5 Questions for Craww

For artists out there, ever thought of compiling your sketches drawn over the entire span of your art pursuit into a single volume?

Well that's exactly what artist, Shaun Friend aka Craww who is based in Sheffield, UK has decided to do, and I have caught up with him today to find out more about his recent art project titled 'Vessel'.

Qn: Can you tell us more about this project 'Vessel’?

If successful, “Vessel” will be a collection of drawings and sketches from over the past 5 years.

A sketchbook is an important part of every artists process, but for me and the way I work, it has become especially vital. For nearly 5 years I’ve shared my sketchbook work on Instagram, and it felt like a good time to share those drawings in a more tactile way.

Viewing drawings on a phone or even a computer screen is fine, but for me it can’t compare to the look and feel of an actual book and that’s something I hope to share with people. Added to that, it seems natural that the drawings find their way back onto the paper!

Qn: What inspired you to come up with this project 'Vessel'? And what are your objectives/goals behind this project? (How much time would you give yourself to accomplish all these?)

I’ve always found there has been a lot of interest in my drawings. and looking back through my sketchbooks it’s interesting to see how they have developed over time. How ideas, thoughts and techniques have been explored and how they have all fed into each other, and ultimately the development of my art.

I thought it might be something that people would be interested to see for themselves, so I looked into ways of making the book happen. Kickstarter seemed like a natural choice,

My main objective is raising the funds to actually make it happen! With that in mind I’ve spent a lot of time putting together a variety of rewards at different levels.

I’ve always scanned, photographed and archived my work, and with a background in graphic design, the creation of the book is relatively straightforward. The drawings for some of the rewards we done in advance of the project going live, what will take time are the custom elements of the rewards. Potentially up to 25 new drawings and 3 commissions. And then there is the packing and shipping of everything. Unfortunately, I don’t have the benefit of an assistant so I’ll be doing it all myself and it’s incredible how long these things can take!

However, I’m confident I’ve allowed time. I’ll know if the project is going ahead by the end of Feb, and I’m aiming to get the book printed over march, and begin shipping in April. The custom elements and commissions will be handled over May and June.

Qn: I read from your Kickstarter page that it's impossible to make mistakes in your sketchbook, and that no marks, no pencil stroke or charcoal smudge is “wrong” - Will you be able to elaborate on that?

Some artists have a clear idea and set of goals with their art, but I have never been able to do that. My process is much more akin to a stream of consciousness, i often don't have a clue what I am going to do when I start out. Stories and ideas come as I begin to make marks and the images come to life in my head and on the page. So a sketchbook is great for that, I can just scribble away and zone out for an hour, drawing, erasing, working over elements.

With that in mind, I find my sketchbook a very liberating experience. It totally removes any expectations and pretty much anything goes. Even the worst disaster is a positive experience, it all moves the work forward. If I really don’t like it, colour it in black! Paint over it! Cut it up and stick it back together in a different order! It really doesn’t matter, and its often those mistakes and accidents that provide the impetus for further ideas.

Qn: What are your art-tools & materials you use to draw your sketches?

I have one faithful and trusted mechanical pencil - a 0.5 Uni Kuru Toga with 4b leads that has drawn in every sketchbook, and been with me on all my travels. At one point, i thought i had lost it and bought another exactly the same, but fortunately it turned up and now the new one is a spare.

However it did prompt me to try some alternatives, and I now also use rotring 600 mechanical and clutch pencils, which i love the feel of. They have a nice weight in my hand and I use a mix of 4b and HB leads. For black and loose tonal drawings, I use 8b Generals charcoal pencils and for sketchbooks I love my Moleskines. They MAKE you want to draw in them!

Qn: What are some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences you encountered when pursuing this art project 'Vessel’?

Well as with most things, the hardest part is actually starting it.

It’s an idea I had talked about for a long time, but it was a giant leap to actually commit and start putting together a Kickstarter-project. I’m not the most organized person, so the whole process of researching costs, prices, putting together reward packages and factoring in all the variables in fulfilling them was quite daunting.

Having said that, there is a lot of satisfaction now that the project is live and seeing people getting involved. I’ve been lucky to have had a lot of support, with features, recommendation and sharing. At the time of writing, the project is 60% funded with 3 weeks to go. It’s very humbling that people are interested in it at all and I’m truly grateful to everyone that has pledged so far.

But it’s till an ongoing process! The real reward will be if it is fully funded and I am able to create the book I have dreamed of for years!

We thank Craww for sharing his experiences and giving us an insight to his art project 'Vessel'. For more about Craww and his artworks, you may visit his website or his Facebook and Twitter page where he regularly shares his artworks. Check out Shaun's Instagram page too.


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