Monday 27 October 2014

A printer, a printer - my kingdom for a printer...

   Quality 5 x 7 Greetings cards? 
We don't need the technology -
 we just need Digital Colour Services! 

'Ely Cathedral' - taken from the 'Ely & Downham Market 2015 Calendar' range of cards.

Well, Digital Colour Services are a printer you don't want shout about 
- they are so good you want to keep them all to yourself! 

I'd been looking some time for a printer for my 5 x 7 card designs, and the sample service they offer and their technical advice certainly makes it easier to give them a try. I received my card delivery last Friday, and opened them on Ely market on the Saturday - what a nice surprise! 

I work in pen & ink and watercolour and the cards had excellent colours, 
solid blacks and sharp lines. And my art & design wasn't bad either. 
From the first telephone call to the final delivery - brilliant. 

Against my better judgement, I'm already recommending 
them to all and sundry.

Yep - grand architecture, furry animals, explosive superheroes...

...have I left anything out...?

For great printing - contact Ellie
01363 777101

Tuesday 27 May 2014

...'Open Sesame'...

Ist scribble of random ideas as clocktower pops out of 'P' and off the page.

Just in case you thought the word  'OPEN'  popped straight into my mind as an aerial view of a small collection of 3D Downham Market style buildings replete with pop-up clocktower, celebratory bunting and a pub on each corner - which it did of course (taking into consideration the progressive evolution on the page as the drawing developed).

Anyway - just in case you thought the word  'OPEN'  appeared out of nowhere -       here are some working drawings...

A2 layout of traced initial idea with clock taped in place...

'Underwater' lightbox stage to refine final layout.

Final layout prior to transfer to Bristol Board.

Finished pen & ink artwork on bristol board.

And of course it's the   Downham Market Art Trail with Ryston   that is now open and well worth a visit!

Please visit Downham & Denver Art Trail with Ryston for further details.


...King's Walk?...more like King's Crawl...

- more like if you compare my speed of working, it's less like a walk and more like a crawl. 

Never a sprint, and rarely a run. Although, if I'm sitting with my easel opposite the subject I'm drawing as in the preliminary drawing for Downham's King's Walk where I'm going for fast observation, quick decisions and blocking in general shapes - often moving the outlines of buildings as the drawing shrinks and expands - not always quite sure what the finished layout will be - then it's probably like a frenetic jog or power walking.

Preliminary layout - frenetic jog or power walking.

1st pencils, clarifying shapes and details - working from reference - more like a stroll...

2nd pencils - more clarification, shape and detail - a steady walk this time.

OK - not quite sure how I want to interpret the line work at this point, so a measured gait...

I want to keep the Chapel in the background, but undecided how much detail to include - light touching in of the outline and general detail. This stage - definitely a crawling King's Walk!

Keep an eye out for my next blog to see how I bring the King's Walk to it's satisfactory conclusion. Whether I get an extra burst of energy and speed up, run out of breath and steam, or - as in school cross country - go off on a tangent, dither this way and that, stop for a fag, and generally lose my graphical way...

Where did I put the Red Bull?


Saturday 10 May 2014

..back to nature...

Having pretty much drawn Downham's High St view Clock Tower entirely from my photo ref on the trusty mac - what a change to get out of the studio, dust off my easel and set it up opposite Downham's King's Walk!

We're not so many weeks away from the longest day of the year, and I still don't feel that it's warm enough to draw from life outside, which I find far more informative than working solely from photographs which cannot always tell the whole story. I often revisit a site to get more reference if I find there are gaps in my information. That's OK if your four or five miles from your subject, but if you need to nip into Lynn or Ely it's not so practical.

Rough sketch layout of Downham Market's King's Walk Cemetery with one of it twin chapels in view...

I made a point of drawing in a much quicker, looser, and broader fashion with 'King's Walk' and kept the drawing open - erasing elements here and there and moving it all along as I went. This meant the composition changed somewhat as the drawing progressed, but I have a strong energetic drawing as a foundation to work with. 

I'll try and retain as much of that energy as I can while developing the drawing, but I'm bound to lose some of it as my controlled inking style takes over. We'll see how it goes...


Thursday 8 May 2014 coin - two heads...

