When it comes to the Town Centre it’s fair to say I’ve been circling the landing strip.

I’ve toured and sketched the surrounding districts, delved into archives and pencilled portraits of local characters. But drawing the Centre itself? It’s taken me a while to get started on that.

As noted in my last journal entry, it’s not JUST the size, scale and complexity of the building that is daunting (though please be assured, that’s a big part of it). The Town Centre itself is really a lens, a means of looking into the heart of the New Town and the visions that shaped   it, of telling stories that ring true. Understanding what sits around it, what passes through it, lives, works and plays in its labyrinthine interiors is absolutely crucial.

But in the end, this needs to be pulled together by observing the centre itself and trying to get some kind of grip on its unique look, feel and atmosphere. And that (this will not be the last time I say this) is a task that will stretch me to the limit.

So I’ve kept it simple to start with, focusing on capturing small scenes and moments that can be, mark by mark, built into a bigger picture. I lurked around the northward bus stop to sketch faces and scenery, then lingered in the corridor by the library. It’s a part of the building whose stark diagonals and tiled buttresses bring the abstract visions of the architects to the fore, a space where Mondrian and Braque are made flesh (or concrete).

It’s…a start.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll make further studies, a series of cumulative attempts to capture of the look and feel of the Town Centre. They will fail – the Town Centre is not going to be captured in a single drawings – but they will build my knowledge of the place and how it fits the together, inside and out. These sketches are more than ‘content’. Each line I draw is a thought made solid, evidence of learning what the Town Centre is…

…because the big performance is coming, that day when I take out a piece (maybe two pieces? Three?) of A0 mountboard, flip the view from side-on to bird’s-eye, and start to draw out the bones of the Town Centre Dialectogram.

But I need to learn the lines first…