I was never very good at art in school, after the first year of secondary school, I dropped art to take up German (which, I also dropped a year later). As a child, I would often draw two dimensional cars from my own imagination but the drawings were not great.

In the late nineties my first wife became ill, I had to drop my work to care for her, in some of my free time I had a go at drawing a comic strip to pass the time. The strip I called Betty Zapat and Yorrick the name was an anglicized version of the French “Betises à Pattes” (which meant a silly thing with paws). Later in England I drew a comic strip called Leyton’s O, which was published in a football fanzine the Leyton Orientear. 

ana drawing
My granddaughter Ana drawing from a YouTube video

Over the years, I have tried various art projects, now with grandchildren, I try to encourage them to draw and paint. In these times of the COVID 19 pandemic, I have been trying to draw something every day as part of my routine and hopefully, improve my skills. I have been copying the illustrations of a cherished book from childhood: The Ladybird Book of Motor Cars

The first cars I copied weren’t good, but I have improved a little.

Ladybird Book of Motor Cars drawing
the first six cars

I tend to copy pictures or photos or clips on YouTube. I rarely draw from real life or from pure imagination.

This picture I drew entitled “The Sultans of Swing” was copied from a photo I took some years ago of some teenagers practising their parkour skills.

Drawing The Sultans of Swing

parcour mziuri
parkour in Mziuri Park

I don’t have any special high quality pencils, they are the same as the grandchildren use for their drawings, I don’t even have a full set of colours, I’m missing red for example. I am trying to make the best of the COVID-19 lockdown to develop my skills.

What are you doing with your COVID lockdown time?

365:An Art Concept

365 musical

In 2000, I had an idea for an art project. I decided to make a piece of art on a postcard, then, every day for a year I would send the postcard to Jonathan Watkins the director of the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. I started on 1st October with the above postcard, a picture inspired by a still from the Lars von Trier musical “Dancer in the Dark“, which had been released that year.

365 postcard

I would also make a second card, which I would keep. I chose Jonathan Watkins as the recipient because he had impressed me when giving a tour of the Ikon Gallery, which was exhibiting the works of my favourite Australian artist, Gordon Bennett. I didn’t tell him before I started of my intentions. I did meet him about a month into the project, he seemed quite bemused by the idea.

365 parliament
Blue Parliament

The art was in pencil or pen or paint or collage, the canvas was always the standard blank A6 postcard. I didn’t manage to create a piece each day, but over the year I did make the full 365 works.

365 kafka

Some pieces were titled, others weren’t. I don’t now have all the copies, I have moved too many times. When I was creating the project, I was living in Worcester, England and working for the Royal Mail. It was all very self indulgent, and gave me a chance to try out different art techniques.

365 blow painting
blown paint (red/green)

The above was created with drops of watercolour paints blown with a drinking straw. I am no skilled draughtsman, but I had some fun and now I enjoy drawing and painting with my grandchildren.

365 car fire
nothing so beautiful

I signed each card in the bottom right corner with   ج

This is the Urdu letter “Jeem”, used because my name is Jim.

365 bjork

Here are some of the cards.

my art 365

I haven’t repeated the project.