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Nineteenth Century Stile

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Sunday, 5th October 2008


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YOU SQUEEZE through this stile from the driveway of Silcoates School, near Wakefield, onto Silcoates Lane. I like to draw old features in the landscape like this, worn and polished by decades of walkers (and their dogs).


Those chiselled lines are typical of Victorian stonework in local walls and houses. They remind me of the hatched lines used to represent tone in engravings of the period so I feel that, by drawing what is in front of me, my illustration has taken on a period feel.


I say ‘drawing what is in front of me’ but in fact I’ve drawn this from a digital photograph I took when we were checking out one of the walks for the new book. This is my first illustration for the book and I’m looking forward to settling down to doing dozens more.


I like such details because I can draw them at one sitting; this probably took a little over 30 minutes to draw and another 10 minutes or so to add the watercolour.


I think they’re going to add a lot to the book. I like the graphic simplicity of black and white line but I’m so glad to have the opportunity to work in colour for this book because it equates with the pleasure I’ve had walking through local landscapes while working out the routes.