Tuesday, 2 October 2012

What Ever Happened To The Skipping Rope?

It's a quarter to one in the wee small hours. I have been drawing pen and ink again. Thank you all so much for your positive comments on the last post.

I have just drawn a picture of some children skipping. The type of skipping in which there is a rope holder at each end, twirling the rope and several kids jump in at the same time and try to keep it going. Do you remember that? Sometimes there would be two ropes going at the same time over lapping each other. How on earth did we do that?

It was mainly the girls who did the skipping, but I have to say I was quite good at it too. I have always been in touch with my feminine side. Isn't that what they say these days?

Do you remember me saying I wanted the book to have a retro feel to it? Well with that in mind I borrowed some of Tricia's beloved Just William books and had a look at the style of drawing. It struck me that my drawings are far too tidy. Of course I have been using a modern pen. So I went to my magic shed and found some old fashioned dipping pens and a bottle of black ink. I am very pleased with the results. Much more of the time I think.

Here is a picture from the Just William book, drawn by Thomas Henry. I think you will agree it has an old fashioned style about it. Actually it was drawn in the 1930's, so it obviously would look dated.

Here is a picture I did tonight, using the old pen and ink method. It hasn't the expertise of the Thomas Henry drawing, and it is certainly not so busy, but I like it. It has the look of the time. I think I shall do them all in this style. The ink splashes are deliberate by the way. I think they add something to the drawings. I'm not sure what that something is though.

So I shall have a few pen and ink drawings, done in the traditional method distributed among the pages of my book.

Do you see that little girl? The one who is standing next to the boy? I draw your attention to her because I just think she is absolutely the best thing about this drawing. Isn't she sweet? I think she is trying to pluck up the courage to jump in. Blimey, now I'm falling in love with a figment of my imagination!

Incidentally, what ever happened to skipping? I cannot remember when I last saw children enjoying this particular activity.

Come and see me again soon won't you.


  1. Your drawings are lovely, wish I could draw like that. I love skipping when I was in school. Never let a day go by without skipping. Come visit my site, I just took some photos of the sun yesterday. No ordinary sun but a sun with a halo. Maybe you could draw or paint one exactly like the shot I took. Happy drawing, painting, writing and blogging to you.

  2. Very, very cool! Jumping rope in a tight skirt is rough, though.

  3. I use to love jumping rope in grade school. I was really good at red hot peppers and double dutch. I don't think children nowdays are into jumping rope.. too much exercise!

  4. I have given jump ropes to my grandchildren as gifts. I believe they think I am in my dotage. While we are on the subject what ever happened to pick-up sticks and jacks? I have tried to teach my grandchildren but they wander off as soon as they can politely do so. Your drawing is perfect. That is definitely the way to go. My goodness, I am so proud of you.

  5. Your sketching is awesome.The Skipping rope was our best pal during our days..With the computer and video games,the children nowadays have adapted to a sedentary lifestyle and have no time to skip with a rope..

  6. Skipping is alive and well in schools in Australia. In fact there are super skipper teams that travel the country showing off their skills to encourage that the skill of skipping continues and how healthy skipping is for our hearts. Love the sketches as well. Looks like you have captured the era admirably.

  7. What a lovely sketch...the pen and ink surely reflects the mood of your book better I think.
    Keep going John, you are doing a great job.
    I don't see children skipping here anymore either.
    It's such a fun exercise..I used to skip with my friends at school (boys and girls) all the time, and it was always so much fun.

  8. You are going well with the sketching. I used to love reading my brother's William books. Skipping is alive and well but it is called 'jump rope' . Our heart foundation started a Jump Rope programme in schools. They provided ropes and sent demonstration teams to schools to show them what can be done with ropes these days. When I was teaching, a colleague and I started a demonstration team at our school. We used to travel to neighbouring schools to demonstrate the steps and put on a show. Once a year there was a competition for the demonstration teams. It was a lot of work training the kids(boys and girls) but it was rewarding. There are "Jump Rope " teams all over the world now and they compete in world championships. They have tried to get it into the Olympics but were unsuccessful.
    John you must watch this video and any other related ones on You Tube.


    You will be blown away with what can be done with the humble skipping rope these days. Actually the ropes are high tech now. They are plastic or nylon and they are coated with a series of long plastic beads. Please watch the video or google" Jump Rope". You won't be disappointed.

  9. Amazing skipping video, thanks. John your drawings will be perfect for your book.

  10. Perfect drawings....I thought the little girl was clapping her hands in excitement.
    Jane x

  11. Your sketch is wonderful. My daughter used to take a skipping rope with her when she went to primary school. I taught her some of the rhymes that we used to skip to.

  12. I was good at skipping too. My sister and I would tie a rope to a tree and then one of of would turn the rope and jump, and then we would switch out for the other to jump.
    In a group of girls, "I love coffee, I love tea,
    I'd love for KAY to jump in with ME!", and then there be two girls skipping or jumping rope.
    Do children do that now? I never see it.

  13. Oh, and I love your drawing, I forgot to say!

  14. Love it, love it, love it, love it. John, you are brilliant!

  15. I believe that cell phones have replaced simpler things such as jump ropes.
    I like your drawing, very nice

  16. Your drawing does indeed catch those times.
    As for the skipping, in my childhood (born 1968) we still did a lot of that on the school's playground during break. And I do rope-skipping on my own, in my bedroom, about 300 jumps every day unless I've been for a run, then I don't need it. The 2 Euros I bought the skipping rope for (an old-fashioned one with wooden handles) were my best invested 2 Euros in the past 5 years or so.