Saturday, 31 January 2009

Le blog post!

Dear People of blog world,
Sorry for my absence I have been in Paris on a research trip and below are some very pretty photos of lovely “gay Paree!” to make up!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Thursday's visual research day

It's still pretty cold in these here parts, frosty and pretty to boot, so at least that makes up for it a bit!
So lovely snaps for visual research Thursday...

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Illustrated fiction

Here’s Wednesdays illustrated fiction story post--the highlight of my week created in partnership with Julia Green fiction writer extraodinare:
This one is brilliant!


It's a funny thing, being married to someone for 50 years. Every once in a while we end up at the mall, and while Earl is marveling over the appliances you can buy all in one place on the cheap, I go over to the bookstore and watch the people watching the books. There are these young things with teased up hair and rocks on their hands, scurrying around like field mice, can't get their hands on those books fast enough. The ones they want, they're all called things like Thin Enough and Happy Enough and Cook Your Way to a Perfect Marriage. I usually go to the cafeteria part, get myself a small cup of coffee, and park at a table where I can see 'em well. Every once in a while, after I put two sugars in my coffee and start over to that table, somebody as old as my grandkid rushes over and calls me 'ma'am' while offering to help me along. I started getting ma'amed as soon as I was married, even though I was 25 going on 12. Today, even with my rickety hip and silver hair and funny smells where there didn't used to be any, honest to God I don't think of myself as a ma'am. A ma'am's got a beehive and handbags that match her shoes. All I know is whenever I hear ma'am, I think of Earl's daddy and his big old Studebaker that he let Earl take me out in on a Friday night and we'd park up on any old hill where we knew we wouldn't be bothered and we'd fog up those windows till there was no air left in there to breathe. These girls reading the magazines looking for the tips, clipping out the secret formulas, the ten signs of whatever, they think it wasn't like that back then, treat me like some celibate grandma who never had a day of fun. Sure, I remember the ration cards and the victory gardens, but the past ain't a history book. We raised four kids and between all those babies crying and doors slamming and pots of whatever cookin' on the stove, we still found time for plenty of hanky panky. Drove the kids crazy sometimes, especially when they were teenagers and started getting wise, realizing there was a reason their old parents were so happy all the time. I don't want to ruin nobody's fun, but those girls with the stacks of books under their arms, well if they spent fifty dollars on something nice, instead of those boring books, you know? My favorite part is when Earl comes back, some kinda new tool in a big old plastic bag in his hand. I'm still staring away at people in a way that really makes them think I've got the forgetting disease and I wandered out of some place and pretty soon I'm going to start taking all my clothes off and yelling and they won't know what to do with me. When he sees me see him, his face lights up, and he hustles over and kisses me on the mouth in a way that makes everybody uncomfortable. Can't figure it out myself; I always thought two old people not in love was worse than two who were.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Tuesdays finished drawing posts..

So today I'm showing a little of my finished works that have been turned into Greetings cards,
you can purchase these cards individually or in packs form my etsy store: They started of as collage illustration works and are now in card format, which I love as it means you can a piece of my work for about £2.50!
These are currenlty on sale in my etsy shop, check it out!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Playing catch up..

So Friday never really happened, and today is shaping up to be a busy one..
So heres a catch up post a bit of Fridays drawings from my sketch book, and a bit of Mondays Etsy loving, so heres some of my new stuff i have recently popped up on etsy:
check it out!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Office inspiration..

Thursday is here ready for some visual research?
what do you think, nothing in the office to inspire, hell no?

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Wednesdays Illustrated Fiction post.. enjoy!

Lila tried to lean against the iron fence that kept tourists away from the walls of Notre Dame de Paris and read the guidebook her father had bought her, but the posts dug into her body so much she couldn't concentrate, so instead she watched Parisians trickle past. Since it was the middle of August, most of the city was on vacation, and the morning traffic was sparse. Despite the season, women wore long pants, elegant scarves, and makeup. Their satchels matched their shoes. Even the old women, the retired grandmothers who trudged slowly toward the market for their daily bread, wore sophistication in their wrinkled cheeks. Lila looked down, frowning at her own outfit and physique. She wasn't wearing a fanny pack, or white sneakers, or a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of a sports team or university, or any of the other ugly emblems of tourists, but still, in her wrinkled linen pants and sandals with too many straps, she felt subpar, old even, and noticed the French women had smooth skin in even colors while her own flesh was spotted and unfirm. There were many times in the last week she'd wanted not to be in Paris, and here, again, was another.

