Thursday, 24 September 2009

‘Fish Tank’ girl 090923b

On my return train journey last night, on an empty I found myself without a decent ‘model’. Just to reassure you fellow-sketchers that we don’t alwalys have to wait for a real, live person, I drew this girl from a film poster advertising the British film ‘Fish Tank’ in my newspaper. In the original poster, she has no additional imagery surrounding her. Considering her pensive countenance, I invented the bustling city background as a narrative element to enhance the rather sombre and isolated mood. Don’t know if this theme ties in at all with the film having not seen it, but that’s my unbiased interpretation! Black Biro and white Conté pencil.

Train sleeper, aka ‘baboon face’ 090923a

Sketched this fellow on yesterday’s morning train. The light from the east was producing a nice side highlight. I must have elongated his head, but he definitley resembles a baboon with his tight mouth too adding to the effect, so I have rather unkindly since changed him from 'Train sleeper' to baboon face. Black Biro and white Conté pencil.

Monday, 29 June 2009

090629 Roman on horseback, British Museum

Very hot today and The British Museum was probably the worst place to go under that huge (but impressive) glass roof! Still, once you start you can't stop, so I sweated it out. A passer-by sketcher asked me if I had special permission to use wet media in the museum (apparently it's dry only), but I admitted I wasn't aware of any sketchy rules so was probably just getting away with it until I was caught. The fun police in the UK get everywhere. But I finished without any scene. Blue Quink ink on yellow Canson card, about half hour duration.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

090624 Dutch bicycle, Stephens Street, W1

Saw this lovely green Dutch bicycle in a local street near work. So much more style than the usual generic bicycle. Charcoal pencil on brown paper sketchpad.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

090623 Girl reading in Bedford Square, W1

Hot day today and I wasted half an hour wandering around looking for inspiration. Perspiration more like. Eventually I sat in the shade of some Bedford Square park trees and sketched this girl engrossed in her book. She disappeared towards the end, but I managed to make up the missing bits. As much as I love drawing, no pencil was used at all in this one, just painted directly in Quink ink with a brush. The grand Georgian houses recede nicely in the background thanks to a light hand. On manilla envelope paper, took about half an hour.

Blue bin bags outside The Palace Theatre, W1

Not the prettiest of sights, perhaps, but I found the slumped shapes of the blue bin bags on collection day outside The Palace Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue quite interesting. Quink ink and pencil.

Royal College of Surgeons, Holborn

A painting for a work friend’s ‘Save the date’ wedding card. Watercolour on Langton 300gsm Grain Fin paper.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

090430 The blue bicycle, Oxford Circus

Just outside the John Lewis store at London’s Oxford Circus, this lovely vintage girl’s bicycle was waiting to be sketched. No direct sunshine today, so no dynamic shadows, but you can’t have everything. Drawn with a Pentel MS50 black marker and painted with Quink ink with a brush on white cartridge.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

090429 Outside Prets, Oxford Street W1

Lovely sunny day today. Wisely, this guy followed a popular worldwide pastime of 'People Watching From A Cafe'. I’m a big believer too. he buzzed off after a while, so I had to use a pic from my mobile as ref. I added the white highlights back at work with a white Chinagraph. This was especially effective for doing the highlights on the black leather. The rest was painted with a brush and black ink and blue Quink ink. A lack of outlines in the background figures and a pale wash helps them recede, giving the sketch much depth.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

090421 Bayley Street roadworks

Just a few metres down from yesterday's Bedford Square sketch, this is drawn from a meeting room window 4 floors up, giving me an interesting bird's eye viewpoint. The strong shadows cast by the sun made for interesting shapes, cast across the pavement. It's the first time I've tried wet ink by brush in this sketchbook and the low-quality paper is very poor at spreading the colour evenly, so next time perhaps at least I'll try it on more absorbent paper, such as a heavy cartridge or proper watercolour paper. Duration: 20mins Materials: Quink Blue-Black ink with brush on the usual sketchpad brown paper.

