Suffolk artist teaches the world to draw

BUDDING artists around the world have been honing their skills by drawing well-known Suffolk buildings and landscapes thanks to a local illustrator.

BUDDING artists around the world have been honing their skills by drawing well-known Suffolk buildings and landscapes thanks to a local illustrator.

Sudbury-based Peter Gray has sold over 200,000 copies of his book “The Complete Guide to Drawing and Illustration” worldwide and has received letters and e-mails of gratitude from drawing enthusiasts as far afield as America, Sri Lanka and Australia.

The 300-page manual, which was first published in 2006, gives advice on how to sketch a range of subjects from animals and people to country scenes and buildings with many of the examples taken from the Mr Gray's immediate surroundings. These include Sudbury's St Peters Church and Mill Hotel, as well as the River Stour, which runs through the town.

“I find the Suffolk countryside and its buildings very inspiring subject matter and it seems other people do as well,” he said. “I have heard from people all around the world who have found the book useful.


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It's good to know I'm helping them follow their interests and passions.”

Perhaps the most obscure people to get in touch were a group of nuns from a convent in New South Wales, Australia, who contacted Mr Gray to thank him for his helpful hints. An artist from Sri Lanka also sent a letter saying he was grateful for the book because in his country religious constraints made it impossible to sketch life models.

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Mr Gray, aged 40, works as a freelance illustrator from his home office in Sudbury's Gainsborough Street and has had his work published in numerous publications including the Financial Times and Readers Digest.

And it seems demand for his work remains strong. New editions of his guide were published last week - this time in a series of five smaller books - with advance orders topping 90,000. They have even gone on sale in the renowned Gainsborough Museum two doors down from his house.

He added: “A lot of illustrations are done using computer programmes these days but I sense a swing back to people wanting to know how to draw properly. And if I can help then I'm happy to do so.”

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