Making marks on paper is a glorious freedom. A opportunity to invent an image that could even startle one’s own self.

Imagine surprising yourself, you are starting out with nothing – just a blank piece of paper. What a blank slate that is? And an image will present itself. I don’t have the time to describe where that could have arrived from?

It is almost miraculous at times – a breakthrough, a good idea, a gift from God? Of all the many preferred methods (tablet, mac – all kinds of digital methods for art working) that one could use. The most humble and delightful way for me is definitely a pre – technology approach. That is the HB (or slightly softer, like a 2B or 3B) pencil, which these days can be bought for 10 pencils for a pound coin. Next to nothing.

Equally simple and modest is a ream of photocopy paper of A4 size, on which to make the images. 500 sheets, which is a lot of paper and with no added need to worry about making mistakes.

Another method, I have tried is a larger felt tip pen – plus the said 500 sheets. There I just start drawing in a non – mechanical and hopefully unhindered manner. I just begin to simply draw – and usually quite fast. That way I attempt to bypass the brain in a crafty way and make images before rationale clamps itself down.

This is to separate brain from actions – if at all possible. To let another stream of creativity flow directly. Without too much contemplation and forethought. In fact, trying to circumvent that usual way of creating .

The pencil – is a simple lead and thin wood stick essentially. It can be sharpened to a desired point, from which to draw. There is something really primal about the ease and simplicity of using this method. The smell of wood shavings is sublime, after sharpening the pencil. Like loving the smell of tar on roads and walls.

As someone whose first love artistically was comic books and comic art. I realised that the primo tool used (back then) was a pencil with inks applied over the pencils afterwards. Then colour (if needed) was the last part of the process, along with the lettering and any logos etc.

Then inks are applied to the work to give the bolder outlines. But, nothing to my mind, equals that glorious feeling of laying down a pencil sketch. Be it a rough guide or a more finished drawing.

I have tried throughout the last few years, although being engaged primarily as a writer, to keep up with doodling and drawings. Sometimes to conceptualise new or other characters. Or to keep my pencils art somewhat still elastic

Hence the titles of these two e-books – Sketch One and Sketch Two.