Sunday, 26 July 2015


I've decided it's time to scan all my sketchbooks and started with no1, a small spiral bound Bristol card pad, which I bought in a wonderful old fashioned stationery shop, one of my customers when I was a sales agent.  I had got to the town early for an appointment and thought I could pass the time drawing this old pine tree in the car park as I ate my sandwich lunch.

At the same time I bought a book by Claudia Nice called Watercolour techniques with pen and ink, in which the author demonstrates textures and ways of depicting different surfaces.  I used a fine black micron pen and later bought a Rapidograph, a refillable draughting pen but I didn't look after it properly and it broke after a couple of years.  I found a neat plastic folder to keep my pen, pad, a few watercolour pencils and a waterbrush all together in the car so I could sketch at any moment.

As a sales agent I covered the south east of England so I went to many interesting places to sell my wares, mainly decorative stationery, cards and record books as well as jewellery, toiletries and picture frames.  This is a windmill in the pretty Kent town of Cranbrook where I had several customers and I used to spend at least a morning there popping back to the car to collect my various bags of samples for different gift shop owners to see.

I always carried my sketchbook with me at the weekends as well to use when we relaxed on our boat which was moored on a buoy in Portsmouth harbour.  Porchester castle was not far from our boat and this is the view looking north as I sat on the deck on a summer's afternoon.

The south downs were lovely in the afternoon sun as I drove home after a busy day and I couldn't resist stopping to draw the rolling hills and clouds.

Looking the other way to the east on the boat we could see Portsmouth naval port with aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious moored alongside.

One of our suppliers was St Justin, a Celtic jewellery manufacturer, based at Penzance in Cornwall.  We were invited to visit the factory for a sales conference and had the great fortune to be put up in a hotel at Marazion, directly opposite Mont St Michel.  What a great opportunity to draw this fantastic edifice from the comfort of our room.

I even had time one day, sitting in a traffic jam to sketch these daisies I could see at the road side.
I hope you've enjoyed this first look at my early sketches and there are lots more to come.
There are a few older sketchbooks too but they are rather scruffy, drawn in pencil that has smudged over the years.