I love sketching with ballpoint pens. To be precise, it has to be a Bic Biro, nothing else works as well in my experience. They aren’t perfect. They can blob and clog up, and the lines and densely shaded areas can have a rather nasty shine. But nothing matches the way it feels when you draw rapidly on good paper. The drag of the point is just about perfect. Textures can be built up through rapid scribbles and crosshatchings. I rediscovered it on my tall ship sailing week in the Canaries last week, where I used it for sketching on the boat, in cafes and on the beach. All I needed were a book and a biro.
Back ashore at a life class this week, I used a bigger sketchbook, but the same biro to do some textured studies .
These three girls will be going into an exhibition of life drawing in Stroud next March. The two on the left were done about two years ago, I think, and she dozing on the right about nine months ago. All are various combinations of soft pastel and charcoal.
I went along to the Stroud life drawing session tonight. Not many people because of the atrocious weather. But a lovely model who I have drawn before. She has wonderful hair. One day I will just try to draw that. A pleasure not to be drawing another middle aged man.
The first layer of my planned leafy art nouveau woodcut is fully cut and prints quite well, although I am not sure of final colours at all.
I am planning an over lying layer of a leafy girl to compliment, but she is just in the planning stage. I want her to have a thick, plaited pig tail which will echo the least shapes. I was really struggling with this until I noticed a girl working in the cafe had a perfect pig tail, so I tried copying it, and have just about worked out how they work.
I am really enjoying making new sketchbooks, with proper sewn bindings. After I finish each one, I think of a feature I wish I had added. So this one has a proper elastic loop to hold a pen. This is in the correct location to hold the pen by its cap. This means the pen is just taken in and out of the cap, which stays in the loop. The front and back of the book are extended, so that they enclose the pen. This stops it catching in you pocket. I covered the book in Japanese paper, printed with one of my lino blocks. All covered in acrylic medium for protection. Plus a nice girl for my bookplate. I look forward to taking her sketching.
I’ve made several sketchbooks now, and I wanted to cut some sort of maker’s plate into them. As I’ve been very busy printing, cutting a lino block seemed the best idea. As I often do I liked back over years of life drawings to find inspiration and found this one, which is an old favourite.
Then I cut a block, which I think works quite well.
Printing straight into the book is a bit but and miss, but that rather adds to it.