Coffee, Quiche, Cake and Conversation
I love to fill sketchbooks. I always have a couple on the go, but my go to paper of choice is a sheet of A4 printer paper. I’m not sure why I favour this. I think it’s because it’s a nice big sheet of clean paper ready for some new creativity. I have boxes full of drawings on A4 paper, images that I have built up over the years. When I am sketching ideas, I love to get things down quickly. With characters, I keep everything loose, scribbled almost. I like there to be a lot of energy in the resulting imagery.
It’s good to draw, it’s an essential tool for all artists. I will always encourage any artist, young or old, to draw as much as possible. Getting your ideas down on paper is important and a crucial aspect of the artist’s journey. Even if you don’t use the imagery immediately you may well come back to it at some point later and discover something fresh about it. I often look at old sketches and form new ideas about where to take the imagery. When you draw freely and almost for the sake of it you never really know how the image is going to unfold, or what you’re going to end up with. In my experience, the excitement of creating like this happens from that first mark that is made on that pristine piece of white paper right through to the finished artwork, if indeed you take it that far!
I was recently down in Penzance, in Cornwall. I was having a coffee and a slice of cake with my daughter in a fabulous little cafe called ‘The Honey Pot’ on Parade Street. It’s well worth checking out by the way. While we were there we met a lovely couple on the next table. They engaged us in conversation because my daughter and I were both drawing. We ended up talking about art and culture and what makes us tick etc. The gentleman’s name was Richard Sorrell. He gave me his card and told me that he was also an artist and that he lived locally. His work is quite different from mine although he likes to draw people too. There is a lot of energy in his work and some great colour use. You can see his work here… richardsorrell.co.uk
He had a sketchbook with him and was also making marks in it as we spoke. They were a smashing couple. The conversation was lovely. For some reason I felt compelled to give them the sketch I had been making while sitting there in the cafe. It was more or less like the sketch below. I drew this second drawing immediately afterwards. I could still see the pressed lines, and therefore the image, that my pen had left on the sheet underneath the one I had worked on. The following morning I took the sketch into Procreate on the iPad and made this illustration from it. I called it Penzy. I wonder if you can guess why?
Why am I telling you all this? I have always found that creativity brings people together. Over time, I have noticed that people will engage with you if you are doing something creative. There seems to be an energy that occurs when one is being creative. Some positive vitality emerges and stretches out in all directions, encompassing the space. Perhaps all space?! It nourishes and is exuberant.
The day after this chance meeting my daughter and I were back in the very same cafe at the very same table. I told you it was a good cafe. The goat cheese quiche was unbelievably good! While I munched into that, my daughter had some more of the chocolate cake that we had ordered the day before. We were sat both drawing again. I was sketching on the iPad this time and my daughter was being creative in her sketchbook. Two ladies sat at the same table beside us, where the couple we spoke to the day before had sat. They immediately engaged us in conversation, again because we were both drawing. They told us that they were travelling and were from South Africa. We talked about all things creative again. A lovely natural conversation opened up about positive energy, education and creative endeavours. It turned out that that younger lady was also an artist. She showed me her work. Fabulous imagery of flowers and plants, bold marks and wonderful colour use. Lovely observational work. We talked until the cafe staff eventually asked us to leave as they had to close up shop. We could have sat in there all day long, drawing and chatting to people. One of lifes simple joys!
So my advise is to draw and sketch in public with wild abandon. Put away all inhibitions. Be creative. Always! You never know what wonderful things it will lead to. Chance meetings and great conversations in this case, and a nice new illustration for my portfolio.
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See how the illustration came together in Procreate in the video below