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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Sketchbook Assignment 1

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

The Everyday

A collection of bits and pieces from the day to day in 2020, the year of the Pandemic.

The everyday has become somewhat questionable during 2020. Thanks to COVID-19 we find ourselves in groundhog day more often than not. Lockdown, self isolation, quarantine... everything to keep you locked in. I made a start on this by looking at the things I do and see daily. Of course I would like to add to this with objects that help me through the daily routine. The small things that make it into everyday, like brushing teeth, having tea and scrolling mindlessly through my phone. Gazing out the window is also a habit that I welcome!

What with the current situation in the world, it feels a bit difficult to not mock the political crisis. I tend to want to avoid anything around this, but for some odd reason I felt the urge to draw Boris. I suppose it is a bit of a regular occurrence in the everyday. If it isn't an update from the man himself, it's headlines in newspapers.

Annoyingly, as I went through the pages, using pen became difficult as it would bleed through, which made the sketches difficult to see. The page on the right is a few sketches from a trip in Poland in October. Huge protests were taking place during my trip which was both sad to see happening in this day and inspiring.

Lockdown 2.0 with Sky Arts

So during the second lockdown (actually starting in October until December) I found myself joining in with Portrait Artist of the Week using my A3 sketchbook and acrylics. Wanting to make a habit of painting regularly and a routine to keep motivated during yet another lockdown, I thought it would be a great opportunity to practise painting portraits. I hoped this might fit in as part of "the everyday" in this assignment.

I used pages in my hand made sketchbook for some initial drawings to get the eye and hand working together. I kept them quick with time limit of 2 minute, whilst experimenting with single line drawings to simplify the form.

Some behind the scenes process photos of paintings:

The final portraits so far:

Whether it's daily or weekly. Using the sketchbook had gone from zero to regular since starting this course and I'm enjoying the ride. Although it is just the beginning, I have found myself at ease with opening the book and drawing. There is a lot. I would like to experiment with from here on and I look forward to exploring them in my sketchbooks.


As much as I enjoyed filling the pages in my first handmade sketchbook, I do regret making the entire book from the paper bags. The pages were a mix of glossy and satin which made it difficult to stick with using biro's. I also found it difficult to introduce different mediums as it would often bleed on to the next page.

Part of me felt more confident working from this book, in a way I hoped I would with a sketchbook full of crisp white pages. Perhaps finding a middle ground with the recycled papers as a sketchbook would be more beneficial to me in the future. It felt good flipping through the pages of wrinkled paper, the noise was satisfying on turning the page and texture felt nice. It was just a shame about the glossy paper and how thin it was.


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