A Creative Way to Pass the Time

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.

Interview with Lucinda Rogers

I have been following Lucinda Rogers’s work for some time, I even have a framed poster of one of her New York drawings on the wall in my studio, so I was really glad to receive an email announcing her new website www.lucindarogers.co.uk. 

Her drawings are stunning and really capture the atmosphere of a place, especially her projects about New York and London. She gave a lecture at the Dulwich Picture Gallery a few years ago entitled Drawn From Life; afterwards I was fortunate to be able to ask her a few questions about her location drawing, and about her views on making a career in reportage illustration. Lucinda has been kind enough to review her original answers and update me on what she is up to now.


Do you think there is a market for reportage illustration?

L.R- In theory there is a market but in practice you need to search out this sort of commission to make it happen.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

L.R – Have your portfolio show a body of reportage work covering different sorts of places and scenes. Be aware of how reportage-style illustration is being used in advertising, design and the media.

Who would you advise approaching with a portfolio of work and why?

L.R – Newspapers / magazines are the traditional home for reportage work and you might propose drawing an event that they are likely to cover. Reportage is also used in annual reports and other marketing. The subject-matter you like to draw, such as Anna Cattermole’s Newlyn fishing boats, may be relevant to a particular company or organization whom you could approach and suggest they commission your drawings.

Do you think it is necessary to have an agent?

L.R- It is good to start off on your own and see how the business works but you might want an agent to do the difficult job of negotiating with clients. Don’t expect an agent to find all your work; try to be self-sufficient and have the agent as an added benefit.

Is all your work done on location now, or do you still find yourself answering commercial briefs by drawing from photographs?

L.R – It is done on location as much as possible and I usually turn down jobs that have nothing to do with this way of working.

At the talk you stressed the importance of maintaining your own projects, why do you think this is important?

L.R – It is better to keep personal work going so that you are not steered by commercial jobs alone.

Have you now finished your New York and London drawings or are these projects ongoing?

L.R – They are ongoing along with an interest in other places.

Have you got any other exciting projects in the pipeline that you can tell us about?

L.R – I intend to spend 2012 drawing in a number of different places…I also have six location drawings of Spitalfields published in March in the bookof the blog www.spitalfieldslife.com

A drawing by Lucinda Rogers of Leather Workers in the East End of London


Sketchbook Project deadline

The deadline for posting sketchbooks for the Sketchbook Project 2012 at Brooklyn Art Library in New York is today. I just managed to get mine in the post, here are a few spreads. The title I chose was Fill me with stories.

From Easter and all through the summer the Cornwall coasts are packed with holiday makers, but on the 1st October dogs are allowed back onto the beaches. This unofficially marks the end of the summer season, and local people gather to walk their dogs and reclaim these spaces for themselves. All of these drawings were made on location between Maenporth beach and Pendennis Head.