Copyright issues: The London Skyline – an IP view Leighton Cassidy, 18 May 2016
distinctive quirky illustrations: oil paint, watercolour, lithographs. Pencil on oil. Or pencil and watercolour.
I paint Paris how I want it to look. A Paris drawn from films, books, poems. Fewer cars, less noise and stress, better clothes, nicer notice boards – or that’s what I like to imagine. I use selective vision.
flat and skewed perspective. A lot of neutral pastel colours.
somewhat randomly inserted. Different sizes. Captions give title, medium and size – as if they are to be sold???
somewhat random text. In chapters, but without clear narrative. Little vignettes with illustration.
how I see paris
Interview with Tessa Newcomb
It is now quite some time since I received or sent postcards – most things these days are done by Facebook posts. I looked for postcards in East Anglia seaside towns like Aldeburgh but most were art postcards, no photographs. Even in Cambridge it is difficult to get ‘straight’ postcards. Most are tinted or artist drawings. I feel the traditional postcard is probably going out of fashion with technological change. On the Internet search for ‘postcards’ shows many sites where you can send off your own photos and get them produced as cards – this seems to be the growing trend. The other trend of for vintage postcards and art postcards.
Reportage illustration as a distinct discipline is a form of visual reporting that covers everything from exotic locations to war zones, enclosed courtroom proceedings to public events. It shares many of the concerns of written journalism and documentary photography, but reportage illustration offers something additional to both of these practices. It provides a different way to understand a place or event; it is visual but it’s often more than just a snapshot.The nature and style of reportage illustration has evolved alongside journalism and the technical development of printing.
Truth in drawing is about trying to capture the essence of the situation, whether it’s an emotional truth, a descriptive truth, or trying to capture a particular dynamic or tension. Getting to the truth of a story might, for example, mean emphasising certain aspects that you want a viewer to focus on.
(Course Guide p45 my emphasis added – illustration is inevitably a subjective interpretation. The key issue is to be aware of that subjectivity and its implications.
History of reportage illustration
Reportage illustration has a very long history – going back to stone friezes depicting rules and wars of ancient civilizations, tapestries like Bayeux Tapestries and medieval illuminated manuscripts. 17th century woodcuts were used to illustrate cheap publications called broadsides and later chapbooks or rags (named after the recycled fabric they were made from). These focused on murders, robberies and executions and provided grizzly depictions of victims and consequences.
By the nineteenth century news reporting had widened its scope and, with it, the breadth of material illustrated. As the market for newspapers increased the quality of the illustrations improved with the use of more expensive wood engravings and etchings. It took a while for photography to become integrated into newspaper publishing as a form of journalism, mainly because of the technical issues of printing photographs.
In Fine Art painters at the end of the nineteenth century painted social topics, for example:
- Degas Absinthe Drinkers
- Sickert Camden Town Murders
- Cezanne Card Players
- Francisco Goya’s Disasters of War.
- L.S.Lowry’s urban portraits
Contemporary reportage illustration
Reportage illustration is still practised as a way of providing a viewpoint on hard to document events, from courtrooms where cameras are banned, to personal experiences such as travel that are difficult to sum up in one image. And to convey mood of a piece. Particular sources of contemporary inspiration for my work include:
L S Lowry urban landscapes for their perspective and stylisation
and stylistic possibilities of:
Graham Dean watercolour
Franziska Neubert simple linocuts and woodcuts
Jake and Dinos Chapman: reinterpretation and reworking of Goya and other contentious issues.
Sally Pring for the flat colours
Olivia Lomenech Gill for her very diverse style with gouache, pencil, printmaking, collage
- How to draw something that might only be in place for a few moments? It takes practice to analyse a scene and commit the essential elements of fleeting impressions to visual memory, then make those impressions into an image.
- Initially at least the aim is not to make a finished picture, but to capture information. Focus on the key elements – a person’s face and hands, how they’re standing, the dynamic of a group of people huddled together. You might also have to draw a lot quicker. You’ll need to do a number of drawings. Movements are often cyclical even for people. Decide when to do the background and when to do the people.
