Maps and Mapping

 

I love to include maps in my Drawing Diaries and have used them to map journeys, places and memories, so I thought I’d share a few of my map drawings and some ideas to try at home.

Most recently, I felt inspired to include a map of my walk to and around Clouts Wood, a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve, in my diary.

      

Mapping journeys

The double page spread, below, shows the routes of journeys I made over one week in 2016. Looking back now I can remember this week and all those moments so clearly, which I’m sure I’d have forgotten about had I not drawn them in some way.

I built the page up step by step..

  1. I used a Road Atlas to help me map the routes that I took, adding in the names of the towns and roads in my own, slightly embellished hand writing.
  2. I drew in arrows to represent the direction and progress of travel each day.
  3. I drew in a few features, from pictures on my phone or found on the internet.
  4. I added colour and a few key words to describe the main focus of my week.

Mapping places or environments

You don’t have to make a physical journey to make a map. Here are a few examples you could try from home. Map your home, workplace or any other location that you have a connection with, for example a museum, friend’s house or childhood home. The journal pages below show:

Left page

  • An aerial view of my kitchen – not to scale. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, working at the kitchen table in 2017!
  • A map of Wiltshire, with roads and a journey added

Right page

  • A train journey I made from Swindon to London
  • Aerial view of my living room and first floor bedrooms – not to scale
  • A map of the area in Swindon that I live in.

Mapping week 22

Mapping memories

I drew this map of a school day circa 1985 from memory, in terms of the route to school and the location of the classroom blocks. I couldn’t remember the actual timetable of course so I just made up a general day of lessons.

Right – I drew the road I walked to my school and the layout of the subject blocks.

 

 

 

Left – I drew arrows to indicate my route around the school day, from subject to subject.

 

 

 

 

Below – I added colour, a title and a few symbols to further describe the subjects, and some wording to describe how I felt about some of the subjects.

Below are a few more examples of maps or journeys incorporated in to my Drawing Diaries and sketchbooks over the years.

MacMillan Mighty Hike with my sister-in-law.

Feels like the year is flying by! Week 17.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drawing without looking at the page!

From my loft studio window, there’s an amazing view of Swindon’s rooftops and local landmarks, and on a clear day I can even see the wind turbines at Westmill Wind Farm, approx 9 miles away.

Week 2

I’ve tried drawing the view a few times and have found myself labouring over angles, perspective and scale, which you can see from this Drawing Diary entry from a couple of months ago.

Now on lockdown I’m spending a lot of my time in the studio because as well as it being one of my favourite places to be (fortunately), it’s also the brightest and warmest room in the house. So, last weekend I couldn’t help but try drawing the view from the window again, but this time I used the well-known technique of ‘drawing without looking at the page’. Wouldn’t you agree that these drawings are much more interesting, with a life and energy that just isn’t present in my earlier attempts?

When running workshops I often use this technique as a warm up exercise, and as a way to practice looking hard at the subject and to develop observation skills. I enjoyed doing these so much that I used the same technique throughout the week in my Drawing Diary, layering drawings of domestic scenes and activities.

 

In the kitchen and for the first time this year sitting in my little courtyard garden I’ve spent some time drawing the things around me – even the kitchen sink! Everything is interesting when you really start to look, and using this technique you will see more and more as you look. I find that the hardest thing to do is to not look at the page, so you help yourself with this by holding another sheet of paper over your sketchbook page so you really can’t see what you’re drawing even if you’re tempted to look.

I made the drawing at the top of this post last night, very quickly, as the setting sun caught the roof tops. I really wanted to try and capture the contrasting warm oranges and cool purples and mauves. I began not looking at the page and smudging chalk pastels down very quickly, then added line and eventually looked at the page to add some block colour in.

 

 

 

 

Travel Sketching Ideas

Looking back at my travel sketches from my trip to West Bengal in 2017 with Fiona and Praveen of Creative Arts Safaris, I’m immediately transported back to those specific times and places.

