This is part 4.
Click each image and then click them again to see them at a larger size.
That blue sketchbook ends up being the one I did my Clovember drawings in.
Tomorrow: the final installment.
In autumn half term we rented an Air BnB in Barcelona. It was a nice holiday – it gave us an extra little burst of summer weather when the UK was just starting to turn grey and damp.
As usual, I made a sketch diary of our activities; as usual, it took me several weeks after our return to complete it. But finally, here it is.
It’s twenty-something pages long, so, in order to spread the pain of scanning, I’m dividing it into five parts. Here’s the first, which just covers our arrival and a quick stroll around the neighbourhood.
Hope you enjoy it. As always, click and then click again on any image to see it larger.
[I don’t usually Photoshop my sketch diaries, but I deliberately drew these figures in closed lines, knowing that I’d be able to drop in a background. The floor where we had lunch was this kind of crazy paving – much easier to do like this than to draw laboriously].
Did you know that in the UK, as well as in many other countries around the world, you have the right to ask for information from public authorities, and by law they must respond?
Wait, you’re thinking, isn’t this a drawing blog?
Well yes it is, and hold tight for quite a bit of drawing: my longest sketch diary yet, in fact, which I’m going to split over several posts in an effort to make it more digestible.
But as long-term readers will know, the reason I get to travel is often because of my job, working for an NGO. I’m extremely grateful for this, but I’m also just as grateful for the very interesting work we do.
Yes, that’s right, I said ‘very interesting’.
And I am indeed talking about Freedom of Information. If that phrase sounds dry to you, I really hope that you’ll read on, and maybe even change your mind. And if not, well, there’s plenty of stuff about Madrid, in between the FOI stuff.
Oh, one last thing: I probably ought to say that what follows over the next few posts is in no way an official account of the work of the organisation I work for, mySociety. It’s my own visual representation of an event from the point of view of an attendee – me.
Click on any picture to see it larger.
Since finishing my Chile sketch diary, I haven’t drawn a thing.
That’s partly because I am thinking through exactly what I am going to do for the Cape/Comica/Observer graphic story competition. For the first time, I am very consciously examining where my ideas come from, too – it’s hard work, creating a cartoon world out of nothing! No doubt I will write a bit more about that once my concept is a bit more fully-formed.
To make up for the lack of drawings, though, I am sharing a great post from someone else. I think I came across it via Twitter, and the correct phrase to use here would be relevant to my interests.
Katriona Chapman is a London illustrator who recently made a cartoon diary of a trip to the Scottish Isles with her mum. Not only that, but she published a post sharing her inspirations for the project, and thoughts about how she approached it.
Once you’ve read that post, be sure to go to the beginning of the Scotland comic and read it all. The photos are breath-taking too!
Image: Katriona Chapman
Image: Lizzie Stewart
As an extra bonus, that original blog post also introduced me to the stunning travel diaries of Lizzie Stewart. Why, this holiday sketch-diary malarky is a whole movement! And a very inspiring one, too.
This is part two of my Santiago sketch diary: you can read the first installment here.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but in between invigilating my Open House, attending Brighton festival events, and all the normal duties of job and parenthood, I have been beavering away on the Santiago sketch diary.
I’m only two days further on! But that does represent another 4 double spreads, and now there is only the final day (and maybe a ‘wrap up’ page) to complete the whole thing.
As always, click on each image to see it at a more readable size.
Wednesday night and Thursday: trip to Cajón de Maipo with a very generous contact (and now friend) I made through blogging.
This page mentions pebre, which I liked so much I had a go at making at home: I used this recipe.
Friday: To the top of San Cristóbal hill, home of the pregnant Mary who oversees the city and can be seen lit up at night.
Friday continued: a bicycle tour with La Bicicleta Verde (recommended if you are in Santiago) and the mystery of Duncan’s shorts.
Friday evening: visit to the Costanera tower, and a page showing the souvenirs I brought back for loved ones.
Update: installment three is here.
