Sunday, 28 February 2010

90 - bag of doughnuts

Had to shelter from the rain last friday, poured down. Found a spot under a covered shopping trolley stand, sidestepping rabid customers dragging trolleys out, jamming them in.
And this guy was taking shelter just across from me. With an ignored newspaper by his side, and a bag of doughnuts.
Scale a bit off, head too small.
And the ghost of a woman on the phone, which is neat, because she was standing a little way off, and I sketched her next, obviously. So this sketch contains a hint of the world around, and the future yet to come. At the time of drawing.
But what I really want to know...

How come he got a dry place with a bench, and I didn't ?

89 - man in white jacket

Very pleased with this one. Knew as I was drawing it that the pen was in a good mood.
And there was someone sitting behind me watching me draw it as well, so double smugness all round.
From the train journey into town to meet a friend and go to cinema yesterday.
Film brilliant too, and brought CD I was looking for, so, apart from the rain, a good day.

Doesn't take much...

88 - 2 versions

Been thinking of ways to add colour whilst doing the sketching, as opposed to later, at home. Brought some cheap coloured pens yesterday, ( thank you Tescos - 67p a pack ! ) with the idea of using a suitable colour to draw clothing, backgrounds etc.
Not very successful, like black is the only colour that can really hold it's own as a line, or dominates the others too much. Although scanning has improved the balance somehow... now that's interesting. But the face and the sweatshirt are at odds with each other. Unsatisfying.
So, get the paints out, and the pens again...
Still no good. Might be that the drawing itself is a bit crap to start with.
Will try more, something to explore here, but no ideal yet.

Also want to add a great big thanks to njd23 for being my first follower. Brilliant to welcome you here, a real pleasure. You made my day, you did.

Friday, 26 February 2010


Loved the way her scarf and coat collar sort of hold her face like something of great value you are privileged to see. They were both black which made her winter pale skin seem even more the centre of focus.
Should have shaded them heavier, might try paint later.
Her hand was superb, just enough peeking out of a huge fur sleeve to hold a book steady, but I bungled the drawing of it.
She was reading one of those massive medical books, this one thankfully free of illustrating photos. I've seen in some of those books, you slam them shut convinced you have seen the exact same life threatening pustule on your body just this morning, or worse, you end up addicted to meaningless words like cardiac infarction that go round and round in your head for days after.
Palliative care, that was the one that was stuck in my brain last week. Palliative care. Palliative care.

You really didn't need to know that, did you ?


Waiting on St. Pancras station last night, started to sketch this man reading his Evening Standard. He looked up at the information board, noticed me, instantly clocked what I was doing, gave me a look that would have shriveled lesser mortals in their bed socks, and walked away, hence the sketch didn't get any feet.
His overcoat was the most brilliant deep chocolate brown colour.
Not a particularly anything drawing, but he sealed his fate with his not wanting to be sketchedness.
I apologize to him here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Make that 365 people, 2 toucans...

... and a nifty Aztec statue !

With the next page ghosting through again. Will I never remember to check for that !!!!

79 to 85 - 1 Hour of the day.

Thought to take part in Suzanne Cabrera's 1 hour exercise. Check out her blog page, an open (sketch)book.
Was the day to take my car in for it's M.O.T. so the perfect hour offered itself up. Dropped the car at the garage, then wandered off to find a good subject arena. Ah, Asda supermarket. That will do.
So spent the hour from 10.30 to 11.30 sitting in their cafe, just seeing who would sit in front of me.
First off, an old guy...
...who made a tea and a bun last the whole hour, one studied bite after another. Is this his regular morning spot ?
At the next table two store managers were discussing stuff over coffees. I knew they belonged to the store by their Asda name badges and ties.
They both kept getting called away by the tannoy, " Supervisor to customer services... Security to till number seventeen... " and oddly, " Erica to the podium please" Was there a lap dancing aisle ?
Then a Bus Driver sat and started to revise his bus routes with 1000% concentration...
... flipping backwards and forwards through a folder of photocopied A-Z pages, comparing them to a schedule, muttering the street names to himself, thoroughly engrossed in this. I guess he had a test later.
If there is any justice for effort expended, he deserved to pass.
I reckon this must be a regular stop on the bus drivers' route, as two more came and sat at another table, one of them, according to his flourescent jacket, was an emergency operative.
I would hazard, from his relaxed chatting that there wasn't an emergency that needed operating at this precise moment, or, for that matter, a bus route test in his immediate future.
Then a young guy came and sat, anxiously checking his mobile every other second. A meeting ? An assignation ?
An illicit affair ?
Who ever he was waiting for hadn't arrived when my time was up, and the car needed to be collected. So I will never know.
Other things seen, but not sketched. Trays of uncooked Cornish pasties that looked like baby albino stegosaurus, an old lady reading a copy of People's Friend all on her own, and a small child, being crowded out of a shopping trolley by the biggest bag of potato crisps in the universe.

My car passed it's test. Hope the driver did as well.

78 - sunglasses.

