Drawing Children

School invited me to add some illustrations to their upcoming cookbook. Wanted pictures of children, as well as food, that would look okay printed on a black and white laser printer. Some initial sketches, not shown here, revealed that I don’t know how to draw children. I knew that children’s proportions differ from adults, but I’d never really investigated how. So I did a bunch of kids faces from reference photos.

This felt a bit like #OneWeek100People all over again. But different. And afterwards I felt much more confident to draw children. Turns out not only are their eyes larger but also further apart with a wide flat area each side of the nose. Their jaws are smaller so their ears are relatively lower on the head. All great learning!

March 2021 Sketchbook

Here is the March sketchbook

On Size

The #OneWeek100People sketches from March have their own book. My daughter’s school is making a cookbook for which I made illustrations. Those aren’t included here; they have their own post.

Also this month I started Liz Stee’ls Watercolour Course. Most of that is excluded from this book, though the two annotated studies of Scottish hills on page 16-17 are from that.

All in all its a shorter sketchbook than some recent months.

On Quality

My new A4 hard-back sketchbook is slightly too big to fit into the “A4” scanner. The pages would fit but the cover doesn’t which pulls the spine up and makes the pages blur towards the edge. So I have been experimenting with photographing these pages. The results are a bit hit and miss.

March 2021 #OneWeek100people

8-12 March was #OneWeek100People, an online sketching challenge by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steel. I was too busy to blog these as I went along. Somehow I ended up doing direct watercolour studies and they were taking several hours. I was working from photographs this year, and I wanted to do full bodies. As you see I started with brush pen but quickly switched to line. The line wasn’t making me happy. I wanted to do this challenge with a brush. So I switched back to watercolour and ended up doing these rather fussy colour studies. I tried to simplify and be more loose. The image I chose for the cover is a good example of that working well (See if you can find him in the sketchbook).

Working from photos is a bit strange. I wonder how much my ability to choose a pose influences what I produced in this challenge. Working directly in paint means thinking in shapes. So it was good practice and negative and positive painting, and leaving white space gaps (though there are plenty of unintended runs). I think that might be mainly what I learned this past week.

February 2021 Sketchbook

This was a cold month, with snow, frost and grey uninteresting skies; lots of violin lessons, knitting, and zoom calls; parked cars and dirty dishes after a meal. I moved away from the yellow pages of the Tallens Art Creation sketchbook to pure white Stillman & Birn paper and, as the sun started to shine, I began to see the world in colour again.

January 2021 Sketchbook

Another massive book this month. With the same old cars, pictures of my daughter doing homework and dirty dishes after a meal. Over and over. Art from home, in Lockdown.

There are a couple of pages from photos: the cover image is from a picture I took in Zambia twelve years ago. And the two trees on pages 50 & 51 are from last autumn. I love how they politely respect one another’s space. The images from pages 27-25 are from that Internet; they’re much less sketchy. I’m pleased with the quality of my draughtsmanship, but I’m really not inspired to draw from the screen. Capturing views from life is much more interesting, even if its just those same three cars again.

December 2020 Sketchbook

Another bumper edition sketchbook this month. And a very personal one. Some exploratory sketches here, stuff I’d consider sub-standard. Lots of personal content: family and Christmas. Variations on the view from my window, it being lockdown: lots of the Mercedes SLK and the Fiat 500 that park on the street outside. And some experiments with my new Duke 551 Fude nib fountain pen that my wife got me for Christmas, together with a bottle of De Attramentis Document Ink in Urban Grey, and a bottle of the associated fluid to dilute the mixture.

November 2020 Sketchbook

November was a quiet month for sketching. But when got to scanning pages I found more than I expected. You can see from the alternating page layout and colour that they are spread between the little notebook that I used for Inktober and a larger one with hot pressed watercolour paper.