My name’s Ian Hedley, I’ve been teaching since 1993 and I still haven’t got the hang of it. The schools I’ve worked in have tended to be in the parts of nice towns that people don’t live in if they can afford to live in nicer parts of the nice town. Lots of wonderful students, of course. I’ve taught a lot of subjects and some of them I’ve taught well(ish). The less said about my brief stint as a PE teacher the better though. I’m just glad no-one died.
RD: I can see from your Instagram images that your choice of pens, paper, & pencils are important to you when you sketch. Do they have equal value to you as a teacher? Do you do any lesson planning on paper? Any favorite Rhodia/Clairefontaine products for teacher related tasks?
Ian: I’m a headteacher these days and so don’t do as much actual teaching as I used to. I do make sure my students have access to something better than a nameless ballpoint, though, and they do appreciate it. I do plan my lessons on paper, using a printed template I came up with. Although computers are central to my work, I think better on paper.
I use a Rhodia No.16 plain notepad every day, for taking my own notes in meetings. A meeting is made a lot more interesting with a good pen on great paper.
RD: What prompted you to begin sketching? How long have you been doing it, and what advice do you have to others who would like to start?
Ian: I don’t remember when I started sketching, it was something I always did as a child. As a young teenager I used to take myself off to the river and sit and draw. As I got older I drew posters for rock discos and the band I was in but then I stopped for something like twenty years. Then, a couple of years ago, I developed a new interest in pens, pencils and paper (actually, I rekindled an old interest) and began sketching again because I wanted more ways to use them. The tools drove the act to start with but at some point I just became hooked. Now I have to draw every day. If I don’t, I get twitchy. I’m addicted.
That’s the best advice I could give to anyone who wants to draw, too. Draw every day. It doesn’t matter what. I don’t have any special talent, I just love to do it and the more I’ve drawn the better I’ve got. I hope I can keep getting better because I’m a long way from being as good as I’d like to be.
I think when you’re not as good at something as you’d like to be, you can either give up or you can try even harder to get better. If you want to draw, keep trying harder and you will get there. Anyone who can see and can hold a pencil can draw.
RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia/Clairefontaine products and why, and what are your favorite pens/inks/pencils?
Ian: The Rhodia No. 16 notepad is my favourite notepad. The paper is wonderful with fountain pens. The white paper lights up inks and there’s never any feathering or bleeding. Because it tears away easily, I can scan my notes into the computer as I make them. This is important in my work.
I love the GraF it sketchbook. The paper is great with pencils and ink and, again, it tears out easily. All the Clairefontaine sketchbooks I’ve tried have been excellent. A nice fine grain and a bright white colour.
I love J. Herbin inks, too. They do delicate colours so well. Vert Olive and Ambre de Bermanie are beautiful. And I can’t let a discussion of Rhodia products go by without mentioning the Webnotebook. The best notebook is its kind: fantastic paper, great binding, practical cover. (I just wish it was available with pure white paper.)
As far as non-Rhodia/Clairefontaine products are concerned, my favourite sketching pencils are Tombow Mono 100s and for writing I’m enjoying the General’s Cedar Pointe. My favourite inks seem to change every week, I’m very fickle. As for favourite pens, I love demonstrators and brass pens. My current favourites are the Kaweco Liliput, Pilot Custom 74 and Platinum #3776 Sai.
Find Ian on the web via his Twitter account @ian_hedley and on Instagram under user name banana_moon. Ian also blogs at Pens! Paper! Pencils! where he reviews a variety of stationery products, and offers additional images of his amazing art. A few of Ian’s Exaclair related reviews include: