Self-taught sketch artist Lee Blackstock is a Colour Sergeant in the British Army serving with the Scots Guards.
Colour Sergeant (CSgt) Blackstock now serves as the Company Quarter Master Sergeant of Headquarter Company.
CSgt Blackstock began drawing after an injury left him in pain and unable to move very well, so to keep his mind busy he decided to pick up a pencil and sketchbook. He said:
“I started drawing in 2016 to keep busy after a back injury, I then realised that I quite enjoyed the process and found it very cathartic.”
Some of his most liked artwork are his sketches of Peaky Blinders characters which take many hours to complete. Lee said:
“My sketches take a lot of hours of dedication. The time they take to complete depends on size and detail, but most of mine take anywhere between ten hours, to what can sometimes feel like weeks.
“After quite extensive study of different mediums and styles, I found that portraiture was something I enjoyed and decided to focus all my efforts into producing photo realistic portraits, with the end goal of creating a business upon retirement from the Army."
CSgt Blackstock has seen deployment on operations across the world including Iraq and Afghanistan and has also spent time guarding HM Queen. He said:
“I have been very lucky to be a member of the Household Division now for nearly 20 years.
“Not only are you an infantry frontline soldier but you also have the honour of guarding Her Majesty during various stages of your career.”
CSgt Blackstock has been blown away by all the kind comments and support posted on his Instagram page. He said his family’s support means the most, adding:
“I know it sounds cliché but my mum is my biggest fan.
"She has helped me no end and is always on hand to give praise and a cheeky share on Facebook.”
CSgt Blackstock is married with four children, Kayleigh 16, Lucy 13, Bella 9 and Ally 7. He likes that his art requires only a small amount of space in his kit when he is deployed away with the military, adding:
“The good thing about art is that you do not require a lot of materials. Although I do have my main base ‘studio’ within barracks.
“It is quite easy to grab kit when working away and now my family have located back home, that leaves plenty of time in the evenings to keep me busy with commissions.”
When asked what advice you would give to someone else thinking of taking up art, CSgt Blackstock said:
“Stick with it. At the beginning it can be very daunting, My advice would be the same advice a friend gave me when I started, ‘don’t look around at what others are producing, look back at your previous work and see how far you have come’.
“I fully subscribe to the idea that everyone can draw or at least produce art … it just takes time, practice and plenty of erasing”.
“Due to social media and the depth of talent and styles available immediately at your fingertips, there is always an idea or a new trend to try and learn. I’d say the need to get better is my biggest inspiration.”
The British Military is packed full of amazing people with an array of talents, from musicians, to dancers, and artists to Olympians.
Some of the public only see the uniform and forget that underneath the uniform are our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and everything in between.
Forces Talent hopes to show you another side to the men and women including their family members who choose to serve our country within the British Armed Forces.
If you know of someone, or you have a hidden talent … (keep it clean) then please do get in touch.