I was supposed to be visiting The Becket School on Dec 2nd, but the deep snow stopped all the trains to Nottingham and things ground to a standstill. We re-scheduled, and I hopped on a train yesterday instead. These first 3 drawings are quickie sketches I did on the way there (the whole journey is only 50 minutes).
The visit very nearly got zapped again though - the forecast was iffy and it began snowing quite heavily during my after-lunch workshop. I had visions of having to stay the night, but luckily it wasn't enough to stop my train home (though the landscape passing by on the other side of the window was entirely white).
Beckett is a secondary school, a nice change, as I usually visit primary schools, and Mrs Webster, the librarian, invited me in to work exclusively with the Y7 students.
Everyone at Becket was so 'up for it' and I had a smashing time with them. I kicked off with a PowerPoint lecture to everyone in the hall (just like a proper lecture theatre - wonderful), then I took smaller groups for illustration workshops in the art rooms.
Primary children can mostly be relied upon to be straining at the leash to get stuck into almost anything I ask of them, but older children often lack confidence, so I do things slightly differently at secondary level. I perfected this during a whole week of secondary school workshops earlier this year, by coincidence, also in Nottingham.
I must have done something right, as Mrs Webster has already booked me to do the same thing again next year - how lovely is that?
On the way home I had one of those lovely experiences that the sketchbook sometimes facilitates. The man on the right in the above sketch asked to see, and he and his girlfriend got really interested, so the man opposite me - sketched below - asked why I hadn't drawn him: 'Am I too old?'
I said I'd tried (at that point I had just his hand drawn), but he was moving too much. The 4 of us chatted away and got very silly (hence the surreal notes on the sketch, although he was indeed both Greek and Irish). I did what I could to finish the drawing, then we chatted our way into Sheffield.
The younger man looked me up on his iPhone. I told them all about how great Urban Sketchers is, and we just had time to check out that site too, before we arrived and had to wave our various goodbyes.
A brilliant end to a lovely day. I do love my life.