Wednesday, 19 October 2016

"A Coming Of Age" By Stuart Harris

I have been quietly working away on a lovely project for an angling book that is now ready to be published in the next month and available on pre order now. It is available from ‘The Little Egret Press’, which is a small bespoke angling publication company that specialises in limited edition books and exquisite leather bindings! It has been anything but work and something I feel grateful to have been involved with, enjoying every minute reading each enchanting chapter, and trying to link my artwork with the wonderful written words. The aim has been to ensure the reader gains a visual connection throughout the book, which I feel, is an important link.

You may not have not heard of Stu who carries the pseudonym ‘The Sweetcorn Kid’; his real name is Stuart Harris and this is his second book. Stu’s first book is ‘From Carbon to Cane’ and it’s a fantastic read in itself, highlighting that angling enjoyment can be found by returning to basics, in other words, leaving the mountain of modern day tackle behind! The book reveals that angling is so much more than just catching fish - for Stu it was a pilgrimage that led to reverting back to tackle used more than 50 years ago, and through this journey, becoming the angler he is today. His second publication ‘A Coming of Age’ is based on a full season diary of events, fishing all manner of venues from the Legendary Redmire Pool, to far more discreet venues that in some ways are even more mysterious and exciting than Redmire itself. Stu is a very accomplished all-round angler, more than happy fishing the pin and cane for monstrous Gudgeon, chasing dark, scaly shadows that inhabit ‘The Moat’, or summer days float fishing for the most ancient of Crucian Carp, winter Grayling and spring Tench....the list goes on!

For better and worse, angling has changed significantly over the last 10 years and it's becoming increasingly more difficult to find natural venues, unspoilt by the passage of human feet and interference...hence the inspiration for this book....and like the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ it contains tales that take you on an enchanting journey into another world. You flit from one venue to the next and become immersed in the underwater world of angling, along with wildlife that most anglers have the privilege to enjoy whilst spending time on the bank side. Rest assured, this is not just another glory book of ‘look at me holding another lake record’ influenced by nothing more than lbs, ounces and self-gratification.

For those who know me, my time is limited through various commitments, therefore it is imperative I enjoy my art and for those reasons I have stopped taking on commissions of subjects I don't connect with. I believe this is quite a natural progression for many artists, and fortunately I don't have to pay the mortgage from my work, so without this pressure I have the freedom to enjoy what I do. This year I have been asked to illustrate for a number of books, but getting involved with ‘The Sweetcorn Kid’ was something I dearly wanted to do. It's all about the passion for me and that's what is evident about Stu and his angling...beaming smiles with every shot, enthusiasm for his venues and tackle, appreciating all fish regardless of size and stopping to marvel at the flora and fauna along the way. That's the essence of angling right there and it’s why I have always been a lifelong fishing addict. For too many anglers these days it's a job....and nothing is more obvious than a deadpan look while holding another carp like it's another day at the office......well deal-me-out and ‘stop this ride because I'm getting off’. The day the passion is dead I'm taking up golf!

I won't go into any more detail regarding the book and I don't do cheap plugs....but if like myself, your passion is for the things I have mentioned above, then go buy yourself a copy. Along with Stu's great storytelling, he has this inherent ability to capture an image with the camera....I have other friends who are gifted at taking pictures and it's purely a natural either have it or not! With every turn of the page you will be spellbound by the images which complement this book greatly. Beautifully written words enhance the visual element of the images and art, enabling you to break through the meniscus into angling heaven, and this is where my part is played in this wonderful book.

Stu requested at the beginning that the 22 chapters were to be accompanied with a drawing....treading carefully with his words knowing it was a huge undertaking for myself, and not wanting to be cheeky, well let's just say that the final count amassed 45 drawings (the fact he has a grip like Giant Haystack's had nothing to do with it, honest). It was important for me that the illustrations connected with each chapter, not just a random image with no meaning. I started by reading each chapter and when images jumped from Stu’s writing into my imagination, I would scribble down ideas and combine these with input from the man himself. Eventually, after bashing ideas back and forth, we managed to come up with the chosen drawings. Stu was very keen on the idea of ink drawings, preferring black and white images over graphite pencil or colour, and also being heavily influenced by some of the past great angling books and his own hero's! With this in mind I wanted to try a new technique and use ink on white scraper board, i.e. the one used by "BB" himself, and another of my favourite artists Charles Tunnicliffe. The surface is not paper but card with a very thin coating of china clay applied to the surface. This allowed me to both illustrate in ink pen and apply ink washes with a brush to the surface, but the magic is created by scratching the surface with a sharp implement to remove specific areas of ink and reveal the white under layer. Whilst this is not so obvious to many (thinking it's just ink on paper) it allowed me to develop very fine detail in areas that can add a third dimension to the work. Even though it's a very old technique that some of the great illustrators have used extensively in the past, I very much wanted to add my own style after finding some of the older works a little one dimensional in some cases. Hopefully you will enjoy what I have put together and if it encompasses Stu's written words and enriches the book, well then I have played my part well!


Most of the works will be available to buy, I will add a few to this blog to give you an insight of the pieces, but in the meantime if you have any questions please feel free to contact me via the blog email or from my Facebook Art page ( Adam Entwistle British Wildlife & Angling Artist).


All works are ink on A4 White scraper board; they will be double mounted along with backing board ready for framing. Priced on average at £120 each, with some of the more detailed works £150 and smaller pieces £90. Each piece is totally unique, with no prints or reproductions available they will become small collection pieces in the future and hopefully grow in value.


Just to kick things off the finest fisherman of all........