Archive for the ‘Drawing Inspiration’ Category

Drawing Inspiration: Cherry Blossom Hunt Part 1

Posted on: March 31st, 2015 by samdrawsthings 1 Comment

drawing inspiration by Sam Goodlet -

Well, it all happened rather last minute, but I am currently in Japan!  I had been looking for a while at getting out here on a cherry blossom spotting trip.  I should have read these 10 Rookie Mistakes to avoid earlier – leaving it until the last minute isn’t all that easy.  Having kept an eye on forecasts and things to make sure that I went at the right time for the blossom before booking anything meant that nearly the whole of Japan was full on the dates I wanted to go.  The only option at one point looked like the Ritz in Osaka for £1,000 a night…so, er….not an option then.

However, I was lucky enough to find space in a hotel in Nikkō, to the north of Tokyo last week and here I am.

Nikkō is really interesting.  Home to a complex of Buddhist and Shinto shrines, it’s in the foothills of the mountains and the forested slopes remind me so much of scenes from anime films like My Neighbour Tortoro and Wolf Children.  It’s breathtaking and very inspiring.

shrine in Nikko by Sam Goodlet Mountain view in Nikko - Sam Goodlet IMG_4390 IMG_4387

The cherry blossom is in full bloom in Tokyo at the moment (it will be a bit later here in Nikkō), and I got the train in yesterday to explore.  There were signalling problems which meant this was much more of an epic mission than it should have been – 4 hours journey in and 5 hours back, rather than the 2ish it normally is.  Nevertheless, it was awesome and exciting and I can’t wait to go on the hunt for more sakura while I’m here.

I started in Ueno park, which was SO crowded! It was rather wonderful though to see so many people just out to look at beautiful trees… Then I headed to the Sensō-ji temple at Asakusa, which was much quieter, and finished up at the river at Sumida Park with a view of the trees and the super tall Tokyo Skytree building opposite (appropriately illuminated in pretty pink).





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The effects of jetlag are proving rather useful for creativity… It feels a bit like I’m having a wonderful dream…and am doodling lots of ideas and scenes as I go…



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Drawing Inspiration: First Aid Kit

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments

drawing inspiration by Sam Taylor -

I am increasingly finding music a great source of inspiration – it really is one of the easiest to access modes of creativity, and there is so much to choose from.  Although I appreciate there are some potential issues with Spotify, one of the great things about it is discovering new music.  Swedish band First Aid Kit came up as a suggestion for me to listen to, and lead to me buying albums and pottering off with a friend to see them live in London last week.

Actress and model Nathalie Cox is a big country music fan, and often my partner in crime for girly fun stuff.  I had a feeling First Aid Kit would appeal to her too.  I was right, and you can find her Cowboy Geek Chic blog about the gig here with one of my illustrations.

First Aid Kit on stage by Sam Taylor -

Lyrics and imagery from songs sort of sink into my brain as I listen on the train or sing along in the bath.  This band has some really lovely poetic lines that I find haunting me as I go about my day.

One of my favourite First Aid Kit songs is Shattered & Hollow, packed with some amazing lyrics…


Shattered & Hollow by First Aid Kit by Sam Taylor -

Drawing Inspiration: Malta

Posted on: January 7th, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments

drawing inspiration by Sam Taylor -

In a bit of a last minute plan, I whizzed off to Malta to celebrate New Year.  It’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for a long time – my grandparents lived there for a few years after WWII, and we have some lovely family stories about their time on the island.

The weather wasn’t all that great when I arrived, but it got better!  A highlight was dancing in a big crowd of people in St George’s Square in Valletta on New Years Eve as snow fell… I had a gorgeous time wandering about different areas exploring, popping into cafes to warm up and draw, scrabbling about on cliffs, finding churches and museums.

One of the most exciting aspects of the trip was discovering Malta’s archaeological story.  Scattered around Malta and Gozo are the tantalising remains of a culture that lived between 3600 – 2500BC.  It’s hard to conceive what human lives might have been like so long ago…and the interpretation at the sites encouraged you to use your own imagination a fair bit, as information is missing about the intentions of the culture – speculating as I drifted around the temples was a lovely thing to do.

The buildings that have been found are temples like those at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra,  which have some astrological features a bit like Stonehenge – areas line up with the light on the solstices.  I was also lucky enough to get a ticket for the underground necropolis at Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, which was a real privilege as you generally have to book well in advance (TIP: a few tickets are available at 9am the day before from the Fine Art Museum in Valletta).   There were some  incredible sculptures discovered at the sites that I just fell in love with, many featuring very curvy women and hugely fat figures that could be male or female.  These can be seen in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta, and were really inspiring.

