Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire Nature Diary, Monday, 19th April 2010

hedgehog droppinghedgehogI'VE ALWAYS thought that the 1972 Collins Guide to Animal Tracks and Signs was a useful book to have on the shelf but it amused me to see just how accurate the illustration of the hedgehog dropping is compared with the single example on our lawn this morning.

It was a lovely weekend and, despite having hurt my back the other day, I couldn't resist preparing half a veg bed and putting in our chitted Swift early potato and chitting potatoesDésirée, the red maincrop. I was able to manage even with my bad back by bending my knees when digging over the ground and forking in several trugs of garden compost but when it came to leaning over and planting that I felt my back go.

I was forced to go back indoors to do something less physical. This worked out well because I got another map drawn for my new book.

chairchairDrawing through Thick and Thin

At the hairdresser's, I tried the ArtPen that I'm now using for my maps, the one with the calligraphic 1.1 nib, as a drawing pen.

I like: the bold, woodcut-style line

Don't like: the way it feels as if it's encouraging you to draw the line in certain directions, to 'go with the grain', as it were

Conclusions: for observational drawing I'd favour a pen that produces a line with less character but one that can wander around the page more freely, without becoming thick on the downstroke and thin on the horizontal stroke. But I would use it again in a drawing in which I was aiming for a particular effect or mood.