Capturing just one moment in a day can conjure so many things about that day, and this two-page spread in my drawing diary builds a picture of the whole week. The drawings were done either in the moment, or later from a photo. 

You don’t need to draw a whole scene – just a detail will do. You can see simply drawn details of architecture and textiles on these pages, as well as an idea of our travels from a simple map. I love to add lettering to add a description or to reflect on my experiences too.

On our Travel Sketching on the Road to Rajasthan tour we’ll explore all these ideas for travel sketching and many more!

     

I’ll post more Travel Sketching ideas soon! Follow my blog and you’ll be notified of when they’re posted! Do get in touch with any questions using my contact form, or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Art Journaling Workshops on the Ridgeway National Trail – Spring 2020

I’m very excited to be working with the Ridgeway National Trail on a set of Art Journaling workshops coming up in spring 2020!

These two workshops are part of the Swire Ridgeway Art Prize Exhibitions established by the Friends of the Ridgeway, and taking place on both weekends.

Save the dates!

Saturday 18th April 2.00 – 5.00 p.m – Art Journaling workshop in Uffington.

Capture a sense of the historic Ridgeway and the famous White Horse whilst developing your observation and drawing skills. Take inspiration from the landscape and some of its historic artefacts and build a sense of connection to the Ridgeway though this fun and friendly art journaling workshop.

Saturday 25th April 2.00 – 4.30 p.m. – Art Journaling workshop at St Dunstan’s, Monks Risborough.

Capture a sense of the historic Ridgeway whilst developing your observation and drawing ,skills. Take inspiration from famous local artists, the landscape and some of its historic artefacts and build a sense of connection to the Ridgeway though this fun and friendly art journaling workshop.

No previous experience is needed on either workshop, just bring a sketchbook, pens and pencils. Booking for both is open soon! 

The Ridgeway National Trail – sketch map

Drawing Spring Plants and Flowers Workshop – 7th March 2020 Jo

Spend a joyful and creative day surrounded by spring plants and flowers as you get really absorbed, studying and capturing the beauty of these natural forms in your sketchbook.

12 and 13 March 2018

If, like me, you are inspired by the variety and beauty of plants, flowers and trees as you walk by a garden, through the park or in the countryside, you will love this informal and friendly drawing workshop.

 

 

 

18th April 2018

We will focus on close-up study, experimenting with shading and building up colour using chalk pastels, coloured pencils and pens, and developing techniques including cross hatching, mark-making and line drawing.

21st & 22nd May 2018

What to bring

You don’t need to have a range of expensive tools or materials. I use a set of fine-liner black pens, all sorts of different coloured pencils and a set of Stabilo felt tips, which I love for their particularly fine tips!

So do bring along what you have in the way of black and coloured pens and pencils, and if you have some chalk pastels bring those, and I will bring some too.

I’d recommend bringing a sketchbook or loose leafs of paper at least A4 in size. They don’t have to be expensive. We will be experimenting and practicing techniques as well as making time to complete a drawing, and your sketchbook will be the perfect place to try things out in.

When and where

The workshop is on Saturday 7th March 2020, 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. at Pound Arts, The Pound, Pound Pill, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9HX

Booking is open and the cost for the day is £50.

If you have any questions please do contact me. 

In 2018 (almost) every day for a year I made a drawing of a plant or flower that I collected on my travels – have a browse here.

Booking Open – Sketching on the road to Rajasthan!

Sketching Tour Collaboration with Creative Arts Safaris

I have had the good fortune to travel with Fiona and Praveen from Creative Arts Safaris three times now on the most amazing textile tours. I was so inspired I couldn’t stop drawing, and recently whilst wandering around Vietnam together we hatched the plan to run a trip based around a Sketching Travel Journal.

And so, our collaboration was born, CAS will look after you, and I will inspire and teach you.

