Monday 25 June 2007
Sunday 24 June 2007
I was thinking of spinal columns when I drew this, although it's obviously not a very accurate set of bones. So maybe it's a track on the ground instead? Or something else, something that only you can see...
Posted: 11.55pm on 20.6.07
I love this drawing, something about the combination of red and the different shades of black and grey really excites me. It makes me think of strange little Japanese sweets, the sort that look beautiful but that you're slightly afraid to eat.
Posted: 8.52pm on 19.6.07
When I was a child in South Yorkshire, one of our neighbours had a print of a L.S. Lowry painting on their wall. I was completely fascinated by the mass of little stick figures who inhabited a world that was deeply familiar to my 8 year old self. Although we lived on the other side of the Peak District to Manchester, his industrial landscapes were clearly echoed in the bleak architecture of nearby mill towns. I think this was probably the first time that I realised that art could come from something real, something that you could see around you: before I saw that Lowry print, art and artists had seemed like something faraway, exotic and impossible.
I'd completely forgotten about that print until something about the angles of this drawing recalled Lowry's figures all hunched up against the bitter Northern cold and brought this memory swimming up to the surface.
Posted: 9.57pm on 18.6.07
I've been doing a lot of reading lately about different forms of writing and the origins of the Western alphabet. It's research for my thread drawing series but it's clearly influencing the envelopes as well.
Posted: 8.27pm on 17.6.07
I hadn't realised just how soluble these coloured fineliner pens were until this envelope came back: it obviously got rained on quite hard because the drawing has almost completely washed out in a couple of places. It might be interesting to play with this effect deliberately sometime, although the thin paper buckles if I use too much water on the envelopes.
Posted: 11.54pm on 16.6.07
Another drawing that started life as a doodle. I thought it had first arisen on the margins of a to-do list that I'd been doing the night before this envelope. However, I was looking through one of my notebooks tonight and I realised that it strongly echoed some jewellery designs that I'd drawn a couple of months ago. This sort of thing happens often, I think there's a certain amount of 'hiding' that needs to occur with creativity - I'll make a note or drawing, forget about it and then it'll reappear again, usually in a more developed fashion. I refer to this process as 'composting'.
I collect little drawings in all sorts of places, I have an 'official' sketchbook, which I use to document my process but my more useful books are the two small notebooks that I keep by my bed and in my handbag. I get a lot of my ideas in bed last thing at night so the bedside notebook is crucial - a lot of my work starts out in there, including this project. The handbag notebook (currently a rather fabulous Moleskine with a bright pink raw silk cover) is equally important because it's never good to be out and about without paper. Ideas and designs also congregate on post-it notes, lists and phone messages so I also end up with masses of bits of paper with cryptic scribbles on them. Although I spend a lot of time on my computer, it's pretty clear that I'm still a pen and paper girl at heart and I've resisted getting a PDA for the simple reason that you can't doodle in them.
Posted: 9.53pm on 15.6.07
Sunday 17 June 2007
This very pale drawing in grey and white pen was difficult to scan well. In the end I had to increase the backlighting to get an image that was visible. It's much easier to see in real life.
Posted: 11.45pm on 14.6.07
I really enjoy the way the blue pen and pencil are working in this drawing. I laid down the outlines with the blue felt tip first, then added the watercolour pencil, which I worked over with water. When this wash had dried, I added another layer with the same pencil in certain places to deepen the colour and add a more matt effect.
Posted: 11.42pm on 13.6.07
Another envelope drawn with calligraphy ink and a dip pen. I like the shininess of this ink, it looks quite different from pen ink. I do find the dip pen quite hard to control though, it's not good for drawings where I need to be very precise.
Posted: 11.45pm on 12.6.07
Originally this drawing was just plain black outlines but it seemed a bit bleak and somewhat lacking. But I felt that using the same colour for all of the shapes would be boring so I decided to extend the 'variations on a theme' to the colours too. I had to raid both of my boxes of watercolour pencils to get enough shades of greens and browns to make each one different.
Posted: 9.32pm on 11.6.07
Saturday 16 June 2007
Every so often I get a bit bored with my materials and go in search of new toys. I found a dip pen and some calligraphy inks in my studio so I had some fun with this envelope. I liked the sense of freedom and looseness that the dip pen and its slightly scratchy nib gave me - I felt a lot less 'tight' then I sometimes do when drawing with rollerball or fine tipped pens. Not knowing when the ink might run out also added an extra frisson!
Posted: 9.57pm on 10.6.07
Using lots of colour was the primary motivation with this drawing. I did the outlines, filled in the centres with three shades of watercolour pencils, then went over them roughly with water. I put the centre strokes in while the paper was still wet, which resulted in darker, more intense coloured lines. The central black ink lines were the last thing to be added. I like this envelope a lot more in real life - it seemed to lose some vitality in the scanning process.