- Interactions with the subjects – how to stop people being embarrassed or self-conscious See some of the hints in Urban Sketching
- Many reportage illustrators include written notes with their illustrations, reflecting on their perceptions, describing dialogue, thoughts or events. This adds to the personal perspective and gives the drawings a sense of personal identity.
- Final image: Mood, Media, Cropping, Colour etc
My rough notes using One Note and photo diary.
Day 1 Sunday Hambling. Wave, turbulence. Sunset. Fenced off beach.
Day 2 Monday. Kovats. Many tales. Ink. Gloomy darkness with yellow sea poppies. Twisted nets, ensnaring.
Day 3 Tuesday Stories in textures hilary mantell. Filling in the gaps. Museum. Ancient times. The Magpie. Viking. Armada.
Day 4 Wed where does all the time go. Med houses. Marsh. Nostalgia.
Day 5 Thur william kentridge erasure/ black and white charcoal
Dat 6 Fri coetzee open studios beach dog dance. New ideas, opening up.
Day 7 Sat new dawn. Watercolour.
Sunday 11th June
Sun and cloud. 18/19c Windy. 18/19.
Smell of mown grass.
Cuckoos in the morning.
Walk into town. See Hambling Edge (is there gold on there?) and Walls of Water. Do iPad for Hambling, oil painting. Different textures. Do video and photos of sea.
Band on beach. Acoustic guitar. But not many people. Town feels quite empty.
Look at Lemenech Gill gouache. Multilayered and paint on top with white gouache, erasing. Pencil sketching. But good drawing. Use of muted colours.
Elizabeth Newcombe oils Paris. Cut out and exaggeration of shapes. Use complementary colours in overpainting. ‘Paris as I want it to be, Paris of memory, not as it is….’
Wind dies down at sunset. Fans in the sky. Then cloud again.
Walk along the beach to Thorpeness. Areas of beach fenced off to protect the plants.
Backdrop discussions on election fall out. Uncertainty.
“I am the shifting shingle, you approach with stealth, then the dark rooms of your curves, I am tossed, lost, displaced, with greedy lovers’ tongues and lips, you suck in and in again. we rise together, we rise together, then float safe on liquid breasts until the dance begins again and you thrust deep and my resistance is low, dissolve, dissolve. no defence against your relentless advance. I am but a ghost of the shore, disappeared in you.” (Maggi Hambling 2009 You Are the Sea text)
Subsequent research on Sizewell
In the 30s, the first tests in the development of radar were done there. The site was focused on bomb ballistics during the second world war and, afterwards, the first nuclear weapons. Now it’s a deserted haven for wild birds but littered with clues to its past.
Walking around the site I found the mysterious buildings of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE): bunker architecture covered in huge mounds of shingle. Peering through locked gates, I saw light pouring in through roofs open to the sky, the rusting metal framework creating dramatic shadows across walls tinted green with algae. I tried to piece together what they may have contained – deep pits to house the bombs for environmental testing, rusting remains of control boxes on the walls, huge ventilation shafts, quiet now save for the alarm call of gulls.
One of the most extraordinary things about the Ness is that at points you can see nothing except shingle and the occasional military building; the horizon remains the same through 360 degrees. It is quite otherworldly.
Wikipedia: Crag Pit, Aldeburgh is a 0.2 hectare geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Aldeburgh in Suffolk.It is a Geological Conservation Review site,and within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Crag Pit, Aldeburgh
This is the most northern site which exposes the Pliocene Coralline Crag Formationaround five million years ago. It has rich and diverse fossils, including many bryozoans, and other fauna include serpulids and several boring forms.
This site, which has been filled in, is on private land with no public access.
Monday 12th June
Cloudy, and wind. Light at 3.30 am.
Rabbit hops along. Bottom of new hedges protected.
Woke up really late and long breakfast to lunch.
Take more video of sea, gets over my shoes. Shingle between the toes.
Read Kovats drawing water.
Drawing as a mechanism for exploration. Drawing as lines of discovery.
