Tideswell, ‘willy nilly’.

This was drawn after a visit to Tideswell a couple of years ago, it’s in Derbyshire and I seem to remember it was this time of year too. The light was right for September. I did quite a few drawings as a result of that trip, the vivid green of the fields and the bisecting stone walls as well as the trees and their shadows gave me some good photographic material to work from.

It reminded me too when I found the images that I’ve been doing these landscapes for a while now. First of all getting stuck into line drawings in Indian ink, lovely to work with and a return to old ways of working. Applied with a dip pen and at times with the wrong end, plus a toothbrush for splatter. Not one of your modern vibrating toothbrushes, that would be messy and splash back might result in more on me than the paper. I don’t use the toothbrush on my teeth afterwards.

Nowhere on these drawings do I use pencil, I just dive in with the pen, willy nilly. Now there’s a word. For the uninitiated it means with not many thoughts of the consequences. See? I’ve gone and translated without proper reference to a dictionary, willy nilly.

When the drawing is finished I scan, and then in this case I’ve coloured the resulting image in photoshop. I did a few like this with what I think are mixed results. I go back over my work ( work? Pah! ) at regular intervals. Sometimes good to leave for a while and revisit. This is one of the better results of digital intervention.

More recently I’ve got the pencils out. A medium that I have rarely used. Never used them when cartooning, just did the drawings on layout paper in layers. I draw quickly as a result of years of deadlines and a natural inclination to get it over with as soon as possible, so I could get an invoice out as soon as possible. See this little video below, it’s speeded up, but not by that much. I’m lucky enough now not to have to generate invoices, any cartoon work these days is done for charity.

My recent drawings are in pencil and a dive into colour. I tried at first to just colour in black and white prints of the line drawings. They looked like coloured in black and white prints of line drawings, so I have gone back to redrawing the entire images from scratch. Some of them are also really big, about A1. The drawing board is like a dust bowl, I even bought a little hand held vacuum cleaner to try and keep the area less dusty, but what fun to do. My good friend Alan Blethyn does pastel drawings, and very fine they are too, so I’m hoping to get some hints and tips from him in due course, but in the meantime, I’m just going for it, ‘willy you know what’.

‘Who buys this stuff?’ Is a question I was asked many years ago when looking at some of my cartoons. At the time I was able to say that plenty of people did. With these my recent drawings I don’t even think to answer such a question. It’s not really the point. I don’t do them to sell them, I do them because I want to. So there! I’ve advised my daughter to buy a large powerful shredder for when I go.

I shall be doing quite a few more in the years to come, so hopefully no rush to get the shredder. A couple of years ago I put a load of shredded old bank statements on my compost, and they proved very profitable. My drawings will also make excellent compost.

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