I also spent time looking at and thinking about Roman Catholic saints and angels, drawing people with wings and halos…

I’ve made a gallery of some drawings and pictures from the trip over on my Facebook page here.

And here are a few more…

My granny by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comGoodbye 2014 by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comSt Georges Square on NYE by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comAt Hagar Qim by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comInspired by Maltese archaeology by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comTips for saints and angels by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comSaint by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comThe Sleeping Lady by Sam Taylor -

Drawing Inspiration: A Wild Audience with…

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by samdrawsthings No Comments

drawing inspiration by Sam Taylor -

Imagine.  A bustling theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue packed with sharks, sloths, whales, birdsong and the roar of leopards…

That sort of summarises ‘A Wild Audience with…’ last week at the Lyric Theatre – an evening hosted by TV vet Steve Leonard with TV wildlife celebrities camera man Doug Allan, Lucy Cooke, Martin Hughes-Games and Steve Backshall talking about some of their favourite animals, sharing films and sounds and stories their close encounters.

It was rather wonderful, particularly as the place was packed with excited kids – I’ve been to so many events talking about the need to get more children passionate about nature where there has not been a single person under 25; Steve Backshall certainly seems to be a bit of a pied piper and a massive draw for kids…

It was a slightly dark for drawing in the auditorium, but I attempted to do some doodling during the talks.  Doug mostly spoke about his Artic and Antartic adventures filming for David Attenborough’s ‘Life‘ series.  Lucy focussed on the weird and wonderful lives of sloths.  Martin introduced the work of some incredible female rangers working with big cats in India, and Steve wrapped up the night with a passionate talk about the need to better understand sharks.  As someone who has (pretty much) beaten a phobia of these amazing fish, I was with him – the numbers being killed every year are just shocking and there is so much more to them than the ‘Jaws‘ stereotype.  You can find out more about Shark Conservation (for whom Steve is a Patron) here.  All the speakers sparkled with enthusiasm for their subject, with lots of humour and some strong conservation messages too.

A Wild Audience with poster

The line up for the evening

doodle by Sam Taylor -

Quick doodle of Steve Leonard, Lucy Cooke, Martin Hughes-Games and Steve Backshall

Sloth doodle by Sam Taylor -

Learning about sloths

Martin Hughes-Games by Sam Taylor -

Martin Hughes-Games

Doug Allan by Sam Taylor -

Doug Allan

Lucy Cooke by Sam Taylor -

Lucy Cooke

Drawing Inspiration: New Networks for Nature 2014

Posted on: November 17th, 2014 by samdrawsthings No Comments

drawing inspiration by Sam Taylor -

Last week I visited Stamford in Lincolnshire for the New Networks for Nature conference.  It was my third time at this event, which brings together conservation and creativity, and features talks about wildlife, poetry, musical performances, art exhibitions, writers, photography and debate about our efforts to protect the natural world.  There’s a really nice Storify by Kate Risely summarising news from the event here.

This time, I took along my sketchbook, and busily doodled away during the rich variety of talks.  The theme was ‘A sense of scale‘, and we zoomed in on close up photos of tiny marine worms and the elegance of haiku poetry, and out to Blue Whales and sounds from outer space.  It was all rather mind blowing and my head is still a bit full….  It was a really lovely drawing challenge though – people moved quite a lot as I was trying to capture them, and it was great to get to practice doodling people rather than animals for a change (although a few other species did sneak in).  I hope I don’t offend anyone with my attempts to capture them!

The event opened on the Thursday evening with Tim Dee interviewing Richard Mabey.  One of my favourite moments was Richard talking about his book Nature Cure and refuting the idea that we should all be happy all the time, and that contact with nature will make us happy.  He feels it’s more complex than that – being in nature can be ‘profoundly therapeutic‘ as it ‘expands your wisdom of what it means to be a living thing.’

