I had the joy of handing over my first art commissions last weekend. They were two hand drawn elevations of house fronts given as gifts to close family.
I’ve always been a lover of intricate detail and since the fast paced world we live in doesn’t provide much opportunity to slow down and take our time, detailed drawings have become the perfect outlet for me.
I was inspired by an instagrammer I follow called @maltzcreative, who does a lot of intricately detailed shop and house facades.
I’m hoping to make a thing of it, so if you are interested do get in touch and we can chat. More than happy for suggestions.
So it’s the end of another week and indeed another month. Here’s to another weekly review of my sketching progress. This one included some people watching, a trip to Pulteney Bridge and scrapbooking on the train.
26/03/2019 – Rear of Pulteney Bridge
This is the lesser known side of the famous Pulteney Bridge which is Grade 1 listed and has shops on either side of its full length.
What I used:
The base drawing was done within 15mins in pen. Then came a mix of pro markers and my favourite white Posca pen.
27/03/2019 – Bath Abbey Square
Spent my lunch break people watching inBath Abbey Square. This is always a fun exercise to attempt live as people’s postures change constantly. For helpful tips on sketching figures rapidly, I found Themodmin‘s channel on YouTube very useful.
28/03/2019 – New Theatre Royal; Street Elevation
Another lunchtime spent in busy Bath soaking up some much needed sunshine while sketching. I’ve recently been practising the art of single line sketching – where you don’t go back over any lines to make for a cleaner finish. This has helped develop my observational eye as it wonders before the pen hits the page.
28/03/2019 – Great Pulteney Street
Had a cheeky sketch-sesh with a friend of mine after work on Thursday. This was my first attempt at a drawing. For some reason, I had a real itch to draw cars – something on my mental drawing list. But ended up un-satisfied with the proportions against the building I later added.
28/03/2019 – Starbucks
As you can see in the previous image, the gloves were on as it was FAREEZIN’! The next sketch, therefore, HAD to be indoors – cue the clammer to fill that caffeinated addiction. Thankfully, I found an unassuming subject working away in the corner on a school night – poor chap. Thankfully for me, he maintained the same pose the entire time (unlike the other people above).
29/03/2019 – Coach Park Lunch
This is what happens when you have too many tourists in one location. It’s impossible to find a good place to sit in peace, eat and draw (especially now springs here). Having wondered around aimlessly, I finally found a free bench in the sun, but all I could see was a row of tourist coaches and a motorbike. Brilliant! 🙄
30/03/2019 – Houses of Bath Collage
I started this doodle on Saturday morning and carried it on while on the train on Sunday. It definitely made the journey seem a lot quicker. I’m determined to master single line drawing (i.e. not going over the same line twice). Or as I prefer to think of it, ‘making the best out of a bad situation’ drawing.
A really really sad day for Zambia as we lost our ambassador to Kenya in tragic circumstances. I was ill and off work that day and as a result had a lot of time to reflect and mourn a former Sunday School teacher at my church. This sketch from a photo will be my lasting memory of her bright beaming smile – a truly inspirational African woman.
20/03/2019 – The Good Bear Cafe
One thing I struggle to do is stay indoors for a whole day, even when I’m ill. I just can’t do it!
Having been in bed all day, I got some much needed fresh air and went to explore a cafe I’d seen but never been to. I found the perfect seat in the window and drew the street scene outside.
21/03/2019 – Queen Square Section
By this point in the week, I had caught the sketching bug again and was churning them out quicker than I could upload on social media. This was drawn on location within 15-20mins and the subtle colours [below] were added later.
23/03/2019 – Doors of Bath
Similar to the ‘Windows of Bath’, I did a collage of doors. I first drew the outlines loosely, then roughly added the inner details from my bus ride home. I imagine it to be awkward standing outside someone’s door drawing their house, hence why I’d recommend it this way. As usual, the colours and shading were added later.
23/03/2019 – Urban Sketchers Group
I joined a group of urban sketchers on Saturday and we hit the roof terrace of Hall and Woodhouse. Being the morning, we essentially had it to ourselves which was awesome! I loved how everyone’s style in the group was completely unique; we shared tips, materials & people who inspire our style to collectively improve.
Also, note the oversized seagull in my drawing. It was the first thing I drew as I didn’t know how much time I’d have before it flew off. Then randomly added stuff around it to suit.
