We crossed the river by boat to the area where the ‘rabelos’, the traditional boats used to carry the barrels of port downstream, were moored. Simo talked about the commission she works on for the Italian travel magazine “Dove’. She illustrates the back page every month and has done for the last three years. She has built up a good relationship with the art director over that time. She uses her own location drawing when possible and works from reference photographs too. She emphasised the fact that the text needs to be written from a very personal viewpoint, saying that the sketch was one thing, the writing a second and together they made a third new element.
I’ve always found writing in my sketchbook so difficult and the exercise she set was always going to be challenging. She asked us to tell the story of port in a single page reportage. Many of the other people at the workshop seemed to have thought about this quite a lot beforehand and had great ideas, lots with a personal spin and I felt I should have done my homework!
Initially, we made thumbnail sketches of how the page might be laid out. As I hadn’t really thought of a personal angle, I made several and Simo pointed out one which might be good to take further. I drew a rabelo which had its sail blowing in the wind and started to think about my story. As I’m not a great drinker I hadn’t tasted the port and decided that this might be something I could use – the fact that visitors could enjoy the city even if they didn’t taste its famous wine.
Most people didn’t finish the project on site, so Simo asked us to send her the final versions when we got home. I tried a couple of layouts, which you can see below.