Over the year I’ve been following the urge to work using pencils and inks, something I’ve not really done in anger for a long time. It has been a big old learning curve for me, and very labour-intensive. I’ve been training to improve my ability with pencils, along with developing new techniques and approaches to making the drawings. I was keen to keep the themes of my digital work alive in these pieces, which tap into the same well of interests and ideas as the digital pieces.
In fact, to develop these pieces, I’m still using digital work in the preparation and development of the pencil drawings. I initially mock up my ideas for the pencil drawings using my digital archive of collected and self-taken photographs. The image is then printed for transfer to the final paper, which is traced on and then drawn fully to make the final image. This allows me to concentrate on building up the mood and feel of the image rather than fighting my inabilities to draw things as well as they should be done.
The first of these pieces was done on A4 paper, and along the way I made a number of mistakes which I’ve learnt from, the initial transfer of the image was done to heavily, meaning there are lots of deep indents from the pencil I transferred with, so these left marks which I couldn’t fully cover with pencil during the drawing. As for Master of Candles, the candles in question are what are known as corpse candles in some parts and I believe willow the wisp in others.
Next came a smaller piece drawn on A5 sized paper, Mother Meldrum’s Garden – the lady in question is my imagining of the famed witch of the Valley of the Rocks in Lynton, north Devon. After a number of visits to the garden, this is a very loose interpretation of the lady in question, chillin’ and conjurin’ in her garden on a breezy summer day.
The next piece was another done on A5 sized paper, Mari Morgen’s Proposition. The work is again based on old folkloric characters, water spirits from the other world. As for what the proposition is, I’ll leave that to you. For me, it was important to work on the tonal ranges in this piece in a manner that helped create depth and distance to the composition.
I switched to an A4 size for the next piece, and as tempting as it is to connect the lighthouse with some sort of phallic symbolism, that is not my intent. The Bride features a lost figure, watched over by another more distant character. Their relationship is uncertain, but the sombre mood hints at a backstory that you can fill in for yourself.
In The Fields was a bit of a departure. I’ve always loved working with pens, and doing quite scratchy and loose work with them. This piece started from a photo I took of my daughter in the garden at sunrise, and morphed into something more illustrative and stylised than my usual work. There were challenges with this piece as the gel inks began congealing on the paper surface, as a result of their thickness. In some places it worked well, in others it didn’t. I was pleased with the end result though, for me, it evokes the sort of garish and uncanny 1970s/80s dis-ease that often graced the cover of comics like Misty or Scream. This was a larger piece on Strathmore 500 series Bristol Board at 11″ x 14″ (or 28cm x 35.5cm in proper measurements…)
The most recent of my completed works is simply titled The Message – it is also done on 11″ x 14″ Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Board. There is a lot going on in this piece, and maybe in retrospect, I should have avoided using the incredibly stratified local cliffs as the backdrop. As for the message itself, well, I have my own ideas, but what are yours?
Currently, all the above pieces are available to buy. You can contact me for details and prices, and I will eventually add them to the Etsy shop. I will also be offering prints for those interested in having a copy. Once again, when I’ve sorted all that out, they will be in the store.