Archive Sketchbooks (part 4)

Hi! If you have been following my recent blog posts (you can see part 1, part 2, part 3 here), you will see that I have been going back through some of my old sketches and art that I did from way back as a teenager.

I thought it would be fun this year (2014) to go through my old stuff, seeing which things used to inspire me, and what I liked to do, in a sort of retrospective way, for who I am now is surely in some part who I used to be; and where we go next on this journey is slightly different….

Obsessive Compulsive Writing

This time……we are journeying back to something I found called ‘Annie’s Teenage File’. (!)



I started this ‘in 1993’. I was the Samuel Pepys of teenagers, believe me. (I hadn’t even heard of him back then, by the way.) It didn’t stop in 1995 either, it went on and on….

Nothing, literally, nothing, would stop me writing things down. (Well I was a teenage girl!)

I developed OCD about writing.

Articles. Journal entries. ‘Fashion’. Thoughts. Doodles. ‘Pop music info and lyrics’. News. Letters from friends. ‘Parties I’ve been to and had a good time at’. (eh?) Fact sheets. Data gathering operations. Revision timetables. Motivational tips. Self-Development Plans. Essays. Philosophy. Teach myself A Beginner’s Guide to Psychology. Even a section called ‘Teach myself Latin’. (What a geek!) Drug factsheets. Cocktails. Tarot readings. It was all there.

No smartphones existed. No tablets were invented, computers were virtually unheard of, Wikipedia didn’t exist and hardly anyone had a home typewriter. It was handwriting and snail-trail researching all the way, baby – long-hand. But I loved it!

Enter my private world…..!




My own early version of Viz, apparently

 Some of the headings I found in my notebooks!



Early fashion blogging (haha.):


:: Early amateur FASHION EDIT of 1993! :: (shame I’m not very fashionable)


Wow. Look at this cut-out of 1993 fashions from ‘Smash Hits’. Er, hip.


A doodle of a Boy In Computing Class from one of my diaries, 13

The problem I find with personal writing is that, contrary to what we might like to think, – that with age and the benefit of hindsight and maturity we would not think like that anymore – I find that looking back tends only to uncover the plain truth of: ‘how right we were!’  Frankness and honesty never die. There is a kind of wisdom in simplistic naivety. We don’t really change. We seem more right back in the past, not less; more true to our real selves.

Night doodles and Regency handwriting

A bit later on I got a new fountain pen and that was enough to set me off…
I gave up once and for all trying to copy my skool-mates’ bubble writing and decided from then on I would write with my new-found best Regency handwriting…


The Insomnia / Day-Night-Day Experiment

Then one night at school I stayed up all night one night ‘just to record what it was like’, and you can see I had even typed out my own musical staff paper to write it on too! (optimistic – I can’t write a single note of music.)


‘What it was like’ was THIS:

The New Day

3 a.m. – 6 a.m., 27 June 1995

It is all completely dark, black shadows of the trees and dark, dark blue/black sky. But this is but brief. The first thing you notice is a bluer sky; not too bright, but enough to establish the silhouettes of large black trees. The change is smooth, gradual, yet it all happens so quickly. The navy blue sky lightens, and more and more white is added to the palette of the sky. This all takes place at around 3 o’clock to half past 3. And while a blue sky is breaking away to form dawn, more shapes begin to appear around about, until you can just about make out the garden. By about 4 o’clock, it is sufficiently blue and light to be classed as ‘day’. You can see the sky in more detail now: it’s tremendously hazy and misty; dewy even, as though pondering whether to rain or not. No sign of sun or its direct rays so far. The blue/grey mist rolls back over the island and beyond the horizon. Next comes the strange, beautiful part – out of this blue is formed a subtle, oh so subtle, delicate pink band of colour, ringing its way across the sky. Like a magnificent halo of hazy colour, it hangs above the blue horizon like a warm breath; a gentle breeze. Meanwhile, the island and far peninsulas possess a sort of radiant glow, a pinkness to them. They look like the light has already been shone on their rocks. But no, on checking, I realise it is just the natural glow of the rocks. By about half past four, our beautiful candyfloss in the sky has dispersed, sending a spectrum of all these wonderful colours up and around the sky. Pinks, orange, yellow, greens, light mauve and a kind of turquoise blue. Yes, like a huge rainbow, the coloured sky is spread out from behind me to over the horizon. It is truly beautiful. No harsh lines – even the misty sky line is a blur over the magnificent dark blue sea. Ah, but yes! Now the light is clearer – for the little white lighthouse and the cottage on the island are both sparkling – absorbing the rays. Though the sun must still lie pretty low, for I cannot see he yet. The early morning light has splashed all over the white buildings, here at five o’clock. Here the pinks in the sky seem to have disappeared, leaving a sunny vapour trail of bright yellows and greens, lighting up the sky. It’s like this, from the top: sky blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, indigo, dark blue. Now, by about half past five, these colours have faded into the distance, and we are left with the blessing of the day’s sky – just a pure, unladen, cloudless air of blues. It’s magnificent.

[N.B. I then got up and dressed, and went to school and completed a full day’s schoolwork.]



Life Motivation / Inspirational Quotes

Around this time, aged about 15 or so onwards, I started amassing quotes that appealed to me, and also developing a strong notion that I wanted to be my own person career-wise. I didn’t know how I was going to achieve it. [Still don’t! – Ed.]


I think this is probably a quote from Billy Connolly. (I admired his sense of unapologetic one-off-manship. – Refreshing in a world that wants to make you just like the next man.)

Random doodle in a sketchpad:



Words and Pictures

I liked the idea of words and pictures put together. I always did. Not one or the other, but both; layered on top of each other. From about 15 I started trying to think about and describe things in a calm way, in an imaginative way. I sought to be alone. Away from the drink and the drugs and the hairspray and ADHD-type mayhem that filled my school days. I wanted to get away from it all. Solitude.


* * *

I think that’s enough for one blog post. Apologies for the long delay between posts, it is proving difficult with so much stuff to go through! I’ll carry on later with more recent stuff and showing how I got to my current style and interests.

Thanks for reading.

Annie x

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