Some sketchbook drawings of people

Anja-Karina NydalReg. from sketchbook 131

Here are a few pencil drawings of people from a couple of A4 Sketchbooks (150 g/m2 Daler-Rowney and 160 g/m2 Moleskine – for those who like to know about papers and such like).  My sketchbooks are full of drawings of people as well as scribbled email addresses, notes and general reminders and so on.  These drawings are typical of the five, ten and thirty minute drawings in these books (I think there are about a hundred and thirty-seven of them to date).

By the way, if anyone out there would like to do some drawing in the Turner Contemporary gallery, Margate, tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday 21st May 2013), do come along and draw the Juan Munoz sculptures: ‘Conversation Piece 3, 2001’.  I’ll be there between two and four o’clock in the afternoon to offer advice, thoughts and suggestions about drawing.  The Turner Contemporary will provide drawing materials but you can bring your own if you prefer.  Just come along and draw.

Note: the next major exhibition at Turner Contemporary, ‘Curiosity: Art and the Pleasure of Knowing’, is presently being installed and this opens on Saturday 25th May.



Life Drawing at Turner Contemporary

I’ll be teaching Life Drawing classes at Turner Contemporary in Margate for the next three Tuesday evenings.  They run from 6pm to 8pm each Tuesday evening for three weeks (13th, 20th and 27th November 2012).  Drawing materials are provided but feel free to bring your own if you prefer.    There’ll be a mix of long and short poses, some quick drawing exercises and one-to-one tuition.

You can book a place the next time you’re in the gallery (remember the gallery is shut on Mondays) or over the phone or online at:

Also, I teach Life Drawing and Portrait Drawing at the Margate Adult Education Centre in Hawley Square on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Ask at the Adult Education Centre, Hawley Square, Margate, for details or go to the Kent Adult Education website.

“They looked like silver birds. The sun was shining on them…”

Here are some more images of “They looked like silver birds.  The sun was shining on them…”.

The subtle effects that silverpoint-on-gesso create are so difficult to reproduce via photographs or scans.  Silverpoint lines are created by tracing a point of silver across a prepared surface.  The reaction of the silver with the Zinc-White, in the gesso mixture, creates a very subtle blue-grey line which slowly changes to a brown line over time.  The colour of these drawings will continue to change over time.  There is a subtle sheen to this type of mark and this might entice the viewer to look further into the drawings and to move around to catch glimpses of this effect.  This is another reason why this particular drawing is so hard to reproduce here on the computer screen.  Another thing that makes it difficult to photograph is the fact that it is a wide drawing (about 107cm x 30.5cm) with significant details within it that are very small (the individual drawings are not much more than about three centimetres high).  I hope these images, added to the previous ones posted here, give an impression of the real thing.

Below is an image of some of the panels at an earlier stage.

The portraits are worked from reproductions of newspaper images of some of the victims.  I had to try to work out the look for each of these people from images which were often quite indistinct.  However, quite a lot can be reconstructed from very little.  For example, the shape of a shadow under a nose will imply the form of the upper lip and shape of the nose that cast that particular shadow.  Most of the original images would, most likely, have been collected from individual or group family portraits and some of these would have been ‘touched up’ or fashionably stylised.  I tried to find each person’s individual ‘look’ from out of these often very vague images.  In several cases the reference images were so vague that it was difficult to get a clear sense of what the person actually looked like from them and so in these cases I reproduced this obscurity with equivalent lines, marks, scratches and traces.  All the time I was hoping that I was being fair to the real people and that if it was possible for these people to see these drawings they wouldn’t be annoyed at me for representing them in this way.

The drawing is made up of four ranks of seventeen gesso panels.  Each of the people who were killed by the bomb have a panel with their name, age, cause of death and perhaps a fragment of a story connected with them.  Five of these panels contain transcriptions of eye witness remembered accounts of the event.  Individuals who were with each other at the time or who were related or connected to each other have been placed next to each other in my drawing.  For example, ‘Rose’ Hughes and ‘Florrie’ Francis were friends who were buried next to each other and with similar looking grave stones and so these are next to each other in my drawing.  ‘Gwennie’ Terry, Dorothy Jackman and ‘Madge’ McDonald were seen to be laughing and joking outside Gosnald’s shop just before the explosion and so these too have been placed next to each other in my drawing.

There is a small plaque in Tontine Street in Folkestone to remember the people were killed there (there were others who died in other parts of Folkestone and in the area that day but Tontine Street was the location of the largest loss of life that day).  The place where Stokes’ shop stood (the bomb exploded outside this shop) is presently an open gap between buildings where a pub beer garden used to be.