23/03/2019 – Bath Abbey Square
We quickly grabbed some lunch before hitting the busy Bath Abbey Square. We enjoyed some chilled guitarists tunes as we sketched them. This was the only sketch this week in my brown sketchpad and I was generally chuffed with it.interestingly, we had several tourists taking pictures and videos of us drawing – pressure ‘ey! 😁
23/03/2019 – Night Light / People Watching
I rushed to catch my bus and once on it, we waited another 15mins before leaving. The perils of public transport. As ever, I started sketching people out of the window later adding the night light from the street.
24/03/2019 – Bath Skyline
Finally, I spent Sunday afternoon chilling with a good friend watching football, catching up and sketching this incredible view. Bath is in the shape of a bowl – I think of the Roman Baths in the centre as the plughole lol. You’re generally going up or down whichever direction you head in which creates several amazing views over the city or up towards the surrounding hills.
As I scrolled through social media last night in stunned silence, the memories came flooding through my tears. The paths that you took were never easy or the obvious choice. As such, you became a constant trailblazer and inspiration to so many as you rose to the highest of levels. Your final post as Zambian High Commissioner to Kenya a sign of your intelligence and sheer determination. A Sunday school teacher, mother, wife, author and singer among many other things, you remained down to earth and approachable with an ever beaming smile. It was always inspiring seeing you on tv representing Zambia police as spokeswoman. Even though I was young, it made me realise that I too could achieve great things. It is such a huge loss to the country and more so to your loved ones. May God provide comfort in this time of mourning.
There I was; About to start the most professionally run FIFA tournament I had ever been to.
Venue: Some dudes room at uni with two massive screens, a trophy & buckets upon buckets of KFC chicken. Ultimate lads night in! Between games, I was constantly refreshing my phone for live updates on Zambia’s opening match against Senegal at Afcon 2012.
Truth be told, I was confidently pessimistic that my beloved Zambia would retain their title of “Serial Underachievers!” In European football, I’d compare us to The Netherlands; Well respected, unexpected, but won’t win squat!
‘‘How soon till we’re out?’ I thought.
Add to this a hint of mild frustration at the draw we had and our potential routes to the final which would see us face all the big guns, if we so dared. All the negativity aside, I was quietly excited.
Zambia vs Senegal
To set the scene; Senegal were pre-tournament favourites along with Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In the absence of Egypt (who had won the three previous tournaments) and the Super Eagles of Nigeria, they saw this as their trophy.
At the time, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse (both prolific goalscorers at Newcastle United) alongside Moussa Sow were among the most feared partnerships on the continent. On paper, this game was over before it had ever began. However, Zambia took a quick & impressive 2-0 lead which lasted well into the second half when they conceded 1. In the end, they hung on for a rather unexpected but well deserved three points.
Full Time: Zambia 2-1 Senegal
Zambia vs Libya
Onto the next one and along came Libya. I was amazed to see the game still went ahead in such treacherous conditions. Historically, Zambia have struggled against North African opposition. As a child, the name Hossam Hassan or Mohamed Aboutrika (both of Egypt) sent shivers down my spine.
In the end, Zambia fought hard in the conditions and came from behind twice to earn a brilliant point.
Full Time: Zambia 2-2 Libya
Zambia vs Equatorial Guinea
With charismatic French coach Herve Renard at the helm, Zambia headed into their final group match against joint hosts Eq. Guinea. This was a chance to win the group.
I was only 1 when it happened, but grew up in the aftermath of the event with the massive re-building job in the 90’s. The effects on the country were strong and the passion and emotion connected to football was understandably prominent.
Going into this game, my fear was that the emotion of the event and the dreaded home advantage would kill our momentum. Besides, I had grown up with years of Zambia almost doing something big, but eventually settling for disappointment (hence the earlier pessimism).
The game itself was tough against the tournament debutants, but in the end a lone goal from captain Christopher Katongo settled the matter. This result meant we finished top of Group A and avoided the other tournament favourites, Ivory Coast.
Full Time: Zambia 1-0 Equatorial Guinea
Zambia vs Sudan
It was straight knockout from here on. You lose, you leave!
We were pitted against the Sudanese ‘Falcons of Jediane.’ With Zambia’s ‘Copper Bullets’ firepower proving too much in the end, it was the end of another team with an animal nickname – cue all the memes about poaching. In truth, it was a fairly comfortable / convincing 3-0 win. In my lifetime, I had never seen Zambia in the semi-finals of such a huge tournament and I was too young to remember our run to the final in 1994 which ended in defeat to Nigeria. But now, the toughest test lay ahead.
Full Time: Zambia 3-0 Sudan
Zambia vs Ghana
Wow! This was it. The end of the road.. surely!
