When I was 16 and studying for my A levels, I wanted to keep myself busy when not at college. My mum had given me a book which had been designed for artists to do 'a sketch a day' for a year.
So I decided to give it a go, knowing that to do a sketch literally every day for a year would be a a pretty daunting challenge.
To give the project a focus, I decided to draw someone who was in the news that particular day, for the entire year of 2012. I knew it was going to be an interesting 12 months as it would include an American Presidential election (which turned out to be President Obama’s re-election), the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. This was also the year I visited Andalucia, Spain for a holiday and spent 3 weeks in New York City enjoying an illustration course at the School of Visual Arts.
'Sketch A Day' proved to be an incredibly interesting project. I learnt about who is in the news, why they are in the news and what makes news. Some people behaved very badly and this created headlines. On other days, the news was led by stories of individuals who achieved something extraordinary. I was particularly moved by the news of Claire Lomas who died whilst running the London marathon, but her tragic death prompted other runners to donate over £1 million to the Samaritans.
I noticed the growing number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan and in particular the death of Channing Day, an Army medic.
As the year progressed my drawing techniques changed and the sketches undoubtedly improved in quality. A few portraits were redrawn as I was not happy with the quality. Also, on a few dates I did not draw anything at the time (I had other stuff going on in my life!)… but I went back weeks later and drew a portrait of someone in the news on the days I had left blank.
Although the project was something I did in my personal time, I was fortunate to receive wonderful advice and support from my teachers at Hampstead Fine Arts College and The Royal Drawing School. My parents also gave me lots of ideas about people in the news who I might consider sketching.
2012 was a leap year so I ended up doing 366 sketches ! To top things off, on December 31st I was thrilled to be interviewed on BBC Breakfast about the project. My final sketch was of Lakhdar Brahmi, the UN Envoy to Syria who made a speech in Egypt warning that over 100,000 Syrians would be killed in 2013, if peace with President Assad was not secured.
Feel free to click on this link to watch an edited version of the BBC interview - BBC Breakfast Interview.