Tim Dee & Richard Mabey -

Tim Dee in conversation with Richard Mabey

Some doodles from Friday’s programme…

from Four FIelds by Tim Dee -

A quote from ‘Four Fields’ by Tim Dee. “A fallow field is life in waiting.”

spoon billed sand piper -

Debbie Pain from the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust shared the story of conserving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Question time at New Networks -

Some of the Question Time panel discussing nature conservation and the global economy

marine worms -

The surprising beauty and amazing adaptations of marine worms, from a talk by Andrew Cleave

Callum Roberts shared some incredible historic photos that really brought home the scale of the depletion of fish in our oceans.  It left me thinking ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea’ is a phrase we soon won’t be able to use any more…

abundance of fish -

overfishing -

Peter and Liz Cowdrey perform bird song -

Peter and Liz Cowdrey played music based on bird song, including a gypsy fiddle Goldcrest and a Chifchaff piece

Some drawings from Saturday’s programme…

Paul Evans -

Paul Evans vividly recounts eating Skunk Cabbage (not recommended!)

the guardian country diary team -

Some of the team involved in the Guardian’s regular Country Diary 

Jeremy Mynott -

Jeremy Mynott chairs a section on our relationship with birds

Michelle Remblance -

Michelle Remblance revisits Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’

Helen Macdonald -

Helen Macdonald reads from her award winning book ‘H is for Hawk’

little earth -

A great way to finish –  thinking about space with Chris Hudson and a performance of ‘Edge’ by Katrina Porteous and Peter Zinovieff

Drawing inspiration: In the woods

Posted on: July 22nd, 2014 by samdrawsthings No Comments

drawing inspiration by Sam Goodlet -

This summer, we went on a short trip to catch up with some friends in Cornwall.  I love it down there – I studied in Falmouth and lived in Penzance for a few years.  We had family connections down there, so I like to think I’m part pixie…

There is an amazing wood near Penzance where I spent some time on my last visit, drinking in that lovely feeling of being in the dappled shade amongst so many different types of trees.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I look at trees.  Lucky enough to have some time in a hammock under a pear tree, I’d look at the branches and find their twisting so beautiful… and look at my arms and worry if they were toned enough!  It was interesting how I couldn’t look at my own body in the same way I looked at the tree.

Then I found this perfect quote from Ram Dass (you can read it in full here) capturing exactly what I’d been thinking.  Why do we bring in judgement when we look at ourselves and other people that just isn’t there when we see a tree?  I never think a tree is too fat, too old, too gnarly….

Ram Dass quote illustration by Sam Goodlet -

Drawing Inspiration: Off to the farm

Posted on: July 4th, 2014 by samdrawsthings 1 Comment

drawing inspiration by Sam Taylor -

In my mission to get out and about visiting people and drawing things, I went to visit a friend of a friend who lives in the most amazing place!  Commutable to Kings Cross, Sebastien and his housemates share an old farm house in Essex.  The countryside runs right up to their back door, and you can walk out into hills and fields and trees.  They each have a veg patch in the garden.  It’s pretty idyllic.

We went for a pic nic and to talk about bees.  Through the [nature’s footnote] podcast and thanks to a present of a bee pack from Friends of the Earth , I’ve become a little bit obsessed by bees.  It’s amazing how The Bee Cause has really become mainstream and part of public consciousness.  On the podcast, we pondered if this was related to bees being cute and fluffy (for invertebrates) or the fact that a very strong link has been made between their fate and ours…

Sebastien is into honey bees and we chatted about how amazing they are, what a weird thing honey is (bee vomit anyone?), and spotted some honey bees collecting pollen in the hedgerows behind the house.  I finally found one bee (I think) that I can confidently identify!

bee illustration by Sam Taylor -

We also, while sitting having a pic nic and walking through long grass, got bitten and stung by quite a few different things.  I was thinking about how a lot of my work and drawing is about connecting with nature, and how sometimes, it wants to connect with you too… and it hurts…

connect with nature illustration by Sam Taylor  -


sky photo by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comdead tree photo by Sam Taylor -

honey photo by Sam Taylor - www.samdrawsthings.comhoney bee photo by Sam Taylor -

Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated adventures

Posted on: June 4th, 2014 by samdrawsthings No Comments

drawing inspiration by Sam Taylor -


One of the things I’ve realised is that, as a freelancer, it’s a bit too easy for me to become a hermit – staying in drawing, spending time with the dog, eating biscuits… without really talking to anyone all day.

So, on a mission to change that and make sure that I connect with all the exciting things that are going on in the world, I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge.  To get out, visit lovely people and interesting places, keep my eye open for things and people to draw, and to try and illustrate some of the ideas I talk to people about.

I’ve called it Drawing Inspiration, and my plan is to have regular blog posts where I share some of the places I’ve been….

I’m really excited about it and did my first little visit this week, so will be adding a post about it soon!




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