Woodle Doodles

I wish i am his son. Cool!! - AaHuang Chiiat Hoe, Penang, Malaysia

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Not sure I’ve ever shared this online - pic I did last August of my famous sister.

Not sure I’ve ever shared this online - pic I did last August of my famous sister.

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Ian Hill-Smith is a reportage illustrator and cartoonist from the Midlands, living and working in Cheshire. He was kind enough to tell us more about his reportage drawings created on sight at Crewe Station, which he has been creating for the past year.


I started the Crewe Station Project because I found out that a lady there was trying to add a bit of life and colour to the place, as well as supporting local businesses, by running pop up shops, so I thought i’d roll up and see what was happening. This has been going on since last summer, Virgin have now got behind her and there’s going to be a big launch at major west coast stations at the end of march, which I’m hoping will see me on a train from Carlisle to Stafford trying to hold me pen steady.

There’s a nice little gang down there - although you quickly learn that there are a number of station regulars who you’re best off not engaging in conversation - and it’s just a fantastic spot for people watching.

You can catch people being completely oblivious to your presence and that’s what I enjoy most - trying to capture little interactions, tiny candid moments and the inherent absurdity of us humans, with as few pen strokes as possible.

As someone with a tendency to be ponderous and overly self critical, the fact that it allows you objectivity and makes you work quickly is very liberating too - I don’t need to worry about a reaction (or offending anyone) and i can’t mess about trying to perfect a picture because the subject is now on their way to Rhyll, never to be seen again.

Unless colour is demanded (for example the sketches of Denise, who had orange hair and a lime green hat on, or the colourful mum picture) I tend to stick with pigment ink pens and play around with nib thickness to provide emphasis.  If I need some splashes of colour I tend to go to my Inktense blocks when i’m working on white paper because they’re so vibrant - and that’s generally the kind of colour that’s inspired me to include it in the picture - or if I’m using coloured paper I dig out the trusty Derwent studio coloured pencils because they contrast so well. I carry all my kit around in an extremely useful Derwent field bag that i bought from a very lovely independent art suppliers in Manchester.

Thank you Ian!

You can keep up to date with Ian’s artwork and his latest Crewe Station Drawings over on his Facebook Page here, and on Twitter - @idillustrator

My old mate Ian spends his weekends on the platform at Crewe Station… In a good way!!

(Source: hblythco)

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lostinshadows110 asked: Hi, i am starting my own art journal, and i was just wandering what inspires you in your work.

Hi, well, the daily diary has mainly been inspired by family life, but the other stuff just comes from the stuff people talk about at work, watching too much telly, thinking about stuff too much, you know.. the usual. When I was doing the diary quite often I’d just sit down with a vague idea about something that happened on the day I could draw, and then started putting ovals on the page for faces, and the rest just sort of grew from there. Probably not much use for you, really. The only thing I can suggest is that if you want to do a daily journal, start doing it, and just draw the first thing that comes into your head!!

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jennifermaybe asked: Just dropping by to say you're neat :D your drawings are gorgeous and I'm glad to have stumbled across you.

Thanks, I’m glad you stumbled across me as well!

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dripdropdripp asked: Hello, I've just discovered your blog and I love every single entry in it! Just a quick question, what materials do you work with? Paper, pens, colours etc, thankyou!

Thanks for the love! For each and every entry I’ve used Faber Castell felt tips (the ones that come in a pack of four) - usually the S pen for detail and the B (brush) one to add some thicker lines. I then add colour using acrylic paint - to speed up the process I use a plastic take-away food box as a pallette, that way I can seal it up when I’ve finished painting and the paint lasts for weeks without drying out. And of course, the entire diary has been done in a series of large Moleskine sketchbooks!!

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marimarijeon asked: Hi! I admire your passion! I should start my illustration dairy 2014!

Yes, you should - mine got a bit behind in November / December but I stuck with it, and I’m already glad I did. Go for it!

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drawolution asked: I just wanted to tell you how enjoyable I find your diaries. I had a good time re-reading some while waiting at the doctor's office today. I hope someday I will be able to make some kind of drawing journal without spending 12 hours to draw what happened in the 12 hours prior to that. Thank you!

Yes, that would be a nightmare - you’d end up just on a permanent cycle of drawing yourself drawing yourself drawing yourself in an endless loop! When I started I just made a decision to keep the drawings as simple as possible. Painting each one proved a bit of a pain, but I was determined to do it because I wanted the journals to have that crinkled pages look that Indiana Jones’ dad’s Grail Diary had. In the end, I found that adding a bit of paint to the cartoons meant that I didn’t have to add as much detail using the pens, so it worked out quicker. I did have to have a system of having the paint at hand to use straight away, though - so I kept it in a sealed takeaway container so the pallette never dried out. Thanks for taking the time to have a look at the diary, it’s much appreciated.