Gscene cover artist (and DJ, cartoonist, radio presenter and vocalist) takes a break from her busy lockdown life to give an insight into her world with Jaq Bayles asking the questions and Queenie providing the camp answers.
Can you tell us what a typical week looked like for you before lockdown and what it looks like now? I’m a care worker at a respite home for young people with physical and learning disabilities but am currently working remotely, mainly online, which is a hugely different experience. It’s good that there is stuff I can do from home, but I’m really missing everyone and the hands-on nature of the job. The missus Kate and I got a little rescue dog from Portugal called Arnie just a couple of weeks before lockdown started. This has been great as he’s given us something other than the news to focus on and has made our daily walks more interesting, though he’s hasn’t really got the hang of social distancing yet. Lost in translation. Literally.
Tell us about your online activities – I believe you’re doing cookery classes? Is that a new thing? How did it come about? I’m delighted that you’re describing my online efforts as ‘cookery classes’. These all came about at the very beginning of our quarantine when I decided to be useful and do a whole batch of ‘some for now, some for the freezer’ cooking and so ‘Queenie Cooks In The Social Isolation Kitchen’ was born. However, for anyone expecting Nigella Lawson style recipes and haute cuisine I’m afraid there maybe disappointment. I’m more likely to be knocking up a Fanny Craddock banana candle (as camp as it sounds!) than creating the perfect pavlova.
What other online stuff are you up to and what inspired these activities? It’s (nearly) all about the art! I’m doing black and white drawings of animals practically every day which are available to download and colour in and the young people at work are using them as part of their home-schooling activities throughout the week. Other schools have picked up on them too and I’m delighted that they are being used as activities for the children of key workers who are still attending. Not bad considering these started off as just a few little creature drawings to entertain the kids in our street.
Are you currently finding any opportunities to DJ in any way? Kate and I are still doing The Wildblood and Queenie Show on 1BTN. Obviously none of us DJs can go into the studio to do live shows, but we’re pre-recording at home. Being able to continue the disco in some way had been vital to keeping us grinning and we hope to start streaming some live disco action and fundraise for The Rainbow Fund to ease the pain of Brighton Pride being cancelled.
How did you find the challenge of drawing the Gscene cover? Well I do love a cartoon challenge, though I hope all those beauties featured are happy with their representation. I also hope people take up the challenge and colour it in and I look forward to seeing the results shared online.
Can you explain your artistic process when you’re depicting ‘real’ people as cartoons? I do a fair amount of drawings of Kate, close friends or our animals where basically I just draw from memory. However, for other commissions such as the Gscene cover I’ll work from photos so will spend a lot of time ogling at these and deciding how best to frame everything, who should go where etc. Then I dive in – pencil everyone/thing in first. And whilst these pencil likenesses are rough, I have to be happy that the drawing I’ve done of a person really does look like them before I move on to the next character. Once everyone is done I move in with my pens and do proper outlines. Then finally I’ll titivate everything with shading, patterns etc. So it is all rather old school pen and ink.
Why do you think people love colouring in so much? Apparently colouring in induces the same state as meditating as it relaxes the fear centre of the brain and therefore reduces the thoughts of a restless mind. So it is therefore deemed as, dare I say it, a ‘mindful’ occupation. That’s what the experts say anyway and whilst I baulk slightly at their language I do know a lot of adults who swear that a spot of crayoning calms their tensions away…..
What are you most looking forward to when lockdown eases? Human contact! Seeing family and friends and finally returning to the disco.
The Wildblood and Queenie Show on 1BTN 1st & 3rd Friday of every month 101.4FM DAB+ 1btn.fm
Download all of Queenie’s creations to colour in here.
Photos by Hannah Sherlock