This work has its origins in a question I asked when I was about seven years old and a family memory of a bombed building in Buckingham Road Margate in the First World War – but that’s another story.

I recommend Martin Easdown’s book, A Glint in the Sky for those who want to know more.

I’ve posted some short videos of this drawing on youtube.  Google ‘Roy Eastland Drawing’ into youtube and you should find them there easily.

Tontine Street drawing

“They looked like silver birds.  The sun was shining on them…” is a drawing about the victims of a bomb which exploded next to a queue of people outside of Stokes Bros greengrocers during The Great Folkestone Air Raid of 25th May 1917.  It consists of sixty-eight gesso panels containing transcriptions of personal memories, the details of each of the people who were killed and silverpoint drawings of some of the individuals who died.  The title comes from an eye witness account of the event and refers to the sight of the German ‘Gotha’ bombers high up in the early evening sun light just moments before the bomb was dropped.  I’ve been working on this subject, off and on, for a few years.  I created an earlier version of it for my solo exhibition at Marine Studios in Margate last year.


Click on the images for a closer look at these drawings and scroll up and down the ‘Home Page’ or the ‘Tontine Street Drawings’ page to find more about this work.  You can also see it on ‘youtube’ by searching for ‘Roy Eastland Drawing’.

Telling Stories in Hastings

I’m going to be taking part in an exhibition at the Hasting Museum and Art Gallery in September.  The show is called: Telling Stories: Hastings and it will open on 21st September and run until January 2013.  I plan to contribute about five small drawings to this exhibition.  These will be roughly the size of postcards and will be thematically linked by references to the sea, the seaside towns of Margate and Arromanches and memories of The Second World War.  Click on the ‘Margate Postcard drawings’ and ‘Arromanches drawings’ pages of this blog to see examples.

The show is being curated by Cathryn Kemp and it follows on from the Telling Stories exhibition that was held at the Marine Studios ( in Margate last year.  You can find more information about last year’s Telling Stories project if you go to:

Drawings at the London Art Fair

The Millennium Gallery St Ives will be showing some of my ‘Dancing/Dying Toy Soldier’ drawings at the London Art Fair this year.  The London Art Fair 2012 is held at the Business Design Centre, Islington London between the 18th and 22nd of January (see: for details).  A brief description of these drawings can be found on the previous blog post and on the ‘Dancing/Dying Toy Soldier’ page.  These drawings were previously included in The Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition.

The Millennium Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall

I’m thrilled to have some of my ‘Dancing/Dying Toy Soldier’ drawings on show at the Millennium Gallery in St Ives Cornwall.  ‘THE MILLENNIUM MIXED WINTER EXHIBITION’ is on until 14th January 2012.  You can watch a video tour of the show if you go to the gallery website at: .  I have four, small (roughly 4.5 cm x 6 cm), silverpoint drawings included in the exhibition.  They are part of an ongoing series of related drawings which take massed-produced plastic model soldiers as their repeated point of focus (specifically the ones depicting dying soldiers).

These little toys depict an imagined final moment of life (on the cusp of standing and falling or of consciousness and unconsciousness), but they might also be seen as depictions of people lost within a moment of ecstatic dancing.  Through repeatedly redrawing these serious and dramatic little toys, something bigger and unpredicted comes into play.  Each drawing is worked on over long periods of time.  The evidence of earlier drawing is partially sanded away before the drawing process begins again.  Each new attempt to draw the thing leaves its trace in the next and so the drawings build through partially controlled process of loss and re-emergence.

Etching needles and scalpel blades are also employed as drawing tools.  The gesso surface is incised with needle-narrow lines which might follow or predict the silverpoint lines or interrupt and cut across them.  These figures are re-imagined through drawing but the presence of the original object is always the constant and primary point of reference.  These toys become something more significant through the attention paid to them through drawing them.

Silverpoint drawings are made by drawing a piece of silver wire across a prepared surface.  The silver reacts with the gesso leaving a silvery mid-tone grey trace of a line.  These lines slowly become more of a brown colour over time (if I was to make a silverpoint drawing each day and place them all side by side, you would see the beautifully subtle change in colour between the first and the last drawing).  Silverpoint lines are never very dark.  They cannot be rubbed out, but the brittle chalky gesso surface can be scratched-into and sanded between each new period of drawing.

Go to: to see a video tour of the show.

This drawing (along with another, related, drawing) was selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, in 2009, and was also included in my solo exhibition at Marine Studios in Margate.