Ink and watercolour painting based on a photograph of Robert Louis Stevenson in the Writers’ Museum in Edingburg Scotland. RLS on the bow of the Equator. A4 ish
Last December I’ve been to Edinburgh for a few days by myself. One good thing about travelling solo is that you can do whatever you want for however long you want to do it. In my case this means taking reference photos of just about everything including lots and lots of stuffed animals and sketching stuff in museums for hours on end. The painting of Stevenson is a result of this. I noticed a little photograph in the Writers’ museum which is a small but very interesting museum on Scottish writers( and it’s free!) that really spoke to me. So i made a sketch. It was very sketchy. The audio in that particular exhibit room was on repeat which is fine if you’re there walking around. Not so much when you’re doing a sketch 😀 So I want to end with this:
I finished this map today after it has been left for almost two years. The reason it took me so long is because me and it were not in the same country. I’ve been travelling and working in The UK and France for a while and this is the first time I’ve been back in the Netherlands since. I planned travelling for at least a year and if I found a place I felt like settling down I would. I did find a few places where I could happily live for a longer time but the time was never quite right and the last couple of months I had a run of bad luck and money ran out. So I went back and decided to focus on that whole illustrator thing properly this time. Now that the whole, absolutely have to live abroad for a while, must has been dealt with. The idea of becoming an illustrator is not a new one, far from it and this map is one example of that. I just didn’t know how to go about it safe for this vague idea that you apparently needed a portfolio. It took me years to come even that far, illustrator as a profession was never a particular apparent career option to me. I never went to art school, all I could apparently become was a type of artist I didn’t want to be or art teacher. The one open day I went to for an art school had some sort of commercial advertising class that didn’t appeal to me and I felt hopelessly lost in that building and still I don’t feel like I missed out on that one. Maybe I’ll go to classes one day. Did a study goldsmithing instead which was very practical and useful safe for the fact that I quickly found out I didn’t want to be a goldsmith. Quite a few years later I sort of halfheartedly started a business/ studio and did paintings, calendars, t-shirts bla bla bla. Doomed from the start as I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I think there’s still a Cafepress page around somewhere. This left me with a mortal fear of the taxman and put me off painting all together for quite a while. But you can’t keep a doodler down and little by little I found myself doing sketches and paintings again. And gradually I heard my self say illustrator more and more when someone posed the question, so what would you like to do? Thing is, even though I said it to other people I still didn’t really knew what an illustrator did. I just said that instead of artist. Somehow, some sort of idea of what an illustrator does started to crystallise, don’t ask me how and I was actually starting to like the idea. Here was something I might actually be able to do. So…. I didn’t know where to start looking for information, or in which direction I wanted to go in illustration. This was one of the things I decided on finding out while on the road. When I set out to travel I packed some paper, watercolours, a few pencils and one measly little brush. Everything I had with me fitted nicely in a reasonably sized backpack with room to spare. On my return journey I had a gigantic suitcase that barely closed and some extra bags piled on top. A lot of the extra weight came in paper, paint, pencils, brushes and other artsy paraphernalia. Besides that I also came away with a clear idea of what I wanted to do; fantasy orientated illustration. This is still rather a broad spectrum but good enough to finally start doing something constructive. Am I really sure I want to do this? Yes, but baby steps please.