Sketch Book- insects.

I drew this from a dead specimen, the colours were vivid hues of blue & turquoise when the dragonfly was alive, but soon faded to the browns seen here.


Both sketching (from life) and science involve intense observation, imagination and interpretation. Scientists, however, have developed much more advanced tools; enhancing sight via microscopes and telescopes and enhancing interpretation via mathematical models and numeric formulas. You only have to go back as far as Da Vinci's era to see, by his famous anatomical and scientific sketches, or those of Dürer, to see how science and drawing are linked.

Today we have much greater ways to study nature than sketching. Science still, however, depends upon observation and what we decide to look at. Both also consist of trial and error.

Robert Hooke's drawing of the head of a fly from his book 'Micrographia' published in 1665. In his book, amongst other things, Hooke first coins the term 'cell'. New powerful microscopes allowed nature to be observed as never before. 'Spontaneous generation' of organisms was still widely believed at the time however, so flies were thought to be 'born' from rotting of meat (as oppose to eggs being laid on the meat by other flies). Mollusks were believed to arise from wet mud being heated by the sun, the difference in species depended upon the mud's consistency. Today we know that the variation of species depends upon species adapting to their environment, including the consistency of the mud which they live in. Jon included Hooke's illustration in the reference material for 'Pistols!' illustrations. 'Micrographia' can be viewd online at the Project Guttenberg.

Drawings of live mantids published in the 'Mantis Study Group Newsletter' from 1997; when I was 16, convinced that I would become an entomologist, and dreamt of one day identifying a new species of insect. I regularly contributed drawings to the 'Phasmid Study Group' newsletters.

A depiction of the 'worms of death' under a microscope slide. Illustration from 'Five Wounds'.


Textiles in Catalonia- Colonia Güell.

In 2010 I decided to begin a drawing project documenting the history and impact of the textiles industry in Catalonia; where I work as a textile designer.

I began with the utopian workers' colony of Colonia Güell. Brain child of industrialist Count Eusebi de Güell. He wished to build a town next to his textile factory, which would accommodate the worker's every need. The town included a school, library, bars and parks.

The town is of special interest because Güell commissioned architects of the expressive modernisme movement, including Antoni Gaudí  who designed the church. Only the crypt was finished, but it is a work in which Gaudí had complete creative freedom and, presumably, quite a big budget. The crypt is built with a variety of materials which create textures and contrast with one another, including slate, brick, stone, iron, coloured galss and decorative mosaics.




On the road outside the town is the ruin of a manor house. I found this also very interesting to draw, although I do not know if it had any relation to Güell or the textile industry.

Click to enlarge.