We're starting a series of interviews with a wide range of Derwent users who got in touch through social media. We aim to shed some light on our customers and to give an insight into professional and amateur artists alike!
Here, Steve Morris has kindly agreed to chat to us about how he uses drawing to help cope with a long term illness.
Hello Steve! Tell us a little about yourself:
To start with, I’m 55 years old and I live in Bewdley, Worcestershire. Whilst drawing has always been my hobby since childhood, I grew up to be a builder/joiner and cabinet maker to name but a few of my trades.
Some years ago I was diagnosed with MS which has a tendency to stop you in your tracks and listen to what’s important in life and the things you hear can be pleasant sometimes and make you take note of what you can and cannot do anymore.
Building has gone now (which used to keep my creative side busy) to be replaced with my long term love....drawing!
When did you start drawing?
Since I was at junior school I have been interested in drawing and my fondest memories include a huge picture of rabbits that the teachers let me do as part of a play backdrop. I can still recall it today.
But my serious side took off about 7-8 years ago after discovering my limits due to the MS.
How do you feel drawing helps with your health problems?
It seemed as though I was being told to take time out and use the gift I was given; the gift to create something with my own hands, as thankfully the only part of me not too affected by the MS is my right hand. So glad I’m not a leftie!
Whilst I don't have much patience when it comes to life, when it comes to drawing or sculpting then I have all the patience in the world.
My art takes me away from reality and into my own world, the world that I create and control and not the other way round.
The normal aches and pains that go with living don’t hinder me in any way when I’m sat drawing so there is relief for me through art both mentally and physically.
What is your favourite subject to draw?
My favourite subject to draw used to be landscapes, especially trees. I loved the texture and the grittiness of an old tree that showed the tests of time. I suppose that I can understand how they must feel being stuck in the ground, anchored to a way of life that's not of their choosing but adapting to what life has thrown their way.
Recently, thanks once again to Derwent, I have discovered Pastels, which has led me to doing portraits of pets such as cats and dogs of which I have already done a few commissions; with one of them being in the US.
Have you any tips for other people wanting to learn to draw?
My tips for drawing...where to start? Don’t be afraid! Remember that this is ONLY a drawing when all is said and done and if you do it with the correct pencils and you don’t press on the surface too hard you can always erase it. Life will carry on! Also, DRAW WHAT YOU SEE. Don’t draw it as you think it should be. Instead use a sheet of paper to rest your drawing hand on and cover up most of the picture so that you only see what you have achieved AFTER you have drawn it, that way you won’t be tempted to make it up.
What is your favourite medium to draw with?
My favourite medium has always been graphite. Until now. Since discovering Pastels I find I’m torn between the two right now so a marriage of both will work for me.
What is your favourite piece of work?
My favourite piece would have to be a drawing I did a couple of years ago of a place in Ludlow, Worcestershire in an area known as Mill on the Green. When I first drew this piece I had a print made of it and then used charcoal on it to add depth, contrast and a lovely black tone that I couldn’t give to it before the printing process due to the fact that charcoal will not lay on graphite. It’s kind of like trying to draw on glass.
Thanks so much to Steve for the interview. To see more of his work, visit Steve's Facebook page: