomely hard to draw, and it’s such a vast indoors space that people are tiny. So I ended up doing this weird sketch of the space almost opposite me, trying to get the perspective correct.
In other news, I’ve started doing a daily comic over at my tumblr site. Updates will be happening over there every day, and probably stay irregular over here whilst it’s cold and I’m not going out drawing. We’ll always have Paris.
I find it hard to work sometimes. I’m not sure why, but occasionally I just can’t seem to squeeze out any artwork, and I want to spend all my time eating chocolate and watching some kind of terrible television series.
One of the things I do every day is keep a diary of what I’ve made, and this helps me keep track of the pattern of creativity. I’ve noticed that I usually have a big drop off at the start of July, because it’s hot and my birthday just happened. But Christmas is another period of the year where productivity goes out the window.
Think about it: it’s dark, cold, and there are umpteen parties happening nearby. Even with the best will in the world, it’s impossible to stay chained to your desk this month. You’re going to have to pop on a party hat and eat cake at least one day in December! That’s why I’ve not been worrying too much about my lack of productivity, and just concentrating on finding fun things to do. Above, a sketch of figure shapes from my notebook, filled in with Payne’s Grey and Venetian Red, is the sort of thing that I’ve been giving my time over to.