Raking the meadow

This morning’s reportage illustration on the community raking of a local wildflower meadow.

There was a hint of Autumn in the air today at a local school’s wildflower meadow but the morning sunshine and hard work almost fooled a few of today’s community volunteers into believing summer hasn’t quite left us.

For the native plants that adorned this meadow, there can be no doubt about the change in season. They graced us with their beauty from March to September, until the time finally came for them to produce seeds for the following spring. Once their work was done, the work of the local residents began.

What a pleasure it was to illustrate these scenes of women, men and children working together in nature for a common cause.

Tell a story

Today marks the day I complete my “31 Reasons to Draw” challenge.

Just over a year ago, I embarked on thinking of a “reason to draw” for each day of December.  My challenge was to share them daily in my blog and perhaps inspire others to take up the hobby of sketching, or return to it. 

Creating daily blog posts during the busiest month of the year proved to be somewhat unrealistic for me, so I decided to stick to the plan but without the deadline. I am so glad I did!  Not only did I get to enjoy Christmas and work on other projects throughout the year, but I also got the satisfaction of knowing I hadn’t abandoned my mission… I’d just adjusted my own expectations.

So here we are, on the final reason to draw of this series of blog posts, and that is, to “tell a story”.  It may sound like a cliché, but a picture really is worth a thousand words.  And for that reason, I’ll stop typing for today, and let these pictures tell their story. Enjoy!

Make it eye-catching

Some examples of illustration work I have done over the years to create eye-catching posters and flyers for a variety of different companies and events.

In the 19th Century, a newspaper discovered that sales increased if the articles were accompanied by pictures.  When photography wasn’t advanced enough to capture movement, artists were used instead. Can you imagine the world of advertising without pictures? Words are powerful, but imagine trying to advertise an upcoming event with nothing but 5 lines of Times New Roman text on a sheet of A4 paper. A drawing catches the eye and invites the viewer to find out more.


A comic from Falseknees.com by Joshua Barkman

What makes you laugh? Probably several things come to mind.

For me it might be a funny dog-meme, an unexpectedly witty comment from a child, a scene in a film or book, a story told by a friend….  Sometimes they make you laugh just once, and other times, they make you laugh with every repetition. 

Without fail, the drawings by certain comic artists (such as this one by Joshua Barkman of Falseknees.com) make me laugh not once, not twice, but every single time I look at them.

Isn’t it almost like a magic sort of medicine for the soul, that something as simple as a drawing can make someone laugh over and over again?

Drawing shows you took the time

A card my daughter made when she was very young for her great grandmother.

Time is so precious.  How you choose to spend your time, who with, doing what… none of us have an infinite amount of it, so the scarcer it becomes, the more precious to us it is. Choosing to spend time drawing is choosing to rank that thing as being important.

Whether its the time we spend drawing a flower on a birthday card, or the preliminary sketches of an oil-painting, we have decided that either the viewer or the subject or both are important to us, and we took the time.

Drawing is relatively inoffensive

A rough sketch of a teacher at a local event.

There are times when people feel compelled to document an event.  Of all the creative ways we have come up with to do this, the vast majority choose to use only two methods:  Taking photos or filming.  Both have their advantages, but they also have their drawbacks.  The people participating in the event that we are documenting might not feel comfortable being filmed or photographed, which is entirely their right.  When you choose to document an event with a quick illustration or sketch, it completely changes your role and others’ reactions to you. 

As artist Mario Minichiello puts it when he talks of Reportage Illustration, “it’s difficult to be offended by a large gentleman with a crayon”