Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My Garden an Amazon Best Book 2015

Good news. Dream Draw Design My Garden has been selected as one of Amazon's Best Books in 2015. It's one of the Editors' Holiday Gift Picks in the Design, Construct, Create section, meaning, I think, that it will make a great Christmas present. Who am I to argue?

There's more about it here. It's available from other online places as well, and your real-life high street book store. (It's just as good wherever you get it.)

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

St Paul's on a latte cup

My drawing of St Paul's and the city skyline are on the takeaway latte cups of the Timberyard chain of coffee shops for the next few months (while the stocks of 50,000 last). Get a latte, get a drawing.
It coincides with an exhibition of drawings by the London Urban Sketchers group from 2 November to 30 April 2016 at the brand new Timberyard Soho branch (4 Noel Street, London W1F 8GB). I'm showing (and selling) prints of the drawing (below) — email me for details.
I drew the view from Blackfriars Bridge as I cycled home one night after work. I've always liked the way the taller buildings towards the east appear over the top of the solar panelling of the railway station that spans the river: the Barbican towers, St Paul's, Tower 42, Cheesegrater, and a glimpse of the Gherkin pop up. There's another second part of the drawing that continues around to the south, showing the Walkie Talkie, Shard and Tate Modern. I drew it all with my cycle helmet on.
The bridge is the only one in central London that runs directly north-south, so the sunsets viewed from it can be spectacular. (It sounds ridiculous, but close your eyes on the windier days and it's the closest London has to offer to the feeling you get by standing on top of Henna Cliff, Morwenstow. Traffic, planes, sirens, commuters, architecture and everything else apart, that is.) The bridge isn't a friendly place for cyclists, but I like it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Around Albert Bridge

I joined the London Urban Sketchers sketchcrawl around Battersea the other week — on one side of the Thames is the Norman Foster and Partners-designed Riverside complex, with its curved balconies, all empty despite it being a lovely day, and on the other side the historically burdened Cheyne Walk, festooned with blue plaques behind iron railings.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

In Pete Scully's new book

I have a couple of chapters in Pete Scully's great new book, Creative Sketching Workshop, which is published now. (The covers, drawn by Pete here, are for the US and UK editions.) I know Pete through the Urban Sketchers network and through joining him on his sketchcrawl around the East End of London a few years ago when he was back visiting the UK (he now lives in Davis, California). And I'm looking forward to seeing him again later in the year.

There are contributions to the book from other artists I've worked with before, including Virginia Hein, Nina Johansson and Melanie Reim. It's great to be in such good company.

Did you spot the family resemblance of his book and Sketch Your World? That's because they are related, along with Simone Ridyard's Archisketcher, just published, and Katherine Tyrrell's Sketching 365, both of which I also have work in. (We are all published in the UK by Apple Press and in the US by North Light.) I'll blog about Simone's book too when I get my hands on a copy.

Here's a page from my parks and gardens chapter in Creative Sketching Workshop, which is available, like the other books, from discerning bookshops and the usual online places.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Interview: Jackson's art blog

I've been interviewed by Lisa Takahashi for the blog of Jackson's (the art materials suppliers). Surprise, surprise, it's about drawing in sketchbooks. You can find it here.

You can also find an interview there with Róisín Curé, who we met in Ireland last month.

Monday, 7 September 2015

To Ireland's west coast

James Hobbs, Twelve Bens, Connemara, Ireland

We're back from a week in Ireland – last visited by us in the 1980s before the onset of daughters. We headed to the west coast, stayed a few days in Connemara and another few days on the Aran Islands. As part of my research into a new book (full details in time), I took a few bottles of ink (just black, blue and green) and a few brushes, but for all of Ireland's greenness, it was the greys that got me. And the skies, too: always heavy with clouds, always threatening, but rarely delivering.

James Hobbs, Gurteen Beach, County Galway

In Galway we met for tea with urban sketcher Róisín Curé, who lives down the coast and has a fantastic plot to cover. Galway is a livelier place than when we were last there – it is bidding to become European Capital of Culture in 2020. Perhaps that exposure would widen its appeal to UK visitors. If you heard a tourist's voice it would mostly likely have a French, Italian or American accent.

James Hobbs, Connemara coast

What remains entirely unchanged, though, is the friendliness of Ireland. There's a welcome everywhere you go. We won't wait 30 years before we go again.

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Friday, 31 July 2015

From the 32nd floor

I was lucky to be part of a group who were invited to draw from the 32nd storey of an office block in the City of London earlier this month. Compared with buildings in many other cities, the 32nd floor isn't really so high, but in London it gives you a phenomenal view.

It would have been easy just to spend the time gawping at the view and trying to make sense of which parts of town are which, but it's not often you get a chance to draw scenes like these.

Our thanks to Carlos Olvera for inviting us up. We are hoping to arrange another visit soon.