Freehand Folk

I’M DRAWING a motley crew of folk; ‘an assemblage of odds and ends of people, a rabble’. This rabble has yet to be roused but they’re a sufficiently motley assortment.

I used ArtPen on layout paper, filling in with a Cotman watercolour brush and Calli ink, making up the characters as I went. With no sketched pencil line to follow and no rough to trace I felt as if I had more freedom. The result looks perfectly idiotic, so I quite like it.

The actual size that I’d be printing this would be only an inch or two across, so you’re seeing the widescreen version here.

The Lawn Ranger

11 a.m.: A neighbour’s ginger cat is paying close attention to one particular spot on the lawn, sniffing it with intense interest.

What is it up to?

It turns around and sticks its paw into a hole –

a vole hole – reaching right down, like someone trying to retrieve keys from the back of a sofa.

It reminds me of a friend of my mum & dad’s, Denny from Dovercourt, who once saw a man lying by the side of the road with a look of agony on his face;

“Are you all right? Shall I send for an ambulance?”

“No . . . ugh . . . I’m fine . . . ugh . . . I’m just . . .  trying . . . to turn off this stopcock.”

Like the ginger cat, he had his arm down a hole.

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  1. I love your ginger cat drawings, they are so simple yet tell the story well. It inspires me to do less detail to tell a story, Thank you for your emails.

    1. That ginger cat simply treats our back garden as its personal happy hunting ground (and it’s not our cat, of course). The other day it was using the pond as an alfresco Sushi Bar. Whether it had gone for the frogs legs or the house speciality of smooth newt, I couldn’t tell but it was too late to chase it away by the time I spotted it, it ran off with its prey.
      I think the outrageous things that squirrels and cats get up to are ideal subjects for storytelling in a sketchbook. Their character and determination make a big impression as you watch them, so that gives you a vivid image to put down on paper. You’ve got to rely on memory because these things happen so quickly, so its quite different from settling down to make a relaxed observational drawing of a tree, flower, fungus or rock.

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