Thursday, 11 April 2013

Stumbling Across Old Drawings

It’s amazing what you can find when you move house.

I’ve recently moved the last of my things out of the attic of my house that I’ve just sold. Amongst the boxes of random things that are not in any way essential to daily life, but still too dear to throw out, I found a file of my old drawings.  They were all done many years ago, and they mostly date from the long-lost pre-20s era of my life…

I was surprisingly impressed by some of them! I really couldn’t draw that well now. I think you need some natural aptitude to be good at drawing, but you also need to practice a lot to be any good. I wouldn’t say I was particularly good, but I did occasionally produce sketches or drawings that I was really pleased with. Much to my disappointment I was never able to get very far with painting, although I was given a set of watercolour pencils that I really liked to use. I also tended to try and copy other work that I liked in order to develop my style and skills, and in this way I practiced looser lines, pen and watercolour pencil (in lieu of pen and ink drawing!) I also loved to do calligraphy and fancy lettering when I was younger, but I don’t seem to have any of this type of thing left. I have done lettering jobs for people before – not paid or anything, but things like doing the big lettering on those giant-sized cheques for charity, and writing up poems in calligraphy. I also hand lettered all of the place cards for our wedding – that was stressful I can tell you!

Not all of my favourite drawings have survived. I remember that my dad took some into work to show people, and lost them – I was slightly upset by that! And I have no idea what’s happened to the ones that were bigger than A4 and therefore don’t fit into the folder I rediscovered! But of the ones I have just found there are a few that I like, so I thought I would scan some of them and put them on here. No point leaving them in a lever arch file forevermore!

This first one was an attempt at painting in bold colours, having discovered that I was not really any good at colour mixing and subtle detail in painting. It was painted from life, I put my guinea pig Minto in one of those plastic storage boxes you get to keep him in one place, and he had blankets to keep him comfy and food to keep him happy. Here’s the result, poster paint on paper:

These next two were loosely copied from images in Ronald Searle’s book The Situation is Hopeless, the captions are taken from the book. My favourite of these two is the rattlesnake – of the two it was the first one I did, and I couldn’t quite believe how well it came out! Pen and watercolour pencil on paper:

"Hypersensitive rattlesnake desperately seeking peace and quiet"

"Hopelessly mixed-up vampire bat trying to conceal the fact that its tastes are rigidly vegetarian"

This is a pencil sketch of my gorgeous Godson when he was about 3 years old. I had taken photos of him when we were playing at the park one day, and I drew this sketch from one of the photos. It was winter time, hence the huge hat! Unfortunately I started the drawing in such a place that I ran off the paper…

This one, in pen on paper, was just straight out of my imagination. I wonder what had inspired a little demon?

This one is a much later one. A friend of mine was obsessed with VWs, beetles and the campers. She moved in with her then-boyfriend-now-husband, and as I was extremely poor and saving up for Uni at the time, I couldn’t afford a decent housewarming present. Instead, I drew a series of VW splitty camper, VW bay camper, and VW beetle for her. This is one of the practice sketches – as you can see I was aiming for a bit of a graphic-style with these:

Finally, here’s my first – and so far only – original Celtic knotwork design. I had a book about how to design the knotwork (I’m sure that will turn up in a box at some point) and I followed tips about how to work out a design. I designed half of it, and then the other half was just down to symmetry and then ensuring that all the cross overs were the right way around. I experimented with a few different designs for how exactly to join the two halves, and this was my favourite as it seemed to have the most balance between lines and space, curves and straights. It was originally designed for a purpose, but that never happened. Maybe I can think of something else to use it for in the future?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at my drawings. I’m no artist, but I did used to really enjoy it :)

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