Here's a short interview I did recently regarding my work as a sketch artist.
Where are you from?
I was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire.
Can you introduce yourself and what is it you do?
I'm semi-retired but have been many things in the past, including an experienced classroom teacher, tutor and an accomplished editor for individual authors and for international companies. I also have had a background as a small business consultant, writer, speaker and mentor, and have done many other things, including producing and directing amateur whole-school theatre groups, creating and managing many individual and group programmes as Head Teacher of a small independent school, and much more.
Now I’m fulfilling a lifelong dream by spending my time writing and drawing.
Have you always been creative?
Apparently, yes. I have sketched things from an early age and most of my youth was misspent sitting in a corner drawing superheroes and famous faces, or writing stories.
What is it working with the materials that you particularly enjoy?
It’s difficult to break that down. There’s a moment while sketching something when the various marks you’re making on a piece of paper start to come together to represent a meaningful image to the eye. That’s satisfying, and all from making tiny, occasionally almost indiscernible motions with a pencil.
Can you tell us what inspires your items?
I grew up in the 60s and 70s, inspired by the worlds of books, comics and television at that time. Television was my generation’s internet: we were always in front of it, and the programmes we watched then went deep into my psyche. And in my house we were allowed to read anything on the shelves, so my imagination went into overdrive early on. There’s a tremendous feeling of contentment, as well, from being able to capture images on paper.
How do you make your items? (i.e. what techniques do you use)
I use ordinary paper, nothing fancy, and 2B, 6B and occasionally HB pencils, with a normal eraser. I get the proportions roughly sketched in first, then usually begin with the eyes, if it’s a face. I work from there, keeping an eye on shapes and shades in as much detail as I can, then smudging to create a soft effect. My favourite moment is when I use the eraser to add in highlights - that’s when the subject really comes together, as though, having captured the ‘body’ with pencils, the light adds the life.
Tell us a bit about your studio or where it is you work from?
I work from an old armchair (the world’s most comfortable chair, now wearing out badly) by a window overlooking the Yorkshire moors. Horses, cows and dog walkers regularly stroll past. Everything is within reach: paper, pencils, sharpeners, and a cup of tea.
Is there anything within your studio or workspace you could not live without?
All of the above! There’s not much to it really, but each component is vital!
What does craft mean to you?
It means being able to express a skill in an affordable way, and being able to provide pleasure to others.
Who inspires you as a creative entrepreneur?
My wife inspires me with her creativity, and I have friends who are further along this road who encourage me. I have a number of heroes in the art field - people like comic book artist Jack Kirby and his generation of creators. Too many to mention by name.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
Getting started! I never imagined that a skill which I taught myself when I was a child would have such importance later in life, even though I always wanted to do something like this. Being able to create drawings which people enjoy and appreciate while also having the ability to reach such a wide audience - it’s a dream come true!
To view a gallery, click here.