Monday, 20 April 2009

090420 25 Bedford Square, W1

Lovely warm lunchtime today so I ambled round the corner from work and sketched this unique square. Bedford Square is the only intact Georgian square surviving in London and still has the original Georgian buildings and cast iron lamposts. I would have loved to have sketched from the gardens found in the centre of the square, but unfortunately (for sketchers at least), it's a residents-only private park. Materials: Fountain Pentel on brown paper Daler Rowney Cachet sketchbook. Duration: 30mins.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Emily 1

A 10 minute sketch of Emily who works at my agency, looking out of a boardroom window. Not a great likeness, but a fair effort in ten mins. Materials: Black Daler-Rowney sketching charcoal pencil and white drawing pencil.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

090402 Oxford Street reflections

This one's done from photographic reference, but I was so taken by the remarkable clarity of the reflected image, I wanted it to be revisited. It almost looks like a canalside sketch rather than a dip in the pavement, due to the way I gave it a tight crop. Depending on whether you're a 'glass half empty' or 'full' kind of person, I think you may interpret the shadowing figure behind the girl as either sinister or harmless. It could be the cover of a crime novel if you're of the former persuasion! What do you think? I like this one so much, I'll be putting it on my other painting and sketching blog (see side panel).Materials: Black, grey and white Daler-Rowney Sketching Charcoal on Cachet sketchbook paper Duration: 30 mins

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

090401 Builders, Hanover Square

A couple of builders take a break in Hanover Square gardens, just a few metres from a bustling Oxford Street. Duration: About 20 mins. Materials: Black Pentel Brushpen on Daler-Rowney Cachet (brown paper) sketchbook.

090401 Couple, Hanover Square

Office workers lunch amidst budding springtime plane trees. A gangly man in black in the background shows off his solo ball-handling skills, which was more of a dance than anything else. A bit like Tai-chi with a sphere. Duration: About 20 mins. Materials: Black Pentel Brushpen on Daler-Rowney Cachet (brown paper) sketchbook.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

090331 (3/3) Chap with hat

A portly chap absent-mindedly feeds the London pigeons as people mill around him. Materials: Pentel Brush Pen Duration: 10 mins

090331 (2/3) Map reader

A guy takes five work out his next move. Materials: Pentel Brush Pen Duration: 10 mins

090331 (1/3) Row of men, British Museum

Nice to get out armed only with a brush pen and sketchbook. No feint trace lines before committing, just committing to the ink right there! I even left the white Chinagraph behind today. One of a series of three. Materials: Pentel Brush Pen Duration: 10 mins

Friday, 27 March 2009

090327 Man on train

Sketched this after a long day at work yesterday. Sleeping people make such good (still) models! Materials: Blue Biro on Daler Rowney Cachet paper. Duration: About half an hour.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

090305 Triumph motorbike, Denmark Place

After a short trip to Foyles bookshop, I had half an hour and took a shortcut back through Denmark Place. I sketched this nice, shiny British Triumph in the quiet alleyway behind the drumming studios and famous guitar shops of Denmark Street, off Charing Cross Road, WC2. Materials: Daler Rowney Artists' Sketching pencil on brown paper. Duration: 30mins.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

090303 Easter Island Statue, British Museum

A windy and cold day, so I sought the warmth and shelter of The British Museum, a favourite sketching haunt. The plaque read Hoa Hakananai'a, which means 'secret friend' or something similar and this Easter Island figure dates back to around 1400AD. I like sculptures, they stay nice and still for the artist. Materials: Black and white Daler Rowney 'Sketching Pencils" on cardboard (art pad backing). Duration: 20mins.

