This was almost yet another blog post about the appalling events in Paris last week.
Like most Europeans, I’ve recently been thinking about little else and felt that, as an illustrator and cartoonist myself, I should make some gesture of solidarity. I won’t pretend I was a reader of Charlie Hebdo – I was aware of the paper but it has a distinctly French outlook and sensibility and on this side of the English Channel we’re more likely to get our satire fix from the far more British Private Eye magazine. However, it was not difficult for me to identify with the victims; these were cartoonists, members of my tribe.
I produced a knee-jerk cartoon response to the atrocity which was heartfelt enough but expressed little more than disgust and anger. I did briefly consider adding it to the online tsunami of other supportive cartoons but was dissuaded by the small handful of people I showed it to, who mostly urged caution. Also, every attempt to fully articulate my feelings about all this in words stubbornly resisted brevity – and sprawling diatribes are not really what Drawstring is all about. This is too complex and depressing an issue for pithy one-liners.
Suffice to say, the values that Charlie Hebdo appeared to stand for, albeit in a deliberately crude and provocative manner – secularism, freedom of expression, an innate distrust of the rich and powerful and the importance of a sceptical, investigative press – are values I share. There’s very little else I can usefully add to the torrent of opinions that have been expressed since last Wednesday, perhaps the best thing to do is just get on with life.
So… here are a few life-drawings of the delightful Laura Kate from last Tuesday evening. A sure sign of life going on as normal if ever there was one. These were done in my latest favourite technique – pencil and watercolour (limited palette, just black, white, crimson, ultramarine and lemon yellow) on A4 sheets of 300gsm textured watercolour paper. I mentioned it in my last post, but I’m having such a good time re-discovering the simple pleasure of slopping down watery washes of paint and seeing how they transform as they dry. It’s a fast technique that is perfectly suited to the manic intensity of ten-minute figure-drawing.
At the pub afterwards there was much talk of… well, you can probably guess.