As she sunk back into the guidebook, hoping the time would pass quickly until the bell tower would open, a couple bounded towards her, exhibiting a kind of excitement that reminded Lila of puppies.

"Is this the line? To climb the belltower?" The husband spoke breathlessly, as if they'd rushed here, fearing that they'd miss their chance to get in if they weren't first in line.

Lila nodded.

The husband and wife traded a glance. Then from the wife: "Ess-ke voo..."

Lila turned the book over, displaying its title, An Insider's Guide to Paris. In case that wasn't clear enough, she added, "I'm American."

The husband and wife jostled each other in another moment of animalistic happiness and then answered in chorus, "We are too!"

Lila smiled thinly and nodded. They were almost the same height, both with dirty blond hair and light eyes, and if not for the fact that they couldn't stop touching each other, Lila might have taken them for close siblings--they had that air of doting about them but it lacked the desperate devotion present in new couples, who tended to be proud of the extremeness of their feelings and actions, utterly sure of their ability to do better than any couple had ever done before. Perhaps not every new couple was like that, but the ones that ended up in Lila's office, sitting apart on the sofa across from her, imploring her to decide who was right so they could get on with their marriage already, were. She told every couple the same thing at their first session: "If you want to know who's right and who's wrong, call a referee. I'm a marriage counselor, and what I do is different and more expensive."

"I'm Jed, and this is my wife Sheila." The wife tittered slightly at hearing her new title.

"Lila." She shook their hands. Lila was bad with names but good with faces--hers was long and horsey; she had big gums and he was big and square, the jawline of a homecoming king--and if she were walking across an airport terminal, she'd be able to pick them from a crowd. But she would never know their names. If she happened to be treating these people, Lila would employ her usual learning device--asking them to address one another by name, which she silently repeating in her head. But for once she was off the clock, and delighted in knowing they'd remain nameless to her.

"Any chance you speak a little French?" The husband asked.

"Some," Lila said.

"Because we both took a little in college and we're completely stuck on something."

Lila remained silent, waiting for Jed to continue.

"When you say 'parlez-vous anglais', is there a liaison between the 'vous' and the 'anglais'? I mean, is it par-lay voo zahng-lay? Or just par-lay voo ahng-lay?"

Lila paused for a moment and weighed the possibility that they may not be serious, that this was a joke of some sort. But their faces were creased with expectation, and so Lila recited the phrases over in her head. She came to Paris every few years (mostly for the food, though she loved the museums, and simply wandering the streets for a few days, careless, anonymous), and the French she'd acquired in college had become passable, though by no means elegant or even frequently correct. She mulled over the phrase, running each pronunciation through several times, waiting for one of them to sound correct. But she'd never quite understood when French people connected the sounds between words, and in fact, hadn't cared. The point was to make yourself understood, in whatever ramshackle fashion was available. As Lila watched a petite young woman with voluptuous black hair whiz by on her bicycle, amazingly able to ride discreetly in a skirt, she tried once more to unravel the question, but could not. Her father wouldn't have known either, but she still wished he was with her.

"You know, I'm not really sure. Let me think on it a bit, and I'll let you know if I come up with anything." Lila turned to face the door that would open in a few more minutes, allowing them to creep up the slippery, stone stairs in the half-dark, till they emerged a few hundred feet higher and could take in the view of the city that the gargoyles enjoyed all the time. Each time Lila visited Paris, she climbed the bell tower at Notre Dame.

"Our French is kind of rusty, but this isn't our first time in Paris," Sheila said to Lila's back.

Lila didn't want to talk to these people anymore but out of habit she turned and let the wife say what she wanted to say.

The husband stroked the wife's hair. "I came to visit Sheila when she was studying abroad here, 15 years ago! We'd been on and off since the beginning of college and I thought if I flew to Paris, she'd finally get it. You know, that I was the one."

Sheila jumped in without hesitation to continue the story, as if this were a pre-rehearsed two-man show that many before Lila had heard. "But I was too naive to see Jed's point, his true feelings, and after a week of pure bliss, I told him I was too young to commit."

"We lost touch after college, but then, years later..."

Lila let the scintillating narrative unfurl, feigning involvement by mimicking their facial movements, unleashing grins when they did, knitting suspense in her eyebrows when they did. Even without concentrating, she picked up the storyline of drifting apart, reuniting, a whirlwind courtship, knowing after all these years, she or he had been the one. Lila could listen in her sleep. And yet, although she could fully absorb these people and the needs they had in that moment, Lila thought only of her father, with whom she would have enjoyed privately mocking these folks later. It was only in his later years that her father had even entertained the possibility of traveling with Lila. He finally agreed to short trips--a few days in Chicago, a long winter weekend in Orlando--but this would have been his first trip abroad. She wasn't sure if he'd have been able to climb the bell tower, but she had decided they would give it a shot.

