How do you draw snow in Sheffield?

I only recently had any sort of connection with Sheffield in Yorkshire. A few years ago my son went to live there, for no reasons that was apparent to me but it seemed like a good idea to him. He loved the place and still does. He’s even opened a coffee bar there. If you go up to Yorkshire drop in and sample very carefully crafted coffee by a master coffee maker. In our family the mantra is: ” Don’t mention coffee to Joe, or he’ll talk about it until your eyelids droop”. He is seriously knowledgeable about it.

Sheffield is a great place, very friendly with lots of countryside places that are very easy to get to on the outskirts. Lady Bower Reservoir is recommended and on our last visit we saw the most amazing display of bluebells we’ve ever seen. It’s only a 20 minute drive away from Sheffield.

Meanwhile back at the drawing board. Last spring we spent some time up in Sheffield and it snowed, a lot. We were staying just out of Sheffield and in places the snow was up to the top of the walls. So a good day to take a walk and take some pictures.

In my youth I loved the drawings of Carl Giles, the then Daily Express cartoonist. There were times when he did drawings of snowy scenes and he seemed to be able to draw snow better than anyone. His way of framing the images with lots of white space gave an added feel of drama that one gets with snowy landscape and make for a quiet day and not a lot of drawing. He also used to use half tone in areas to indicate shadow and light on the snow, search around and I’m sure you’ll find some brilliant examples. To view an original Giles cartoon is a treat, they are quite large, about A3 if my memory serves me right. The half tone was ‘added’ by the printers who followed his instructions on the precentage of half tone to add to the finished printed areas. He, like other cartoonists of the era, would add a blue wash over the areas to be done. On an original, especially one with snow in it, this looked particularly effective. Privately Giles was not a particularly likeable character I’ve read, perhaps he took on the persona of the batty old granny that inhabited many of his cartoons.

Back to my drawing. It’s from an image near Sheffield and you can see the colour version right here . Not a granny in sight.

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