A nostalgic ‘trip’ to Penrith…

When I first started working with Cumbrian Newspapers in November 1990, I was a young graphic designer and illustrator with only 3-years ‘real life’ experience.  Nothing prepared me for the cut-and-thrust world of the news industry, where items and articles were turned around like the speed of light, so as not to miss ‘the press’.  On my first morning I recall some advertising representative thrusting a full sized doll’s house in my direction and stating, “I need this drawn for an advertisement that is going to print early this afternoon”.  No pressure there then!
Devonshire Arcade, Penrith by Michael Quinlyn-Nixon
Devonshire Arcade, Penrith

As well as being called upon to draw a range of miscellaneous objects and items, including a bag of sausages and a caricature of Mystic Meg, part of my duties was to go to visit different places in Cumbria and do a ‘quick sketch’ (or at least that what was said on the brief).  I remember visiting nice places, such as Wigton and Maryport, which became a favourite place of mine.  One trip was to Penrith, where I had to draw the quaintly named Angel Square and then a very new shopping centre, Devonshire Arcade.  I only had time to do a quick pen and ink sketch of both venues, before being collected on the news van!  The pen and ink sketch I did of Angel Square has been drawn rather loosely and with no hint of a ruler, to give it that traditional look, whilst the super-smart Devonshire Arcade got a much more architectural look ‘feel’ given to it.Angel Square, Penrith by Michael Quinlyn-NixonAngel Square, Penrith

I really enjoyed scribbling the Angel Square illustration, but the perspective did allude me for a wee while.  Looking at the sketch now, I am drawn to the back of the man on the right-hand side of the picture, as he reminded me of Mr Arkwright, a fictional character from the comedy ‘Open All Hours’, who was performed by the wonderful Ronnie Barker.  I was reminded of him at the time of doing the actual drawing and even went so far as to remark on this similarity to the real life man, as it were.  The elderly gentleman, being very broad in the Cumbrian accent voiced some unintelligible reply, but I DO know enough about facial expressions and body language to know that I really should have kept my lips sealed!  “Go’an fetch some sticky-tape, Granville!”

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