Adam (From Glasgow), “I am studying you and your artwork for my GCSE coursework… I would like to find out what inspires you?”

To be honest Adam I am inspired today with the same thing as I was when I was at school and college; and that is exciting and challenging environments. When I was young , I used to draw around my local landscape which included such things as cemeteries, canals and mine workings, all very “gritty” and “industrial” in their appearance. Today I enjoy the luxury of being able to travel around the world but my ethos and energy is still centred on drawing what I see, and the sense of mood and atmosphere is still paramount to my recording.

Michael (from Liverpool), “Hi Ian. I’m 15 years old and I am currently doing some art coursework on you… I was wondering if you have any tips for the research page?”

I think that a research page should have a “feel” of my working practice. If you look at the home page of website you will see an image of me alongside some examples of my work, and locations I have visited. You could aim to recreate this idea and use a couple of my images, possibly one drawing and one painting on your sheet. In addition you could include an element of surface texture which reflects my liking of tactile surfaces, and is a constant feature in my work.

Scott (from Manchester), “As part of my GCSE exam preparation my teacher has recommended that I look at your work… I am about to go and visit Manchester city centre and look at the architecture, is there anything you can recommend to help me?”

I have always liked industrial architecture in England, in particular, structures with history and character, were the appearance is not at its best and the fabric of the building is starting to decay.

Although there has been a lot of development recently in Manchester, if you journey along the canal you will come across many structures that represent the city’s industrial past. I have drawn there many times (more often than not, in the rain!) and tried to record small fragments of the bridges, factories and lock gates.

I try to make sure my drawings contain elements of weathered doorways, windows and brickwork and I feel graphite pencils and graphite sticks are the best materials for the job. If you go to my website you will see some relevant techniques and processes.