Number 1 in this year’s New Year’s resolutions is not to make any resolutions. So there we are, that’s that taken care of and we can just get on with it. Whatever ‘it’ might be.

I’ve been doing a lot of drawing in the various lockdown incarcerations and if you are foolhardy enough to visit me here then you are likely to see quite a few of them. After all, what’s the point in it if you don’t show people. For those of you who are curious about how I put them together then here’s what I do. I take photos, quite a lot. I choose which I am going to draw when I get home. I’m sadly not one of those people who pack the sketchbook and take it with me on my walks.

It generally does not need to be a fine sunny day to take the pictures, but it helps.

In the case of my landscapes I draw with pen and ink straight onto board or layout paper. I draw with a dip pen and a bottle of ink handy. I draw with the nib any way I please, occasionally upside down, that’s the nib not me. I’m not very kind to my pens and they take quite a lot of punishment. I sometimes use the wrong end of the pen to plough through puddles of ink, it’s all a lot of fun and mess. I also use a selection of exceptionally cheap brushes to make the odd mark.

This is a preparatory drawing, ink on board.

I don’t try and distinguish between the foreground and background areas, knowing that I’ll look at knocking back areas later can easily be done. So I might draw cloud formations as big black blobs when I know they are to be white or much paler later, when they go to colour. All colour is done digitally later. I have an ambition to do some colour straight onto the paper in the coming year, but it’s not a resolution. I have a toothbrush that I use for some areas of black ink here and there if I feel like it. I don’t use it on my teeth later, honestly.

If the drawings done on card straight off, then I might faff about more with it with Dr Matins White Paint. If it’s done on layout paper I’ll glue the drawing to white card with studio gum ( today’s equivalent of cow gum ) making sure that I open the window as it’s pretty heady stuff.

This method has the advantage of being able to edit areas of the drawing with a scalpel. Nurse! Curtains. Swann Morton scalpel, 10a blades, great for cutting paper. I’ll show in a video in time.

So that’s about all the hand done stuff. The drawings are then scanned. I’ve recently bunged up a large pinboard that I’ve had for years, in my studio, so that I can photograph the work instead of trying to join it all up from 4 separate A4 scans in the case of the big drawings. I’m planning to do loads more big drawings, but again this is not a resolution, it’s a plan.

This is a bigger version, original is A2. Ink on layout paper then glued to board. Soft grey pastels added after some faffing with Dr Martin’s White paint. I might put some colour on it, ‘might’ being the operative word.

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