I live in Devon in the southwest of England. I also live (just) in Wessex, a slightly vague geographical area (I associate it with King Alfred) that encompasses East Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Bath & Avon and West Wiltshire. I think if I took a couple of steps westwards I would no longer be in Wessex.
Wessex has its own splendid arts magazine called Evolver and each year they run a prize competition to design the cover for the summer issue of the magazine, with the top 50 entrants selected by a panel being shown at what is always an excellent exhibition throughout the summer.
I haven't submitted work for a few years, but this year I thought I'd give it a go because I had an idea in mind. It was more a concept for a geometrically shaped building, in fact. I wasn't sure what it was going to 'be', but I set out the paper to the right size (A4) and, as I'm inclined to do, started drawing from the bottom left hand corner.
The drawing wasn't preplanned at all, I just drew it freehand. I had the idea of the steps up to a central platform, but that was it. Once I had this main form in place I extended the top with the cut back areas. I now had the shell, but not really a clear idea of how I would complete it. I get lots of my ideas while out walking the dog, and in this case I had the notion of covering the exterior with tiny doors, windows, balconies, stairways etc. It was the scale that was important. At the same time I knew I wanted to write on the building. As I started filling in the detail I realised I wanted it to carry a simple positive message, so I decided to use only the one word: yes.
The final drawing stage involved adding the little figures, the landscape elements and other details such as the birds.
I toyed with the idea of submitting this simple black and white drawing, but I was aware that it was for a magazine cover and wasn't sure if it would have enough impact. I already had a vision of it in my mind as a coloured drawing, bringing out the three dimensionality of the building/city. I had in mind the flat, perfect tones of the Tintin books which I've always loved. I scanned the artwork and gradually filled in each facet of the building in Photoshop.
I was really pleased with the result, got it printed and sent it off hoping I might make it into the 50 to be shown at the exhibition. I was genuinely surprised and thrilled to bits when I got a call from Simon Barber of Evolver telling me I'd won.
The piece is called "Yes" (or Positivopolis - which is a bit of a mouthful, but how I conceived the drawing). It is in no way associated with any recent or forthcoming referenda in the UK!
My piece will be on show at the exhibition which this year will be at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton, from 4 July - 29th August. I am also hoping to exhibit the original black & white drawing at the gallery.