Guest Post by Ray The Hammer
My dad passed away in January 2017. On the day of his funeral, which took place the following month, my mum produced a couple of drawings that I did when I was about 12 or 13. Pictures of Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus, my dad’s two favourite golfers at the time. Mum said that he’d kept them, unbeknownst to me, for all that time, over 40 years! Like I needed any more emotion on that particular day!
Even though I was achieving good grades at the time, I gave up art when I had to chose my options at school so I hadn’t really touched a pencil or paintbrush since then. Anyway, mum producing those old drawings led to my daughter saying that she didn’t know I could draw & immediately demanding that I drew a portrait of her. After further nagging and cajoling, a month or so later, I bought a sketch pad and some drawing pencils and consequently I produced an absolutely hideous picture of my daughter! Although she pretended that she liked it, I’m pretty sure that won’t still be around in another 40 years time!
I’m semiretired, so I’m lucky enough to have a fair amount of spare time and I was looking for a hobby anyway, so I soldiered on regardless and gradually got better and more confident. I enjoyed drawing portraits, so it was inevitable that I would soon start drawing West Ham players. Eventually, about a year ago, I was confident enough to post one or two of my efforts on here and they were generally well received. As a result of my earlier posts, I received my second commission, from Marc, who asked me to draw his son. I think the young fella liked it and to my great joy, it inspired him to get his pens and pencils out and have a go himself. Actually, it’s just occurred to me that it may not have been inspiration at all, urged on by his dad, he probably thought “I can do better than that crock!” :))
Over time, I have bought several, nay numerous books, watched untold YouTube videos and upgraded the materials that I use, after trying various grades of paper and different brands of coloured pencil, which has now become my medium of choice. I now feel like I’ve settled on a style of drawing which suits me and I’ve also branched out a bit from football to include Hollywood and my third commission, a dog! :)
I’ve had some fantastic advice and support from a couple of other posters on the site. Initially from the multitalented Dawud, who is a fine arts graduate and teacher, as well as an excellent photographer, and latterly from Blakey, a very, very talented professional artist. If you haven’t already, please check out his work, there are links on his bio. I aspire to be a tenth as good as him. Thanks so much to both of you.
These are in date order and I’ve finished with a third picture of Mark Noble, as my son pointed out that the first two were about a year apart and the second was completed just over a year ago so it made sense to tackle Nobes for a third time. Hopefully this helps to show the progress I’ve made during that two year period. I would absolutely welcome further advice and encourage constructive criticism from anyone. I would also love suggestions for future subjects. If, like Marc’s lad, anyone else is inspired to pick up a pencil for the first time, or after a long lay off like me, I’d be happy to pass on the limited knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the last two and a half years.
Thanks for reading.
1. Bobby Moore – April 2017
2. Mark Noble – September 2017
3. Andy Carroll – October 2017
4. Chicharito – November 2017
5. Slaven Bilic – November 2017
6. Carlton Cole – November 2017 – This picture was spotted by a mate of Carlton on WHTID and forwarded on to him. He subsequently used it in his Instagram story which was seen by my son. He then DM’d Carlton who agreed to sign it for me, which he did.
7. Bobby Moore – February 2018 – So just about a year after the first one.
8. Marko Arnautovic – July 2018
9. Felipe Anderson – July 2018 – This was seen and ‘liked’ by Anderson on my Instagram account :)
10. Mark Noble – August 2018
11. Andriy Yarmolenko – September 2018
12. Sir Trevor Brooking – November 2018
13. Grady Diangana – November 2018 – This was also ‘liked’ by Grady on Instagram :)
14. Manuel Pellegrini – June 2019 – You can see there was a big break between Grady and this one of the gaffer. It was during this time that I diversified and started using Hollywood for subject matter. I regard this one as a bit of a landmark piece.
15. Lukasz Fabianski – July 2019
16. Mark Noble – October 2019