Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Anyone remember what it was like when a bag of crisps was a bottomless cornucopia that took forever to eat...

...rather than the 2 minute crunchathon snack shame precipice they now seem to be ?

P.S. Quavers are technically not crisps, (or chips as I believe they are know outside the colonies). They're... oh crap, someone else explain them, it's starting to rain and I've got washing out...


Go by Big T's page. Have a look around. Suggest what they should do next.


Said I would post a link ages ago, sorry Big T.

Time flies...

So, following on from Sam's speed sketching thing.

Decided to actually time myself, using the platform clock, and allowed myself 30 seconds per sketch, and no more.

Blimey. Talk about stress. It really focuses you. No sooner have you started than the numbers are clanking round like the bedside clock on 'Groundhog day'. Forget detail. The best ones I managed were of a passenger who had his back conveniently to me. Otherwise I doubt I would have got anything even anywhere near enough to register at all.

Look, I didn't even get time to give him both legs in that one. I would have said I sketch fast, but this proved how fickle my judgement of time really is.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Hold on

Sometimes the tube can be a perilous ride.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


That's how I would describe this bloke. Saturnine.

Which I took to mean dark and broody, but when I looked it up it said: gloomy, sluggish, dull, heavy, grave. Which isn't quite the same.

So apologies in advance, but I'm not changing the post as I can't think of anything else to write about him.

Which I apologies about as well.


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Family day out

Ended up killing some time in the City last bank holiday ( mainly because the DLR wasn't running that day ).

The buzz and fuss of folks around the periphery of the Tower of London had to be seen to be believed. If it had been an army I think old William Conker would have been stressing out. Moats are no defense when there are souvenirs to be had.

There were copious food outlets to sustain the invasion. So much for starving them out. How many besieged citadels would have remained steadfast if they had had a Starbucks outlet somewhere in their back streets ? Hey, Infidel hoards, I mock your battering rams and siege engines with the sugared crunch of an almond biscotti.

So... families eating.

History and vittals. A fine day all told.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Slow week.

It has been a week of stops, starts and ends.  Some family revelations, an absolute shedload of memories shared, slow frustration over work, a little resentment to pepper the proceedings, some new people encountered and, at the very centre of the week, like a pearl, a moment of absolute brilliance that is, for the time being, mine all mine.

Just got to do the work now, live up to it.

Here is a totally unrelated sketch of a bloke in baseball hat..

Random is sometimes good.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

White Carbs.

Two guys got on the train, sat opposite each other and proceeded to talk across the carriage.

They had obviously both just come from a gym.

"White carbs", one said scathingly.

"They say to do eight weeks on, then eight weeks off." His mate replied, nodding, "or six weeks."

"I do six, if I do eight. You can cut down faster that way."

"She's alright though, isn't she ?"

"Everyone there thinks that."

"But she is though."

"She is."

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


One of the guards in the British Museum.

In, appropriately enough, the drawing gallery.

That is the aerial of his walkie talkie, if you were wondering.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Tricky Legs

Usually run out of space on the page when I am sketching, even if I try to plan the position I often end up drawing bigger than I expect and things like feet get left off. Which isn't good for sketching, because feet are notoriously tricky.

So when this guy slumped down in the train seat opposite and sprawled himself out, it was a challenge from the Gods. Both to draw them well, and to fit them on the page in the first place.

Liked first attempt, but the second time...

... ran out of space. Again. So right foot all squeezed and stunted and wrong, and left foot somewhere off down there. Damn.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The future is now

Two families of Italian's on holiday, with suitcases and children dragging along behind them. Just flew in to Luton I'm guessing.

They sit and discuss where they are heading. One guy clamps his sunglasses in his mouth, wrestles out his i-pad and is instantly looking at a London street map. All the information they need opens out in successive pop-up windows, like the city was a flowering shrub, it's streets branches, blooming just for them.

The future is already here.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Back up

Was thinking, while Blogger wasn't playing...

Us art blogs are kind of okay, all the stuff we post does exist elsewhere. I have most of the sketches somewhere or other. But all the writing blogs, do they keep back ups of what they write ? If Blogger went away for ever, that is a huge amount of thought and humour, and work, to loose.


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Audience is important II - The Validation

Of course by drawing I am the cause of that specific interaction, but you provide the effect, and is the effect not more valid ? ( You burn wood for heat and light ) I don't control how you see, what you see, what you decide to look at. Maybe the question should be why does the viewer ascribe more recognitional import to, say, this sketch...

 ...than your front door key, or that blessed Mongoose. George said I 'provide the stimulus, regardless of our response'. REGARDLESS.  Not so sure about that. Do you give the same heed to the person who sliced the tomato in your supermarket sandwich ? Which, on a basic level, is far more important to you. And Steve said I make you see the face I want you to see. But why do I want you to see a face ? And why do you want to see it as well ?

Not sure what I am rooting around for, but I think Timbo has it. ( And forgive the grandiose Tom Cruise / Renee Zellwegery of this ) You make me. Without you I am - in this context - nothing.

What I mean is I can only make what I make, but you have the choice to look at anything you want. There is nothing stopping you from going off and looking at the Mongoose instead.

I HATE that Mongoose now.

Which makes you more important. Or is this all about potential ? Is it this potential that we create between us that's the most important thing ? Are there three people in this marriage ? You, me and potential.

Please keep up your side and leave more thoughts. Enjoying this rummaging.

