My name is Derek Cooper, and I live, along with my wife and kids, in the centre of
Birmingham, which is, for those who don't know, a large city in the centre of England, where I scratch a living as a freelance graphic artist. Here, as a way of distracting me from doing any work, I am surrounded by
various livestock; rabbits, chickens, cats, dogs, tortoises, iguanas and children which mill about aimlessly in and about the ruins of our house and what was once a nice garden.
A long time ago I gained enough exam passes in maths, science etc. at school to enable me
to go to University to study Physics, so I naturally went and studied Fine Art, and Printmaking, at various Art Schools, (sidestepping to graphics in the late 70's). I have pretty much worked in that area since,
with a short spell of 'teaching' a drawing class at Art School thrown in, in order to convince me that I am no teacher.
I added computers as a tool in my arsenal some years ago, using CorelDraw 4 to start,
which I could barely write my name with to be honest and was not much impressed. I assumed, and had been informed, that as everyone else used the likes of CorelDraw, Illustrator etc., then they were the best. My
experiences with such software led me to believe that you couldn't beat a good pencil, or for that matter scratching on the ground with a stick.
Though it didn't do so immediately, a borrowed copy of Xara Studio and subsequently a
purchased copy of XaraX changed all that. As I was firmly entrenched with using traditional media I simply didn't bother attempting to produce illustration with the computer until, (thanks to Gary Priester and his
Xara Xone tutorials), I actually tried to draw with XaraX, and I haven't stopped since. It only took two tutorials to convince me, I drew a light bulb, which I 'improved' on, making the glass clear and adding the
insides and I drew a bar of translucent soap based on a 'gel' navigation button tutorial. I strongly recommend those tutorials as they can give you a glimpse of what's possible with Xara and the confidence to
explore your own ideas.
The work shown here is mainly small still life drawings produced directly from the
observation of objects from around my home. I love the 'detail' that is present in everyday life rather than the broad sweeping landscapes, which are few and far between here in Birmingham and I find it endlessly
fascinating to see these drawings appear on screen. I don't like drawing from photographs, all the detail that's simply missing in the shadow areas make it harder than working from life, so if I can't draw from
observation I'll draw from memory or sketches.
I hope you enjoy looking at, and get something from, at least some of the images. If that
'something', is the inspiration to go on and produce a better drawing, then that's more than justified them being posted here.
If anyone wishes to contact me then don't hesitate, (firstname.lastname@example.org ). It's always nice to get mail and beats me having to sign up for newsletters or product details in order to get some, and it's always good to talk with, and learn from, other Xara enthusiasts.