Sometimes you just need to draw a shoe, and what a shoe! This is one of my son’s beloved Lightning McQueen shoes. It’s not drawn in the book which chronicles all of his shoes (those are in black and white), rather it’s in the Stillman & Birn Alpha book (which I’m using to draw his things in colour), and this merited colour. The heel has little lights embedded inside which flash when he walks. This whole drawing took me a couple of hours, while watching Spaced. It is a busy, trying week, this week, and sometimes you just need to sit back and draw a shoe.
Back in 2010 I heard about NaNoDrawMo – it’s a bit like the annual month-long writing challenge NaNoWriMo (in which you must write a 50,000 word novel in a month), but this is for drawing, fifty drawings, a drawing being worth etc etc. In that year I drew fifty fire hydrants (and other metal pipes that come out of the ground). You may recall I like drawing them. Last year I was drawing people, but it ultimately didn’t get finished. This year however I am doing a series based on the EDM ‘Every Day Matters’ challenges, with a twist – a little piece of freestyle unedited and possibly nonsensical (or the opposite) writing to go with it. Given how much I have to do these days I might be barmy doing this project (I am), and over this next month you will get to see just how barmy (very), so for the sake of being concise I’ll present them as they are on the pages of my book, in groups of ten.
If you can’t read the writing don’t worry, just look at the pictures. In fact, just look at the pictures anyway…
Right now at the Pence Gallery in Davis is a great show called ‘If The Shoe Fits’, which is all about Shoes. I was invited to display some of my shoe drawings, and as some of you may remember I have been drawing every one of my son’s shoes since he started wearing them, all in one book. So I redrew some, this time with colour, on Stillman and Birn Gamma paper. Above is the first shoe he ever wore, at age zero, the Robeez rocket shoe.
Next one, the blue Van’s shoe. I liked these ones. This is from age one. By then of course he was walking and running.
Finally, a shoe from age three, in fact the first shoes he ever chose himself. He has good taste. These got a lot of wear, before the feet outgrew them.
All were drawn on that S&B Gamma paper in either copic multiliner or micron pigma pen, with watercolour added. If you want to see (or buy) these, and a lot of other great shoe art from some amazing artists, go down to the Pence Gallery on D Street in Davis.
Those feet just keep getting bigger and bigger…
My son has the coolest shoes. I always knew this of course, because I have drawn a picture of every single one of them in a single book, chronologically, in black pen. These new ones however are my favourite yet. Based on the Clone Troopers from Star Wars (the forefathers of the Stormtroopers), they even flash blue. And I totally want some myself!! Except I don’t think adults can realistically wear such footwear in public. Perhaps Boba Fett ones? I liked them so much I drew this shoe twice. The one from the ‘official’ series is below, copic pen in a moleskine cahier. The second one I drew was on the first page of my brand new Stillman & Birn ‘Alpha’ series sketchbook (thanks Stillman & Birn for sending me that!), and it took me a couple of hours, mostly in copic multiliner (size 0.1) but with a little bit of uniball vision micro, and watercolours to colour it in. I’m pleased with the result, and the paper is nice to draw on, not as smooth as the Moleskine Cahier or Volant, smoother than the Moleskine watercolour though and it takes a watercolour wash pretty well.
They are cool shoes. But, alas, if I wore them I would be constantly worried that one day, they would turn on me, Order 66 style.
Continuing the long series of sketching all of my son’s shoes in chronological order (though there is some overlap which I’m uncertain about), this is the black ‘Place’ shoe (Place is the name of the brand; no, I don’t know them either). I don’t know how often he ever wears these, because they competed for time with the Lightning McQueen shoes (as a three-four year old which would you choose?) and so are in pretty good shape.
You can see all of his shoes in this one series here. Feet just keep getting bigger…
Back to this series, though I actually am not sure if there’s another shoe between the last one and this. These shoes however are the main ones, the favourite footwear: Lightning McQueen shoes. They have little red lights on the soles that flash when my son runs in them. Drawn monochromatically in black copic multiliner, as per the convention of the series, but this is one shoe where you really need the colour! These shoes are getting bigger and bigger.
After a gap, back to the series in which I am drawing every one of my son Luke’s shoes. I still have a way to go to catch up, but I will get there. They are all being drawn in a single small Moleskine cahier in the same black pen style. this one is number 17, I think (the 16th was number 18, while the 17th was number 16, so this is the 18th drawn, but 17 in chronological order in which they were worn…does not compute, does not compute… ah Luke won’t care in years to come). These trainers, made by Saucony (that’s what it says, don’t ask me), are cool, dark blue and silver with some orange trims, and they are special because they are the first shoes that he actually chose himself. The baby-shoe book is becoming the little-boy-shoe book. I think I’m gonna need a bigger book.
The smart thing to do would be to check the weather forecast and then decide what to do, but of course as anyone who is familiar with London summers (or winters, autumns and springs) knows, the weather forecast cannot be relied upon anyway. We’d planned to do a walking tour around Westminster (one of the London Walks; I illustrated their book a couple of years ago, including the chapter on Secret Westminster) and wasn’t going to be put off by a few drops of rain. Indeed it looked like it would be just another breezy, grey Saturday, maybe the odd drop here and there but nothing to worry us. We met the group outside a tourist-packed Westminster station, giving me enough time to grab a ten minute sketch of Big Ben (above) before learning about Westminster’s secrets. As we stood behind Westminster Abbey looking at Oliver Cromwell across the road, the rain suddenly turned into a torrent, and pretty much stayed that way for the next few hours.
It was an interesting tour, to be sure, despite the massive downpour. We went down backstreets of Westminster I never even knew about, and took a stroll through the old Westminster school. Of course I attempted to sketch as we went along, which was a challenge I’ll admit. Once it was all over (a little earlier than planned, I suspect), we went to a pub in Whitehall, the Old Shades, to dry off and have something to eat.
Not that the rain deterred us too much. We still spent a day around central London, popping into the National Gallery, squeezing through the crowds at Hamley’s, looking through the football shirt shops (hey, it’s me).
And then in the evening, a night out in Camden Town with friends (one of whom, Ralph, I hadn’t seen in over twenty years). Before meeting up, I grabbed another very quick sketch standing on Camden High street. So despite all the rain, that was a fun day, and it was a fun night as well.
After a longer than expected hiatus, it’s back to Luke’s Shoes, a series detailing all of my son’s shoes in order of appearance. It doesn’t include rainboots, or snowboots, or slippers, just shoes, and sandals. This is Number 15 in the series, the blue Circo shoe. These haven’t been worn in a long time. I am slowly catching up with the shoes. Step by step.