My 'Overflow' Blog...

Hello fair visitor! Welcome.

Just to let you know that, although there is quite a lot to see here, this is not my main blog, but a sort of 'overflow', where I put things that don't belong on An Illustrator's Life for Me! or on my website. It is also a place where I upload extra sketches and photos, when I have too many for one post on the main blog.

On my website you can find not just all my children's picture books, and literally hundreds of sketches from my everyday life and from my travels, but also films of me talking about how I became an illustrator and why I keep sketchbooks, and demonstrating how I create a piece of my pastel artwork.

On my main blog, you can follow the evolution of my various picture books, from first ideas and sketches, to published books, as well as see all the sketchbook work I am creating, as it happens. This sketch of John is one I did on a Sunday evening, while he was watching TV. He is very patient with me and lets me draw him all the time. Thank you John!

Sheaf Park Festival SketchCrawl

We had a great time SketchCrawling at the Sheaf Park Festival. You can read all about it on the main blog, but here are some more of my sketches from the day. We met at the station at 10.15, but the festival didn't kick off until lunchtime, so we sat in the sunshine and sketched the people milling about on the station's forecourt:

By chance there was a troupe or Morris Dancers there, who wore really crazy costumes and danced while waiting for their train:

This was the 'Grow Sheffield' stand at the festival, where they had a huge apple press. The apple juice they made was delicious:

There was a corner where someone was showing children how to make scarecrows from tree branches:

There were several live bands for us to draw:

There was also a dogshow:

A really fun day! If you live within travelling distance of Sheffield and would like to come along on any future Sketchcrawls, just email me.

Urban Sketchers Symposium: Friends

As always, while we were away, I found myself as much attracted to the people as to our surroundings. I drew lots of locals but, like many of my fellow sketchers, I also drew us.

I'm so glad I captured so many of my sketch-buddies and new friends, as I remember them so fondly - Santo Domingo was fantastic, but it was the electricity we created between us that for me was the true magic of the symposium.

We were gathered together in groups at lunchtime and in the evening, and that's when most of these happened. When I'm sketching someone, I don't set out to draw a portrait as such - there's nothing as boring or as stressful as worrying about capturing a likeness. 

Sometimes I capture people nevertheless, which is great, but my main aim is to achieve an interesting drawing with the flavour of the person. 

From the top Liz Steel, Lapin, Gabi Campanario, Shiho Nakaza, Alanna Randall, Elizabeth Alley, Chris Ruiz-Velasco.

Chesterfield SketchCrawl

These are some more of the sketches I did during our SketchCrawl in Chesterfield. Though it's only 15 minutes away on the train, I'd never actually visited Chesterfield, and so really enjoyed the day.

We started off at the famous landmark, the one which puts Chesterfield on the map:

Because we were so lucky with the weather, we spent a lot of time sitting on the grass around the church, either drawing parts of the building, the trees, or each other. 

In the afternoon, we went the market, which was great fun. I loved listening to the traditional market callers. I sketched various characters, who were sitting on the benches or manning the stalls. 

It was so hot though, I couldn't sit in the sun, so there were lots of people I couldn't tackle. 

I had two goes at the spire - it was trickier than it looked and a bit of a neck-breaker!

I finished off with this wonderfully knobbly tree, then we celebrated a fantastic day by going to the pub to look at our work. You can see some more of my sketches from the day here and a selection of other people's here.

Drawing People on the Train Home From the SketchCrawl

On Saturday SketchCrawl North met up for a day of sketching at the Imperial War Museum in Manchester. On the way home, I took my sketchbook out again. 

We took the tram from the quay back to Manchester Piccadilly, then the train back to Sheffield:

John, as usual fell asleep before we got hom. I have so many sketches of him in this or similar positions!

You can see all the sketches I did at the museum here. Other people's work, plus details of all future events are posted on Sketchcrawl North's Facebook page.

If you are interested in sketching people in public places, you might be interested in this post with all my best hot tips!

Sheffield Folk Festival: SketchJamming

Here are a few of the sketches I did at The Shakespeare pub, SketchJamming with Les, during the Sheffield Folk Festival.

Everyone was so incredibly friendly and very interested to see how they had turned out in the sketches. The smiling man above invited us to be Artists-in-Residence at another folk festival that he organises in September!

I really enjoy sketching to music: it really seems to help the creative process. Folk music works well too, as at least some of the musicians stay pretty still, so you're in with a chance!

Basques and False Eyelashes!

We had a really fun time on Saturday, combining a SketchCrawl with a Dr Sketchy session recently - the first Dr Sketchy to take place here in Sheffield. 

You can read more about the event and what we got up to on my main blog post about the day, but here are some of the drawings I did that didn't fit on that post. As you can see - it was a bit more racy than the average SketchCrawl!

Salford SketchCrawl

This SketchCrawl was a bit different - it was linked to my exhibition at Salford Gallery. I did a bit of a talk in the morning, then the afternoon was given over to drawing. You can read more about the adventures of the day on my main blog, which is where you can see the sketches I did, but below are some photos of us in action.

Thank you so much to everyone for coming - it was lovely to meet you all. Hope to see you all at future SketchCrawling events!

Sept SketchCrawl: in the sculpture park

We had a great turn-out this time round. People always love the Yorkshire Sculpture Park!

My sketches are all on the main blog, but below is a small selection from some of the other sketchers who came to share the day. I think you'll agree, there was some fantastic work done! 

Sian Hughes:

Andrea Joseph:

Matthewl Midgley:

Thomas Forde:

Bryn Hughes:

A big thanks to everyone who turned up. I hope you'll come again. If you would like to join me on a future SketchCrawl, just drop me an email. We meet every month.