Well, that was lucky! Having completed the Clock Tower Central drawing I now have a very strong cover to the Downham Market version of my Downham Market & Ely 2015 Calendar, or Ely & Downham Market 2015 Calendar depending on your geography. 

Two preliminary designs for the 2015 calendar covers...


Wednesday 7 May 2014

...a fistful of clock towers...

When Peter at Downham's one and only Mackies Card and Stationary shop suggested my third 'Downham Market & Ely 2015 Calendar' should include a new drawing of the iconic Downham Market Clock Tower, my first reaction - having drawn it four or five times previously ( and enjoyed doing so on those occasions), was 'Can I muster the enthusiasm and motivation to do it again?' And perhaps, more to the point - '...was there a view I hadn't drawn before??'

Well, with a tip of my hat to Peter - the answer to that query is 'Yes, yes and of course there is!' 

Although I had to build up to the enthusiasm and motivation. I wanted to certainly choose a view I hadn't used before. Employing the one point perspective, looking up the High St past the Swan Hotel, Price Right Shoes, and on to the Castle Hotel achieved that purpose, as well as giving me a tremendous job of dealing with overlapping shapes receding into the background - my favourite.

Pencil layout establishing composition and general shapes...

Almost finished pencils, clarifying foreground and middle detail...

When you start to see too many pencil lines - it's time to start inking...

Second stage inks...

Start working my way up the High St and creating depth of field...

Ink the left hand side of  High St and clarify Castle Hotel in distance...

Final drawing and ink sweep  - adding clock face and shop detail etc...

Going back in a few days later to heavy up contour ink lines to reinforce the separation of the planes, and confirm fore, middle and background elements in their place...

It was when I began inking the buildings up the High St that the drawing came to life for me, and became much more enjoyable to work on, and I could see the anglepoise light at the end of the drawing board! There always seems to be a point in a drawing where you cross a line - no pun intended - and the drawing comes together and you're on the downward slope as it were. Although since it's now more fun your probably not in such a hurry to get off.

The thing is - I've now seen other views that are just as worthy of drawing...


Tuesday 15 April 2014

..."One of the finest pen & ink drawings in the world"...

... to - undeservedly - paraphrase Alexander McCall Smith in his famous reference to the one and only 'Topping & Company Booksellers of Ely'...

When I decided to make the 2015 calendar - or for that matter that there might be a 2015 calendar - a Downham Market and Ely calendar, apart from the obvious wealth of material from Ely Cathedral (which could arguably fill a calendar at the rate of at least a picture a week...), my first thoughts were of drawing the irrepressible Topping & Company Booksellers in Ely. 

Coincidentally, it was June 21st, the Summer Solstice of 2003 when we brought Cara, Laz and Emily in full Harry Potter attire to a wonderful Toppings book launch at midnight, for the release of the fifth J K Rowling novel - 'Harry Potter and the The Order of the Phoenix'. While children up and down the queue could be seen and heard waving wands and invoking one Potteresque spell after another, we 'adults' were offered that most marvelous of elixirs - wine by the glass! Oh happy night and day!

When we finally crossed from the pavement over the threshold into the bookshop proper, we may as well have have been stepping into Dumbledore's sanctum sanctorum itself, steeped as it were in subdued lighting and appropriately dressed shop staff. I'm sure I could hear the classical strains of 'Hedwig's Theme' seeping through bookcase upon bookcase.

Is there any doubt that Toppings & Company Booksellers of Ely could be anything other - day or night, book launch or no book launch, glass of wine or no glass of wine - could be anything other than a truly magical destination?

Pen & Ink illustration of Topping & Company Booksellers of Ely.

Up from Bath University for a reading week last year, Cara and I attended the Toppings evening at Ely Cathedral featuring comic writer and novelist Neil Gaiman. In the incomparable - and Hogwarts like - setting of Ely Cathedral, Neil regaled us with stories and anecdotes and read from 'Fortunately the Milk and 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane', before heading into the night signing myriad copies of his latest novel.

Despite a brief and amusing question and answer session, Neil never did tell us what Watchmen's Alan Moore hides in his beard...


Thursday 10 April 2014

...nine rings to rule them all...

...OK, maybe not to rule them all, but just to show the wonderful artistic talent and community in Downham  Market - maybe to cool them all...

