I love to look at reportage drawing. It seems to show things in a way photography can’t. So I was delighted to try my hand at some reportage drawing of my own. I was invited to sketch at the ‘State of Calderdale 2018’ – a local authority conference. The conference was about how to make Calderdale a better place to live and work. Peeping into the inner workings of a council was fascinating.
Sketching on a home-made concertina sketchbook
I decided to sketch the whole even on one home-make concertina sketchbook. For this, I used a large 30 inches sheet of 300mg watercolour cut into thirds along the length. I then folded the paper into six sections to make my own mini accordion style sketchbooks.
I found the format perfect for reportage drawing because the narrative can stretch across the length of the book.
I composed the page as I went along, drawing as the events unfolded. Maybe I could have studied the event schedule and planned the composition a little beforehand. I had to draw a couple of the last speakers on the back and add them to the drawing with photoshop later.
Reportage drawing – capturing a feel of the moment
In addition to drawing the featured speakers and snippets of the talks, I tried to show what it felt like to be there. So I spent some time sketching the audience too. There were people in suits and some dressed casually – a few teenagers and also two sign language translators. I wanted to sketch the energy of the event too.
There was a huge backdrop with photos behind the speakers, which I abstracted with colour patches.
The conference was interesting and I really enjoyed drawing a live event. I liked the pressure to draw quickly. There was no time to think – just focussed drawing. Bliss!