Testing, testing…?

Contrary to the evidence of recent blog-centric activity (nil), I am still very much alive and in possession of a functioning (albeit with somewhat erratic quality) brain and perfectly able-fingered pair of typing hands. Hurrah! However, I’ll spare you the long and deeply uninteresting list of ‘mitigating circumstances’ (excuses) that intervened since my last post and which, with its collective might, succeeded in entirely disabling my blog-weaving faculties. Let it suffice to say that not all were unpleasant/onerous impediments; that the combination of Solpadeine and ibuprofen triumphs where mere paracetamol will surely always fail (a revelation in pharmaceutical cocktail-mixing, courtesy ThamesDoc); and that I have completed three-quarters of a (paying – again, hurrah!) commission with which I am uncharacteristically pleased.

Alas, all this has left the reservoir of idle sketchings from which I periodically hoik a specimen for blog treatment – betwixt the showcasing of other, more apposite drawings – rather dry (in sympathy with the literal reservoirs of Surrey, it would seem…). However, I am very occasionally compelled to clean the house (or a carefully selected room, or portion of room, therein) and, excavating through the accumulated detritus in the living-room a few days ago in an attempt to unearth the furniture I know to be lurking somewhere beneath, I discovered a couple of sketches I’d made at some point during the bank holiday bonanza last month.

I think it was a barbecuing day, and as such, these bears were inspired by the insect-beset experience of our first, genuine al fresco dining of the British summertime. I’m reluctant to entertain the idea of bears engaging in barbecue-based food preparation (I here confess to having taken exception, very early in my Hanna Barbra cartoon-watching career, to the buffoonish Yogi bear [and his irksome little sidekick] – the only ursine character I could, at a push, envisage wielding tongs in such a capacity): thus, the pictured bear clutches a far more plausible honey sandwich, while wearing a look of consternation re. the ant perched, audaciously, on the end of his nose:

I have a few other bear sketches lingering about my drawing desk, and environs, and am quite tempted to see if I can identify a cute-but-not-too-saccharine (and, preferably, endearingly mischievous) bear-story-writing-muscle in my (ordinarily) painting hand. I rather like this little fella – and it would be nothing short of wondrous to be armed with a character whom I’m might deploy against the relentless clamour of mouse-shaped presences vying (in, as I’m sure you can imagine, an irritatingly squeaky timbre) for an existence in pencil…

The second bear is a much rougher, more comic-book-esque being: I haven’t got the line weight right around his head, the shading’s pretty haphazard, and I’m not sure I like his jowly jaw line, but with some refinement (i.e. redrawing…) I think he could make a passably impetuous foil for his better-natured friend:

Well, not much of a comeback, I’ll admit, but more anon: I’m desperate to get back to some ‘playing’ after the commissioned marathon (one more piece to go – alas, it is my own tenacious attachment to the lightbox for completion of these particular illustrations that has cast a rather proscriptive shadow over the ordinarily-exhilarating watercolour stages; hence the impatience…).

Meanwhile, I hope you are all enjoying a particularly fine week, and I look forward to welcoming you back very soon!

AP x.


About illustratedbyamanda

Illustrator and time-fritterer extraordinaire
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