Making an effort

“How does Lydia do this!"...

It’s always a delight when a client enjoys the work from a live sketching commission, here, an assignment for long-time client Ideas Foundation covering the Disrupt Space exhibition at The Department Store, Brixton.

And this time, my client Heather’s comment set off a stock-take of everything that’s gone into this quick, loose style of reportage sketching.

When, as a teenager, I wanted to learn how to draw people properly, my father, a designer, artist and craftsman, handed me his copy of Gray’s Anatomy (the book, not the TV series). His point was that to draw something, it was helpful to understand it. My drawing tutor on Foundation taught us much more than the technicalities of drawing – we learned how bodies articulate, how they balance and the habits of movement. Learning how to draw while barely looking at the paper taught me how to keep my eyes on the story, missing as little as possible.

After decades using drawing as the hidden part of my design process, I’ve re-learned how to use those muscles. I draw most days. I’ve drawn amazing life models, with stellar people, at Hackney Wick Life Drawing. Drawing is my way of looking so in the pandemic, it’s been part of my walks. Every assignment brings new things to notice and new adjustments around where I’m drawing, who I’m drawing for and the stories I’m telling.

All of that effort goes into making the result look effortless.

Ideas Foundation know that – and often, they come to me not for what I do but for how I think. Read more on our work together here.