Sunday, August 21, 2011

Peeping Tom

A detail from a new book. This weekend days spent at home working on my desk in the corner, eating toast, it's been good.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

O Lucky Mio!

I've just returned from a wonderful six days in Venice. I flew out last Friday for a course taught by an illustrator I've long admired, the wonderful Yuko Shimizu. 12 people attended, all women - five Italians, one Mexican, Brazilian, Ethiopian, Canadian, two Germans and me, representing for the Brits. It was such a fun and inspiring group.

An exercise Yuko set us for the first few mornings was "Blind Drawing" - I must have done this at college but I'd forgotten it, and how useful it might be. I have noticed that when I'm location drawing, unless I'm very vigilant, I can catch myself looking more at my paper than my subject. I think blind drawing is useful for building your trust in the movement of your hand when you're not keeping an eye on it, and for improving the automatic connection between what you see and what you draw. Also it makes you concentrate on really looking at what you are drawing. 

I've posted my blind drawings in chronological order in case they are interesting- I felt I could really see an improvement. Yuko warned us our drawings would look like monsters, but "monsters of the person" - she was completely right - all the features are in the wrong place, and one has three eyes as I couldn't remember what I'd drawn. But, sometimes, the features are just those of the person I was looking at.

I also managed to get some location drawing done. The amazing thing about Venice is its beauty is non-stop. You sort of marvel at it at first, the consistent magic of it - as if you'll turn a corner and see the scenery movers peeling back a board to reveal something horrid and modern underneath. But no - it just keeps on being beautiful. And it's a total gift to someone who likes drawing old, wobbly buildings. 

And if that someone gets to draw them sitting in the sunshine next to a canal, gelato in hand and with the strains of O Sole Mio floating on the air... well.

It's really been such a wonderful experience. Often I've wished that I knew more illustrators in London who I could talk with about work. The opportunity to swap tips, especially computer tips, talk about illustration and see other illustrators' techniques has been very inspiring, reaffirming and sort of moving for me. And I met some really super people - altogether I feel very lucky.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

People drawing

Doing some sketching for a new book, working on my people and I'm really enjoying the change. While working this morning I listened to This American Life - if you have a spare hour I really recommend this episode

I'm off to Venice in two days, I really feel excited. Weather looks to be super hot, but our London mini-heatwave has given me some practise. I will not melt! But I will cover my pasty skin in factor 50 and stick to the shadows.