West to East and Back Again, or How to Draw from the Window of a Train.

A week or so ago I travelled across England to pick up a car. So the away journey was by train and the return by car.

There’s a lot of enforced down time during a trip like that so I took a few photos made a few drawings, read a bit of Vonnegut, thought about stuff. Very enriching in all.

I liked the idea I could sample the sea on opposite coasts in one day. This was not possible on the way there as I was effectively on food and couldn’t get to Clevedon.

So my morning photo of the West that day was this one:


Morgan’s Hill

Caught the 11:05 to Paddington, with the express idea of drawing, a possibly trying to catch up on the 365 drawing thing I’ve been going. Not sure if you have tried drawing on a train, most people are too close for you to study without causing a uncomfortable situation and generally stuff is going passed so quickly outside you need a super fast photographic memory to get it in your brain before you can decide how to represent it on the page.

So I decided to go for the horizon, because that goes pass slower and if you miss a bit it doesn’t look too weird if you just join on to the contiuation.

I added the times and locations at points, also a few announcements from the guard to add some ambience.


70/365 Various horizon lines drawn from the window of the 11:30 to London Paddington. Going through Bath Spa, Chippenham, Swindon, Didcot Parkway. V-ball. Notebook: Ethel.

I got as far as Didcot Parkway on that then got the I’ll-miss-my-stop-fear, even theough the train was terminating. The connections were really tight as I got a super cheap ticket I had to make everyone.

Managed to take a picture of Yea Olde Saint Pancras as I got to Kings Cross.


Passing through the London at speed. Not even touching the sides. St. Pancras from the entrance to Kings Cross. #dontforgettolookup



View across Shaw’s Dike.

Then there I was in the East. It’s quite flat there. We picked up the car somewhere in the middle of the Fens, this is what it is like there.

Mostly sky.

I stayed over night at my folks place. There’s a lot of amazing old photos there. They should write a book.

Here is a picture of my Grandad at a Grasstrack meeting at Bourne in June 1949, less that 4 years after the end of the Second World War. Two Soldiers looking on. (Grandad’s on the left):


Picture of Grandad (on the left) with fellow rider at a grass track meet. Taken at Bourne, June 1949. Check out the two military looking fellas in the back there.

So the next day I set off as early as I could (which wasn’t that early), this time because I had wheels I could take a picture of the sea, here known as the Wash. It’s quite shallow there so the sea is often very flat compared to the ocean that crashes in on the West coast.


The Wash from near the Light House, Old Hunstanton.


Wanted to draw on the way back too. But you can’t draw when driving. That is bad. So I took breaks (7 hour drive altogether), and when I took a break I drew the backend of whatever I could see.


71/365 Back-ends of various vehicles drawn during mildly epic road trip (when stationary and when it was safe to do so, obv) from Hunstanton through Peterborough, A47, M6, M5 etc. 7 hours journey time in total. See images of both #east and #west seas (taken on same day) earlier in this feed. V-ball. Notebook: Ethel.

I got caught in a nasty jam on the M62 so didn’t get back home until late. But just in time to catch the end of the light in this picture of the opposite Sea.


West coast. Clevedon front.

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“*blank*blank*blank*, what's all this then?"


There’s nothing like the arrival of a new interesting social media thing to get people talking about talking.
Ello kind of blew open this last week, taking the creators by surprise slightly. I got myself and invite from a dear internet friend, and there’s only one way to find out if you look like something. It could be better than bad.
Turns out I do quite like it.
There’s a lot of speculation and discussion as to whether its the Facebook Killer prophecy speaks off, or just another Diaspora. Google+ was a Facebook Killer for about 2 days and that had Google behind it.
You can’t buy cool though.
Ello’s first inhabitants were the creatives, artists, writers and weirdos (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) we all love and adore, there weeks before anyone else. Then, because of it’s most righteous indie web aspirations it also has provided a landing pad for those fleeing Facebook as a result of its banning accounts without users genuine names (immediately alienating large areas of the LGBT community for one).
And they say they won’t advertise at you or sell your data, which is nice, but has many wondering how it will pay for itself, suggesting the big sell out is inevitable, or has already happened.
I’m hopeful it won’t. But it does have me wondering why we all just don’t post to our own sites all the time anyways, instead of socially mediating and handing all our content to someone elses website.
Makes me think I should be using this more.
Maybe I will.
Or maybe I’ll see you on Ello.

(Something that does work nicely on Ello is gifs, the one above is over 2mb and it went up and played no problem).

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imageThe building work began this week and the many weeks of hard work clearing the garage and the existing extension ready for demolition payed off as we put the last box of random items that didn’t fit anywhere else into the car minutes before the demolition of part of the house began.

I’m not sure what our ratio for reduction was, we had some storage space, we sold a lot, assimilated various bits into the rest of the house and into the shed, but there was a lot that we had to lose.

It was very much a loaded process for us as each item seemed to hold another branching tree of memories. One example being a cardboard box which we had been keeping some paper work in, once cleared I picked it up ready to dismatle it for recycling, only to read the label and find it was the box that delivered the toys for my eldest’s first birthday, many years ago.

Notes from lost loved ones, postcards from the other sides, keep sakes from when we had time to keep stuff.

