A fellow klassmate at Sketchbook Skool Lesley Bergen does the most wonderful drawings of rooms full of pattern and detail along with delightfully vivid paintings. She was talking on the skool  facebook page about how her drawing style has changed, and it got me thinking, how has my drawing changed? I’ve always enjoyed drawing living spaces – could I find the earliest ones from back when I was 18? I found one, which brought back vivid memories of the coldest flat in the universe where I used to warm the bed up with the hairdryer before jumping in, the sofa covered in teddy bear fur fabric and how we used to bring the speakers with the really long leads onto the roof whilst we sunbathed.


I found more scattered through the various books I’ve used since I started keeping a visual journal regularly in 2011. Visiting friends and family and chilling out:


sorchasittingroomand documenting my living spaces, at home and away. Each of these drawings is a time travelling point. I look at them and am immediately transported back to the place, with the emotions, smells, people, food and conversations of that moment, all accessible again to my memory. Vivid.


schoolcupboard Each teacher in Sketchbook Skool brings their own different and sometimes conflicting ideas and styles to their classes. Responding to these challenges and absorbing their influences has been the greatest fun!   Melanie Reim  and Veronica Lawlor  encouraged me to work fast with an view to capturing the essentials of a story in a reportage style which I talked about here.   But I can see in these latest interiors that the fabulous  Tommy Kane has had a great influence on me with his fine cross hatching and eye for detail.  His rule that once a drawing is started, it must be finished, and his saying that ‘a mistake does not = disaster’ are stuck in my brain and surface whenever I flag or falter, allowing me to really enjoy spending a lot of time on pen and ink drawings.



I am moving away from the trusty uniball eye of the early drawings because I am enjoying the variation of line thickness possible with my Lamy Safari medium nib and Pilot Prera fine nib fountain pens.  I am waiting eagerly for my delivery of waterproof ink in order to be able to combine these lines with watercolour washes.

I like the look of the finely detailed recent drawings, but worry that they are too overworked – What do you think?

P.S. Did you notice that I have learned how to put URL links in my posts? 🙂



New Year- Pneu-monia…

I started the year with all the usual good intentions of becoming healthy, fit, slim, organised and business minded. Someone else entirely in fact.



The shock of doing Dry January must have been too much for my system to cope with, because the usual Christmas holiday virus turned into a coughing frenzy, then into bronchitis and then over several weeks into pneumonia.

coughcoughI turned into a coughing and spitting monster. One that groaned a lot – not just from the constant convulsions of coughing, but also from the strained muscles and sore back. I swear I was developing a six pack, my abs were working that hard…

I was single handedly responsible for the deforestation of several hundred acres of trees due to my intensive use of tissues. My Sketchbook Skool Klassmate Lynn Cohen encouraged me to draw even whilst laid up in bed, so this page in my journal is dedicated to her.

crumpledtissuesAfter several weeks of bed rest and several lots of antibiotics I wasn’t getting any better. As some of you know, I work as an art teacher in a small prep school, and for a teacher to be off sick for more than a day or two is a BIG thing! But I was too poorly to do anything (except cough). (and feel sorry for myself).


At this point I should really have gone to family to be looked after, but the last time I did that I didn’t come back for 5 months; the dust was inches thick and all the plants were dead; so I stayed put. In my bed, with my books (which I couldn’t concentrate on) and my music (which I didn’t want to listen to). I did though, perfect the art of pillow propping, which I will share with you all here.


Things got a bit scary for a while: My thyroid and adrenal glands don’t work because of problems with my pituitary, and the adrenal hormones are in charge of regulating metabolism, water balance/blood pressure, menstrual cycle and, crucially, the body’s responses to stress and illness. Usually the body would automatically increase production of cortisol to cope with the extra stress of fighting illness, but I have to manage replacement medication myself, and it turns out it’s quite hard to work out the difference between feeling awful because of a bad infection and feeling awful because the body systems are having difficulty coping and things might be getting  bit dangerous !


Fortunately the antibiotics began to work, extra hydrocortisone  stopped me fluttering and swooning like a Victorian, (Hoorah hoorah!!! I hear you cry) and although weak as a kitten for a ridiculously long time of weeks and weeks I was able to move from bed to sofa and receive visitors. As long as they came bearing gifts or food parcels.



So, I am recovering well, it is half term next week and I am going to go back to work for the second half of term. Being ill is very boring. Back to the New Years resolutions: This year I am going to work on staying healthy.