Ah, the sun. Remember it ?
This was on a train last year, was going to Herne Hill, early in the morning, with the commuters. A load of people had got off at St. Pancras, so there were seats by the time we reached Blackfriars Bridge. Had stood up to this point, but, as we pulled out across the Thames, I nabbed a seat opposite this guy, and was taken with how his sunglasses cast a strong shadow across his face, but I could still see his eyes.
Did several, this is my favorite.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Love the shape this guy's head ended up. Would be the first to admit that heads aren't like that. But that's part of the pleasure of sketching, what you see isn't always what is.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Joy of Text - 73, 74, 75, 76

Sorry, bad title.
But I swear, everyone I sketch seems to be writing their life stories on their phones.
Tap tap tap, c u @ 4. Lol. Thanx 4 txt. Big x.
Shortest text I ever got was one letter.
Loved that. Still got it saved.
Anyone still use them to actually talk ?
Ah !

A good book

Another page from the summer park day book.
Scanned a whole clutch of them.
That's not a good word. Clutch.
There must be a better collective noun for a load of sketches of people lazing around in Sunday sunshine.
A drawl ?

Vodka special

Dragging home on the train late the other night. A gang of lads, off their trolleys, three sloshing bottles of astonishingly blue vodka that had already clearly passed many times between the four of them.
Don't think I could ever have caught just how rat-arsed they were.
( Is rat-arsed hyphenated ? )
And, at the other end, two girls, emptying their handbags of every cosmetic chemical allowed under UN treaty, discussing and demonstrating each one loudly. "Do I have wrinkles ?" " You have one, there" " Try this - it's brilliant." The REAL war. They couldn't have been more than 22.

Polar opposites, waiting to meet. Seismic shifts.

Though not, judging by these girls' skillful indifference, on this night, or this train.

70 - Disney nose

Called this one Disney nose in the rush of scanning stuff...
...because that is the kind of nose a Disney hero would have.

An old style, classic, drawn animation Disney hero that is.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Make that 365 people...

...and two Toucans !

They were in the sketch book I was scanning at the weekend.

Why not ?

69 - a quick one.

Another quick sketch from the summer park day.

Any sapphic, numerical undertones are all resolutely in my head.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

68 - laughing

Yesterday turned out a smashing day, the sun came out, and all that cold was ( temporarily, if the headlines are to be believed ? ) forgotten. That line from Colin McInnes.. can't remember it exactly and can't find the book, so apologies if misquoting. "One of those days the old whore London throws up..."
Sat near two girls who were doing that thing where you put your name into a website and it tells you what kind of a person you are. 'All your name ?' one asked, 'just your first name' her friend said.
Sketched the friend - whose name I will never know - ... she laughed as Natalie read aloud her name's response.
Funnily enough another friend was using this same web site two days ago, so it is obviously current. Which just goes to show how small the world really is. Or we are. Or, in our innocence, is presumed to be.

There, two misquotes in one posting. Gotta be impressed.

Friday, 5 February 2010


Always been a big fan of Paul Hogarth's work. Those little character studies he does with a few strokes of watercolour. Here is my own attempt. Nowhere near as economical.
Drawn down Portobello road market on a friday morning. always the better day to go. Less Tourists, more tatt.


Only 300 to go now. Panic. it's not a leap year is it ? No, Good. Can't have the whole scheme messed up by something as insignificant as the Roman Calender.
So who shall I dig out today ?
Perfect. Drew this guy whilst in the Starbucks on Shaftsbury Avenue with a friend ages ago. A quick sketch, but like the arm stretching back over his head.
Am meeting the same friend again today, for a coffee, although not here... There...

64, 65, girl in park

One of those hot, still sundays at the beginning of summer, when the trees still look fresh and the grass hasn't been dried and scuffed to nothing.
Went and sat in my local park to read and sketch. 'The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay' in the shade of a group of massive Lime trees.
Loads of people, languid in the heat, lazing around in groups or on their own. Friends agreeing to meet, waving to attract each others attention, shading their eyes... is that them ? Over there ? Friends of friends getting introduced and assessed. Spending the day with strangers because of one person. Enduring the scrutiny, finding common ground.
Sketched this girl twice.
People tend to have two or three positions at most, that they cycle through as they talk. Leaning back, leaning forward, legs crossed, legs out straight. If you miss them at one stance, and you have the time to wait, you will catch them back in that position in a while.
Elbows hatched with the criss-cross of grass, florescent green aphids catching in hair, being switched away by others.

A good day.

Monday, 1 February 2010

63 - Louvre, Paris

Was standing in the entrance pyramid to the Louvre Museum, waiting by the spiral staircase ( I would seem to do a lot of waiting, don't I ? Can't remember if I was waiting while my friend went to the loo, or waiting for them to actually turn up at all ) anyway... this Guy was leaning over the balcony from the Cafe, talking to some people below, mates of his.
I obviously started with the neck of his sweatshirt, and when I had got round his head the two overlapped. But with the railing line cutting through his hand as well I don't mind.
The thing I most remember about this was, as I was resting the sketch book on the railing on my side of the spiral staircase, the tread of the visitors on the stairs made my book vibrate, a small, but clear rhythm that grew and faded as they went up and down and really annoyed me as it made my hand unsteady. Look at his nose for evidence.
I can usually zone that kind of thing out, but there was something heartbeatish and insistent about it that was actually a bit disturbing.

I mean that as in vital internal organ, not cosy period Cop show.

Although I could argue that that was just as disturbing as well.