Thursday, 17 December 2020


Most of my blogging is going on over at Instagram these days:

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Found drawing: pebble line

August 2020. 
Lockdown escape.


Tuesday, 3 March 2020

a collaborative drawing project

Dear Data is a year-long, analog data drawing project by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, two award-winning information designers living on different sides of the Atlantic. 

By collecting and hand drawing their personal data and sending it to each other in the form of postcards, they became friends.

"Each week, and for a year, we collected and measured a particular type of data about our lives, used this data to make a drawing on a postcard-sized sheet of paper, and then dropped the postcard in an English “postbox” (Stefanie) or an American “mailbox” (Giorgia)!"

Eventually, the postcard arrived at the other person’s address with all the scuff marks of its journey over the ocean: a type of “slow data” transmission.

If you want to join in on a drawing your data project, visit here: 

Dear Data And FiveThirtyEight Want You To Visualize Your Habits

Monday, 24 February 2020

a drawing robot

The Lowry Salford used to be a go to place to visit each year's touring exhibition of the Jerwood Drawing Prize (now the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize)

Since that much awaited regular annual event stopped appearing at the Lowry, its temporary exhibitions have always been a bit hit or miss for me.

This recent exhibition 'The State of Us' was a hit.

"From grotesque to the wonderful, these digital artists examine how the body and self are transformed, manipulated, reinvented and reshaped to create a new ‘self’, to reshape our human connection – ....We have become engineers of our own humanity. Through intervention we are seeing the imbalance of ‘truth’ in the definition of what we are."

exhibition guide

I was particularly interested in Patrick Tresset's installation : 'HUMAN STUDY #1, RNP' where human sitters are drawn by a robot.

"In this installation the human visitor is sketched by a robot, in a scene reminiscent of a life drawing class. When the sitter arrives by appointment, they are seated in a chair as an assistant attaches a sheet of paper onto the robots’ desks and wakes the robot up.
The robot, a minimal stylised shape of an artist, is only capable of drawing obsessively. Its body is an old school desk onto which a sheet of paper is placed. A mechanical left arm, bolted on to the table, holds a black Bic biro. Its eye is a camera which focuses alternately on the sitter and the drawing in progress. Over time the completed drawings cover the gallery’s walls."

"Patrick Tresset is a Brussels based artist who develops theatrical installations with robotic agents as actors. Tresset’s installations use computational systems that aim to introduce artistic, expressive and obsessive aspects to robots’ behaviour. These systems are influenced by research into human behaviour, more specifically how humans make marks, depict other humans, how we perceive artworks and relate to robots." 

source Patrick Tresset Biography from artist's website

Monday, 3 February 2020

botanical workshop - acrylics

It was a pleasure to lead this botanical workshop for Herart recently, the focus - painting and drawing, lots of colour, working directly from botanical specimens.

Many of the participants hadn't had any experience in using acrylics, colour mixing or working observationally before.

The out of the ordinary plant specimens kindly donated by the Croxteth Walled Garden in Liverpool made all the difference - banana  leaves from the hothouse included.

If you're interested in botanical subjects you'll find my newest book inspirational and useful. There are lots of page samples and links to the artists involved on my Instagram page

Monday, 1 July 2019

plastic design

My mother's training in graphics and packaging meant that items of design would appear in our home from time to time. This plastic lampshade arrived with us in the 1970s - flat packed and in bits. It was trickier to construct than any Ikea equivalent.  We were encouraged to help out in its manufacture, seeing it as a game. Consequently I never really registered this item as a valid design object until recently.

On a visit to the Nordic Craft and Design exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery I spotted our lampshade on show.
It's immensely pleasing to know that this old plastic object is a piece of late 1960s Danish design by Lars Schiøler 

Lars Schiøler - Butterfly light 1968

The Butterfly pendant is hanging in my office studio. Pride of place.

Does anyone have any design information on this other shade?

Monday, 10 June 2019

found drawing: jet trail

One fine evening.....a jet trail directly overhead, illuminated pink by the sinking sun. It was remarkable to see this pink line dominating the sky centre stage, and to see it float diagonally rightward, and in a short time, fade to blue and bluer...then nothing. 

More found drawings at drawdrawdraw on Pinterest

photos: Helen Birch