Portsmouth Illustrated

In preparation for our exhibition we were asked to explore the city of Portsmouth, illustrating some of the landmarks or scenes we came across. As someone who leans towards figurative illustration I was initially fairly concerned that I wouldn’t be happy with what I created, and in a way I think it helped to keep my expectations low.

When I found myself some rare baby-free time I set off with just my travel sketchbook, drawing materials and my Spotify playlist. At first I struggled, quickly scribbling in my sketchbook when I saw something that looked interesting but not really feeling excited about anything I was trying to create. I ended that journey at the seafront and happened to sit down at one of Southseas iconic yellow beach shelters. after quickly sketching and taking some reference photos I headed home, finally feeling inspired and excited to get my sketch onto Procreate.

The sunset, woven of soft lights
And tender colors, lingers late,
As looking back on all day’s dreary plights,
Compassionate;
— The foolish day of hopes so high,
Who counts her hours by blunders now,
Yet wears at last this jewel-crown of sky
Upon her brow.
Out to eternity she goes,
Not for her failure scorned, but see!
Our poor day flushed with beauty, one more rose
On God’s rose-tree. 

– Katharine Lee Bates

I had been searching for a theme for my other uni project and had found a poem I wanted to use as inspiration. The poem focuses on the transformative power of the sunset, casting a different light on the day. Having lived in Portsmouth for almost 30 years, the notion of seeing my hometown in a new light really excited me and I’ve based my images on this theme.

Once I had illustrated the beach shelters I decided I wanted to play with some typography, overlaying a font in white to stand out from the deeper pinks and purples in the image. I chose a silhouetted font so that the artwork would not be obscured by it.

From here I began thinking about the parts of Portsmouth that resonate with me, the list is huge and I plan on getting through them all eventually, but for now I have chosen three additional locations as my subjects. These are the Band Stand, the Castle Road Clocktower and The HMS Warrior.

I’m so happy with the work I’ve created, it’s such departure from my usual work but still I feel the colour schemes really tie it into what inspires me and what I try to emulate.

For my other uni project I created a front and a back cover to go alongside the pieces in a concertina zine. I included the poem that provided the inspiration, and actually the ten minute piece I made to serve as the front cover is my favourite piece of all. I think this speaks volumes about overthinking your work.

I’ve really enjoyed this exercise in reportage, and plan to continue the series in between other work. If you like these pieces, they are available for sale. Feel free to contact me at atuckerillustration@yahoo.com or come along to the Love Southsea creative market at Gunwharf Quays on the 17th of April.