Co-incidentaly, Magpie's nest posted a piece about art being an exchange of energy.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Audience is important.

In one of his comments, Peter got me thinking the other day. Who is more important in the contract of "ART" ? The Artist or the Viewer ?

Look at this...

Okay. This is, at the end of the day, just a load of dark marks on a lighter surface. They mean nothing in themselves. They are inert. They can be easily destroyed. They offer no life, no resistance, no fight.

Without your eyes and brain they are nothing. It is your skill as a sophisticated information processor that gives them any hope of validity at all. My camera has an amazingly good face recognition thingy, and can even pick out the happy people on advertising billboards, ( it sometimes even wants to read electric sockets and things as "faces" - like that Two Ronnie's optician sketch "No Sir, you're just reading the furniture now") but it just looks blank at me when I point the lens at my sketchbook. So, by my camera's estimation, I am not doing faces properly.

So who decides that the sketch above is a face ? More than that, a male face, wearing glasses and an open collared shirt ? ( which is what it's supposed to be by the way... just in case you are seeing a mongoose licking an oil drum or something !!! ) You do. The viewer. And as I have no control over how you see things, that makes my part in the interaction between you and it negligible. Yes ? No ?

What do you think ?

Monday, 9 May 2011


Quick one today, mind elsewhere...

...and have just spilt grapefruit juice all over the place.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Watching me, watching you, watching...

This girl loved her hair, and played with it the whole time I was watching her. Brushing it back, scrunching it up, then flicking it forward and playing with the ends of it.

And all the time watching herself in the window's reflection as her friend talked and talked.

Was she aware that, opposite her, a young tourist watched all of this mesmerized and amused ?

Who watches the Watch(ing)men ?

( See what I did there ? )

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Ladies who cyberlunch

Anna Wintour on the Thames link train from Bedford !!! Well I never.

This Lady and her friend were discussing Facebook, and the whole Social network thing.

"It's great as far as it goes, but I find it all so static, you meet people and it's good and all, but when do you get to interact, and develop things further ?"

She waved her painted nails in emphasis.

"I argue with my work colleagues all the time, and we disagree about all sorts of things, but that moves our relationship on from just work, you know"

"Facebook you don't really get to interact with people. So what is the point ? "

The June edition coming along nicely then ?

( Disclaimer - any resemblance to real powerhouse fashion magazine editors is entirely coincidental, and big sunglasses are not, when I last looked, a trademarkable item )

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Cornish Coffee

This bloke's beard gripped his throat like a strangler.

Like a Rottweiler shaking a chicken in it's jaws.
And he had brought his large to-go coffee from The West Cornwall Pasty Company, which strikes me as the last place you would think of for a caffeine fix.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Pidgeony pie.

As much valid Londoners as the pesky humans they spend all their time dodging around.

Although what the hell they found to peck at on this gravel path I am at a loss to say.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Two train sketches.

Yes I know, still sketching on the train.

Laure asked about how I draw. And I wish I have a philosophy to expound, but the simple truth is, I love people. I am fascinated by everyone, every gesture, every unsaid thought, every curl of hair and placed foot. And when I see people ( every day, I don't live in the Arctic circle - although that would be nice ) I have to look at them, and understand them, and, if possible, draw them. I recently became better attuned to the unsaid, ( which is, more often than not, Love ) and just want to record it. And I have always carried sketch books, a small pocket one for notes, and a bigger one for full frontal sketching. And half a dozen pens at various stages of drying out.

Nothing special, The pens I like at the moment were £2.50 for a bag of ten from Tesco's, and the note books are whatever I find that is cheap. Expensive materials scare me, they impose themselves between me and the drawing, and I have enough to fret over without questioning if what I am drawing is worthy of 140lb HP Ingres.

So when I get on a train, or enter a room, ( or sit in the park, or on a bus, or on a beach ) I will always see something I want to record. Even if I have forgotten a book there is usually paper around. And all my friends are so used to it that they don't take any notice. In fact, the mark of a good friend is how relaxed I feel about sketching in their company.

Better shut up and put a sketch in now.

I liked how her hair fell either side of her shoulder.

And I liked the circle on his t-shirt.

Silly little things that catch my eye and make me look at a person more.

Mind you, everything I draw is about me, at the end of the day, my taste, my take, my fetishes. I used to think that you need to look at the world long and hard to understand it. Now I know that all you need to do to understand the world, is look at yourself.

BTW - I am crap at landscapes.

This is great, your comments are making me question the whole process. More please.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

We've only got 10 seconds to sketch the world

Sam offered up the 30 second sketch challenge the other day. Had a go.

Made me aware how I look at things. I tried to pick people who would be gone almost as soon as seen, and to just look, and imprint them in my mind, sort of photographic memory. ( and as I write this I instantly think of Barbara Windsor in Carry on Spying -  which says waaaaaay too much about my film tastes ) But found I couldn't, and it was a real struggle to lock everything in my head before I started drawing. Which makes me wonder if there is a difference between seeing and looking ? If I have removed seeing from the process and need to rediscover it.

Anyway, here is one of the results.

And I think it was because it was such a familiar view that I could get it down. He was gone long before I had even got to his shoulders, and really had to think to get the arms and backpack in place. Also almost managed the mythical one line drawing.

Liked this one.

But am cheating, as he sat down, stretched like this, then stood up again and wandered off and I just got his hand down before the mental image faded, and I liked it too much to ruin it by trying to draw any more.

Oh, and happy May 1st everyone.