Blog: work in progress

Drawing busts

…both marble and plaster busts, of course. The Royal Academy of Arts has a nice feature – a room where they’ve busted out (ha) (sorry) their old …busts, and made them into a pleasure/education feature by adding benches and free paper and pencils. You can sketch the busts and practice drawing. Or if you’re me, you sketch a few busts, and a few sketchers.

 

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The mauve Uni-Ball is a very unforgiving pen for sketching, especially moving tragets like the bearded art lover. But the HB pencils provided by the museum were even less satisfying when I used them for the readers on the bench.

Sketches from Paris

I was lucky enough to see Paris a while ago, and sketch! It turned out to be a fantastic way to appreciate the art on display at the Musée du Quai Branly. When you draw, you have to watch carefully.

The Café Industrial turned out to have a similar colonial vibe…

Office swap meet posters

A small and delightful project: drawings for the office swap meet (which I’m also organising). My dayjob office is by far the most diverse place I’ve worked, but there are still subcategories of colleague. So I wanted to draw people who’d look like real colleagues… but not exactly like any one colleague. I think one or two (or three) did end up being very close to real individuals. I’ll see if they spot themselves!

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Mo tools, mo joy!

Coffee and cake

I’ve tried my own medicine and coloured another one of the bible stories from the young people’s Bible knowledge book I drew picture for last year. Jesus is having coffee and cake with Zacchaeus and his wife.

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The fun part of colouring is that you can rejoice in sofa upholstery that you’d never allow into your own house.

Women’s festival batch 3

More croquis from the EZLN International Festival for Women who Fight! (Although the verb luchar in Spanish in this case means “struggle” as in “the ideological struggle” , rather than actually fighting. It also means wrestling, as in lucha libre. Fun with etymology.)

I drew these women during a really confused lecture on “Dismantling The Man into Things”. Hence the sceptical faces.

Women at a lecture

More sketches from the women´s encounter in March.


I drew these during talks on masculinity in childhood (halfway through which two boys in the audience started shooting us with imaginary pistols) and on social organization as love. There was a whooooole range of talks, some weirder than the rest…
These croquis are of varying quality depending on how still the “model” was and how much time I had to draw her. I chose faces that interest me.

Zapatista women’s festival

7000 women make a noise like a low-frequency beehive. Every morning when we crawled out of our tents in the freezing, clear air, the hum was already going and it kept getting stronger as more people woke up and started looking for breakfast. The festival was organized by the Zapatista movement and hosted by Caracol 4 in Morelia. Nobody knew quite what to expect. I arrived with a contingent from Ama-Awa, the women agroecologists, carrying tents, food and water for three days. We were pleasantly surprised to find abundant flushing toilets, food outlets (although the queues did stretch out), showers and drinking water taps… all without the presence of a single man. And no alcohol either. My friend’s ten-year-old daughter could attend any session she liked without her mum having to worry. And there was plenty to choose from, ranging from lectures on land rights, Indigenous lesbianism, masculinity in childhood to art, dance and theatre and workshops for making reusable menstrual pads. And a Colombian batucada.
I sketched participants during the lectures, amazed at the sheer range of women there… tall, short, skinny, round, old, young, lawyers, hippies, gorgeous, ugly, of all colours, made-up and rolled-out-of-bed. Here are some of them.

History of the festival: http://luchadoras.mx/mujeres-zapatistas/

Amazing photos by Trasluz photographers 

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At the opening ceremony

 This was just one of the hardcore women who brought their babies to the event and stood with them in the hot sun for hours during the first day’s plays. Wearing layers of heavy clothing and knitted black balaclavas.

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Tostada seller

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Smoking and chatting

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The Danish delegation

 

San Cris felt souvenirs

Would you buy a multi-coloured felt cow with goggly orange-rimmed eyes? Of course! They are endearing! These marvels of creativity are sold by scores of handicraft sellers in San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, and once you start looking, you start noticing how amazing they are. The quality of the felt, the sense of colour combination, the finishing, the creativity… Felt bulls and chickens are classics, and the current fashion is for felt unicorns and Tyrannosaurus Rexes.

