A swift glance will tell you that I’ve found blogging very difficult since moving from London to Guangzhou in south-east China in July. I’ve seen my stats, done the maths. I have exactly 100.0% less everything than the last time I posted before I left the UK.
Since moving, the way I like to work and draw has been challenged. It’s entirely culture shock, I know; I’m still getting used to the changes I’m experiencing, some inspiring, others I will never want to get used to. Like, Bing is now my default search engine. Bing. Default. Let it sink in…
Apart from the obvious hassles and disruption involved in moving thousands of miles thisaway, I’ve realised it’s still taking a while to get my shiz together.
This morning I woke up with a sweat on, not unusual as it’s like 30 degrees at night (in.the.dark) but these sweats were about getting on with it and what that might look like. I love those kinds of sweats.
I’ve been able to draw very few people in public spaces [Secret Portraits] like a creepy stalker, as I really like to do. I’ve had the odd opportunity and been disappointed with every effort, thanks I’m sure to a heady mix of, er, feeling like a creepy stalker, feeling like a tourist stealing images of an ‘other’ and my sheer white-guy-who’s-had-a-bit-too-much-sun conspicuousness. I really miss it. Miss the whole process.
So I’ve not had that content to post (you can take the boy out of digital marketing…) and it feels like a big hole. But I have to replace that with something.
I’ve also been really lucky to be busy with a significant illustration job which I am so proud to have landed. It isn’t a career on a platter, but it’s a wonderful starter dish. Shouldn’t I have been blogging about that?
And – spoiler alert – I live in China now. Shed-loads to literally write home about.
This here is what I will be blogging about from here on:
- Sketches and learnings from my current ‘big’ project – 30+ black and white illustrations for a 65+ page book. I have to be coy about what it is and for whom, as there’s a social media blackout until it’s published (published!!!). Safe to say it involves celtic knots, spears, 3 violent deaths and a big dog (no, it’s not Scooby Doo in bronze-age Ireland).
- Expanding my slender portfolio [see Behance for living proof of just how slender]. I want to succeed in a saturated market so that means a diverse portfolio of the kind of work I want to do. Sound familiar? I’d love to hear from you too… the rough and the smooth.
- Choppi, my Nenets heroine, and her story ‘The Way Home’ (or something) is the book that I’ve left in limbo for the last year. She helped me get work which, er, kept me from working on her book. Plus, I admit I don’t write well, the story makes no sense as I know it, so it’s languishing. Thing is, a major animation company here in China thought the visuals had promise but nothing happens without a finished book. I’d like to document that chaos.
- It’s not just about what we work on is it, it’s also about where and the way we work. I’m in China with 3,000 years’, with of illustration to be in awe of. Not to mention that here my home-working environment is so different – my studio has evolved from couch plus TV to a weird children’s desk plus TV. I’m coping. Point being this is a job that can be done anywhere for anyone everywhere so here’s what it’s like from an apartment in central Guangzhou.
- Finding life drawing sessions or not… the saga begins. One of the main reasons for drawing people in real life is because it’s great drawing practice, exercising the right muscles. Slowly slowly we get better through doing. The other essential regular exercise is life drawing – and as far I can tell it isn’t being done here outside of academia. That mean I might have to set up my own group. I know.
- It might be China but I’m so seeing incredible work from the rest of the world. What with that and the admittedly hard-to-find creative people and places here in Guangzhou, there’s a lot of artists and exhibitions to share with you.
- And, of course, there are bundles of observations of a fascinating city to share. Photos from my crappy £60 Huawei or hopefully sketches of people and places.
Not to mention that China is a new digital and social media landscape… the same but oh so different. Why Snapchat hasn’t been eclipsed by WeChat in the UK I just don’t know.
So there’s a lot to be saying – I hope it sounds interesting, do comment to help me calibrate – and I’ll keep it real with just one post a week, each Tuesday.
This lot alone will keep me busy for at least two months, and I’ll hopefully get this puppy’s tail wagging.