February 1st is Hourly Comics Day, when (mad) people commit to drawing a cartoon every hour that they are awake. I saw this happen on Twitter last year, somewhat wistfully, because by the time I knew it was happening, my day was half over.
This year I was no better prepared, but I did at least see a tweet about it just a few minutes after waking up. Typically, my train of thought went:
– Nah, I can’t possibly commit to that. How do people DO things, AND find the time to draw them?
– Well, I might just draw ONE cartoon…
– Argh, this is ON – there’s no way I’m stopping now.
And that’s how I always get sucked into these things. Click on each of the images below to see them bigger.
If you’d like to see what other people have produced, you could be in for a long read:
Right now, I’d say ‘no way’. But when February 1st comes around again, you might just see me getting pulled in.
Here is a small bird I made from some Brighton bus tickets.
We’re all switching to pre-loaded cards and mobile phone tickets these days, so it’s not as easy as it used to be to get hold of paper bus tickets. It’s funny to think that maybe in a couple of years’ time, this picture will look really dated.
In any case, I need to make more of an effort to collect tickets while they’re still around. Our daughter still requires a 30p one for each journey, at least, so I can nab all the ones she hasn’t folded into paper boats.
He stands pretty well on his own – I could see this image working for a simple Christmas card. But I have bigger fish to fry. I’m getting towards the point where I want to do some full pages for my children’s picture book.
Now, what follows is all still at the ‘trying things out’ stage; it’s not finished work, but it’s getting nearer to it. And nearer to saying ‘this is the style I’m happy with’. You’ve already seen a phone snap of the below:
Other things I am enjoying include:
– Ink (especially *on top of* the collaged paper – see how it seeps into the tissue, but misses out the gold birds?);
– Deciding the girl’s hair is pink because she’s *just that wild*;
– Loosely basing the dad on a Nick Cave type of figure, for all the mums who might appreciate that as much as I do (though a friend told me he looked more Frank Zappa-esque).
Oh, and although you can’t see it that well here, the girl’s top is collaged from this beautiful old shoebox I found. Triangles – they are very now, you know. I’m trying not to use it too fast, or maybe I just need to scan it so I can always sample from it. Or – here’s an idea – I could just buy more shoes. That’s always a good solution to most problems.
On top of that, lovely friends have been sending me tickets and stamps to cut up and glue and generally muck around with.
I got to the stage where I didn’t feel like I could go much further without having a text to work to, even if it’s not the final one. I’ve mocked up the dummy book, and that did help a lot in knowing where the double page image spreads should go, and where there will just be small vignettes, etc. So the next thing I did was to put together one of those spreads.
Bear in mind that this is very much just trying stuff out. Also forgive the scanner lines – it’s a big picture, my scanner is small, life is short, etc etc.
There’s a lot I like about this picture, but for my money it isn’t doing its job.
To start with the positives:
– I like the window acting as a frame within a frame, and I like the extra 3D-ness the collage gives that effect.
– I rather like the colours, especilly the curtain rail being such an impertinent pink.
– And the curtains, despite being overly gothy (perhaps suitable for our Cave/Zappa dad?) are looking rather lush.
But what’s not working is the scene beyond the window. That little red ticket bird that was so clear in the first picture of this post just gets lost in all the detail behind. Faring even worse are his smaller pals on the telephone wires (which incidentally seem to be emanating from Dad’s mouth – layout fail). The idea is that birds will all be composed of tickets, but at this scale, they just can’t be read clearly. This page is a big reveal – birds! – so they really need to be much more prominent.
It all comes down to the background. I must say, I was having a lot of fun doing all those rooves and chimneys and smoke (tracing paper collaged on), but this isn’t the place for it. It doesn’t matter – it’s all a learning process, and perhaps I can use those ideas somewhere else.
I thought I’d try Photoshopping in some previous birds, and then cloning my little ticket bird, but I can’t say anything’s perfect just yet. Trying quick fixes like this rarely works – I reckon I’ll be better off taking everything I like about the picture, and using it to inform the next version.
In summary: it’s not perfect, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all good learning. And blinkin’ heck, inks are lovely.