I draw my street scenes in waterproof ink directly on to fancy Italian paper (Fabriano Artistico cotton archival quality paper, 300 grams cold pressed), which I buy in a ten metre roll. It’s a gorgeous quality paper and expensive. I have the street all mapped out in rough beforehand so there is no excuse to mess up.
I’m used to working at home but it’s taking all my concentration to redirect my thoughts away from how hard it is for so many people right now.
So when I finally gathered enough concentration to start back on some street drawing to focus on something creative away from Covid 19, I made a mistake! In the grand scheme of things it is hardly a mistake to even blink over, but since this street is part of a body of work that is serving as an archive of our streets as they stand at the time of drawing – it felt a bit of an ‘oops’ moment.
But not really. I don’t worry about things like this any more since I have a few treasures up my sleeve that I can pull out. One of these treasures was knowing that it is possible to correct a drawn mistake with some humour as I had seen before…
When the new St John’s Bible was being hand written on vellum, mistakes were made that the scribes couldn’t easily undo. However, they had a creative way of correcting the mistakes. For example, where a line of text was missing, the scribe drew in a bird with a fine line in its beak, diverting the reader’s eye to the stray text written below. There is a full description about this clever technique written in the St John’s Bible newsletter here.
As you will see from the work in progress pics, I had already got to a stage where it wasn’t going to be possible to correct my mistake other than tear up the paper and start again.
So my challenge was how to draw in something that wasn’t going to be too much of a distraction from the street but would serve to show that something was missing… in this case approximately a metre’s worth of street space to the side of the Old Chapel in Acomb.
I slept on it for a few days then an idea popped into my head. I would draw myself into the scene, pointing out the error with one hand and a measuring rod in the other hand which showed the extent of the street that was missing.
I decided to really spell it out by adding my initials to my jacket and to draw in a bag from GAP.
It’s interesting how it has changed my perception of the drawing. I no longer feel really annoyed when I see it, but instead it makes me smile!
Thanks for reading and wherever you are, stay well.
7 thoughts on “Owning a mistake”
An ingenious practical solution in a long tradition of artists and scribes
Thank You! There have been some very creative scribes and illuminators down the years. Glad to be familiar with some of their work. Hope you and the family are all keeping well. Ronnie
Love your thought process Ronnie. For just a split second the carrier bag baffled me and then of course the light went on, “Gap! Oh ri-ight!” Brilliant. So glad you’re able to get some drawing done – I haven’t quite found that focus again yet, but I’m working on it. I hope you and your loved ones are keeping well and safe. Judyx
Hi Judy, Lovely to hear from you! Glad you enjoyed the thought process. Yes, it is really hard to focus. If I spend a bit too long drawn into any news source, that’s me gone down the rabbit hole for most of the day. I try and anchor each day by starting with a small sketch and then look to towards finishing something. Strange times Judy. Thanks for your good wishes, much appreciated. Wishing you and your loved ones good health too. Ronnie x
What an innovative solution, and it looks great!
Thank you Tahirih! 😊