"Isn't that a great story?"

"It is a great story," Lila replied.

"So is this your first time in Paris?"

Lila shook her head, but was unable to say anything. She'd developed an unhealthy habit of being unable to talk about herself, not because she was uncomfortable with disclosure, but because she knew that the world had problems, problems that she could help with. Her own could be postponed. Also, it seemed unfair to dampen the couple's idiotic joy by explaining that her father had had a crippling stroke before she could show him the loveliness of Paris. Lila had been by his side for the last three weeks, and even when Dorothy flew in from the coast and urged her to take the vacation she always looked forward to, Lila refused. In keeping with the generosity he'd shown them all his life, her father died a week before they had been scheduled to leave. There was a funeral, a reception, and then her sister dragging her to the airport. Lila couldn't say it to her sister, but she was glad for Dorothy's presence, and glad that Dorothy knew when to leave her alone, like this morning, when she said she'd rather sleep in and have a walk around the Tuileries on her own. They'd planned to meet up near the Louvre later that morning.

On the other side of the iron fence, a wooden door swung open and a man with a gray beard coughed deeply as unlocked the gate and waved them in. He alternated between "bonjour, el-lo, bonjour" and "billets, tee-ket, billets, tee-ket" as he pointed to the entry where there was a small desk, a cash box, and a sleepy old woman.

Lila always visited first thing in the morning because she liked to be the first person up the stairs that day. It was always clumsy coming down, crawling over those going up, clinging to the stone walls, which gave no traction, trying neither to slip nor come too close to a stranger, but going up Lila could be unfettered, ascending the dizzying spirals with each hand on the wall not for balance, but because she liked the feeling of the cold, hard stone.

That day, the couple behind her twittered between themselves as they all went up, and Lila couldn't help but listening to their incessant exchanges--"are you okay?" "isn't this exciting" "How could they ever build something so magnificent?" Somewhere along the way though, the wife became frightened, a little off-balance, and she could hear them agree to rest, pressing themselves against the outer wall to let those behind them pass. The silence carried Lila up and up, till it bore her out onto the first landing where sunlight and gargoyles awaited her. Paris appeared the way it always had to her--each time she came upon it from this angle, going high enough it seemed possible to meet the city at eye level, it looked both marvelously undiscovered, vibrant and pulsating, and also possibly a fabrication, nothing more than an image of a city projected onto a bedsheet someone had nailed to a wall.

She had her elbows up and was leaning against the wall, contemplating the Eiffel Tower (actual structure? or toothpick model?) when the husband and wife burst noisily out of the stairwell and onto the ramparts. They said hello to her as they shuffled past, heading towards the enormously heavy bell in the south tower.

Lila watched the people shuffle around in the courtyard in front of the cathedral, imagining, as she always did, spitting on their heads. She pulled out her guidebook again, and flipped to the back. It was not Lila's habit to read about the places she visited; unless she was keeping a file on something, writing it all down, facts didn't stay with her that long, so there wasn't much use in trying to learn the history. As she thumbed through the pages looking for the index, she came upon a section entitled "Useful Phrases," which, to Lila's surprise, had been highlighted and annotated by her father. And right at the top of the list, next to "Parlez-vous l'anglais? (par-lay voo lahn-glay)", her father had written, "Here's one I won't need to practice!"

They always say people somehow know when they're gonna go, which Lila had pretty much considered bullshit her whole life. The husband and wife, having seen what they'd come to see, having snapped all the appropriate pictures, casually called a goodbye to her as they bounded back along the path, toward the dim stairwell, a tricky descent, and the rest of their day's plans. Lila didn't respond. She just watched the little people below meander around like lost little ants searching for food, turning around and around, as if they didn't know which way was up.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Monday, 12 January 2009

Sarah Giannobile on Etsy

It is Etsy Monday here at the drawing diary so here is my delve into the huge lucky dip that is Etsy to find today's pick.. Sarah Giannobile, such lovely work!
The independent artist in South St. Louis says:
“Some of my paintings relate to my memories of my childhood and returning to the farm in St. James, Missouri. I frequently visit my hometown and am inspired by old buildings and places that I would photograph and draw when I was an adolescent” explains Giannobile. “Much of my work focuses on lyrical abstraction and this sometimes hovers between drawing and painting.”

