My number one Christmas gift this year was a Wacom Inkling, an awesome digital pen that converts your sketches into digital files as you draw. It’s so simple to use and works brilliantly, so I’ve been having fun playing with it.
My number one Christmas buy was a rabbit nightlight from a new shop in town, Danish store Tiger, for just £2. It’s a colour changing nightlight and I absolutely love it. So it should come as no surprise to learn that I’ve used my Inkling to sketch my rabbit light. N.B. This is the digital version of my drawing, not a scan of my sketch.
I’m not very skilled at shading and I don’t shade anywhere near enough. I’ve been inspired by the awesome drawings of Andrea Joseph to learn to cross-hatch properly. As this sketch shows, I think I’ve still got a way to go…
My house is overflowing with homemade artwork – mine, my daughter Daisy’s, work by friends and small pieces picked up at artists open houses. We have very little commercial art, not because I don’t like it but because I either can’t afford it or lack the space for it. But every piece made by myself, by friends or by Daisy, reminds me of someone or some time – when it was made, the person who made it, the time (hour, day or year) it was made. Each piece is personal and irreplaceable. Some time in the near future (not this week because Tony is decorating and the house is in uproar) I’m going to take some photos and post them here on this blog, but for now you’ll have to make do with a sketch of one of them.
Daisy has made some wonderful 3D objects at school. This is my favourite, made in wood technology classes. She used my favourite motif, a hare in a moon to create a clockwork scene. There is a handle on the right-hand side of the box, invisible in this sketch: when you turn it both the hare in the moon and the shooting star move up and down against the background of the starry night sky. All the coloured pieces are made by covering wood with strips of fabric which we had hand-dyed at home for fun during a summer holiday. I don’t often use colour in my drawings – because I’m not very skilful with it – but I thought this drawing would make so much more sense with some colour.
I love books. I have huge numbers of books – fiction and non-fiction – but the books I always find hardest to resist when browsing in a bookshop are the beautiful ones. You know the ones I mean, those books that cry out to be picked up because their covers are so lovely, and then, when you look inside, you discover that their insides are exquisitely illustrated. This is why I have a relatively large collection of children’s picture books – the combination of text with incredible pictures is often completely irresistable.
This love of illustrated books began when I was small. I can remember borrowing every fairy tale collection from my local library for the pictures as much as for the stories. Andrew Lang’s books were amongst my favourites, but so too were Disney books “of the film”. But my absolute favourites were, and remain, any books I could find illustrated by Kay Nielsen. Imagine my delight when I discovered recently that Amazon had a collectors edition of “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” illustrated by Nielsen. I’m pleased to say that I now have a copy!
I like drawing the books I love and so here are the first two, but I’m sure I will be adding many more. As I write my fingers are itching to go off and draw something by Jane Ray, my favourite contemporary illustrator of children’s books, or a cover of one of Dan’s Price’s wonderful Moonlight Chronicles.
Of course, I love fiction too. I have an Amazon Kindle loaded with e-books, but there is still extraordinary pleasure to be had in holding a paperback and turning its pages (it’s also much easier to peek at the ending in advance in a paperback than in an e-book). And, while you can only really draw a Kindle once, you can draw every sinlge paperback you read and every one will look different.
I love hares and I love to draw (and stitch) hares, as you can see. I hope the pictures , and the tile of my blog, speak for themselves.
Both Danny Gregory and Michael Nobbs insist that, if you don’t know what to draw, draw what you love. I love my gadgets – not any old gadget, just the ones that are incredibly useful and I would find it hard to be without. My top 3 favourite gadgets are, unquestionably, my iPad, my Kindle ebook reader, and my camera, a Sony DSC-HX1.
I love cows and so, when I saw a beautiful fibreglass calf in a very eclectic shop in Hove which sells all kinds of objets d’art for the house and garden, I just had to have it. My daughter christened her Buttercup and she sits in my garden in all weather, just admiring the view.
(The list of good things is an idea I borrowed (stole?) from the wonderful Christine Castro Hughes)