Drawing is something that needs to be constantly practiced, take a break and in just a few days you loose your eye hand coordination. Keeping sketchbooks with us and using them to make quick drawings is something a lot of us do. It keeps our eye in and passes a little time in a situation that might otherwise be dull or repetitive. Having filled a sketchbook there is often nothing more to do with it than consign it to a shelf or the back of a cupboard along with many others.
Steve Wilkin has been drawing his fellow passengers on his daily commute to Preston for the last 10 years. During this time he has filled over thirty sketchbooks.
Even though I now teach others to be illustrators at the University of Lancashire I still try to draw every day in much the same way that I imagine pianists or guitarists practice everyday. I need to draw whenever I can, and the train is the ideal place, a captive audience.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Steve’s commute he published a commemorative newspaper Seven Thirty Eight. A travelling exhibition of commuter portraits that he gave to his fellow passengers on the Northern rail service to Blackpool North or the York train on the return trip.
This is a brilliant example of what can be done with those sketches that we make to pass the time, and that we so quickly dismiss. Giving a new lease of life to images that perfectly captured a moment in time, and rediscovering those dog-eared sketchbooks abandoned in the back of a cupboard.
If you would like to do something similar then check out The Newspaper Club for small print runs of newspapers.