Wednesday, 17 August 2011


I’ve just been away on a sketching/mooching/laughing holiday with some very dear chums, something I’ve been doing from time to time for years. These trips, organised by the very-moose-like Julian Sedgwick, are moments of heightened drawing activity for me – intervals of proper sketching between prolonged bouts of quotidian daily grind moleskine wipe-out. I always come back determined to keep up the pace, but I never manage it for long.
Here’s a sketch of Adrian Reynolds playing his banjo, which he does with great flare (despite my cheesy sound effects). Click for a closer look. I didn’t draw his face because I was more interested in his fingers. In fact, I’m especially interested in his fingers right now because Adrian is, as I write this, illustrating my next picture book in rhyme, due out next year with Andersen Press. I hope he doesn’t break a nail.


  1. This has unearthed a memory of the beautiful mandolin which someone gave my grandmother, all marquetry and ivory inlay. She never learnt to play it and I was beside myself when she gave it to me. I twiddled with it all afternoon imagining I would one day make beautiful music, left it on the sofa for a moment and my dear grandmother - Bam-mum - who never looked before sitting, parked herself on the sofa with her knitting, directly on top of the mandolin. She was not a small woman and the mandolin was just so many splinters. so I didn't learn to play it either...

  2. It's not so much the fingers as the thumb, I'm finding. Got such a sore thumb - that's just with four illustrations per week and no banjo.

    You pack a lot of details into your sketches, Thomas, and the figures always appear to be about to spring off the page.

    Poor mandolin!

  3. Thanks, Rachel. It's a sketch I balalaika.

    (Oh dear)

  4. Great drawing, Thomas.

  5. You've certainly got Ade's big toe right. I'd recognise it anywhere.
    Great fingerwork too...

  6. Thanks, Will and Julian. I didn't draw his face because of what happened last time.


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