Friday, 17 March 2017

Drawn from Life - a new book

Just under 1 week to go before my new book arrives in the shops on 23 March 2017.
I can't pretend that the build up to its release isn't just a little bit exciting.


Helen Birch on Amazon
I did a quick interview last week with Pyramyd - the French publisher of the book... 


The interview is available on Pyramyd's blog


English version:

Helen Birch, author of several titles on drawing translated by Pyramyd editions, answers a few questions ...

Why did you decide to write some books about drawing techniques?

I’ve always been fascinated by the immediacy of drawing. The most modest of materials can render something special. I like the diversity and apparent ease of drawing too. Whether pencil on ordinary notepaper or more expensive drawing kit on on specialist papers….there’s so much to see, think about, share and experiment with.

Through my experience as an art lecturer I’ve demonstrated and talked about drawing techniques with students. I thought that the experimental drawing outcomes from these workshops were really exciting and that others should see them, so I started blogging as drawdrawdraw. Producing a series of books was the next logical step. These books have included drawings, illustrations and paintings from international contributors and cover a wide variety of techniques.

What is your favorite drawing technique ?

I find it difficult to pinpoint just one technique! 
I like such a diverse range of drawing techniques from fine line drawings, to huge dark and messy charcoal drawings. I get a lot of satisfaction from looking at drawings, thinking about what prompted them. I like drawings that reveal something about the person making them – their ideas, willingness to experiment, conviction, and depth of research. All of these decisions can dictate which art materials an artist selects and how they are handled and ultimately - the drawing they become.

Which artists inspire you?

Again, a difficult one. A constant is Matisse, as are the drawings of Ingres, Walter Sickert, Paula Rego, Lucian Freud, Elizabeth Peyton and Frank Auerbach. I also like the illustrations of Craig Thompson, Marjane Satrapi, Raymond Briggs and Joe Sacco. This list would change if I answered the same question a day later!

Do you have any other book projects ?

I’ve been thinking about putting together a book about how to draw abstract forms, colours and patterns. There’s also the potential for more books that explore other specific drawing techniques.




The interview is available in French too


Monday, 13 March 2017

Blackpool: sand, sea & spray

Blackpool's urban arts festival Sand, Sea & Spray has been up and running since 2011.
If you visit this famous north-west UK seaside town in late July you can see the art being made 'live'. 
At other times a wander around will provide lots of surprises.

'Blackpool has hosted over 80 of the best street artists in the world and Blackpool has been transformed into an ‘open-air gallery’ of high quality art. If you look around the streets of central Blackpool you are sure to see one of over 100 amazing pieces of artwork on what used to be derelict dreary walls.'



I particularly liked this end terrace facade (from 2015) because of the way the spray paint has been handled in a linear way. These painted drawings remind me of ideas on a sketchbook page.




liking those angles...


and other random findings...





location of 'official' painting sites
and some unofficial ones...






Monday, 6 March 2017

Drawn from Life: social media


My new book 'Drawn from Life' is due out later this month - March 23rd to be exact.



As is usual before a soon-to-be publication date there's a flurry of social media activity and profile updating to do.

Last week I was busy on Flickr and Instagram. The feedback on Instagram was great - not only for my new book but for my previous publications Just Add Watercolour and Freehand too.




My Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn headers needed renewing next. 
A convenient discovery - a strip of 3 book covers is much easier to configure into a header space than 2 :-)


Drawn from Life is available in several languages

UK / US English
Spanish / Dutch
German / French
and Portuguese



update: just completed a Q&A with my French publisher - Pyramyd