Sketch of the day: Tenejapa carnival

The week-long carnival in Tenejapa in the Chiapas highlands includes several colorful elements, such as this “chasing of the cow”. The men dress in red ceremonial finery and, among other things, chase a woven-mat “cow” around the town plaza. (Later there’s “chasing the bull” at another plaza, looking exactly the same as “chasing the cow”, but at that event cameras aren’t welcome… so I figured sketchpads aren’t either). It’s a day full of symbolism and prehispanic references and local pride – also lost of whooping at jokes. It’s very contagious and after we left we spent the rest of the day going “i-e-e-e!!”

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Special costume including a stuffed ocelot.

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Even though he was standing still it was hard to get all the textile detailes!

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The procession’s drummer.

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The “cow”!

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Ocelot man from another angle.

Raamattu-värityskuvat julkaistu!!

Nuorille suunnattu kirja “Jumalan Niskalenkissä“, johon tein värityskuvat, on julkaistu! Lasten Keskuksen ja Kirjapajan 85-sivuinen kirja on toimintapaketti seurakunnille, jossa käsitellään Raamatun “vähemmän tunnettuja” tarinoita pelien, meditaatioiden, keskustelujen, kuunnelmien – ja värityskuvien – kautta.

Tarinat tuodaan ajankohtaiseen nuorten elämään. Verenvuototautinen nainen oli aikanaan syrjitty – kuten koulukiusatut. Antaako oma vanhempi minulle anteeksi – kuten tuhlaajapojalle?  Mikä saisi nuoren naisen lähtemään anoppinsa matkaan ja jättämään kaiken tuntemansa – kuten Ruut, ja meidän aikojemme pakolaiset?

Kirjassa on myös mielenkiintoista taustatietoa Raamatun teksteistä toiminnan vetäjille. Nautin sekä värityskuvien keksimisestä ja piirtämisestä että muuhun materiaaliin tutustumisesta. Kannattaa investoida €35!

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Kuka on tullut Sakkeuksen kotiin kahville?

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Kunnianvieras katoaa Emmauksen illallisella!

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Joku hyökkää Jaakobin kimppuun.

Zapatistas and zapaturistas

Some sketches from the art festival CompArte at the zapatista centre Caracol Oventic. The festival took place for a week at the campus of CIDECI with concerts, changing art shows, workshops, documentaries and theatre; and at the weekend there were performances at Oventic too.

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EZLN soldiers holding the crowd barrier

An intrigueing experience for sure. This time I had a bit more time for sketches as most people stayed put watching the performances of theatre, dance, poetry and music.

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A “bailable” dance

The girl band – like all the zapatistas, wearing Indigenous traditional dress and balaclavas – were a riot of energy and power.

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Zapatista girl band singer

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Zapatista girl band bassist

As always, people couldn’t resist filming instead of watching. Or, in my case, drawing.

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Filming

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Spectators

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Ears

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EZLN soldier holding up a crowd barrier

Sketch of the day: Scarf fashions croquis

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I was waiting for someone outside a mall in eastern Turkey and started noticing the women’s fashion, specifically the clothes of the ones following an Islamic dresscode with hair and limbs covered (lots dressed in the same way as women in secular places). At a first glance they all looked like they followed the same dress code: headscarf tucked in, overcoat buttoned over dress. But it quickly became apparent that the details matter. Older, more conservative-looking women had the ends of their scarf hanging down under their chin, younger and trendier ones tucked the ends into the scarf. Some had cardigans, others that strange overcoat with a double row of buttons, some floaty long vests. Skinny jeans and ballerinas were much in evidence. Muslim dresscode – here’s yet another example of how it’s not an oppressive imposition. Here are my three-second croquis done standing up in a little notebook.

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Adults’ colouring in

I took a pile of my colouring-in pictures to a work party recently, reasoning that not everyone would like to join the bachata class or read a poem and this could be  a nice activity for the less extroverted of us. It worked a treat! The table with the pictures and box of coloured pencils quickly became a centre for chatting and colouring.