While collecting my artwork from Downham Market's Art Circle November exhibition at Framin' Art, proprietor Simon asked me if I'd like to take part in the following year's Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios 2014.

As it happened, Simon at Framin' Art would be host to four local artists', Denver Windmill in the able hands of Sam and Graham would be home to another four artists, and a ninth artist would welcome visitors into her Ryston home studio. 

I'd always been interested in taking part in the Open Studios and thought 'Why not?' If Framin' Art were taking the lion's share of the organisation and administration, I'll just turn up with my work and see what happens. 

What could be easier?

Some time later I got an email inviting me to the first of a handful of meetings at Framin' Art regarding the organisation and preparations required for the Open Studio. Also an opportunity to to meet the other artists and in fact ceramicists, textile and mosaic artists, writers, silk painters, acrylic painters, illustrators and silversmiths taking part - phew.

We were required to produce a flyer for what was now being called the 'Downham & Denver Art Trail with Ryston'. The three fold flyer would have two sides - the interior spread would display the nine artists work and their contact details, the cover and exterior to also to show examples of the nine artists work, plus an art trail map! 

It appeared to me that this would be no little job - both to produce the map and the design artwork. Almost involuntarily I could feel my arm going up - and as if it were an out of body experience - heard myself volunteering to design the flyer, draw the map, and do the dishes?!

What the...?

It wasn't as if I didn't have have my drawing and designing hands full producing all new artwork for the forthcoming 'Ely & Downham Market 2015 Calendar' and more than likely did not have additional time to apply to this extra job.

Still, at the time I had a reasonably clear vision of what the flyer might look like, and it had been suggested that my particular drawing style might lend itself to the production of the map. 

Fortunately my clear vision did not entirely prevail... 

Thanks to the regular - and constant input - from Simon and only the eight other artists and designers. You know who you are Rebecca, Sue, Catherine, Julie, Elizabeth, Izzy, Sarah and Perri - how did I ever think I was going to get away with it by myself? - we have a flyer that is miles better than it might have been, and certainly ticks and kicks, all the boxes!

With the 'Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios' imminent - and since we don't want to miss anybody - here's the aforementioned map of the Art Trail. Hope it all makes sense, the location of each participating artist is clearly marked in each box, as well as contact info, addresses and those handy post codes for fans of satnav. Me, I'm still using my trusty heel compass from my 'Get Smart' shoes...?! 

King's Lynn is North!

Let me just check my maths - two textile artists, one silversmith, two ceramic artists, one silk painter, one acrylic artist, one writer, one mosaic artist, two illustrators, one pen & ink artist, two designers and someone who draws a lot - sure there's areas of overlap - but I still make that a magical nine...

Must be something special here for everyone.

The fabulously weird 'Euphoria' by Ceramic Artist Rebecca Elliot - appearing at Framin' Art. I can't help but be reminded of comic artist Steve Ditko's nightmarishly bizarre 'Mindless Ones' in Doctor Strange circa 1966.

Please join us for what promises to be a great sixteen days out. Coffee pots will bubble and herbal teas will brew as artists across the county throw wide the doors to their studios to all and sundry. Without a doubt wonderful wares will be up for sale such as original artworks, pottery and ceramics, textiles and mosaics, jewellery and sculpture.

Not to mention greetings cards, prints, posters, calendars and bookmarks of all shapes,sizes and stripes!

Please visit the Framin' Art 'Art Trail' page and our facebook page for additional information on artists appearances,events and workshops.

Look forward to seeing you all,


Monday 31 March 2014

...nature meets architecture...

Commencing the selection of possible subjects to draw for next year's forthcoming Ely & Downham Market 2015 Calendar - opening my reference file of photos I'd taken on numerous visits to Ely seemed a good place to start.

Start being the operative word. It turned out that I had a plethora of Ely images from historical architecture, waterways, narrowboats, sculpture, fauna and flora. 

I also had a huge selection of photos taken at the previous year's Eel Day celebrations. Ely being the multi faceted place that it is offered an almost inexhaustible mine of fabulous and inspiring subjects to draw and paint.

Having already drawn, well - part of Ely Cathedral, and recently completed a drawing of Cromwell's House that I began several years ago, I started the new project with the Remembrance Arch...

Ely's wonderful Remembrance Arch opposite the market Square.

