To Lyndon Evans, his sketchbook is sacred. It goes out with him at all times. In fact you get the impression that he would be uneasy if he didn’t know just where it was.
Which is why it was particularly brave of him to enter it for the 2017 Buxton Spa Prize Sketchbook Award, as it meant him leaving it with strangers while he went on holiday.
What he didn’t realise at the time was that the award entries would be made available for more than just the judges to thumb through and he says, with hindsight, he might not have gone through with it had he known.
On this occasion ignorance was most certainly bliss, as his precious tome so impressed everyone who saw it that it won the first prize of £2,000.
Not only that – many other artists were able to gain inspiration from his work by peeking at the pages normally reserved for his eyes only.
“When I saw the Spa Prize competition I thought it would be interesting to enter, but never dreamt I would win anything,” he said modestly.
“We were away for the presentation night so I had no idea it had won or the fact that it was on display until I went to pick the sketchbook up again two weeks later. It was definitely a huge surprise,” said the artist.
Drawing has always been a big part of Lyndon’s life and he admits it is important to him as it is the only way he knows to truly express himself.
In the 1960s he studied illustration and printmaking at college and followed that up with a post graduate course in graphic design.
After a short three-year stint as a college lecturer he began a life-long career as a designer in the film and television industry – working as a creative director for Granada at Manchester and the BBC in London as well as for Cosgrove Hall Films, the creators of Postman Pat.
He specialises in creating story board illustrations and his trusty sketchbooks have been put to good use throughout his working life.
In planning meetings, while others were coming up with the ideas, he would be adding notes and drawings to the pages and would be able to give his team a visual idea of where they were going by the end of the session.
“I am proud of the fact that I found good work out of drawing. The industry has changed completely since I started out, but even in these days of digital graphics I maintain that it always makes sense to get something down on paper,” said Lyndon.
In the 70s he set up his own freelance company and, well into what should be his retirement, he is still called upon to help out former clients with story boards. He confesses that he enjoys it so much he has no intention of stopping anytime soon.
Having said that Lyndon, who lives at Throstle Farm, at Little Hayfield, is these days enjoying the more leisurely lifestyle of someone in semi-retirement.
“Being able to find the time to get back to proper drawing again is brilliant. It was really good to pick up where I left off in my college days and get going again. I don’t think I am up to speed again yet but I am getting there,” he said smiling.
He works in pencil, charcoal and pen with watercolour and inks and is inspired by the changing light and movement in the landscape. He captures ideas in his sketchbook while out walking and develops them back in his studio in the garden of his home which has a commanding view of Kinder Scout and the High Peak.
You can visit the studio and enjoy the view for yourself as Lyndon and his wife Pat, are part of the Hayfield Artists group that gets together for the Derbyshire Open Arts weekend at the end of May.
At last count there were 19 creative people in the group and they stage their own mini art trail across five venues with three of them – painter Dawn Holmes, ceramicist Maria Tarnowska and jewellery designer Stephen Grieve – joining Lyndon and Pat at the farm.
“We have a little artists’ colony flourishing here in Hayfield and it really is rewarding to be part of it. We always look forward to the Open Arts weekend and welcoming people to the farm.”
For details about how to enter the Buxton Spa Prize competition go to http://www.buxtonspaprize.co.uk