Bob Freeman is never entirely happy with any of his drawings; he says he never knows exactly what direction they will go in, or how they will finish – if they ever do.
Technical illustrations can often be slaves to accuracy, with limited scope for exploring the personally crafted details that make Freeman reach for his pencil; freehand drawing, by contrast, is a beautifully inexact science. “A drawing can appear in a few seconds, or become a technical cactus, growing very slowly, and developing small, prickly bits you daren’t touch for fear of spoiling it.” Freeman’s artwork has graced many magazines, its sheer eccentricity harmonising well with the precise technical and historical writings that it often accompanies.
The jotted notes and experimental splashes of colour that appear on his work are witness to a constantly evolving method, a dangerous habit when working to commercial deadlines, but one that gives his work a unique spontaneity. For the first time, we have been allowed access to his sketchbooks: “People may be surprised they have such a disorganised feel, but sketchbooks are of the moment; the drawings in them are the most candid statements you ever make.”