Siân Sharp – Artist and Illustrator

Sketching in St James’s Park

I had so much fun drawing the ducks in this park, it’s made me rethink my story — instead of my sequence about a crow, I’m going to do waterbirds instead.

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This black and white bird is called a bar-headed goose.

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Trying to capture the movements of one duck preening its feathers.

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My teacher suggested that because my sketch pages are so busy, it can be quite hard to single out some of the figures.  For example, I really loved this moment of the moorhen being quacked at by the duck, over on the edge of one page, but I had to point it out to him.  He said I shouldn’t be afraid to draw in a bigger pad and give each drawing plenty of space to breathe.

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‘You’ve already got lots of stories — each one of these drawings is a story, just in one image.  You need to break them up into a sequence.  So for example, coot is walking — close-up of coot’s feet — coot is walking again — duck jumps out — coot waddles away in the other direction.  There’s a little sequence.  If there’s more space on the page, it gives you room to play with the drawings and re-order them.’

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He also gave me some useful tips about setting/context — so next time I go out, I’ll draw the birds, but I’ll also try to hint at where the action’s taking place, too.

~

This week we had a seminar from illustrator Paula Metcalf. Alongside Paula’s neat portfolio were lots of folders of loose rough drawings, ideas and workings-out. My friend Hannah has written an interesting blog post about this here.

I also find the formality of a sketchbook quite tense and daunting — the feeling that it’s a book already, so everything in it needs to be polished and perfectly presented. Ideas and doodles can sometimes flow freely on scrap paper, which is a much more relaxed and friendly place for a pencil to be. It really is helpful to see other artists’ creative processes in this way and I’m so grateful to Paula for letting us have a peek into her world.

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This entry was published on February 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm. It’s filed under MA Duckpond Project, Sketchbook and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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