4 years earlier, I watched helplessly from the stands as Ghana systematically destroyed Zambia 4-1 in a friendly at Leyton Orient’s ground, London.
On that occasion, they had Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari & Stephen Appiah to name a few legends of the African game. This time round, they still had Muntari, along with rising stars Asamoah Gyan, Andre and Jordan Ayew. I considered them the Germany of African football – Efficient, consistent and always making it to the semi finals. Just 2 years earlier, they were on the brink of making history by becoming African’s first ever World Cup Semi-Finalists – but were denied bythe hand of Luis Suarez and the foot of Asamoah Gyan. Their form had hardly dipped in the intermediate time, so this was going to be an uphill battle.
But low and behold, little Zambia [who stood NO chance – if you listened to the self-acclaimed ‘football experts’] did the impossible. Emmanuel Mayuka with the faint, followed by the perfect curling shot inside the post sent every Zambian momentarily off the planet in celebration. Wowzer!
I remember being in the minority of people celebrating that goal in the students union on campus – along with my legendary Welsh housemate and a few Nigerian fans (you know how they get on with Ghana! lol). One more win away from History!
Zambia had previously built a squad capable of beating a near full-strength Italian team 4-0 at the 1988 Olympics. But in 1993, that golden generation had been stripped away in the most abrupt and tragic of circumstances. This win was about more than just football. A nation had been brought to her knees in mourning, but now it was time to rise up and honour those who died.
Full Time: Zambia 1-0 Ghana
Zambia vs Ivory Coast
Now for the big one. The cherry on the cake.
The undeniable favourites, highest ranked team at the time, highest profile players from the best leagues in the world – meet the Ivory Coast (aka The Elephants). Even if our ‘Copper Bullets’ (aka. Chipolopolo) would strike against this lot, it would take a lot to bring these giants down.
If the semi final was a test against the most efficient and consistent team, this was a test against the absolute best in their prime.
With Didier Drogba (Chelsea) the charismatic talisman, Yaya & Kolo Toure (Manchester City), Gervinho (Arsenal) & Salomon Kalou (Chelsea) among many star names, this wasn’t just an uphill battle, but an impossible task.
I could literally go on naming players that were important members of league winning sides in top European teams. If this game was played on paper, no way did we stand a chance. Even my faint optimism at this point didn’t give me any hope.
The game itself surprised me as Zambia started off at flying speed creating many chances throughout. Didier Drogba missed a penalty during the 90 mins and the game went into extra time and then penalties at 0-0.
The most superb, intense, and gripping shootout I have ever seen – not just because it was my team involved, but everyone scored. With the score at 7-7 in sudden death, Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast/Chelsea) missed giving Zambia the chance to win it. Unfortunately, Rainford Kalaba (Zambia/TP Mazembe) did likewise and we were back to square one. This was never going to end. Then Gervinho (Ivory Coast/Arsenal) sent the ball out of the stadium with his shot (slight exaggeration, but it looked that way) giving Zambia another chance to seal the deal.
Up stepped a confident young man, Stopilla Sunzu – Already a Zambian legend no matter the outcome, singing along to the song the Zambian players had been singing throughout the shootout. A song in that moment that embodied the spirit of the team that had carried them from the bleak ashes of tragedy to the very brink of victory. As the late-great football commentator Dennis Liwewe poignantly put it; “never again will we go to Gabon and return without dignity and honour.”
Sunzu duly dispatched his penalty with ease, sending the keeper the wrong way and a nation into rapture.
Why do I love football so much, I hear you ask? For moments like these. From tragedy to triumph.
It was my day off and so I ventured out to a couple of iconic places in Bath with my new sketchbook. This brown-toned sketchbook works well with Bath architecture as it effectively does the colouring in for you.
I started off at the Royal Crescent, spending roughly 25-30 mins. First tip for a sketch is proportioning. Try to imagine what you want to draw fitting on your page. If it helps, try to set it out by lightly marking your page (I certainly find it useful).
To the left of The Crescent is Marlborough Buildings, a steep row of terraced houses. I like how each house repeats its neighbours geometric order while stepping up or down the hill.
A much harder place to draw was The Royal Circus. It’s circular plan with 3 entrances means it’s easier to draw in plan (birds eye view) than in perspective. I had an interesting chat with a guy whilst drawing who used to rent a place round the corner. He said he always used to come here everyday just because he could – and why wouldn’t you!!
– pen and ink
– toned sketchbook
– I later added some white pastel colours for contrast to the Crescent