Sunday, 22 August 2021

'sketchbook skool' - an online drawing school

 Back in January 2021 - in the depths of a UK and world lockdown, I was invited to participate in an online chat with Danny Gregory - one of the movers and groovers of the Sketchbook Skool - an online resource to get everyone drawing.


My first book Freehand had been chosen as a 'topic' there.

Each week on a Friday morning a random page is chosen and participants of the group interpret the image in their own fashion.

There are 100+ images in the book, so a lot of drawing ideas to try out.

Note: the group is a closed one so I'll be asking permission to feature some of the work here at a future date. 

You're very welcome to join Sketchbook Skool and the 'Explore This Book: Freehand' group if you wish. This will give you access to everything :-)

Initially I was going to draw live for the hour long zoom interview with Danny, but in the end, we just had a really good chat.

I ended up doing a really quick envelope doodle right after the interview so all the lovely folk who joined the zoom call could see what was on my desk as we chatted.




This zoom drawing was kindly sent over to me after the event....



"Whether you’re a beginner or tuning up your skills, stop searching for drawing prompts and start filling your sketchbook. Creative inspiration is all around you!"

source: https://sketchbookskool.com/free-drawing-prompts/



Wednesday, 14 July 2021

curator space - an exhibition

I've been signed up to CuratorSpace newsletters for a while.

These provide a series of potential invites to share your work in a huge amount of exhibition spaces - actual and virtual -  with a healthily diverse collection of curators.

Shout outs made there remind me of work I have stored away, but have usually forgotten about

A while back I applied to be included in: 

Call for Artists: Art on Hotel Note Paper


Inspired by the nomadic German artist Martin Kippenberger’s well known Hotel Drawings,  at the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre - an open invitation for artists to send artworks on branded hotel note paper, or small works on paper that use Kippenberger’s transient drawings as inspiration.

It’s not uncommon for hotels to provide a notepad and stationary in each room for guests to use. For artist’s travelling for work or pleasure, often the lure of such readily available materials is irresistible and they can’t help but be creative. Kippenberger, who stayed in hotels for weeks or months at a time, used these ready made materials to create hundreds of drawings and form one of his most significant bodies of work.

The invitation to artists received a phenomenal response from across the globe, with artists from as far away as Japan, USA and Australia sending works to be included. The result was an exhibition of over 100 artworks that are intriguing, humorous, bizarre and beautiful, exhibited in showcases throughout the gallery.

Sent by mail to Scunthorpe, from all four corners of the world, these small works on paper give an insight into the artist’s mind, and how artists use the often mundane time spent during travel, as inspiration, and opportunity to let the mind wander.

These were my submissions from an old, revisited summer sketchbook.




Tuesday, 13 July 2021

photo collage

Back in the day when all photos were processed from film, mine regularly arrived in a packet in the post. 

The results of my photo taking were always hit and miss.

I tended to save my 'fails'. Inevitably some became collages.

It's so rare that I print my digital equivalents. They just get deleted. Seems a shame some how.  


Helen Birch photo collage

Helen Birch photo collage

Helen Birch photo collage

Helen Birch photo collage

Helen Birch photo collage

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