Thursday, 1 October 2015

Interview: Jackson's art blog

I've been interviewed by Lisa Takahashi for the blog of Jackson's (the art materials suppliers). Surprise, surprise, it's about drawing in sketchbooks. You can find it here.

You can also find an interview there with Róisín Curé, who we met in Ireland last month.

Monday, 7 September 2015

To Ireland's west coast

James Hobbs, Twelve Bens, Connemara, Ireland

We're back from a week in Ireland – last visited by us in the 1980s before the onset of daughters. We headed to the west coast, stayed a few days in Connemara and another few days on the Aran Islands. As part of my research into a new book (full details in time), I took a few bottles of ink (just black, blue and green) and a few brushes, but for all of Ireland's greenness, it was the greys that got me. And the skies, too: always heavy with clouds, always threatening, but rarely delivering.

James Hobbs, Gurteen Beach, County Galway

In Galway we met for tea with urban sketcher Róisín Curé, who lives down the coast and has a fantastic plot to cover. Galway is a livelier place than when we were last there – it is bidding to become European Capital of Culture in 2020. Perhaps that exposure would widen its appeal to UK visitors. If you heard a tourist's voice it would mostly likely have a French, Italian or American accent.

James Hobbs, Connemara coast

What remains entirely unchanged, though, is the friendliness of Ireland. There's a welcome everywhere you go. We won't wait 30 years before we go again.

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Friday, 31 July 2015

From the 32nd floor

I was lucky to be part of a group who were invited to draw from the 32nd storey of an office block in the City of London earlier this month. Compared with buildings in many other cities, the 32nd floor isn't really so high, but in London it gives you a phenomenal view.

It would have been easy just to spend the time gawping at the view and trying to make sense of which parts of town are which, but it's not often you get a chance to draw scenes like these.

Our thanks to Carlos Olvera for inviting us up. We are hoping to arrange another visit soon.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Westminster crumbles

Never mind London Bridge, now the Houses of Parliament are falling down. A recent official report says that it could cost £5.7 billion and take 32 years to renovate it and turn it into the kind of building a modern democracy needs. UNESCO world heritage site it may be, but it is also an outdated, crumbling, rat-infested, leaking, asbestos-ridden gentlemen's club that needs dragging into the 21st century. I've already written about the leaning Big Ben.

It could be that members of parliament and peers are moved out while the restoration work is undertaken, speeding up the process. But where would they go? The Olympic Park media centre in the East End has been suggested as one temporary option. But what about outside London? Getting parliament out of the capital could invigorate its work and help change our jaded attitude to it. What about the city of Manchester, for instance? That would be an excellent choice.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Dream, Draw, Design My Garden is published now

Hello. Dream Draw Design My Garden is published now in the USA.
The book, the first in Rockport's Dream, Draw, Design series, is a playful, inspirational sketchbook rather than a book to read from cover to cover next to a roaring fire. Each page features an unfinished drawing by me to prompt you creatively through a variety of gardening design ideas.
It's a book to draw in, to stimulate your ideas and imagination towards the goal of realising your ideal garden or backyard.
Draw, paint, doodle in this book.
You can order it online at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Indigo – and your friendly local bookshop. It is published in the UK on 2 July.
Find out more and follow me @jameshobbsart on Instagram and Twitter, and visit my Facebook Author page.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

In Hoxton Square

While daughter 2 was doing her thing at the nearby National Centre for Circus Arts, I had some time sitting on the grass in Hoxton Square. I worked near here in the 1990s, before the hipster grip took over, before White Cube had moved in, let alone moved out, before you looked in estate agents' windows and rubbed your eyes. The van in the square isn't usual: work is underway to create TreexOffice, a transparent "tree office" to be built around one of these London planes as part of the Rethinking Parks project. You can book a work space in it up until December. There's more about it here.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Dream, Draw, Design My Garden is coming soon

I'm happy to say that my new book Dream Draw Design My Garden is published by Rockport in the US on 1 June and in the UK on 2 July.

Dream Draw Design My Garden is a hands-on book to draw and experiment in, with each page featuring a drawing by me that offers an inspirational jumping-off point to help you towards realising your ideal garden, back yard or roof terrace. It's an inspirational guide rather than a technical handbook, a place to let loose your imagination, with pages to help you draw your thoughts to reality.  

Visit my Facebook page for more details of Dream Draw Design My Garden – and Sketch Your World, which is now available in six languages.

You can preorder online at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Indigo, Waterstones, WHSmith – and your friendly local bookshop.

And yes, that is my back garden on the cover.