We want to give you a taste of Rajasthan – mighty forts, picturesque villages, artisans workshops and elephants and help you create a Travel Journal and Sketching skills to record it all. Lots to see, whilst being careful to give you time to soak it up and sit and develop your skills.

I’m excited to say that booking is now open!

The partnership that is Creative Arts Safaris grew out of the creative interests of Fiona Wright and the professional experience of Kanhaya Lal [Praveen Nayak to his mates].
Their travel agency is built on Praveen’s 20 years of experience in the business. Their Indian Adventure Tours and Travel opened in New Delhi in 2004 and Creative Arts Safaris followed soon after.

Fiona and Praveen share a farm house near Pushkar, India from where they run The Stitching Project  – a textile production project to create beautiful textile products and as much Fair Paid Local work as they can, their excuse to run away is to lead a Creative Arts Safari these days!

Tour dates: 21 November until 4 December 2020

Group size 8 to 12 people.

 

New Art Journaling and Drawing Workshops coming up!

Sharing my love of drawing and using drawing to observe and reflect, and encouraging others to do so too are activities that are very important to me. I love running workshops and connecting with people though a shared interest.

My workshop programme for 2020 starts in March and I’m really looking forward to running two new workshops at Pound Arts in Corsham, which are….

Drawing Spring Plants and Flowers

Saturday 7th March,  10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.  £50 

In this workshop we will explore and capture the form, colour, textures and shapes of spring plants and flowers using a range of pens, pencils and materials in this fun and experimental workshop.

Throughout 2018 I made drawings from nature almost every day of the year and we will be exploring some of the techniques I used in these drawings in the workshop.

Find out more and book here!

Further Adventures in Art Journaling

Mondays 9, 16, 23, 30 March, 6.30 – 8.00 p.m.   £60 for 4 weeks

Kick start or boost your creative habit with a new series of Art Journaling workshops. Develop your drawing skills and explore new ways to capture your daily life in your journals.

Find out more and book here!

Starting an art journal (or drawing diary) really can get a creative habit going. I’m now in my 4th year of keeping one – check out 2016, 2017, 2018 and now 2020 along with sketchbook pages from 2019 including my travels in Vietnam!

If you have any questions about either of these workshops, do drop me a line here

Feedback and a few images from workshop participants….

‘Really enjoyable sessions. I like the warm-up activities and flow of the course content. I never thought I could draw so that has been an amazing experience. Very good, careful, slow explanations of things. Lots of ideas to follow up. Lots of encouragement. Thank you.’

‘fantastic, encouraging support. Very inspiring!’

Even though I was anxious about the drawing I have really liked this and hope to develop this – just wish we had more weeks!’ 

‘Lots of really interesting activities  – I would like to do some more. I have so much more confidence and will take it further…..!!’

 

‘Incredibly inspiring course covering a huge range of ideas and activities. Thank you.’

It encouraged me to start a sketchbook’ 

 

 

 

 

New Year – New Drawing Diary!

I’m really happy to be getting my Drawing Diary underway again for 2020!

Since 2016, when I bought my first little A6 diary to draw in each day, I’ve found it a really useful tool and activity in all sorts of ways. It is habit forming and provides me with a few moments to reflect on each day and think about what I want to include in my diary, and then to take (or make) the time to draw!

I keep it with me and draw in the moment when I can. Other times I take photos and work from those later in the day. Knowing that I’m going to fill each day’s entry with a drawing keeps me alert. When I see, hear or feel something that I have a response to, which could be anything  – a view, activity, news item, interaction, journey, conversation, a thought, emotion – I know that I want to capture it in my diary.

Looking back on the diaries I remember everything about the moment that’s been captured and I’m sure I wouldn’t remember so many small but somehow significant moments if I hadn’t drawn them. The act of drawing is so absorbing and relaxing and I know it’s good for my mental and emotional wellbeing.