3D under the oceans
Preface quote from Salman Rushdie on Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of each other like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale.
Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many others that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more like a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead but alive.
Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 1990.p55.
Me ideas: slowing down time. Time looking back. Not frenetic.
Van is shell sheltering from the storm.
Profile Arlene Foster DUP. Troubles and death. Uncertainty on election.
Tuesday 13th June
Cloudy and windy 20C
Reith lectures. The day is for the living Hillary Mantell. About history and fiction. Lots of imperfect perspective fragments and filling in the gaps.
Read Ronald Blythe and look through history photos. Storms and Slaughden.
Afternoon go to museum. Old Anglo saxon, and Roman dig.
Back through churchyard with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. and along leafy tunnel lane.
Worked on gouache, pastel and ink bleed brushes.
Went back through carnival sketches.
Feeling despondent – not enough time and too much to learn. About technique and about drawing.
Wed 14th June
Soul Music Radio 4
Sandy Denny Who Knows Where the Time Goes. Wrote from nowhere when she was 17. Confident on stage, very unconfident off stage. Depression, drinking etc with duffucult marriage. Seems like she committed suicide through falling down stairs.
Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it’s time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time
For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?
Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it’s time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time
For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?
And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it’s time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I have no fear of time
For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?
Interview with young songwriter ren harvieu who had been out with friends. In dark they were jumping over hedges. One did not see her and jumped on top and broke her back. As she was pain relieved suddenly started singing the song. Nina simone rendering also.
Sketching on bench. Got a bit cold.
Hot midday. Mediterranean streets. By lookout tower. Band midday.
Practised acrylic styles. Old brush.
Went to the marsh. Footpath right across is closed.
Day of Kensington fire.
Thursday 15th June
Still discussing Kensington fire.
Hot morning so stayed in. Feeling tired. Then cloudy and windy. Starts to be sunny again about 3pm.
William Kentridge. That which is not drawn.
- Provisionality. Virtues of bastardy. Receiving the world. Reversing the world.
To reveal that which is hidden. Excess of making.
Making 3 things at once, the cat and the coffee pot. Chaos.
Unwinding, unfurling, contradiction.
Changing, shifting. Erasing.
To make a huge fiction.
- Sighs and traces. Always longing for meaning. Mystery associated with the trace.
- Drawer and viewer. Filling in the gaps.
- Wanting to hold, needing to let go.
- Slow drawing. Meditative.
- Man is a walking clock. Gathering seconds, gleaning frames.
- P6 “the migration of images, which is connected with what I am calling the virtues of bastardy and the question of provisionality. That is linked to questions of imperfect translation and construction. I am thinking here of a bridge or a plank over the gap of what you don’t hear or don’t understand, or of what’s not in the narrative and requires the activity of the viewer. I think it’s all part of one topic, but we have to try and find out in what ways they are related. Another concerns that which is hidden….excavating dreams and constructing their sense. And erasure as construction.”
- P71″I suppose I’m interested in the traces of what prompts a reconstruction, not just the trace nor the unreconstructed state. What prods an imaginative leap? I am making a drawing for which you see a foundation or a ground. And the interest for me is not not only the foundation or the ground but also what it suggests. From all the different possible things that could come out of it, I am interested in the end, in arriving at one, even if it’s an incorrect one. So it’s not a matter if saying, ‘Here’s a phrase, which is unclear, because there are words missing, that I haven’t heard.’ That suggests many things; it’s the leap into that suggestion, which is, in away, a leap out of indeterminacy. So indeterminacy is there at the base, but for me the interest lies in the movement into a drawing, into a sequence of movement. Indeterminacy suggests paralysis if you stay there.”
- Photographs have only one focal point. But when we look we rapidly flip between the two.
Friday 16th June
Sun and cloud
Went out. Bought cards.
