Tuesday, 19 January 2010


It's been a while since I posted something from my sketchbooks. I mentioned before that I like drawing musicians, so here's another accordionist, this time a French one. Click for a closer look.

This pocket sketchbook page dates from last summer, when I spent some time on the west coast of Normandy. This goaty chap was part of a band that set up one evening in the town square. They had a great Django Reinhardt sound, but their lyrics were pretty shocking, and as we had an inquisitive five-year-old with us we didn't stay long. But at least I managed to get something down on paper.

It's odd how the accordion appears different in the two main sketches. It almost looks like there were two instruments. Sketching is always selective, but it's interesting to note that the eye is so busy with essentials that the details differ. Interesting for me that is -- I have an idea for a novel where the clues to some mystery have been accidentally captured in a series of quick sketches. But how far can a drawing be trusted? And how much do we really see when we look?

This was drawn with a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen, for those who care about these things.


  1. Nice detail on those sketches, Thomas. It wouldn't enlarge for me, though. Probably me.

    I see what you mean about trusting the eye. That's a great idea for a murder mystery too! An especially good one for an artist to write.

  2. Thanks, Terry. I've fixed the click thing now.

  3. You might be interested in some of Berger's ideas (if you haven't already read him), particularly Another Way of Telling, all about photography but it's fascinating how the "framing" of an image can suggest mistruth about the situation being photographed...I really love anything like this and play with these sorts of ideas a lot - Haven't thought to do it with sketches though so, great idea, I'm sold! Moving back to writing from imagery for a second...someone once told me that, with text, you must read what isn't there as much as what is - why has what's missing been omitted?...All stuff that makes for great mysterious elements and intriguing plot in any story!

  4. What struck me about the sketches was how the accordionist appears to get younger from the first to the final sketch! All just through the thickness of an eyebrow! Very expressive drawings - I particularly like the movement in the second full shot of the accordion.

  5. Many thanks for those thoughts, Rachel. Would that be Berger of Ways of Seeing fame? I was hit over the head with him quite a lot as a student.

    Yes, a snapshot or half truth can be as misleading as a lie. And the camera always lies. Sometimes it takes a sketch to reveal that.

  6. We do construct a great deal when we observe, Thomas. I once completed one of those memory competitions. You observe a scene for a few minutes and then without the benefit of the scene, you answer a series of true and false questions about it.

    I thought I had a good memory, especially in the short term. How wrong I was.

    Thanks for this terrific sketch and for your thoughts about the seeing eye.

  7. Yes, that be the one - though I cannot watch/listen to him! I have to imagine a totally different person as the writer else I get annoyed!

    I think your artist's eye can bring your prose many advantages! When you write, are your images static or fluid?


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