I’ve known Renita for a while now. Originally from America, Renita now lives in Wigtown, which the book town in Scotland, with the most stunning views across the estuary. When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” [...]
My legacy is that I learned to draw feet a little better than before. While researching for my Olympia books, I looked at a lot of drawings on ancient Greek pots. The drawings were a revelation. I’d never really looked at them closely before. The style and often the drawings themselves were drawn again and again and passed down from father to son or master to apprentice. All the time the style was refined so that graceful athletes could be portrayed in a very few stokes of the pen or inscribed with a stylus.
I find I often go to the Old Greek Masters for inspiration and understanding of how to draw simply as well as how to understand the world in general. The old philosophers had it pretty well sorted!
If you were thinking of getting one or two, It really helps support this website and my drawing videos if you use the Amazon Links below. Thanks.
May the Fourth is Star Wars Day – as in May the Fourth be with you!
So, here’s a video showing you how to draw an X-wing Fighter. Of course it’s not that easy at all! But follow the instructions and see how you get on!Feel the force and you will be okay!
Mother’s day is on May the 12th in the United States this Year, so I’m starting up with some new ideas for Mothers day and here is the first of the year.
Click the picture links below for YouTube tutorials for other great Mother’s day ideas.
Its 60 years since Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin discovered that a double helix was the secret to the molecular structure of DNA. To celebrate, I thought I’d show you how to draw a double helix.
It’s not the easiest thing to get your drawing head around, but if you go slowly and methodically it will all make sense.
I had an email this week asking me for a bit of advice about self criticism. This is really hard to deal with and the harder you are on yourself, the harder you get. Its a vicious circle that gets worse and worse. Harsh del-criticism is a really bad habit, just like crack cocaine or smoking. the more you do it the more the habit gets ingrained into your daily routine.
Snapping out it is hard. Its a 24 hour a day battle against something that doesn’t want to go away. Don’t be hard on yourself. look always for the positive and ask that critical voice if it has anything constructive to say. If it hasn’t ignore it and then look for the positive in your work or the situation you are in. Criticism is a waste of time unless it adds something. if it doesn’t add, don’t do it and ignore the little voices in your head – and the voices of others who don’t understand or maybe don’t have tour best interests at heart.
Come and join me at the Pencil Museum in Keswick next week on the 9th – 10th and 11th of April. I’ll be around to show you how to draw stuff and answer all your drawing and pencil type questions. See you there!
Recently, I’ve had a few Art students ask me for advice for what to do after they have finished their studies and go out into the world with a degree tucked under their arms – looking for a job.
Well, It’s a long time since I started and things have changed a lot. Back then there was no internet – just the Artist’ and Writers Year book that contained a lot of addresses and phone numbers. I made a list of all the companies I wanted to work for, phoned them up and made appointments to see the art directors. Then I trudged around London showing my portfolio.
Sadly, it just doesn’t work that way anymore. Art Directors are under a lot of pressure and pretty much rely on Agents to do the sifting and sorting for them.
There didn’t used to be illustrator websites either – I don’t subscribe to them. Little pictures of your work on a site like that, look just like everyone else’s. The only calls I ever got from illustrator sites were from other illustrator sites wanting me to show my work there too – and pay for it!
I asked an influential Art Director last week just how much has changed, and this is what she said”
“The sad thing is, there are so many 100’s of budding artists all trying to get their work seen these days that I could employ someone, full time, just to see portfollios or answer illustrators’ emails. It feels so harsh to say it, but in these tough times, we simply don’t have the resources to see illustrators unless their work shows a unique commercial promise. Artists can certainly email or send in samples to Art Directors and Publishers and, in my experience, they all get looked at. Sadly, the majority will get a “thanks but no thanks” reply, but if the work looks exceptionally promising they’ll either get a request for more samples or be invited to show their work, in person. The key words here are UNIQUE and COMMERCIAL PROMISE if they want to be seen. ?
And there you have it. If you want to work as an artist, making work to sell or to be commissioned, you have to be commercial. I’m afraid your degree is not going to help you, unless you are going into art management or other full-time jobs where qualifications may be taken into account.
Your degree has bought you three or four years to experiment and find your true purpose in life. A degree in art is pretty much a certificate of attendance. It is your work and your portfolio that really counts.
I’m not saying that degree is worthless – you need the time, guidance and the companionship of like-minded people that a degree offers to develop you skills and ideas. But please don’t think the world owes you work and riches just because you have that piece of paper in your hand.
If you are still at college, the best thing you can do is to learn about marketing and and start planning your final degree show.
A final degree show is not just a nice exhibition to show your parents what you’ve been doing for three or four years, it’s a serious show case. You can’t rely on your teachers or professors to do it for you either.
Start planning a humdinger of a show. If you are miles away from the centre of the art world, hire a place near where the buyers are and start targeting them to make sure they come and see your work.
You may be in a sleepy backwater university town that has been lovely and delightful for the past few years, but Art buyers and commissioners are not going to go out of their way to come and see your show!
You need agents to see your show too. They probably all live somewhere fancy too! Are you getting my drift?
Go and read about how Damien Hurst organised the Freeze exhibition when he left College. I’ll put a link below. It rocketed him and his college friends to almost instant stardom. He and his friends are really successful now. It would be hard to repeat what he did, but you can learn a lot from his tactics.
While you have college or university facilities available start producing business cards and posters to send to people.
Start getting in touch with agents or, if you are a bit of an entrepreneur, start to learn something about business and marketing. It is not rocket science, and you are allowed to be the master of your future success. There is no law that says you must have a gallery or an agent.
Starving artists starve because they don’t make work that people want to buy. Successful artists make stuff that people want and they learn how to market it and sell it.
Do not get seduced by the starving artist in the garret idea. This fantasy was dreamed up by the writers of romantic operas whose audiences loved to wallow in stories about bohemian failures dying of TB in rat infested attics. This is romantic nonsense.
Artists are allowed to earn a living as much as anyone else and they do not have to suffer for it. Like anyone else trying to make a success of their lives, you may have to make a few sacrifices but you don’t have to wallow in artistic pain – this is a lie devised by devious agents and gallery owners to keep artists on a tight leash.
More than anything else keep making the work and keep making it better. Know who you are – know who you are making it for and make your work for them – they are the ones who are going to buy it and make your future the success you so desire.
I’ll talk more about marketing in another video because I don’t think people really understand what that term means.
Until then, keep drawing drawing drawing, practice practice practice – keep making the work – keep making it better and I’ll see you next time.
You take care now, bye bye.
When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” with songs about stinky things and choruses that end in “Eeeeuew!”
Renita has begun putting stories on YouTube for all to share. Here is one that has so many Ps in it I’m surprised we can still see through the lens of the camera by the end of the story.
Checkout her YouTube channel here and make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss any new stories!
This is part two of my interview with World Famous illustrator, Alex Brychta, who has illustrated over 500 books for the Oxford Reading Tree. If you are under 30, you probably learned to read with Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy the dog. In this video, Alex shows us how, through 30 years of practice, he swiftly lays out a page ready to do the ink drawing.
We discuss various techniques, but Alex photocopies his ink drawings onto conqueror paper and then stretches the paper onto drawing boards by moistening the back of the paper and sticking down with gummed paper tape. I do it dry with masking tape – you can see how in this video.
Alex scans his own work with a high end scanner and makes final corrections in Photoshop. the he sends digital files to the publisher.
Sit back and relax and learn from a master and his years of experience.