Dalesman Nature Diary

Dalesman September 2018

The September Dalesman magazine just dropped through the door and I’m delighted with how my Wild Yorkshire nature diary has turned out this month. The drawings have a bit more room to breathe than usual and the daisies and germander speedwells, photographed in Thornes Park this summer, give a suitably relaxed frame for my Pink Pig A5 sketchbook.

As usual the lettering and drawings were dropped in later, as it would be so difficult to get the exposure just right for each element.

Sketchbook v. Notebook

I’ve been using the sketchbook format in my articles for a year now but starting in the new year, we’re going to try something different as it so difficult to tell a story in the few paragraphs of hand-written text that can be comfortably fitted in amongst my drawings.

I’m hoping that I can still keep some of the quirkiness of the visual joke of popping a sketchbook down on the turf or on the beach, so perhaps I’ll go back to my regular text and illustrations for the diary but incorporate some element like a real feather or fossil resting on the page or a ladybird crawling across it.

A Curious Cat

Dalesman magazineSeptember’s issue of the Dalesman is, as usual, full of all things Yorkshire: the Wakefield’s Mystery Plays, Leeds Library (wish I lived nearer, I’d join), the dolls houses of Newby Hall and bird of prey conservation.

And yes, also as usual, my sketches are upstaged by watercolours and oils from Yorkshire’s artistic talent –John Harrison’s Healaugh and Chris Geall’s Mallyan Spout – but  my favourite image in this issue is Stephen Garnett’s double-page spread photograph of a back alley in Robin Hood’s Bay village.

How did he manage to find that comically curious cat which so perfectly matches the sun-dappled stone of the cobbles and cottages?


Dalesman magazine

John Harrison: Drawn in Yorkshire

Chris Geall

Stephen Garnett photography

Drawn to the Dales


My January Dalesman article

‘It would be a pity if he disappeared to Yorkshire & just wrote for the Dalesman’

That was the typically wry comment of my professor, Brian Robb, head of illustration, as he looked through my folio at the Royal College of Art in March 1975. So, with apologies to Brian, you can probably guess what I’ve been writing for the last three years?

This month's Dalesman includes spectacular photographs of the waterfall at Malham Cove, following persistent rains at the beginning of December. A once in a lifetime event.
This month’s Dalesman includes spectacular photographs of the waterfall at Malham Cove, following persistent rains at the beginning of December. A once in a lifetime event.

With this January article, I’m starting the fourth year of my Wild Yorkshire nature diary for the monthly magazine, described as the parish magazine for the whole of Yorkshire by Alan Bennett. As my deadline is always four or five weeks ahead of the month in question, I’ve based my articles on the observations and sketches in my online Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, which I started on Sunday 4 October 1998.

I’ve kept the focus of my Dalesman diaries on the kind of things that anyone can see in Yorkshire if they get out and about in their local patch and explore gardens, country parks, woodlands, waterside and moor. Now I’m ready to go a little further . . .
Northern EnglandHere at Middlestown, five miles south west of Wakefield, close to where Coxley Beck joins the Calder, I’m well placed for heading for the hills with four National Parks – the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and the Lake District – and I mustn’t ignore the Vales of York, Pickering and Mowbray, the Humber Estuary and the Yorkshire Coast.

I should be able to find plenty of material for next year’s Wild Yorkshire diary!