 

 

One of the best opportunities to keep a Drawing Diary or Travel Journal is on holiday. There are pages in my 2017 diary of wonderful times in West Bengal with Creative Arts Safaris. Looking at this page below, I am right back in the moment.

No working at the kitchen table during week 6!

My Drawing Diaries have led to a creative collaboration with Fiona and Praveen from Creative Arts Safaris to run a Travel Sketching tour of Rajasthan later this year! I am so excited about this and you can find out more about the tour here. Obviously it’s worth taking a whole sketch book on holiday and in my sketchbook pages you can see drawings from an amazing holiday I had in Vietnam with them last year. It was a textile tour taken with my mum and lovely friends from the Andover Embroiderers’ Guild. 

Travel Sketching in Vietnam

I started a Drawing Diary in 2019 deciding to focus on capturing moments at work, but this wasn’t practical and was probably too prescriptive. I didn’t manage to maintain it and not having it as anchor to the day was noticeable.

So these are the first few pages and weeks of this year’s Drawing Diary and here are links to my diaries of 2017 and 2018. You will see that I went in a different direction in 2018, drawing from nature, a plant, tree or flower, every day (almost) for the entire year. That’s how much of a drawing habit, not to mention need(!) had formed by then! Here’s a page from two years ago…

Jan 15 and 16 2018

 

Travel sketching in Vietnam

In April this year I was lucky to travel in and around north Vietnam on an exciting textile tour with Creative Arts Safaris – an inspiring company based in rural Pushkar, India.

I had the pleasure of drawing every day! There was so much to take in – sights, sounds, and all the people we met on our travels from Hanoi to the mountain towns and villages way north, near the border with China, and east to the coast and Ha Long Bay.

I decided to capture each day’s numerous experiences on one double-page spread in my sketchbook. I worked there and then, sometimes very quickly, and also from the hundreds of photos I took en route. Here are a few of those pages and if you fancy some Travel Sketching with me in India in 2020, find out more here! 

Food, tea, fish and snails from the market, my new much needed fan, and a few of the really delightful wooden puppets that are the stars of the traditional water puppet shows. 

Leaving a morning downpour in Hanoi and heading north. Stopping off for refreshments along the way, the landscape starts to become more hilly. We spend the afternoon in a stitching workshop and get the chance to make some exciting purchases!

     

The women and girls in the mountain regions work really hard making and selling their traditional textiles. Here this group of young girls take some time out to draw with me and they adorn my sketchbook with their colourful and lively drawings.

 

Mapping our travels north and enjoying a very strong Vietnamese coffee.

Exceptionally quick sketches from a rowing boat!

Yum! An abundance of pineapples and this is how to prepare them!

Relaxing on the boat in Ha Long Bay – it was overcast, which lent an even more mysterious atmosphere to the stunning limestone casts surrounding us.

Sewing with Mrs Yen, bananas all around us at our lunch stop, and then heading back to Hanoi.

Adventures in Art Journaling in Salisbury

Devised as Air BnB Experiences

22nd and 29th August, 5th and 12th September 9.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

I am running four Adventures in Art Journaling workshops in Salisbury, as ‘Air BnB Experiences‘!

The workshops offer a fun, creative and uniquely personal way to experience Salisbury through drawing and creative lettering.

No previous experience is necessary!

 

We’ll meet for a coffee and an introduction in The Red Lion, a Grade Two Listed 13th Century Traditional Coaching Inn, and get inspired by looking at different examples of art journaling and doing a fun warm-up exercise. I’ll provide you with a sketchbook from Salisbury’s independent art shop, Noble Art Supplies.

 

 

Create your journal page by drawing details of the things that catch your eye, make a map, capture a moment in time and reflect on the sights and sounds of the walk. I’ll support you all along the way and at the end we’ll have a chance to share our journal pages with each other, and hopefully, like me, you’ll feel inspired to carry on journaling day after day!

Click here for more details and to book a place!