Friday, 6 July 2018

Sketch Crawl - The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor

Closed Teapot Ride
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

With the return of the annual Hoppings to Newcastle's Town Moor last month, I thought it was an opportunity to invite a few Tyne and Wear Urban Sketchers to a mid-week sketch crawl. Unusually for Hoppings week, we had glorious sunshine and although drawing in the middle of the day before the funfair opened at 2 o'clock meant few people were about, it also meant a serious absence of shade. 

To be honest, I'd forgotten what a visual overload the Hoppings presents, with complicated rides and stalls, all garishly decorated. The challenge was to find the basic shapes and include only sufficient decoration to make the drawing work.

After a short walk around, I stood in the shade of a closed stall and drew a teapot ride, also closed. I saw it later after it had opened up for business and realised how difficult it would have been to draw then.

(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

A little later, I decided it might be fun to capture some of the prizes hanging up on the stalls. Standing again in the shade of a closed stall, I drew these stuffed animals on offer as prizes on a "lucky number" stall. After a while, the man who'd been hanging up these soft toys, walked past me and I could sense he was standing behind. I ignored him and a few minutes later he went back to his job, shaking his head.

Helter Skelter
(0.5 marker, brushpen and coloured pencils in A5 sketchbook)

After a break for regrouping, a sit down with chips and fizzy drinks (by which time our original seven or eight had reduced to three), I set off with Luigi to take a look at the top end of the funfair before setting off for home. I'd just about decided that the long hot afternoon had worn me out but decided at the last minute to give the helter skelter a go. Standing in the shade of the back of a burger van, I did this last drawing. I got so involved with it that I found I was prepared to take the time to add colour with a red brushpen and some coloured pencils.

Then back home, reflecting on the fact that unlike my boyhood visits to the Hoppings when coconuts and goldfish were the prizes on most stalls, the goldfish were thankfully gone and there was a stall advertising that it was the only place to get a coconut, which you had to pay for.

No boxing booth, naked ladies or freak shows either, but we live in different times.

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