I recently had a sort through and clear out of all the sketches and drawings and paintings piled up on my shelves. Some were recent creations, but others I’d been hanging onto for years. I didn’t really want them for anything but it seemed wrong to just throw them out. To get over the feeling of losing something I took photos of everything and made some videos quickly flicking through each piece. So I have a record of everything but more room for paint!
I kept a few of these from special times, like those I made on my honeymoon. I also kept a small collection of sketches that feel like the sort of direction I’m currently headed with my picturebook illustration.
They’re not particularly brilliant illustrations, but each one has some small bit of loveliness that I’d like to keep creating. Mostly they are also sketches that I either hated when I first made them, or thought they were ‘meh’, some I never showed anyone until now. They were thrown on the sketch pile and forgotten about.
The bottom left is an urban sketch I did while waiting to view a house (the estate agent never turned up). This little stretch of terraces caught my eye and I spent 20 minutes with paints and pencils while I waited. I posted it to Instagram and the main urban sketchers account picked it up and reposted. There were quite a few mean comments left and I ended up deleting my post and just forgetting about it. I’m glad I kept the original. I love it now. It has a nice soft atmosphere, some great textures, and a good balance of block colour and lines. It’s a tiny A5 sketch and I still managed to get the hint of net curtains in the windows. It would look at home in a picturebook background.
The sketch below I never shared with anyone. It’s an interesting roof I could see from my hotel room in central Sarajevo. I made a few sketches of the views from there but this one just seemed a disaster with its wonky lines. Again, I love it now. Look at the colours and textures and the hint of what’s inside!
This does make me wonder about all the images I just threw away immediately. Were they really all so bad or would I have changed my mind later. We can all get too close to our work when we’re in the middle of it. We need some distance to be able to judge images for what they are, rather than what we hoped they would be.
What I’m Reading
My favourite picturebook at the moment is The Wolf’s Secret, written by Myriam Dahman & Nicolas Digard, and illustrated by Julia Sarda. It’s a beautiful book. I have the soft cover and it’s got a unique dimpled texture as well as lots of shiny gold. I bought it purely for Julia’s wonderful illustrations but they are perfectly matched by a lovely story, brilliantly told. The story is a timeless folktale of magic and music and beasts. The illustrations draw you into their details and autumnal colour palette. There is quite a bit of text for a picturebook so it’s not for the smallest children.