The drawing below is just lovely, so intricate and detailed, I'm won over..
Lots more about her at her etsy shop..
Birds sing

Friday, 9 January 2009

Sketch book Friday..

Happy Friday!! Today is sketchbook day yippee! :
here it is, can you guess where i was?

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bethnal Green tube how I love thee!

So today being Thursday it means its visual research day here at esthercoombs, and I’ve got a bit of a cracker for you today.. Bethnal Green tube! Look on in awe at it's classic styling and wonderful orange tiles..

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

A fiction drawing project.

Here’s Wednesdays story post: the highlight of my week created in partnership with Julia Green, fiction writer extraordinaire. We will be posting fiction and drawing together inspired by each others work, I draw, she writes, I draw in response so on and so forth. Enjoy.

While her grandmother slept, Martina stood out on the balcony and peered at the fruit stand below. Even from three floors up, she could see that the pears and apples were pockmarked and bruised. The melons were beginning to ooze and the bananas were the wrong shade of brown. She wondered who would pay for such things.

The man who ran the fruit stand always sat to its left, in a brown folding chair she saw him unfold very early in the morning when he arrived. Every day he left by mid-afternoon, so Martina, who was only able to get out for a few hours in the evening when Mrs. Dax, the next-door neighbor, could watch Nana, had never seen his face. She knew only the top of his head, the tawny circle of bare freckled scalp and the black and gray halo of hair surrounding it. And she saw his hands, also freckled, which held the newspaper at the beginning of the day and rested calmly in his lap afterward, their stasis interrupted occasionally, when some passerby pressed money into his hand in exchange for a bag of fruit.

When the fruit man sold nothing, did nothing, moved so little she wondered if he’d expired, Martina had to shift her gaze to the traffic light on the corner, staring at the green, yellow, red till her vision was splotchy and dizzying. But on the day that he looked up, searching the clouds for some definitive sign that the rain was on its way, Martina was staring right at him, right at the bald head she’d been secretly watching for three months. When he waved, she stared for a second, seeing from the corner of her eye that the light was red, and then ran back into the apartment where Nana was lightly snoring on the sofa, her nightgown bunched up, revealing her wrinkled knees.


Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Gretta Drawing

Tuesday is drawing day, so today here's a drawing I did on commission for a family who had lost a beloved pet. I drew this from a photograph and I'm please to say they loved the likeness. What do you think?

Monday, 5 January 2009

Monday morning etsy loving

It's Monday and on my calendar of blog events I believe that means it's Monday morning etsy loving time...and this is a doozie!
This work is by Susan Graham - its just amazing, drawing in wire is difficult to say the least but Susan makes it look effortless and really captures the art of a line drawing!.. Heres to etsy loving monday mornings and Susan Graham.. here's Crazy Hawk Flying
Crazy Hawk Flying

Saturday, 3 January 2009

So friday got skipped, and heres 2 sketches to make up for it..

Friday is sketch book day:
but this Friday was a train ride and an office and it left little time for drawing so here's two little sketches to make up for it.
From my sketch book to your screen...
Hope you like...

The huge rubbish cart from Chicago O'Hare airport 2008.
I was super tired and sad to go and all there was to draw was rubbish..

and this needs little explanation--it's tea cups, a great shape to sketch...yum.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

So this was christmas.. Welcome to to 2009..

So with the fireworks on the eye bigger than ever, so it was 2009 and the beginning of my drawing diary.

This blog will be dedicated to my pursuit to draw every day, well hopefully everyday.
Each day of the week i want to look at drawing in a new way, with help from a few friends and the world wide web I'd like to get people thinking about drawing.

Friday will be my blogs visual research day of the week.

Normally before drawing, for me,
becomes what every university tutor likes to call 'visual research' and what most of us non professors call looking at interesting stuff!

So in a ode to the winter of 2008 which is slowly being left behind us (the shortest day has been and gone..) here are a few pics I like..

Frosty berries.
(on a stone wall of the beautiful house of a family member)

A gingerbread tree decoration I made this Christmas
(I'm using made loosely here as i just did the icing, but don't tell anyone..)

A frosty drive home on new years eve
(everything was so icy it look like someone has scattered icing sugar over the countryside.)

The bright read Canadian thermal all in one i found a charity shop for £7.( i had to have it!)

So something to look at for today, Friday the day i like to take note of brilliant inspiring stuff in the world!