Drawing on Reserves

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
Wednesday, 28th May, 2008

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I LAUNCHED my new book Drawing on Reserves today by putting it on my www.willowisland.co.uk website. It’s not so much a how-to guide, although there’s plenty of advice in there on pens, watercolours, sketchbooks and tips for coping with wayward wildlife, it’s more a relax, enjoy and keep things simple kind of book.


I tried to imagine what I’d do if I was setting off with someone for a couple of hours drawing so the book opens with the sort of possibilities that you might come across if you visited your local reserve. If you’re like me you could find yourself either with so many possibilities that you can’t decide what to draw or, conversely, on a quiet, grey day you might get the impression that there’s nothing going on. I suggest ways to get started and show the kind of subjects that I’ve chosen to draw when the wildlife journaler’s equivalent of writer’s block sets in. There are sections on equipment, natural colour, coastal trips and making the most of patches of wilderness in the city.


I know that I’ve covered similar subjects online on numerous occasions in the ten years that I’ve been writing this online diary but when describing approaches to putting pen and colour on paper there’s a limit to how well you can put things across on a flickering screen so I’m delighted with the way my new printers, HSW in South Wales, have captured the texture and character of my pen and ink and watercolour sketches, all of which were drawn on location in Yorkshire, Wales, London and Texas.


None of the drawings in the 64 page, pocket size (17 x 12 cm) book has appeared in print before and the great majority haven’t even appeared in this diary. Those that have look crisper at 300 dots per inch on the page instead of the 72 dpi onscreen.


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