sketchbook   sketchbook

Rain from the North

Monday, 1st December 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

nimbusTattered veils of low grey rain cloud trundle out of the north in gloomy procession. It hasn't brightened up all day and by three with just a hour or so of so-called daylight to go, I decide to walk out to the postbox and pick up a bottle of milk from the garage.

dunnockA dunnock shakes the raindrops off as it perches in a garden shrub.

Some of the desiccated ear fungus that I've been recording on an old elder in a ear fungusneighbour's garden since I started this diary has swelled to fleshy rubbery-ness again.

The fallen leaves have turned limp and soggy, their warm colours faded to almost universal peat brown.

sycamoreCypresses, laurels and ivy provide dark masses of evergreen foliage but today the brightest green is that of the algae on a a sycamore trunk.

Mist over Langsett

I've decided to take a break from walking for the moment - I'm nearly half way through revising the walks for my Village Walks in West Yorkshire and, as it's turned out, this is the ideal day to stay indoors.

storyboardAs a way of getting to know my new desktop publishing program FreeHand thoroughly I'm turning the sketches I made on a 40 mile (three day) walk in November into a little sketchbook, Mist over Langsett, to send out to friends.

I've had a break from producing booklets over the past year so I'm looking forward to getting back into production: I've got so many ideas.

Unlike the web, where you can add page after page if you like, with a book you've got a finite number of pages, each one a regular size. The way I'm doing it these will have to be in multiples of 12, so I've done a rough storyboard (right) to work out how the 38 sketches will fit onto the 24 pages.

paginationI fold up scraps of paper to work out the pagination - how the pages will fit onto an oversize A3 sheet and how they'll fold up to produce a booklet that's a little under 6 inches squares - that's about the size of my chunky black spiral bound sketchbook (below, right) , which is just small enough to fit in my bum-bag when I set off on a walk, in which I made the original pen and ink and watercolour drawings.

sketchbookRelated Link

My Mist over Langsett sketchbook is intended to be a very simple affair, a quick project to get me in the swing of things again, but artist's journals and artist's books can be more or less anything that their creator wants them to be - multi-media collages, one-offs and so not necessarily limited - like mine - to what you might be able to put through your printer.

Danny Gregory in New York pointed me in the direction of the artistsjournals2 group on Yahoo! It's a group that gives a lot of encouragement to artists at all levels and, amongst its members, there's a great fund of experience and knowledge of materials and where to find them. Some members have put examples of their work online. There's a sense of celebration about many of the pages - and of playful inventiveness.

As Danny says; 'You have to sign up to see the lay of the land but it just takes an email or two and is virtually instant.' next page

Richard Bell

sketchbook   sketchbook