Fact and Fiction

An Illustration student exploring a group of workers around Edinburgh


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Whitmuir in Photos

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I headed to Whitmuir Organic Farm for a solid weekend of drawing. It was so inspirational and the country bumpkin inside me felt very at home there. The people were very friendly and the animals were such characters. i gathered as much information as i could, sketching, taking photos and talking to the workers.

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I got up close and personal to the chickens and piggies… so much so one of the piglets decided to nibble on my jeans!

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A Farm Decision

After discussion with my peers and tutor I came to the decision to focus on one stall in Edinburgh and trace it back to its source. This way I could really concentrate on one business and indulge in in- depth visual research and build more of a relationship with the place and the workers.

whitmuir signI did some research into the farmers market and found an organic farm 20 miles from Edinburgh, Whitmuir the Organic Place. I was instantly interested in the ethics and strategy of the business so was certain this was the group of workers I wanted to research.
Whitmuir is a family run Organic Farm that produces fresh fruit and veg, free range chickens and eggs and the highest quality organic Scottish meat. They also have a shop, café and gallery on the farm making it a fantastic place to visit and see how an organic farm works.

I have decided to visit there this weekend coming and have a weekend of solid observational drawing whilst chatting to the workers and getting a feel for the farm.


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An Uncertain Start

With street sellers as my group of workers I set off to the Royal Mile for some location drawing. The weather was fortunately with me and I had a beautiful afternoon to sketch in. I wondered to the Royal Mile with my ink and a scarily new sketchbook handy. Spotting the first stalls I settled down on St Giles step and began sketching.stalls1

I drew the stalls and tried to include the people perusing and their surroundings. I chose to work in ink and my dip pen to achieve varying thickness of lines and to quickly capture the atmosphere of the Mile. It is funny how many people’s attention one attracts when drawing in the street; tourists stopping to look, others seeming awkwardly unimpressed and the promised few who keep peering back and forth from your drawing to the scene you are sketching. An artist from across the street wondered over and had a chat with me. He was very friendly and encouraging although I could not understand what he was saying half of the time.

treestallI then moved further down, conveniently right beside a Starbucks. I spent another hour or so drawing the stalls and people watching. I always notice how wrapped up the stall owners are, never underestimating the cold! The stalls were not that busy considering the constant flow of people passing by. Everyone seemed to be going somewhere and didn’t have time to browse the stalls.

stallsellerAfter the session of drawing the stalls on the Royal Mile I felt a bit unfocused and lost in terms of my choice of subject, as it is so broad. Perhaps I will focus on one stall or one type of stall, eg. a Jewellery stall. Whatever I chose I want it to be something I am really interested in and excited to research. But not to panic… nothing a good old tutorial can’t sort!


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A Sensitive Nose

When given the project of researching a group of workers in Edinburgh my initial idea was to document charity shops. Being a well accustomed charity-shop-goer I knew I could find some interesting bits and bobs along with interesting people there. However after a little trip to a particular second hand shop (where I would be sitting for periods of time drawing), I came to the realisation that I could not sit there stationary with the awful smell of body odour and fabric softener. So back to the drawing board…

After some more deliberation and throwing ideas around I decided I would document and observe the work and routine of Street Stall Owners. The idea of working in the fresh air sealed the deal! This could range from merchandise sellers, performers, food sellers, artists and many more jobs. I am really looking forward to talking to the sellers and gathering as much visual and verbal information as I can. What also appealed to me about this subject is the chance to get to draw the stalls in their surroundings.

The subject of stall owners is quite broad so gives many opportunities for exploration and the possibility of focusing on one seller after some research. A good way of finding what I am interested in is visiting markets; I am especially keen to look into the Farmers Markets.

I think a good place to start will be the Royal Mile as there are always a few stalls there, many of which I am familiar with and cannot go past without buying something! So by the end of the project I may be broke but I will at least still have a sense of smell!