Sketching at NDSM

Sketching at NDSM on Saturday with the Amsterdam Urban Sketchers—just like in the good old days of 2014-5. A chance at least to catch up on Dudley’s hair, and hang with some sketchers. But I realised just how rusty I’ve got at sketching. When I lived in Amsterdam, I wouldn’t think twice about whipping it out. The sketchbook, that is.

With drawing, the more you do, the easier it gets. That’s the thing. But if you leave it for a bit…

Exam sketches

Exam sketches. Maybe it’s not a great sign that I have time to draw the other students in my Dutch exams. Maar wat kan ik doen? I just get a bit fidgety. They’re real quick ones though. Writing is probably what I do best in Dutch. Listening to it, and actually trying to speak it, is a different story.

Al Bowlly throw pillow

Al Bowlly on a 16″ square throwpillow now on its way via Redbubble to someone in Michegan. Thank you dear buyer in Michegan. You have tremendous taste, whoever you are. I’m sure we’d really get on.

Al Bowlly was the first pop star. ‘The Big Swoon’ they called him. Quite a beautiful man. Check out the Pathe newsreel of him singing ‘The Very Thought of You’. See how he leaps up on that piano. Al was from Mozambique and died in a bomb blast.


A print of Westhoek at 15×7″ on its way from Etsy to Alicia in Washington. (Thank you Alicia.) Printed on 230gsm Olmec fine art paper by King of Herrings @kingherrings.

Painted in ink, plus pencil and black biro. This is the view of the Oudebildtdijk from the sea dike at Westhoek. No one who isn’t Dutch can actually pronounce “Oudebildtdijk”. It’s impossible. But it’s the longest street in the Netherlands, and where I live.

Ballpoint pen portraits

I’ve wanted to draw something with a Bic biro for ages—that indigo blue kills me. Then I found that spraying a bit of isopropanol makes the ink run, and you get this great watery effect. (Though it seems to be only the magenta pigment that runs. The cyan doesn’t seem to run much).

Drawn on 300g brilliant white Clairalfa inkjet paper.

The Bob Mortimer (the bottom one) was the first I tried this way. It looks OK… but there are probably too many lines going on. Less is definitely more when you get it right. The drawings above Bob are more like it.

Bob & Dylan

Bob and Dylan. Dylan and Thomas.
This is No.3 (so far) in my series of pub evenings with people I’d like to meet but obviously never will. I’d ask a few questions, but mostly I think I’d just let them do the talking. Or if they don’t want to talk, that’s fine too. Nothing wrong with just sitting and looking at one another.

Portrait of Morrissey

Thursday is pathetic—a portrait of Morrissey. Possibly with bigger hair than he actually has these days.

I wasn’t keen on Morrissey when he first appeared. Then I really got into him. I got him. Then I went off him again. Then I got back into him again. Funny how it goes. I think it’s his uncompromisingness that keeps appealing.

Gordon Heuckeroth

Gordon Heuckeroth. This guy is on the telly a lot here. He seems to be on everything. People say he’s funny but my Dutch isn’t good enough to work out if he really is funny or not. He certainly looks like he’s funny, but it might just be an act. So I drew him backstage, waiting for his funny pill to kick in.