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A Day in Old Spitalfields Market

I really enjoy drawing from observation, and Spitalfields Market is such an interesting place to observe. Usually I find drawing people quite difficult, but this task helped me to be less precious about my drawings, and instead get any details I can down in my sketchbook. I found that using a brush pen was really effective because it glides across the page smoothly, which is helpful when needing to draw quickly. The market was so fascinating, hearing people's stories, looking at the objects on sale. I found the people the most interesting part of the market. You could sense the amount of experience they have, and the love that they have for what they do. The stallholder I decided to focus on was very friendly, and everyone seemed to know him and his sense of humour. He came and spoke to me a couple of times about his time on the market and who I should look out for. It was great to hear first hand what it was like to be a stallholder in such a famous market. The customers were also really interesting to draw, all dressed in different styles and interacting with the stallholder. 

Once I got back to the studio and looked over my drawings, I realised that I mostly drew people from behind. This is because the market was so busy and there were many interactions with the stall I was observing. However I thought that this made my drawings more exciting, a totally different way of drawing someone's portrait. 

For the zine, I had an idea to make a mix and match flip book using all of the characters I observed at the market. This idea partly came from looking at the huge variety of people at the market, and how each one was dressed differently and there for a different reason, whether that be a stallholder, an office worker on their lunch break, a customer browsing, an art student drawing etc. The idea for the format of the book came from a book that I saw at the London Illustration Fair. It was by Alice Pattullo, and the idea of the book was to flip the pages to mix and match the bodies, heads and legs for each character. I also remember having some books like that when I was little, and I thought that it was a good way to portray the market and its mix of characters. 

However, it was more complicated to make than I had imagined. The aim for the project was to get somewhere towards a zine, with the aim of finishing it at a later date ready to sell at the market. I used my sketchbook drawings to create my characters, however when I got home and scanned them into my laptop I realised that they didn't match up enough. I had to do a lot of editing, redrawing and editing again, and so this made the process a lot longer. I aim to finish the zine soon.