Monday, 29 May 2017

Fish and Chips, Fluffy Dogs and Union Reps

I have just got back from spending two days over the Bank Holiday weekend as Artist in Residence for the big UCU (University and College Union) Congress, in Brighton. It's by pure chance the very trade union that John used to belong to, when he was a lecturer at the art college where we met, when I first came to Sheffield.

I worked my socks off and filled 8 concertina sketchbook strips, which I will show you more of in a few days, as soon as John has scanned them in for me. In the meantime, here are a few bits and bobs, snapped on a phone during the weekend.

This cute dog was doing a grand job, attracting punters to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign stall in the foyer area. Nobody could resist ruffling those fluffy ears, including me:

The timing of the event was not so great: on Friday, John and I had to spend 5 hours of the hottest, sunniest day of the year in the car, driving down to Brighton but, since most people with real jobs were probably also stuck in their offices, shops, factories etc, I can't really complain, especially since I got to see the sea at the end of the journey, then walk on the pier and eat fish and chips on the beach.

The work itself was really good fun - I just love the crazy challenge of the impossible speed required. The maximum each speaker had to put their motion forward was five minutes, some had just two to say their bit in support, or against, so I had no time to think, I just had to go for it.

I love how this kind of work takes me into all sorts of different places I know little about and, as usual, I learnt all sorts of new, interesting things.

Anyway, I'll tell you more in a few days. Thank you to everyone at the UCU for making me so welcome and saying such kind things about the sketches. Hope nobody minds too much about how I made them look!


Ali said...

So impressive to get all of that done in a short amount of time! I love your style and really enjoyed you as a "fakulty" member at Sketchbook Skool.

Kathy Tiney said...

Lynne, you are the reason I just joined the SketchCrawl community on Facebook. And I have watche all of your YouTube videos. I do so love your style! Especially your children's books illustrations! I would love to write and illustrate children's books but each time I sit down to write an idea for a story or draw illustrations for a story, I do not like them! I've had many art classes including 2 figure drawing classes and one illustration class but my confidence fails me and my mind draws a blank and I compare the work I do to others and my drawing deal becomes a no trespassing zone to me! How did you get to the destination you have worthy arrived at with your illustrations and :becoming" an official much wanted illustrator? And I would love to write children's stories as well as illustrate then but I read that publishers do not want illustrators or authors to do both until they have established themselves as such. I do not see why that had to be. Beatris Potter was able to write and illustrate her wonderful "Peter Rabbit" tales and have them published from the start. How long do you need to do either authoring or illustrating children's books before you are qualified to do both and have them published? I love children's stories and the illustrations. I want to be a part of sharing stories and illustrations to children of all ages and every where and give to them the joy and love reading and of writing and illustrating and art that it gives to me and to each writer and illustrator. How I arrive there? And how do I conquer this fear of drawing and painting and writing and putting myself out there. I would love to take a sketch pad and go out and sketch the places I see but I shake at the thought of someone watching over my shoulder as I sketch!😫 I am tired of just talking about drawing, painting, and writing children's books and sketching Klein air! I want to take that step of faith like Indiana Jones did in the "Holy Grail. Taking that blind step onto the seemingly abyss from one side to the other to reach his destination in the cave of the "Holy Grail". Any guidance or shove would be much appreciated! Oh, and it would love to see more of your illustration and sketching tutorial videos! Your admiring friend and children's books follower, Kathy Tiney!🌞🖋✒🖌

jennie callomon said...

Kathy.....look at joining an on line class at Sketchbook Skool. ( They are an invaluable source of learning and inspiration and will in turn answer your questions above. They are worth every penny.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Yes Kathy - that is a great tip. Sketchbook Skool is very much aimed at people in your situation, with ideas and drive to draw, but lacking confidence or needing pointers for direction.

Another idea would be to take my Craftsy class on drawing characters for book illustration. I take you through the process step by step, demonstrating not just how to draw them, but how to make them feel real, show emotion, move etc. I often find that the characters are the thing which drives the story, so that's also a very good place to start. You can find a link on my website homepage.

It's not true that publishers don't want author/illustrators by the way - they do. The problem is that it is not common for someone to be equally good at both jobs. That's why it's less easy to succeed in getting to publication. I am a much better illustrator that writer for instance and my earliest attempts at both were all rejected. But I got taken up as an illustrator anyway, so showing those first ideas to publishers did the trick for me.

The other thing to bear in mind is that it is not always necessary to make something you love into your job. I think you should certainly try, because you should always push for your dreams or they will never come true. But if you do not interest publishers, there is no reason why you can't still enjoy creating illustrated stories for fun. And that will gradually help you hone your skills more too, which may help you get nearer the dream of publication in the end.