Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Joy of Sketch

At junior school when drawing had become my passion, money was tight and fancy artists tools and supplies were a luxury normally reserved for birthdays and Xmas. Otherwise drawing pads and felt tip pens came from market stalls or Woolworth's, no frills cheap pulpy paper and vinegar-smelling ink.

And I recall drawing on the back of old greetings cards and till receipt rolls, not just cus times were hard, but cus it didn't matter, i just wanted to draw, draw on anything and everything, and if it wasn't paper, it was walls or pavements or - usually to my regret - school desks.
A few years later and i had A2 illustration board, Gillott nibs, a fistful of Rotring pens and a draughtsman's set. I felt the bees knees, all proper and professional like. But the drawing became difficult, i was far less prolific, far less spontaneous, cus that untamed energy had to be bottled, controlled and directed with careful pre-meditated precision, that's what i was told, what i thought.
And for me, it's where i was spoiled, where the seeds for future dissatisfaction and frustration were planted. That's the moment the 'tortured artist' was born. What tools? What materials? What technique? What should you do? What shouldn't you do? How? Why?
...and etc.
This month, during travelling and 'waiting around' time i finished a years old battered A5 sketchbook, knowing i hadn't much 'virgin' pages left, I'd packed a new one.
Never used it.
Instead, i drew on napkins, bus tickets, really cheap typing paper(about 70p for 100 pages), and even on the innards of a tatty novel. And i used old last gasp pens, no pencil or eraser, and markers that weren't compatible and bled into each other. And it works - it really turns up the buzz, taps right into that subconscious mother lode of creativity, the childhood self who is free of fuss. Whether it's the best sketch you've ever done or the worst, doesn't matter, as long as you're drawing, as long as you've let it all out.

Those costly fancy sketchbooks tend to intimidate, or make you feel like every drawing you do should be a work of art, soon as you open it you're careful and mannered, putting on the restraints. Unless you're some genius like Rob Crumb(not many of them about)or off your head on shrooms.
On the bus, in cafes, at the doctors, at funerals, I'm rabid about sketching, and in my studio i do it on scrap paper, envelopes, post-its, back of photocopies and especially on council tax bills, but NEVER in a sketchbook(i have plenty gathering dust).

Sketching sharpens your instinct, makes the brain-to-hand-to-paper coordination less anguished, less regimented, and more concerned with the pleasure of the act rather than the technicalities and the 'right way' to do it.
And it's helping me 're-programme' the way i work on finished pages, I'm biased, but compulsive sketching is making CEvil #2 a better issue than the first.
And it's all because of that little lad doodling on the back of Xmas cards.
Give away that moleskine that gazes into your timid eye! Liberate - draw on tablecloths, on menus, on windowsills - on each other! Let your pen free!

Or not.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Suck Dracula

One thing the Cadiz Good Food Guide failed to mention...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sun. Sea. Sand. Script

Not long back from a trip to Spain. I know that sounds bad, me sunning it abroad when i should be chained to the drooling board finishing Channel Evil #2.
But i really, really, really needed to get away for a spell, and we payed for coach, planes and train months back in a more optimistic time, before i knew i was struck with some deadline-buggering 'weird ear' disorder/ailment and not just a shitty head cold.
Besides, i took script and art tools with with me and spent hours in sea-view cafes, gulping my Fanta Limon(Hardcore!), eating twice my body weight in olives and laying out most of #3, along with sorting a few 'problem panels' on #2.
Fun was had, work woz done and Suzanne got to see her Mum, paddle in the ocean, fondle a chameleon, and get bitten by bugs.
Odd thing, other than the first two days, i suffered no unpleasant symptoms(nausea, ringing/buzzing in ears, dizziness, etc.), then after a day back in Stoke i had a juggernaut driving around my skull and an attack of the wobblies. Mebbe I'm living in a 'sick town?'
Right now I'm on the tail end of pencilling #2, due to start the inks next week. Will post some previews along the way.
Work is getting faster, and I'm feeling on top, I'm grateful for your patience and understanding, and touched by all the well-wishes, especially from No;1 fan, Justin Gillett.
Onward and upward!