I was also surprised over how different everybody’s style was. Antonio started by colouring the whole elephant an even grey, according to me the most boring part of the picture. Lupe coloured all the shoes and was the only one who finished in the sense of covering her whole picture in colour. Giovanna added patterns and psychedelic details to the forest scene. Both she and José Luis gave the little girl in the picture a green or blue elf skin tone. I think this could be a hit at other events too. party-colouring-chayoparty-colouring001-compressed3party-colouring001-compressed1

 

 

Sustainable coasts maps

It’s been a real pleasure and a privilege to draw and illustrate maps for a friend’s forthcoming book proposal. The book is about coastal communities that manage their marine resources in sustainable ways. It was a pretty excting and positive read. Fingers crossed that it finds a publisher!

Meanwhile, here are some sketch versions of the illustrations. They’re done in nib and ink. Just imagine the book that includes puffins, otters, coral reefs, electronic fish quota swaps, a successful protest movement 40 years ago for the right to access the coast, whales, and seafood harvesting. You want to read it right? Yes!!

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Mussel harvesting

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Kelp

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Fishermen 1

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More mussel harvesting

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Other fishermen

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A puffin.

 

Sketch of the day: grasshopper salesman

A Mexican street scene: one of the guys selling toasted snacks, peanuts and grasshoppers (chapulines) with lemon and hot sauce. (In addition to people selling macadamia nuts, creamy pastries, shoeshine services, oranges whole, peeled or juiced, cotton candy etc… and I haven’t even mentioned the textiles or child labour)

Chapulines

 

This guy was one of the least enthusiastic salesmen I’ve ever seen, and I’ve lived in African controlled economies.

Vale-tudo con jujitsu…

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The penultimate sketch.

I’ve got an exciting commission coming up for the Evangelical Lutheran Association for Youth in Finland, Nuorten Keskus: colouring-in pictures for young people based on biblical stories, to form part of a multimedia activity book called “Painiva Jumala”, “The wrestling God”. The book will come out in 2017 on Kirjapaja but they already needed the image for the cover: Jacob wrestling the Angel.

This is a pretty inconclusive and ambiguous story of how an anonymous person challenges Jacob to wrestle as Jacob’s on his way home to reconcile himself with his brother Esau, after making his fortune in the world… His two wives and two slave concubines and eleven children have already crossed the river and then this dude challenges Jacob to wrestle. They fight all night and in the end the only way the stranger can win is by kneeing Jacob in the groin, well, top of the thigh. When they finally introduce themselves, the stranger doesn’t say who he is but tells Jacob that his name should no longer be Jacob, but Israel, ‘he who has struggled with God’. – The theologians have an interpretation about this story representing humankind’s conflicted relationship with the deity, but I found it pretty unsatisfying, thin on motivation.

Nonetheless it presented an interesting compositional challenge: how to depict a wrestling moment where one party has the other by the neck (this is in the book’s title)  but neither is obviously winning. And it couldn’t look gay, as I’m assuming that teenage boys are still one of the most gigglingly homophobic groups of people in existence, and the Youth Centre does want them involved too. And it couldn’t just be a mess of limbs writhing on the ground. Many historical paintings of this scene show a pretty boring Graeco-Roman stance with the angel and Jacob grabbing each other by the shoulders, although Gauguin´s angel in “Vision after the Sermon” has Jacob in a headlock. I wanted something with verve and action. A few hours of wrestling videos later (Finnish Olympic wrestling; aikido vs jiujitsu; Californians doing Brazilian jujitsu) I settled for a kind of theolgical MMA: the angel has Jacob in a Brazilian vale-tudo headlock, but Jacob is countering with a vingativa from capoeira.

This, in turn, reminded me of the capoeira song “Foi no clarao da lua“, a showoff song crowing about how capoeira won over jujitsu in a moonlit bout, and goes into the details of the moves used: “No vale-tudo con jujitsu… a capoeira venceu!”.

