by Cathy Gatland in Johannesburg, South Africa
There was a huge mountain bike event around Johannesburg last month, with a 22km and 52km course taking the 5 500 participants around the greener spaces of the city's suburbs. Both races started and ended near my home at the Emmarentia Botanical Gardens, so I jumped at the chance to seat myself at a strategic spot and sketch the returning cyclists. Some still looked fresh, others muddy, a bit bloody, and exhausted. The organisers built a temporary bridge over the Emmarentia Dam from floating plastic squares and parked their big corporate rubber duck alongside it. It seemed pretty sturdy and I didn't see any cyclists fall in, but one or two of the life guards in scuba gear were gently shoved off into the duck-pondy water.
I don't know if anyone else has these dilemmas, but I often have a decision making crisis at the point of starting to sketch. I started with watercolour and aquabrush with no line, quickly finding I was wiping far more paint onto my wristband than I was getting onto my paper, so I switched to a Lamy pen line only, which gave a bit of the effect of the juddery movements of the bikes and riders, but none of the colour - so finally I used both, line first and then colour more slowly and not wasting so much. Still not sure which is best!