The Lockdown Blog, Day 22

Friday 3rd April


Liv (15) comes to me in my studio with her embroidered piece of denim. We have a pact, that if she makes an entire face mask on her own from start to finish, she can get creative with clothing (either hacking up things she doesn’t like, or making things from scratch) and I will help her. This isn’t going to be that face mask. We agree that it’s far too pretty to risk rookie errors so I sew it up and Liv watches (sort of, I’m not the only one whose concentration has gone south). The finished product is beautiful, fits perfectly and looks great. Liv is delighted. “It matches my eyes,” she says, but adds that she’ll still be a bit self-conscious wearing it out. I tell her if she gives it a week or two she’ll feel self-conscious not wearing a face mask in public.


I find something on Wikipedia that suggests the Czech way of coping with the Covid outbreak, to make mask-wearing compulsory for all, is producing great results. I’m still baffled by the “experts” approach to the wearing of masks. Yes, they are coming around now and asking us all to wear them, but they are still assuming that sewing masks is beyond most people. And maybe it is. Like cooking seems to be difficult for some. I think the fact that people don’t know how to do basic stuff is very strange. Then again, I can’t knit.


I am furiously finishing my book on sketching expressive people for my American publisher. The upshot of this is that my day is pretty uneventful, unless you count scanning and crossing off images uploaded to as events, in which case it’s a whirlwind of activity. So, to make up for uneventfulness, I am giving you a sneak preview of one of the things I talk about in my book: how to choose and mix colours to make believable skin tones. The above tubes are the colours that make up my palette for skin. They are, left to right, Opera pink, Lemon yellow, Yellow ochre, Burnt umber, Transparent red oxide and Payne’s grey. I squeeze them into half pans and wait a few days for them to dry. Here’s what they look like in various stages of dilution…

They might look a bit intense unmixed, but you can get any skin tone with them…

…as you can see. You can expand them a lot more to make pinker, browner or yellower tones. What’s nice about these colours is that they are clear and clean: remember, you can always muddy up a colour but you can’t make it brighter. If you are a person who likes to sketch people, it’s time to start drawing squares and start getting used to the range of shades and tones from each tube.


I see something on Twitter: Middle Class Quarantine Bingo. Things that are featured include growing tomatoes, having drinks on Zoom (haven’t done it but I did plan it), doing crafts and drinking earlier than usual. Between Liv and me we have 9 bingo thingy hits (I don’t know how you say it). I am sad to see that making sourdough is on the list. Turns out I am just a middle class quarantiner like everyone else and I feel like an eejit for thinking I was cool for making bread rise without packet yeast – and I bought the starter so I can’t even take credit for catching and taming it from the wild. I am no longer going to draw my stupid sourdough. It’s not even that good – Mum sent me a link to this urban sketcher from Dublin and her photos of sourdough leave mine in the ha’penny place.

Oh well. Keep Calm And Carry On Sewing Masks!

Bon appétit!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twelve + one =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.