How a pig led to drawing again

Quite a few years ago now, we went on holiday. Obviously not the first holiday we had been on, but the first one where, having dutifully packed sketch books and pencils and pens, I actually used them. Once.

For a long time I had been taking art materials on holiday with the premise that once temporarily unshackled from my job and given sufficient relax time, I would get back to what I had loved doing as a kid.

We've been to various European destinations from the Mediterranean to the Baltic coast. We've been to the Caribbean and the States. And, until one particular day early in 2015, not one scribble had ever been produced. Far too many things to do on holiday other than sit back and relax, it seems.

So, March 2015, on the windy side of Barbados, my beloved partner was sat reading on the balcony and I decided to render her as a very pretty, curly haired pig. This could have gone wrong in so many ways, but...

She didn't mind and loved it.

The original drawing was pencil and pen on good quality cartridge paper. And then I lost my courage. The ink was not waterproof, so watercolour would be a bad idea. A box of kids' Crayolas seemed risky.

So I photographed the drawing with my phone, transferred it through Google to my admittedly over-indulgent tangerine Lenovo two-in-one laptop-tablet convertible. I then did the colouring through Gimp, an open source photo-editing tool, using a high-end stylus I had bought for pretty much the same over-indulgent reasons as the laptop.

It was fun in the context of our private blog and, whilst not exactly setting the world alight, it seems it has sat there quietly in the back of my mind doing its subtle thing for the last five years.

Last year I left my consulting job in London with the idea of some time off and ultimately setting up as an independent consultant on my own.


Setting up on my own became a protracted frustration and I started to draw our dog, Bert, almost as a displacement activity.

Since then, things have grown, but the drawing of that pig looking out to sea, with her imagined back-story, has clearly left its mental DNA in what I'm doing now, and I feel very much better for it.

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