Friday, October 31, 2008

Meet a correspondent for Urban Sketchers

Yesterday I was featured on the new Urban Sketchers team blog and today I'm featuring an introduction to Urban Sketchers on my main blog - see Urban Sketchers officially starts tomorrow.

I thought I'd give readers of this blog a bit of an insight into where I'm planning to go with my posts about London plus the story behind the photo of me which appears on the Urban Sketchers post about me.

The photo

Gabi, who created Urban Sketchers, told me he needed a paragraph, a sketch and a photo of me for an introduction. I looked at all recent photos of me and concluded that although they were realistic and useful for sending to fellow sketchbloggers that I was meeting up with for the first time, they were hardly flattering. They certainly weren't blogging material.

So last week I decided a new photo was needed - at which point I got the most dreadful head cold - and you all know how you look when you have a cold! So I crossed my fingers and hoped it would clear up quickly and thought about how to do a photograph.

On Wednesday, I was over the worst of the cold and "he who must not be bored while I sketch" (HWMNBB) and I went across to Greenwich for the afternoon for a brisk walk in the park and an hour with the books in Waterstones.

I'd had the 'brilliant' idea that since this new team blog was about Urban Sketchers I should try and get a photo of me at the top of the hill in Greenwich Park, next to the Observatory - standing on the Prime Meridian with a goodish chunk of the River Thames and London behind me. Neat idea - huh?

Plan of Greenwich Park - showing all major buildings
and the Prime Meridian (re Greenwich Mean time)
(click to see larger version)

There was a slight flaw with this plan. HWMNBB is not, he will readily admit, a photographer. But I'd already worked out how to deal with that. I'd take a photo of him to judge where I should stand and how he should focus on me. That took three photos. Then he was to take over and reproduce the shot with me in his place.

Well that took about ten photos. First he took photos before I was ready. Then I realised that my hair looked a state as I'd just pulled off my hat (it was a cold afternoon). Then he couldn't get the size of my head right relative to the back drop (options of lots of sky or lots of park at this stage). Then I decided that the post 'bad head cold' look meant a slightly more distant view might be better after all............on the other hand then you couldn't see me either..........

We had by now gathered a small audience of teenage girls who were thoroughly intrigued by what was going on. Oh the joys of having one's photo taken in public!

Fortunately I decided that it might be an idea to try some smiling (with/without teeth), non smiling and profile shots. It was a good job too! Somehow he'd omitted to mention that I'd managed to get lipstick all over my teeth ( I only usually wear lipstick for photos!) and the smiling without teeth ones made my eyes look dreadfully small with puffy bags!

Fortunately the profile one came out OK and even managed to obscure the bags and do a good job of hiding my double chin.........

Photo of a fusspot with a cold
by "he who must not be bored
while I sketch and is never ever
taking another photograph again!!!"

So this is me - with the River Thames and City of London appearing just above my fringe and Greenwich Park and the Queens House behind my head.

Incidentally the walkways with the columns either side of the Queens House (the white house designed by Inigo Jones just to the right of my bun) is the place where the BBC filmed Amy Dorrit (for the new series Little Dorrit) walking against a backdrop of columns in the first episode last Sunday.

Just behind it and next to the river is the old Royal Naval College, designed as a naval hospital in the 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren which is also frequently in use as a film set. Then beyond these buildings and on the other wide of the river you can see the new financial centre at Canary Wharf which was filmed extensively as the credit crunch erupted in Britain last month.

Blogging about London

I'm thinking of trying to develop a panorama of sketches of the two sides of the Thames and wondering whether I should invest in one of those panorama Moleskines. Either that or lots of separate sketches in the same format which join up. But what's the best format? I'm mulling that one over.

I also want to produce a book of where to sketch in London and I intend to develop a series of hand drawn maps of locations - showing places to go to sketch and what you can see nearby. I'll be reserving the maps for the book but I do already try and provide links to Google Maps for locations.

I'm also going to be developing a map of locations where I've sketched - although I'm not quite sure whether I'm going to use geograph or paintmap. I'll be reporting back on my comparison of the two systems and any other options which people alert me to.

If anybody has any comments or recommendations about software I'd love to hear them - please use the comments function.

Links: Meet the correspondents: LONDON > Katherine Tyrrell

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