Happy Accidents

Simon Bartram

“Over recent years, my work has gradually developed into a pretty neat and tidy style of illustration. It is a way of creating pictures that feels natural to me and a way with which I am most comfortable. I like to feel under control from the initial doodle until the completion of a painting. Before I consider picking up a paintbrush to begin an artwork, I hope to have worked through any potential problems I might face with extensive layout work and colour/tonal studies. Hopefully then a finished piece will turn out well.

However that way of working does not suit everyone and, even for me, can occasionally become a laborious process. Because of this I always have a sketchbook at the ready to jump into from time to time. An hour or so of working without inhibitions bears out the cliché of a change is as good as a rest. Paint is splashed more freely and figures are playfully distorted. New combinations of colours and textures are tried. Thoughts are written down and characters are born.

To me, sketchbooks are the training grounds for artists and illustrators. The artist is more likely to take more risks, often leading to ‘happy accidents’ that can influence future styles of work. Above all, sketchbooks are all about having fun and learning at the same time. In many ways they encourage you to think and draw with the freedom you experienced as a child.”

Football sketches

WOW! Final artwork

Sketchbook studies