In March our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to create a portrait of a Suffragette and my Suffragette was Sylvia Pankhurst. I’d never heard of her before but she was one of Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughters.
Sylvia was born in Manchester but spent a lot of time working in east London, championing the working class, who she saw as instrumental in bringing about real change in terms of voting rights. This was one of the things created tension between her and her mother, and her older sister Christabel. Eventually Sylvia became estranged from her family after having a child outside of marriage.
In the 1950s she moved to Ethiopia after becoming friends with Haile Selassie, and she is buried in Addis Ababa.
In the same vein as beauty bloggers, and inspired by Frannerd, I thought I’d start sharing some of my favourite things each month, starting with a handful of the things I enjoyed during March.
- Winsor and Newton Flesh tint gouache paint
- The Making Obama podcast (and before this the Making Oprah podcast)
- Quinoa porridge
- The new Seawhite of Brighton Watercolour Travel Journal
- Season 1 of This is Us on Amazon Prime
Earlier this month I met with the London Urban Sketchers at Leadenhall Market in the City of London. Leadenhall market is one of the oldest covered markets in London and was designed by the same architect behind Smithfield Market and Tower Bridge. It’s also been the backdrop for many films, perhaps the most famous one being Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone.
I spent the first part of the day inside the market sketching the Lamb Tavern pub and after the lunchtime sketchbook sharing, I ventured outside.
Leadenhall Market sits alongside some of the City’s modern skyscrapers, including the iconic Lloyds of London building. I couldn’t get too close the the Lloyds building because the Pokemon movie was being filmed that day but I did manage to find one spot where there was a partial view of it and got a sketch done before we all met up at the end of the day to share the rest of our sketches.
You can find work from other sketchers and more photos on the London Urban Sketchers Blog.
In February our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to design a cover for a journal on the theme of reading tea leaves.
I didn’t know anything about tea leaf reading so I did a bit of research and decided to illustrate some of the symbols that are often looked for when reading someone’s tea leaves. I also hand lettered a quotation about tea from Arthur Wing Pinero.
Since I love making patterns I also used the images I drew to create a new pattern. I couldn’t decide whether I like the dark blue or the pale background so I ended up with one of each.
This week I haven’t had an illustration assignment to do so I’ve been taking some time to just draw. I haven’t used an actual sketchbook regularly in a long time and I realised that I was missing it. Most of the work I’ve done lately has been on loose sheets of paper, which has made it easier to scan. I went through the stack of sketchbooks that I’ve not yet filled and each one was for a different but very specific purpose.
So today I started a new everyday sketchbook. It’s a type that I haven’t used before – a Seawhite of Brighton watercolour travel journal. My plan is simply to fill a page every day – or most days at least – with whatever I feel like drawing or painting.
We’ve had a hint that our next MATS Bootcamp assignment will have something to do with ‘faces’. For some reason I tend to avoid drawing faces because they feel so difficult but I think it was Tommy Kane who I once heard say that it’s not about being able to draw a particular type of thing, because it’s all drawing – observing something and translating that through your pen or pencil to the page.
So as uncomfortable as it might feel, I’ve started practising drawing faces this week. The first I did on loose paper and the second one is on the first page of my new sketchbook. My ultimate goal would be to loosen up and draw faces in a more minimal or stylised way, but for the moment I’m enjoying learning by creating portraits with a bit more detail to them.
For reference I’m using my own photos – either old family photos or pictures I’ve taken myself. Is there a subject you tend to avoid in your creative work because you’ve told yourself that it’s too difficult? What might happen if you started practising that type of work more regularly?