What really appealed to me, apart from the many architectural features such as the gridlike arrangement of paving stones, the wrought iron railings, the classical design of the arch flanked by regimented brickwork and random stones - was the fabulous contrast of the trees behind the wall striking a beautiful organic counterpoint to the solid ordered arrangement below.

When the drawing had been virtually completed bar the trees, having spent a good deal of time on the drawing - I was in two minds whether to go ahead and draw in the trees, or leave them out entirely - who would know?

I had to remind myself that the main reason I chose to draw the Remembrance Arch was the appearance of the trees above the arch below.

Handwritten script on the stone tablets.

 OK - having left the script on the tablets within the arch till the very last minute - after I'd lettered all the books and posters in shopfront window of the 'Toppings & Company Bookshop' illustration, I felt confident enough to attempt to letter names on the stone tablets within the arch itself.

I hope you're as pleased with the finished artwork as I am.


Thursday 20 March 2014

...not quite meeting merry Marvel's mutant master of magnetism!...

...or the return of Blog Master General...

What a surprise when I arrived at Ely Cathedral for my 'photo shoot' with the Ely Weekly News, to see what for all intents and purposes was a veritable army of bright white transits, vans and box wagons occupying the entire green beside the entrance to the cathedral. 

I'm a modest chap, but this was really pushing the narrowboat out. Clearly the Ely Weekly News conducts itself with style and panache - and perhaps in this instance uses an elephant gun where a flyswatter would do.

And me buzzing with just two easels, five pieces of original artwork, and a handful of this years calendars - gulp. 

Pen & Ink illustrations of the titanic Toppings & Company
bookshop and the memorable Ely Remembrance Arch.

All was revealed when photographer Keith appeared amongst the hubbub and explained that preparations were underway for the filming of Macbeth in the Cathedral. As we were joined by various Cathedral personnel, it came to light that filming might indeed take place this afternoon, featuring none other than the X-Men's magnificent Master of Magnetism - the man you love to hate - the Mighty Magneto!

Or back in the real world - the one and only Michael Fassbender!

Aka Lt. Archie Hiscox in Inglorious Basterds, David in Prometheus, and more recently Edwin Epp's in 12 Year's a Slave. In this Macbeth remake, Fassbender appears in the leading role alongside Lady Macbeth played by Marion Cotillard.

Original artwork for the Ely Remembrance Arch and this year's Downham Market & King's Lynn 2014 Calendar featuring the wonderful Victorian facade of the King's Lynn Corn Exchange.

Anyway, back in the other real world I posed, cameras clicked and lights flashed! My digital self was on it's way to the  newspaper office, and subsequently all print and virtual points beyond. 

All I had to do now was return to my studio and get on with the production of the remaining Ely and Downham Market drawings to complete the forthcoming Ely & Downham Market 2015 Calendar.

Five or six more pen & ink drawings and watercolour illustrations? Since I'm planning for a July printing - if not sooner - drawing board, here I come!

Preliminary cover design spotlighting a festive mist-laden Ely Cathedral.
Pen & Ink and Watercolour.

With the sale of the Downham Market 2013 Calendar I raised money for a handful of local charities, and sales of this year's Downham Market & King's Lynn Calendar have raised 50p per sale for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

The forthcoming Ely & Downham Market 2015 Calendar will see money donated evenly toward the reinstatement of it's sails to Denver Windmill, and toward the continual upkeep of Ely Cathedral.

Please help us. By purchasing a calendar which will accompany you through next year with pen & ink and watercolour illustrations of local landmarks and points of interest, you will also support these worthy causes.

Updates and previews of the calendar artwork will be available on my blog and also the AndyScordellisArt facebook page.

As the weather becomes warmer I'll be in Ely and Downham, easel and drawing board in hand producing additional drawings for the calendar, and associated cards and prints.  Please feel free to come over and say 'Hi' and see what I'm up to.

Arch - villain Magneto as he first appeared in 1963
by Jack Kirby and the multi talented Sol Brodsky.

...the return of Blog Master General!...

Well, after I'd been away for so many months, I thought I'd better bring along a colourful half bakers dozen of superheroes and villains to help me on my way.

Apologies for the prolonged absence, and with the production of the Ely/Downham Calendar, and generally catching up with posts for work and projects I missed since my last post and this one - I expect the blog to be cooking on all V12 cylinders!