Monday, 2 March 2009

090302 Reader, Crabtree Fields

Only had a brief moment to sketch today, so popped over to Crabtree Fields, Colville Place, a precious slice of green in the erstwhile grey environment of Tottenham Court Road. The book reader in question actually disappeared two-thirds of the way through the sketch, so I improvised thereafter. The fleeting low winter sun made the odd appearance and produced some nice diagonal shadows via the trees across the pavement. But disappeared again, so I found myself waiting for the clouds to move on and reveal it again, just to make sure I was getting the shadows in the right place. Materials: Black and white Daler Rowney 'Sketching Pencils" on manilla envelope paper. Duration: 20mins.

Monday, 23 February 2009

090223 Tottenham Court Rd & BT Tower

Thought I'd try a sketch of the great outdoors whilst staying indoors. It was cosy enough, but obviously lacked any interaction with the public, part of the thrill of plein air sketching, I feel. This viewpoint is from a meeting room window on the 4th floor of my company's offices, looking north up Tottenham Court Road towards Euston. An ambitious drawing as I only had 40 minutes before a meeting at 2pm, but in hindsight, it's the medium which was a tad ambitious. All that scratching around with a fine-tipped Fountain Pentel when a soft pencil would have been better for indicating the trees, especially. They look rather sparse and bedraggled, though it is only February so I can probably get away with it! A sketch like this sums up the lovely mix of London architecture. The landmark BT Tower sits amongst 1960s office boxes and intricately-decorated Georgian buildings (to the right). I wonder for who's benefit the draped fabric effect round the window in plaster (top right) was for? Well, at least I got to appreciate it. That's half the fun of sketching, of course, the observing. Typically, the meeting got cancelled. Materials: Black Fountain Pentel. Duration: 40 mins.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

090212 National Portrait Gallery

Just up from my previous sketching in Trafalgar Square where I was slowly turning to ice is The National Portrait Gallery, an appropraite venue for sketching people. In fact this is possibly my favourite London lunchtime haunt, I always see the BP NPG Award here every year. In an example of art imitating life imitating art, I drew this young student who in turn was drawing an impressive limewood sculpture. It's called 'Wooden Head' (Andrew Motion's, former Poet Laureate) by artist Jilly Sutton. I always like sketching in museums and galleries, especially in the week, as everyone's at it like it's the most natural thing in the world and few people bother you. Oh, and it's nice and warm too and usually free. As you can see, I employed/recycled the backing cardboard from an old layout pad for this one - you can see the paper overlap at the top and sticker at the bottom. This cardboard is a lovely cool grey, but I guess paper is preferable, otherwise my plan chest will fill up in no time, as it's so much thicker. Materials: Black and white Chinagraph on cardboard. Duration: about 20 mins.

090212 Trafalgar Square fountain

Brighter day today, but only about 4 degrees C. Not the kind of temperature that you want to be sitting on cold stone, which is what I did, for half an hour. Precariously positioned on the edge of one of the Nelson's Column fountains (all of which differ in design), I was occasionally sprayed with a fine mist of icy water, but it was too late to start again and fortunately, waxy Chinagraphs are unfazed by a bit of water. Today's Curious Interrupter was a charming American lady who asked if she could take a photo of me sketching, which was fine with me. I know this is my second sketch and my second employing Chinagraphs, but they are not terribly good at shades of grey. Which is fair enough, as they aren't really intended for paper substrates. Next time, it's going to be good ol' graphite pencils or ink pens. Materials: Black and white Chinagraph on cardboard (backing from an art pad). Duration: Half hour.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

090211 British Museum, London

What a great venue to kick off my London lunchtime sketches. Not only out of the cold February wind, but there are even free stools to sit on, so I could sketch in comfort! A very friendly Spanish member of TBM staff chatted to me for a while. He said the sketch was "very Andy Warhol". He asked me what we called Andy Warhol in English, which did amuse me. Still, his English was far superior to my Spanish. Materials: 'Fountain Pentel' and white Chinagraph on manilla envelope. Duration: About an hour (lucky that, as I only get an hour for lunch).