Some of the most difficult things to go through were artwork of various kinds. Especially the children’s, we have three so there were large quantities which we had to reduce or else we would not have had any room to live.

Then there was our own artwork, a constant stream of surprises, as we discovered forgotten box after forgotten portfolio. We tried a loss rate of 2:1 (thus keeping about a third of what we had).

So I was quite pleased with myself when I managed to reduce a very large plastic container of art, comics, notebooks, animation drawings into this suitcase.

It’s nice to lose some of the lazy stuff I could see in there, you could easily tell if a hand was drawn from looking properly or just drawing an approximation of a hand preprogrammed in.

I’m reasonably pleased with what is left.

I suppose I ought to digitize some of this stuff and put it on the site here. If it stands up.

Speaking of standing up, the garage this picture was takenin  just a few days ago isn’t anymore.

Exciting times.

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365 Day Sketch Project Update: 55-68

I suppose I’ve lost the “everyday” part of this project, but, you know life’s too short to get stressed about these things. The point is I am having a lovely time drawing stuff from (mostly) life, my sense of perception and observation has developed and sharpened, my skill with the various implements I am using has improved.

So I am going to keep going with it, even though I am breaking the rules somewhat (there are no rules).

Something that seems to be happening also is sometimes I will finish a drawing and think it’s not great but it gets just as much feedback across the networks as the others.

At the moment I have them automatically cross posting to Twitter and Tumblr. Still haven’t quite got the guts to fire them off to Facebook as well. Not sure why that is, I have always struggled with Facebook, and hate the idea of oversharing on there. But for Tumblr and Twitter I’ll overshare with no worries, which is odd because people who I am connected to on Facebook are more likely to be people I know “Away From Keyboard” as it were.

Anyway, as ever these are embeds from Instagram, you can follow me there if you want them straight off the page, if you catch my drift. I have posted the accompanying comment I posted it with, but you’ll have to click through if you want to read what other people have said. (Don’t bother if there’s only one though that’s usually me adding hashtags after the fact).

55/365 Discarded headphones. Biro. Notebook: Leonidas.

56/365 Drawing cups whilst render wrangling. Watching green bars. Adjusting thread counts. Talking to machines like they’re pets. Pencil. Notebook: Ethel.

57/365 Work desk. Drawn whilst render wrangling #humanuniverse. Keeping active whilst still watching the progress bar. Cunning. Spot the dinosaur. Straight to V-ball. Notebook: Ethel.

58/365. Post, bin and soap dispenser at popular local visitor attraction. I gave myself a month of this #365 due to illness, the Big Clear Out, general chaos, school holidays and August. Consider me back in the room. Pencil and V-ball. Notebook: Ethel.

59/365 Well, not from life this time but it’s just what came out when I was a bit stressed. #Eyeplants Pencil, V-ball a multi-coloured biro. Notebook: Ethel

60/365. Teapot. Tribute to the very famous 1975 Utah Teapot, early CGI construction. . Pencil. Notebook: Ethel.

61/365. Guitar (in pink) under stand up desk with office chair. Drawn during Close To The Edge re-render. #humanuniverse May come back to this on the morrow. Been listening to Art Speigelman talking on layering in #process. Took me back to my watercolour days. Bless. Biro. Notebook: Ethel

62/#365. My car died yesterday (terrible business), so this was done waiting for a kindly offered lift to work. Backwell. V-ball. #Notebook: Leonidas. (This is on the card inside cover of Leonidas. Leonidas is a 6 minute Moleskine, very easy to make yourself. For instructions please visit #burningfp.com and search for “6 minute moleskine”.)

63/365 Dogs in the park, drawn at speed and from a distance. Straight to V-ball. Notebook: Zebulon. #365 #burningfp #notebook

64/365. I appear to be talking myself into making comics again. This could be, and usually is, a terrible idea. If anyone can stop this silliness please send help. Biro, fountain pen, montage and general moments of weakness. Notebook: Amand

65/365 Tyndales Baptist Church. Revisit and development of 10/365 and 19/365. Some nice defining contrasty September sunshine today. Pencil. Notebook: Ethel. #urbansketchers

66/365 Backwell, waiting for lift to the workplace. Development of previous sketch. Cycled in yestetday, took it easy because it had been a while. Thus annoying a lot of MAMILs who needed to be going faster than was actually safe. One chap nearly took out some old fella’s dog because he just had to overtake on a blind corner, leaving me to apologise on the behalf of him and all other cyclists. V-ball. Notebook: Leonidas

67/365 Another commute picture. Backs of seats and heads on the train. #Guerillasketch Straight to V-ball. Notebook: Leonidas

68/365 Four drawings of lorry upending its load. Drawn whilst waiting for lift. #latergram V-ball. Notebook: Leonidas


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BBC Preview – War of Words: Soldier-Poets of the Somme – Bristol Festival of Ideas

The “big animation project” we were working on earlier in the year is being previewed at the Watershed on the 5th November.
The programme explores the stories of the writer soldiers who were present at the Battle of the Somme and at BDH we produced 10 animations illustrating, with respect, the poetry the soldiers produced, which are embedded in the documentary.
The event is free, but you do have to register here.
Maybe see you there.

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