Friday, May 7, 2010

Q&A with Mark Frudd of Diary Doodle Books

Last month I had a post about Mark Frudd's very cool blog Diary Doodle Books, where he posts his weekly drawings in his diary book. I found the concept absolutely fascinating. I emailed him to ask if he would be interested in doing a Q&A about it, and he very kindly said yes.

Then I went on an unexpected trip to London, got stuck there for awhile due to the ash cloud, and am still catching up on things here at home. Mark, sorry it has taken me so long to post this!! Thanks so much for your thoughtful answers!

1) What first gave you the idea to do drawings every week in a diary book?

It was a couple of years ago. I used to sketch and doodle on loads of bits of paper, layout pads and what not. I just wanted to collect them all together. The diary was as good a place as any to collect the beginnings of ideas and keep them to hand and not on scraps of paper that might end up at the back of the drawer. It's great to go back and flick through them and know the dates a seed was sown. I just need to find the time to develop the majority of the ideas now.

2) Why do you use a weekly diary? (As opposed to a daily diary, or a plain sketchbook?)

A weekly diary is a little more chilled. I tried a daily diary with the specific task of having something new drawn and documented everyday. It was really tough, struggled to find the time to commit to it each day and get something down. It took the fun out of the whole idea. With the weekly diary I've got more time and it flows more naturally. I also use a plain sketchbook.

3) Tell us about your drawings in your diary: do they summarize your week, or do they represent specific events you want to remember?

It's a mix of both. The whole idea of the diary doodle book is to document what's happening each week. If there is some event in the future I'll skip ahead and do a little doodle or note to remind myself. Sometimes it can just turn into a page of random images and notes, that might not look like much. But each drawing meant something at the time of it's conception, like a woolly hat because it was cold in the studio that day.

4) Do you carry your doodle diary around with you everywhere and draw when the urge strikes? Or do you keep your diary in a certain place and do your drawings there?

It's usually just to the right, on my desk. I'll take it most places because yeah, you never know when the urge strikes or you'll see something that sparks an idea. It's pretty difficult drawing on the bus I can tell you.

5) I noticed this year you are using a Moleskine weekly diary. How do you like it? What was the diary you used last year? Why did you decide to switch?

It's a look and feel thing and the prestige of them. I think they are just a work of art in themselves and the quality of the paper is excellent too. Previously I used a basic Collins A5 spiral bound diary which was okay. I switched because the Moleskine is just a unique canvas to work on, a better vehicle to hold and present my ideas.

6) I noticed on your website ( and your illustration blog ( you are a professional illustrator. Your illustrations are beautiful! Can you tell us about your work?

Sure. My work is a mix of pencil drawings and digital colouring. I develop my ideas through my sketchbooks and diary to iron out the composition. When myself, the art director or art editor I'm working with are happy. I'll produce a final drawing, scan it in to Photoshop then start adding the colour. I create layers and layers of opaque colour, a bit like doing washes with watercolours. Building up the detail and textures, removing bits of the pencil drawing sometimes to get the right balance. I do like to leave most of the pencil drawing visible to give the final piece an organic feel. Even though I'm using the computer to add the colour, my aim is for the final to look natural and not computer generated. (Laurie here--Wow!!!!)

7) And, I noticed you enjoy mountain biking. Where is your favorite place to bike? Where is your dream destination for mountain biking?

Yeah. Good to get out and about, stretch the legs on the bike, blow off the cobwebs. There are a few good little woods nearby for a quick blast round. Used to ride around the Brighouse, Halifax and Huddersfield areas in Yorkshire which were always good. Dream destination would be anywhere where there's a hill to go up and come down the other side. Moab Utah over in America would be up there as the ultimate.

Mark, thanks again for sharing with us about your doodle book, your artwork, websites and hobbies!!

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