Wednesday, 16 April 2008


This face just emerged while I was doodling at work. It started to look nice so I took more care with it. Then I could see it was willing me to overwork it, so I quit while I was ahead.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Cafe drawings, or "Stay still, you bastards!"

Either I have to home in on those sedentary patrons of a cafe, whose habit it is not to move at all when they read (and drink their latte by telekinesis), or I have to learn to draw faster, more economically and from immediate memory.
The most promising effort seemed to be the one started with a biro on a napkin. But what happened? The little git moved, that's what.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Running Man

At least he's slightly clothed this time.

Sketches from life

First foray for a long long time into sketching from life, in the works canteen (Bodleian Library) and at one of my cafe haunts.


The Guardian recently did a series of giveaway booklets about poets, so I copied the pics of Seamus Heaney and Walt Whitman over coffee.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Day out in London

Spent a great day in London yesterday. I got, for me, an amazing amount done. I saw three exhibitions (usually I have the stamina for one, then I'm tired). After the customary mooch along the South Bank near the BFI, I visited the the Hayward, where there was an Alexander Rodchenko exhibition - a Russian designer and photographer. Then on to the Tate Britain to see the Peter Doig show in the evening. That was fantastic - really fresh. His paintings are layered with all sorts of curious effects and textures. While there, I saw they were showing some of the Tate's amazing collection of drawings: Reynolds, Turner, Spencer, Hockney, Epstein, Freud....

On top of that, I finally conquered my fear of drawing in public and made a sketch near Westminster, in an outdoor cafe. The sketch was demoralisingly poor; I had to stop before it was finished, before I screwed it up even more. I need to practice! It was a very complex subject: a maze of branches and windows. But I'll get better fast if I keep at it. I need to learn how to capture impressions quickly and effectively, and make aesthetic choices, like about what to leave out in the interests of a good composition. I managed to position myself so as to prevent people looking over my shoulder and only one or two people seemed to notice me staring in their direction, so the embarrassment of that was minimal.

All in all, a good day out.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Another sketch

I did this at work last night with the brush-pens. I'm not sure lighting and modelling are that great. I was trying to draw a pose that would be tough in terms of getting the parts to relate properly. The proportions are probably fudged a bit.
Is he suffering the existential angst of being thrown into a meaningless universe? Or is he just really cold 'cause he's butt-naked? It's whatever you want it to mean.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

California trip 2007

Couldn't resist putting these up. Last year I got a great chance to visit California. It was my first major flight and first time out of the country in nearly twenty years. The flight was free, as a good friend of mine, Kristin, a Californian who had been living in Oxford then moved back home, gave me a ticket with her air-miles, so I could visit her and let her show me her State. It was an amazing trip. I went just after Southern California suffered all those fires.

In the first pic: Kristin and me in front of (though a long way away from) the Hollywood sign. In the next pic, I'm outside The Hotel Coronado, where they filmed the Florida scenes in the sublime Some Like it Hot. In the pic I'm wittily pretending to play the double bass ala Jack Lemmon in the film; there was no time to drag up. In the third pic, I'm outside the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, near the Kodak Theatre where they film the Oscars, effectively high-fiving Cary Grant! Third pic, Kristin and me in front (though a long way away from) the Hollywood sign.