Making my way from a Shoreditch based print studio having collected the final run of an edition of Quentin Blake prints, I set about my journey to deliver them to the grandfather of illustration's office to have them signed. The prints were kindly designed by the maestro of ink in support of our charity The Campaign for Drawing.
Winding my merry way from Shoreditch to Earls Court, the final precious Quentin prints in hand I took a seat on a District Line train westbound to QB’s pad.
I took a seat and a few stops down the line an elderly gentleman and his wife take a seat beside me. Soon after, the gentleman pulls out his well-thumbed sketchbook and his even better loved 3B and goes about sketching the lady opposite us. Nothing remarkable about that, but I always notice the potential of a rustle of a sketchbook or notebook on the tube among a sea of commuters, faces illuminated, drooling over nothing on their phones.
“We’re going the wrong way” says the sketcher’s wife.
“No, we’re alright we’re heading westbound “ replies the hubby.
“Where are we getting off?” asks the wife.
“Turnham Green” he replies.
The man continues to draw. It’s taking shape.
“Why are you drawing?” asks the wife.
“It relaxes me” says the hubby.
“Turnham Green” answers hubby.
Gent pulls out Marlene Dumas exhibition guide.
“I used to like Marlene Dumas, she used to make these massive, human, watercolours. I wasn’t too taken with this”.
“Who is Marlene Dumas?” asks the wife.
“The Artist” he says.
He continues to draw.
The sketch bears an uncanny resemblance to the lady opposite, he has captured her engrossed face as she reads her book in the face of the intolerably long green line wonderfully.
“Stop now, its perfect” the wife says.
“What day is it today? The husband asks of the wife.
“I don’t know, and you don’t know either” she replies.
“Its my father’s Birthday tomorrow” he says.
“He’s not with us anymore”
“He was an artist” the wife replies.
“Where are we getting off?” She continues.
“Turnham Green” replies the husband.
The man continues to draw. His wife remarks that her hair is too fair so he adds thick, fast pencil strokes to her barnet giving the unwitting subject’s hair a more ebony hue. The wife is right, it looks much better.
“Why do you draw?
“You’re showing off” the wife enquires.
“I always draw, and you draw too”
“Your sketchbook is in your bag” answers the husband.
She opens up her bag, half expecting to prove her husband wrong by the look on her face. She takes hold of the sketchbook, opens it, as if by magic at the next blank page and starts where she left off.
“Where are we getting off?
“Stop now, its perfect” Says the wife of her husband’s drawing as she continues to draw.
As my stop approaches the husband dates his two sketches from today: A red motorcycle and a contented lady reading her book on a train and proclaims:
“That’s my two jobs done for today.”
Rachel Price, Operations Officer, The Campaign for Drawing.
We thank you all for your ongoing support. Keep drawing!