Those of you who like your Christmas cards a bit Biblical might like to know that you can now get these four Christmas cards in a pack of 8 (2 of each design) for just £5. The four designs are sketches I’ve done in Bath, Bristol, Calne, and Clevedon over the last four years for our work Christmas card at WEBA, and the verses are all about the incarnation, God coming to earth, but they’re not so much the ones that get over-used at Christmas.
We’re selling them in aid of Home Mission, and you won’t get cheaper cards from me under any other circumstances anywhere. They’re on top quality 300gsm stock and come complete with envelopes. I have carefully inserted each set into a very compact cellophane sleeve myself. Contact me if you’re interested; postage is £1.50 extra.
One reason why I haven’t posted anything for a while is that I’ve bought my first graphics tablet.
This is something I’ve wondered about, and sometimes resisted, for about twenty years. Recently, however, I’ve been commissioned to produce a short animated explanation for the people I work for four days a week. I wanted to take this opportunity to experiment with animating in my natural, rough, sketchy drawing style, and I knew the tablet could potentially make this possible.
I work for a network of Baptist churches in the West of England, and together with our neighbouring Associations, we want to share the idea of what’s possible through Partnership. The idea of Great Partnerships became part of this, and that gave me the perfect excuse to try drawing what I could never hope to do in real life: dance like Fred and Ginger.
Or, in this case, Fred and Rita, because the moves above are roughly based on a scene from You Were Never Lovelier starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth.
Kind of. Because I’m just practising, and I’m using 6 frames a second to try to save time. That means you’re seeing only a quarter of the pictures per second that you’d see in a Disney film. It does take a ridiculous amount of time, but I do love it. I’m going to get back to it now.
Today I was at a community tea to say goodbye to our minister Laurie and his wife Karen. They’ve been at our church ten and a half years and it’s been brilliant. They’re leaving a happy group of people, doubled in size, with a wide range of ages and cultures and broad links to the local community.
My excuse for posting this on my illustration blog is the blue glass plate that I got to design for Laurie and Karen.
Many years ago, I saw a photography exhibition that included a photograph of the congregation of St James Picadilly gathered in one of the aisles. I had an idea that we could take a similar photo at tbc, to put on a sign outside showing that there were friendly human beings inside. One teatime, while hosting at least two extra children, I managed to scribble a sketch of the kind of thing I meant, to take to a church meeting that evening. The church thought the sketch would do as well as a photo, and that sketch has been on the sign outside our church ever since.
For this 30cm blue plate, I had a go at updating it, reflecting the way the church has grown and including some different people – although there was no way I could fit everyone in. I had to work from photos, which I normally refuse to do. Just sometimes, though, when the purpose of what I’m drawing and my connection to the people I’m drawing is strong enough, I get away with it. The figures end up a bit more stilted, but hopefully the overall effect is still one of joy and community, even in silver on blue.
To be honest I haven’t done a lot of sketching for a few weeks, but I do have a few drawings from before Christmas which still need working into final illustrations. I got round to this one on Saturday so that I could put it on a birthday card for one of the singers. This is a group from my church, tbc, singing selections from a rather good jazz musical called Wobbly Rock, written by local musician Marilyn Childs. It’s based on the life of St. Peter. When she publishes the sheet music, and the CD, and when we put a proper concert on at church one day, I’ll tell you.
As a kind of experiment I’m going to post my entire sketchbook from this year’s Greenbelt festival. You can read it if you like. It’s not entirely in order.