Old Man of Orford
Orford Castle is associated with the legend of the Wild Man of Orford. According to the chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, a naked wild man, covered in hair, was caught in the nets of local fishermen around 1167. The man was brought back to the castle where he was held for six months, being questioned or tortured; he said nothing, and behaved in a feral fashion throughout. The wild man finally escaped from the castle. Later accounts described the captive as a merman, and the incident appears to have encouraged the growth in “wild men” carvings on local baptismal fonts – around twenty such fonts from the later medieval period exist in coastal areas of Suffolk and Norfolk, near Orford.
Saturday 17th June
Dawn and dusk
Brian Coetzee and seagulls
Crag Path and dancing dog
Sunday 18th June
Home via Snape
To be developed using my notes and books from ‘Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen. House of Illustration exhibition February 2018.
Gerald Anthony Scarfe (b.1936) English caricaturist, illustrator for The New Yorker and editorial cartoonist for The Sunday Times. A former friend of the caricaturist Ralph Steadman, Scarfe was an early contributor to the scurrilous magazine Private Eye during the 1960s and 1970s, and also created illustrations for The Daily Sketch, The Evening Standard and Punch magazine. Later he produced caricatures for the credits of the famous satirical TV shows Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, as well as a series of drawings expressing the heroic and heinous characteristics of famous Britons, including: Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, The Beatles and Diana, Princess of Wales.
What Shall We do Next
Fine Art America and printful
See book on participatory art and link to VisCom4Dev
and presentation links:
For sketching and painting with some very distinctive styles. What I like best are:
- Sketch brushes: these are great for shading
- Pixel brush: can produce beautiful mosaics
- Vector brush with gradient: for delicate Japanese watercolour effects
- Zen-like pens: for very expressive drawings and calligraphy.
SketchClub community website is rather uninspiring but accessible from within the App for easy upload: https://app.sketchclub.com
Facebook page is much more inspiring but still does not really do the App justice: https://www.facebook.com/SketchClubApp/
Canvas: Customisable sizes and resolution to very high quality.
Templates for comics etc.
Layers: Up to 64 with blend modes and filters. Mirror and reflect features.
Brushes: Cusomisable: Art, Blur, Erase, Fill, Pen, Procedural,Selection, Sketchy and smooth, Smudge, TextArt, Vector Brush. Vector shapes.
Type: Type Art only
Colour: Central and easy access customisable palette, colour picker.
Book/Gallery: Gallery with folders
Output: JPG, PNG, PSD, Animated GIF,Folders and comic templates, large file sizes possible.
SketchClub is incredibly versatile, but with a distinctive look.
Using one of the paper options and the sketching tool.
Smooth sketch tool.
Tips and updates
!!I have used this quite a lot, but not yet sorted all my the images out.I find it best for sketching and portraits.
SketchBook (Autodesk) is one of the earliest iPad Aps, but has been kept up to date. From available images on he web it is obvious it can produce very professional illustrations. It combines raster and vector features with:
- a wide range of digital pencils, pens, markers, and airbrushes and ability to pin toolbars to the screen for easy access.
- text in all installed fonts that can be manipulated and distorted.
- basic rectangles, circles and vector line with variety of mirror functions
- image import and video export.
You Tube Tutorials
Better for comic inking
For images and further discussion see Sketchbook 5: Aldeburgh
Honor Surie abstract acrylics
Olivia Lemenech Gill
My daughter bought me ‘Where My Wellies Take Me’ I really like the wistful dreamy style of this. Also her detailed Drypoint and collage in other works.
Want to do a proper analysis of this one and try out some of her techniques in my work on Aldeburgh – that place is particularly suited to her type style.
Mark Yardley focuses on subjects reclaimed by nature, such as old abandoned fishing boats, rusted chains and even the door latches of shoreline beach huts, zooming in on these subjects choosing interesting areas where paint may be peeling and patterns may be forming. He works mainly in watercolours and gouache. Using a fairly wet page he lets the paints blend and seep out and then adds detail with dry brush strokes once the page has dried. He also incorporates texture into some of his paintings using card, layers of paper and textured pastes.
charcoal and cows
Semi abstract painting
Charcoal and acryllic, mixed media and pastel
Jason Gathorne Hardy
Graphite sketches of birds. Also charcoal line on hotpressed??paper