A Word about Blogging in Underwear

First sketch (whilst on loo)
Lots of different ‘anatomy’ – trying to work out the shape of it
The Less ‘Lady-like’ Version

I ought to just briefly mention that the inspiration for drawing myself blogging (one-finger typing) in my underwear comes from a book I have considered purchasing, called “Freedom is Blogging in your Underwear” by Hugh Macleod.

The upshot of this is that I am, in fact, just as likely to be seen blogging in a freshly pressed shirt and designer jeans whilst my children sleep soundly upstairs after heartily devouring a plate of vegetables whilst discussing the finer points of the Oxford Reading Tree.

Besides clarifying that I am not really a careless mother with her head in a laptop (well, not always), I thought I’d post a few images of how that drawing happened. I mean, the process of drawing it – not the idea. Because it might be the drawing process itself that will change whilst I study on the MA; so why not expose that, examine it? My instinct is to hide those few, terrible, first sketches. This would help to encourage the idea that I am a Mozart-like genius who produces ‘perfect’, uncorrected drawings on the first attempt (actually I would still perfect the sketch yet). Instead I am going to show all the awful messes that led up to the drawing I published on the ‘Why Blog?’.

I am very interested in the creative process of other artists. How do professional illustrators arrive at these wonderful, finished drawings that seem to me to be so flawless and ‘complete’? So, as part of this idea that here is where I ‘expose’ myself (ha ha – underwear!), I am allowing a peek into my less-than perfect, less-than-genius process.

Now, is the process of drawing a scene from the imagination something that I will get better at? Or will the final drawing be the thing that changes, a different style? More confident mark-making or use of colour? A more accurate drawing? A more ‘polished’ look, or less? What I am looking for is a clearer idea of who I am as an artist, not just as an artist that ‘outputs’ but as an artist who communicates.

This is part of that journey. I am desperate to begin.

Why Blog?

I am a newbie to blogging and this is my first blog post. I like computers, I am not a Luddite. I like writing and I draw. I have, more or less, always done both. Now I am doing it on a computer (in part) and publishing it. Cool. Exciting. But why?

For most of my life I have kept sketchbooks, and for the past three or so years I have done so with a passion and a vision of what it is I want to do. And what I want to do is to write, and draw, for a living (with maybe a bit of teaching thrown in too). I have always wanted to do this, but I have never believed it possible. I still don’t. Not really. That sort of good fortune and opportunity is the stuff of other people’s lives. When I was a kid that’s what my parents, my school teachers and every adult thought, and told me, so I knew it to be true. This is where my journey begins, to believe it might be possible.

In two weeks I begin a part-time MA in Children’s Book Illustration. I wish I could do it full time and sink into it with all my body and soul, but I must pay the bills. Yet it’s a journey; a journey of faith, and of self-belief.

If I look inward at my soul and if I draw and document the people, places and things around me, then all seems well with the world. I am purposeful, as when travelling. But if I stop doing that and look outward: at the competition, the need to make a living, at the tightened circumstances of publishing, the impossible odds… then I am frozen with fear, a rabbit in the headlights waiting for the crash. After all, an illustrator wouldn’t stay long in the hot air balloon slowly loosing altitude (relates to a ‘game’ once played at school in an English class).

Well, in part, this blog is about documenting that adventure. The changes that will take place in my art – the development of my drawing skills and my ability to transfer those skills to an ‘illustration’ (I am a ‘Fine Art Refugee’ as Martin Salisbury puts it).

Another part of the blog is as an extension to the sketchbook – a public forum for my sketchbooks. I have always kept sketchbooks (did I tell you that already?). I usually write in these sketchbooks, alongside the drawings. Knowing that people like to look through them I never write anything that I wouldn’t be happy to share and a blog feels like a public expression of this. Instead of waiting for a convenient and ‘natural’ moment to thrust my sketchbooks under someone’s nose and demand they look through them, I can now post sketches and comments LIVE and to thousands (ahem… from little acorns. mighty oaks do grow).

Why is this important? Why now?

Occasionally I have uploaded some artwork to Facebook, sketchbook pages etc and find I am beginning to see something creative in this. Last winter I mentioned to my friends that I’d like a sketchbook with lines one side and a blank page on the other. They duly found me one, and a personal tradition of writing and drawing was re-discovered. A blog is simply the updated version. A picture and writing. On line. Public.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I think I’m going to.

Sleeping Boys

Facing the door
Facing the doorBoysSleepinginTent AlexSleepingWithSpotty

Sam asleep in my bed
Sam asleep in my bed
Alex asleep
He looked too cute not to draw him