Sketching Sherlock

RETURNING TO my Sherlock Holmes book project after an inspiring visit to the Reichenbach Falls, I’ve decided to get back into the swing of things with some drawing rather than with writing or research.

Previously I’ve been thinking of illustrating Sherlock in black and white but I’m starting to realise that colour will make the book more attractive and will help me capture the mood of the story that I’m telling.

As with so many books and screen versions of Holmes, my starting point is the original illustrations by Sidney Paget that appeared in The Strand Magazine. This doesn’t entirely limit me to black and white; The Complete Facsimile Edition, published in 2006, also includes 15 colour plates.

The colour is muted in my first drawings, after Paget’s illustration for The Adventure of Silver Blaze, as Watson and Holmes Holmes are dressed for a day at the races. In place of his trademark deerstalker hat Holmes, like Watson, has gone for a top hat.

A small detail; Holmes wears brown leather gloves, while Watson’s are grey.

Yellow Loosestrife

Despite  its name, which might be a mistranslation of the Greek, this member of the primrose family isn’t renowned for its calming properties. Culpeper recommends it for wounds, sore-throats and as a fly and gnat repellent.