Posted: 11.52pm on 9.6.07
Ah, back to black. Apparently I can only go for so long without needing the security of these filled-in black shapes. I've drawn a lot in this style over the last year and every time I do, I long to be using a printing ink that would give me a really dense, rich black with crisp edges (nothing gives the same velvety black as printmaking ink). So I'm considering experimenting with screenprinting, although I've never done it at home and I'm a bit overwhelmed at the thought.
I was considering various other drawing media recently (I've been thinking of branching out from my notebooks into making single drawings that could be framed). As I was doodling and making lists, I surprised myself by writing "it's OK to have a drawing style" in the margins. Having struggled against my own drawing for years, that sudden moment of acceptance felt very profound.
Posted: 11.20pm on 7.6.07
I've been enjoying using the rapidograph pens. They are waterproof once dry, which is really useful if I'm layering on colour but I discovered that I can also get an ink wash out of them if I add water while they're still wet.
Posted: 10.23pm on 6.6.07
This was based on the stems of one of my house plants but somewhat abstracted since it was drawn from memory. When I'm drawing real objects I often prefer to draw them from memory - obviously they're less 'accurate' but I often find it makes my drawing stronger. I find that there's too much information if I have the object right in front of me but if I let it 'sit in my head' for a few hours, I can identify and focus on the component that really attracted me. In this case it was the strong diagonal lines on the stems, which I've echoed in the composition - the real house plant has much straighter stems!
Posted: 11.57pm on 5.6.07
Thursday 7 June 2007
Sometimes my drawings start in odd places. This one began life as a small diagram drawn to illustrate a point during a discussion with my partner. A few days later this expanded version found its way onto the back of an envelope, this time drawn in dark green ink rather than black.
Posted: 11.53pm on 4.6.07
This envelope made me realise that I need a larger choice of coloured pencils because I'm bored of these shades now. I want to splash out and treat myself to a bigger set of the Derwent Inktense pencils. This hasn't been a very expensive project so far, mostly it's just involved paying for stamps but even though I already have drawers full of drawing media, the temptation to buy new pens and pencils is always there.
Posted: 11.50pm on 3.6.07
When I was a child I loved to look at Ordinance Survey maps: I would pore over them for hours, virtually exploring both known and unknown territories. I was always very taken by their visual qualities; the contour lines on hills and the little symbols that represented things like ancient forts, sandy beaches, rocky shores, old churches and standing stones. I always felt there was a sort of magic to them, that a flat drawing could tell you how high and steep something was or what sort of terrain you would find underfoot seemed incredible to me, indeed it still does! This drawing brought back strong sense memories of those times spent unconsciously training myself in a language of visual symbols.
I love this shape, it makes me think of sea creatures, an octopus perhaps (although it doesn't have enough tentacles for that). I enjoyed drawing the contour lines on this shape, it's another technique that I'll probably explore in the future.
Posted: 11.55pm on 1.6.07
With this envelope I made a conscious effort to move away from the hatching because I didn't want it to get boring. It's certainly a technique I'll return to though and it's made me consider investigating other traditional drawing techniques.
Posted: 10.18pm on 31.5.07
The hatching shows up better on this drawing, partly because of the colour but also because I'd bought some rotring pens with very fine nibs so I was able to get a more delicate, almost etched, line.
Posted: 10.30pm on 29.5.07
This was the envelope where I rediscovered the joy of hatching. I haven't done much hatching in recent years and I'd forgotten how subtle and intriguing a technique it can be.
Posted: 11.40pm on 28.5.07
I like the way this drawing curves around the top left hand corner. I've noticed that I have a definite bias towards the left hand side of the envelopes, I usually start drawing on that side and I often stay there.
Posted: 9.19pm on 27.5.07
I got into a very zen-like state whilst colouring in the red on this drawing. There's something very soothing about colouring in, even though I'm not very precise and sometimes go over the lines. Also, despite years of drawing I've never mastered the skill of keeping my hand off the paper so I often end up accidentally smudging the ink or pencil: I'm always impressed by people who don't do that.
Posted: 9.17pm on 25.5.07
This drawing gave me a lot of trouble - it took three attempts and I even considered drawing it a 4th time before deciding that this version was acceptable. Some days it's just like that!
Posted: 8.13pm on 24.5.07
Both sides of a small red berry that I found. It looked like a cherry but was much more oval. The colours I had available couldn't really capture the dark burgundy reds of the withered flesh.
Posted: 10.02pm on 23.5.07