A Brand New Bag

Wednesday, 8th March 2006

sketchbookI've decided to go over to A4 sketchbooks rather than the 6 inch by 6 inch format that I've been using over the last couple of years. It's partly because of a change in the format that I'm using for my published work - from the chunky CD-size of my Sushi Sketchbooks to a more spacious 234mm x 156mm (that's about 8¼ inches height by 6¼ inches across, so the double page spread is 12 ½ inches).

I'm looking forward to making the most of the new possibilities: I'd like to give myself more time to explore a subject; either by being expansive and drawing right across the spread or by including a series of smaller drawings of different aspects of a subject across the page.

Ragged Bag

River Island bagThe small National Trust organiser bag that I pack my small sketchbook and art materials into has gone with me everywhere for the last two years but it's nowhere near big enough for A4, so today while Barbara and I are in Leeds we're dropping into every likely shop, searching for a bag that's small and light enough to carry everywhere but big enough to fit my A4 spiral bound Pink Pig sketchbook.

window in StarbucksAfter trying the indoor market, the Corn Exchange, a stationers, an art shop, a designer shop, a department store, a sports shop and a couple of outdoor stores we tried River Island, a fairly laid-back high street fashion store, and found this frayed-looking canvas bag (left) which fits the sketchbook perfectly, with enough room in the front and inside pockets for a small range of pens and watercolours. And perhaps a rather small sandwich and a bottle of water; but that would be it; I've got larger rucksacks for days out hiking through the hills.

I wouldn't have gone for a bag with any kind of design on it but the frayed-edged Victorian-looking tattoo design sewn onto the bag has the words 'CREATIVE, ARTISTIC' emblazoned in block capitals on curly scrollwork. So that's perfect.

Barbara's not so sure. The bag is artificially aged so that it looks ragged and slightly faded: 'I could sew in that frayed edge on the strap,' she suggests.

Cafe Rougevin rougeCafé Rouge

Mushrooms with spinach and melted raclette cheese and poulet Bretone make a pretty perfect lunch at the Café Rouge.


Trees in Hunslet

Not so perfect is the experience of coming back from Leeds along the M1 at rush hour. It's not so bad but I'm glad that my commuting these days is in the other direction - via Penistone and the Strines to the Peak District National Park.

I drew the trees at Low Road, Hunslet, as we waited in the showroom at Bowett's Suzuki, while our car to have some work done on it for it's MOT test. Next Page

Richard Bell, richard@willowisland.co.uk