Way back when, my nan and granddad decided to go their separate ways. A while later she started seeing James. James would come around to my nan’s house every weekend with a big bag of shopping and some flowers and they would spend those few days together eating, gardening and doing the odd crossword.
James and nan were constants when I was growing up and they were great friends. Kind and warm he was welcomed into the family and welcomed us all into his heart. He happily looked after my brother and I with my nan and we enjoyed lots of great walks in Epping Forest.
Sadly he passed away just before Christmas a couple of years ago, and nan has missed him ever since.
When I started to draw again, my nan asked me to do a piece for her. I decided that I’d draw something that had meaning and would make her smile; I thought of him. Every year I would draw a calendar for James and he would display it proudly on his kitchen wall, so I decided this was the perfect project for a lot of reasons.
Firstly I trawled through my old photos (my mum keeps hold of everything) and found a few ones that showed his enigmatic smile. Then I started to sketch my favourite. As the project was personal it took a long time to get the details right, after about three hours I was there. I followed the pencil sketch with a black liner and then added the colour with my copic markers.
To finish the piece I ordered a custom frame from eframe.co.uk in a dark walnut wood with a gold inner edge and a mount to highlight the picture.
It’s hard to capture the essence of someone in a picture, but I hope the piece makes my nan happy and is a fitting tribute.