We caught up with bike-mad illustrator and the brains behind Anatomy of Cycling, David Sparshott, to find out what (apart from being on two wheels), makes him tick.
What brought you to Suffolk, and what’s the best thing about being based there?
Living here is the antidote to living for many years in London. I love spending time outdoors and we are spoilt with the access we have to beaches, forests and countryside.
Tell us a bit about the space you work in…what are you working on right now?
I work from a studio in our house. I have a large drawing desk that overlooks the garden. I’ve just returned from a few months off and so am starting on a few different projects one of which is a new poster print focussing on UK athletics clubs.
Cycling features heavily in your work, are you a keen cyclist yourself or do people just like your cycling drawings and keep commissioning you to do more?
I am a keen cyclist which definitely helps to keep me interested in the subject matter of many of the illustration projects that I get to work on.
You often seem to draw collections of things… are you a collector, and or organiser of stuff?
I really like the aesthetic of collections and observing the varieties that exist within a common group.
Your sketchbooks look suspiciously neat and tidy. Are you really that neat, or are we seeing an edited version?
My work sketchbooks are a mix from very rough sketchy ideas to very precise finished drawings. I then have a several sketchbooks full of location based drawings that are a bit looser in style. My sketchbook style is very much adapted to what the expectations are of the delivered work, whether that be for a client or self-initiated.
What was your most challenging commission, and what was your most enjoyable?
My most challenging work was also the most enjoyable. This was a few years ago when I worked for The Times newspaper creating an illustrated Premier League match report. The work involved travelling to the game, working as a pitch side photographer in order to document and gather reference material from which I made a drawn composition of what had happened during the match. The turnaround was very tight with a Sunday afternoon deadline following a 3pm match on Saturday.
Is it more fun drawing things, animals or people?
If you could be an artist in residence anywhere, where would you chose?
I’d like to spend some time in residence with a pro cycling team.
Where do you go to blow the cobwebs away?
Running or cycling out in the countryside.
Who’s going to win the World Cup?
And the Tour de France?