 

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Early wrestling sketches from Krav Maga to aikido

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Here’s the general idea. In a ‘vingativa’ you get a leg behind the opponent and shove them backwards over your thigh. Landed me in hospital once.

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Sketch of the day: guajolotes aka turkeys

In honour of the US American Thanksgiving holiday coming up, here’s a sketch of turkeys! And the small boy who was chasing them gleefully. Turkey
These two black turkeys came high-stepping down the path like they owned the place. They were not much smaller than the smallest kids playing football on the path, and for a minute I was worried about how the beak vs cheek contact would go. But the Southside Team goalie stepped up and chased the turkeys back the way they’d come with an exuberant series of sideways leaps, as if he was swinging on invisible lianas or vaulting invisible fences. At one point he did go splat on the ground but the turkeys looked at him indignantly and beat a dignified retreat.
Turkeys are called guajolotes in Mexico and are one of the few animals to have been domesticated in Mesoamerica. Provecho!

Your organisation’s holiday card

Soon you need to send out electronic Christmas/holiday cards to your stakeholders. How about a personalised one from Development Cartoons? I can make a lovely watercolour or cheeky vector graphic customised for YOU. The card can jog memories of important milestones (plus falling snow), celebrate good achievements (by serene candlelight), express you vision & mission (plus reindeer)…Your people will remember your organisation best if you make them smile!

Lessons and commitments graphic recording

All We Can gathered the participants’ learning and commitments from their partnership conference using a method called cascading, or the snowball, or, we decided, the River. In this exercise, people think individually at first and then gather in increasingly large groups to select the best contributions. At the end, about ten peoples’ thoughts have been distilled into ten points. I drew the process explanation diagram and also the final result… Here’s the resulting poster, drawn live in the session!

Ethiopia field trip

coffee ceremony

Ethiopian schoolkids

These guys were watching us visit the beekeeping centre. They work for ADHENO, but Tarike is the kebede (village) manager.
These guys were watching us visit the beekeeping centre. They work for ADHENO, but Tarike is the kebede (village) manager.

The All We Can partnership conference involved a field trip to two of their Ethiopian partner organsations. I went to ADHENO’s project where they’ve spent twelve years developing conservation agriculture and reforestation. We saw beekeeping, the fuel-efficient stove workshop and the church where the project began. A great day with great people.

Graphic recording at SOCLA – relatorio gráfica SOCLA

Friday saw Development Cartoons amid professors, farmers and students, and combinations of all three, at the 5th Latinamerican Conference of Agroecology, SOCLA. I provided the graphic recording for the agroecology team from ECOSUR in Mexico during a brainstorming session about key factors of success in agroecology projects. Here’s the result!

Drawn during the 'sharing in plenary' stage of the workshop.
Drawn during the ‘sharing in plenary’ stage of the workshop.

With the ECOSUR team post-workshop
With the ECOSUR team post-workshop

Conference illustration in Ethiopia coming up!

My next job is prrrretty exciting: graphic recorder at the partnership conference of the Methodist NGO ‘All We Can’ – in Addis Abeba! All We Can partners come from countries that range from Haiti to the Philippines. I’ll work with the rapporteuring team to add visual summaries of ideas and discussions to the proceedings, reflection and summaries – and we’ll see how well cartoons translate ideas across language and cultural divisions. Addis here we come!

Festival session in – Batman!

This month sees Development Cartoons in action in Turkey. Here are some photos from the end-of-project festival of ‘Start with Sports‘ in the delightfully named city Batman. 400 project-participant kids had to be entertained and edified and I, with Eija and Cihan on the team, ran a series of 20-minute sessions for them on ‘Drawing sports’. We used stick figures to draw action poses. The sprogs behaved admirably well and produced some expressive football, basketball and badminton drawings.

Heads down - there's only ten minutes to draw!
Heads down – there’s only ten minutes to draw!

Development Cartoons in action!
Development Cartoons in action.

Not enough space at the big tables for the whole group!
Not enough space at the big tables for the whole group…

Over-shoulder peek
Over-shoulder peek

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Drawing materials after the end of the festival.
Drawing materials after the end of the festival.