their work and words, interviews, blogs, images, hints, tips, websites
and more...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interview #6--Fred Crowley

One fascinating aspect of journal keeping is how people start...how they jumped into that first empty white page.  This is one of Fred's that was so intriguing I included it in the book.

Fred Crowley's work first caught my eye on Flickr, where he's had several different IDs--I'd be willing to bet you're familiar with at least one of them!  Find him HERE, as -watcher-.  And watch he does, and respond!

Fred sketches people in Panera Bread that look almost as if you could walk up and talk to them; they're intimate, colorful, and very, very human. I love the titles he puts on his sketches, often done in Moleskine journals, some across a two page spread, sometimes on a single page.

His animals have that same sort of LIFE to them.

One thing that was fun about doing these interviews is that they were all different!  Some responded to the normal question and answer, some, like inveterate sketcher Fred Crowley, answered all of a piece.  It's a pleasure to read...so come along and meet Fred Crowley!

Here's Fred in his own words (except the captions, which are mine.)


I try to draw in my drawing book every day.

I have been drawing in my books for about 14 years.  I really don't call them journals.  I put in some anecdotes, but I am too private to put it all out for public viewing. 

I like to draw people or animals.  I like the high degree of difficulty.

I find drawing very comforting.  I like to push myself to see if I can get something down quickly.  If I can't get it I use my memory and knowledge to finish the drawing.

Sometimes Fred uses added bits of paper, as on this spread...he tells me it's to cover a bit of sketch that didn't quite work, but it's become a strong design element in a lot of his pages.  He often uses a date stamp like this one, which adds a graphic element as well.

I like to watch and memorize.  Then I like to draw.  I do like to restate the lines if the first ones aren't correct.  (I remember in some figure drawing classes how people would discovery that a lines wasn't correct and erase it.  They would then draw the same line instead of drawing in the new line before erasing.)  It is fun to watch the movement as I capture the image.  I also like leaving the lines in.  That is why I like my fountain pens and Micron pens.  I have to live with what I put down.  If I use pencil I am more judicious in my mark making.  It really slows me down.  I try not to erase. 

Polished pieces don't show the artist's vigor or the map that shows how the image was constructed.  I am also a bit lazy and lose interest if I can't move along and capture what I see.  I do sometimes like to make part of a drawing more "polished" to create emphasis.  I also believe in solid composition to create my images.  Very seldom are the groups that I draw  really groups.  I put people and animals together on the page to make a somewhat cohesive image.

It's always interesting to see the composition of Fred's pages...your eye travels around the page, stopping here and there, learning and delighting...

Moleskine sketchbooks can be a challenge  when using watercolor (I am not referring to the Moleskine watercolor Books).  Wil Freeborn put it best.  You have to sort of scrub the colors in.  That is why I like the waterbrush for use in my books.  I also make sure I have loaded quite a bit of pigment to get the intensity I desire.  I sometimes use watercolor crayons on top of the watercolor to create the depth/intensity I want.  Sometimes I use gouache or Inktense pencils. 

This one is in an accordion fold journal...it pushes the envelope and is beautifully textured.


You'll enjoy Fred's sets on Flickr...browse around, and enjoy!  And Fred?  Thank you for sharing...as always, I'm inspired by your work as I know our readers will be too.


  1. This is Fred alright! I love his style. Thanks for including him.

  2. Fred's talents and graphic elements always delight me. Great interview!

  3. Geez. He needs a 24 hour art show on TV just so a person can get enough. Just too wonderful!

  4. Wonderful, Kate--nice interview! I'm a huge fan of Fred's--this is great that he's also in the book. His work is so unique and instantly recognizable as his.

  5. Thanks, Sue, it really is instantly recognizable, isn't it! I love to visit his Flickr...

  6. Fred, I especially like your animals. I never get to see enough of them. I also think you do wonders with touches of color.

  7. Great interview, Fred & Kate! Fred, I'm with Elva. I love how and when you choose to add color.

  8. I sketched in pencil in my last Moleskine two years ago, I used the Handbook Sketchbook last year and went back to a Moleskine (non-watercolor paper) this year and I know what Fred is talking about, there's almost a resist built into the paper that seems to dislike watercolors. But I a forcing that book into submission. It's getting watercolor whether it likes it or not!

    Great sketches Fred,thanks for sharing.

  9. Some people use a bit of soap or drop of detergent in the wash to make watercolor adhere to the non-watercolor Moleskines, Gina, might give it a try!

  10. Just discovered this book today and I really loved all of Fred Crowley's paintings. Wonderful.
    Nora MacPhail

  11. So glad you're enjoying it, Nora! And welcome to the blog...


We'd love your feedback...please share your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...