Thursday, 8 March 2012

Meet the correspondents: Barry Jackson (Professor Shorthair)

I love drawing, and making pictures. I've been drawing for more years than I can count, but it's only in the last few years that I feel like I'm making some slow progress. Towards what? I'm not sure. Perhaps my goal is just not to be too bad.

Much of the time my interest is focussed on urban themes, and I draw on location in an urban space. A few years ago I found the Urban Sketchers blog, and this provided an opportunity to share some of these works with an audience that has a similar set of interests. It's been a real stimulus for me, to see such a variety of urban drawing from all over the world.

Drawing at Alexandra Palace
Sometimes I draw when I'm traveling. Unlike many Urban Sketcher members though, I find that travel and drawing don't complement each other well. The kind of drawings I like to do work best when I can spend time on them, without wondering what I might be missing around the next corner.

Drawing places that mean something to me is what I most enjoy, and much of my work therefore is focussed on London, where I was born and brought up. Hence I was delighted to be invited to be a correspondent for the new London-based blog.

St Anne's Limehouse, charcoal,  50x60cm
I often sketch, in a sketchbook, wherever I happen to be - which means cafe and pub sketches fill a lot of pages in my books! But if I'm out specifically to draw then I'll have a particular location or theme in mind

I don't have any  favourite places in London that I repeatedly draw, although I do find myself returning beside the river or around the Regent's Canal  quite frequently.  I also don't have any favourite subjects or themes - these continue to change and evolve - sometimes it's spaces, or the movement of people, or solitary trees, or water, or as in this drawing, particular buildings. (This is St Anne's church in Limehouse)

St Paul's from Surrey side, graphite 29x84cm
If I'm going out to draw I'll be carrying a whole range of kit with me, because I like to play with media and techniques. The drawings will usually be bigger than sketchbook size, occasionally ending up very large. (The St Paul's drawing on the right is made up of 4 sketchbook pages)

Occasionally I have periods of trying to use colour, but on the whole I find it difficult to make satisfactory drawings when I'm using colour. At the moment I love using ink, particulary Quink, and carbon pencil, as in this drawing below of a spectacualr weeping ash tree in Rosemary Gardens, Islington

Weeping ash, ink + carbon pencil, 30x40cm

Sometimes my drawings form the basis for printmaking or painting. You can see  more of my work at




  1. I love that drawing of St Pauls from Bankside!

  2. great strength in your sketcheslike them all


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