Thursday, 1 March 2012

Memory from Drawings

My bookshelf also contains sketchbooks from different periods of my life. Looking through them brings back strong memories of people I've observed and places I've visited. Information about a landscape's colour, smell and weather conditions come back, even from the simplest of sketches. They serve as thumbnails to a much more detailed picture stored in my head.

My sketch of, Farnham tutor, Bob Godfrey, enjoying the sun outside a café in Annecy.  June 1977. 

One of the highlights of my time at Farham was the trip to the Annecy Animation Festival. It was towards the end of my first year at the college and I had little money left to cover the cost towards the visit. I managed to sell my camera and complete Roxy Music collection to raise funds.

With practically no money between us, our motley group of Farnham students was directed to a youth hostel on a wooded hill above the town, where we slept on hard mattress-less beds with stinking sacking for blankets. 

With a few francs to live of each day, we drank cheap vinegar wine from plastic bottles, ate French bread and tomatoes, and watched every free programme of animation available to us from 10 in the morning to 11 at night. Our eyes were opened to the possibilities ahead of us, as films from all over the world, in every pre-digital animation style conceivable, filtered into our young minds, influencing our futures, changing us forever.

I recently used my sketchbook from August 1977 to help me write a short story set on the day Elvis died. It was the day my partner and I pitched a tent in a field near St Davids. We had hitched lifts, over a two-day period, from Surrey to Wales getting stuck for six hours just outside High Wickham. A place I've never wanted to return to since.

A related article by Simon Bor can be found in Creative Update,, in the current issue dated November 2011.

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