Artist compiles new book of sketches from across the globe

Drawing lecturer and artist Helen Birch started a night-time blog to occupy her mind while caring for her elderly mum.

Tuesday, 1st October 2013, 9:00 am
Artist Helen Birch

Her prolific on-line musings led to her being contacted by a major publishing house which saw potential for a compendium of sketching and drawing tips.

Now London-based Hardie Grant Books has published her practical paperback ‘Freehand’, which Helen has dedicated to her mum Joyce Birch, who died in 2010.

Helen gleaned sketches from fellow artists across the world, adding to their work a series of insightful hints and practical advice to explain drawing techniques, qualities and effects for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Helen said: “I teach drawing so I teach a lot of people about developing styles. The book is about materials and how to approach drawing in many different ways.”

She dedicated the book to her mother, also an artist, who had inspired her to be creative.

“She helped me to see, and hopefully this book will do the same for others,” Helen said.

Helen, of West View, Mytholmroyd, teaches BA courses at Bradford School of Art, David Hockney’s former art school.

Before becoming a lecturer she worked as a freelance surface pattern designer of fabrics and wallpapers.

She made use of her initials HB - the grading for the standard writing pencil - when using social media and setting up her blog, drawdrawdraw. The blog allowed her to reach fellow artists worldwide and she was able to collate 200 sketches and illustrations for the book by dozens of contemporary artists.

Hardie Grant Books describe the “extensive and explorative” publication, which sells for £11.99, as “a wonderful collection of playful, personal, witty and whimsical illustrations”.