I have to admit I’m lazy about using a sketch book now but the old-fashioned sketch book does still underpin an awful lot of my work. When I first started at art school my pre-degree course had a whole day allotted to using your sketch book as a research tool, reference book and as an important step in your artistic development. One tutor used to give every student a different subject for the day: spend a day drawing waves at the coast, stay on a circular passenger bus around the town and draw people, go to the railway station, high street, docks or park and draw what you see. Every student was given a different subject and the next day you had to present your work to the peer group so that they could learn from you and you from them. There’s nothing quite like a little pressure. Now the pressure comes from a different direction. Sue and I have a break and the kids tell me, don’t send cards or Instagrams or whatever just, I repeat just, fill a sketch book for us so here are some drawings from a holiday in the Charente region in France from far too many years ago. I still really like the concept of a holiday sketch book because it feels more permanent than digital images and from this particular sketch book I’m convinced I should produce a print of our son, the kite flyer who is featured in some of the drawings. There’s nothing like flying a kite as a massive thunderstorm approaches, kite flying as a dangerous pursuit. A really memorable moment captured on the white pages of a sketch book.