Sketching at Göbeklitepe this year was not as easy as last year, as the site is now under a temporary wooden shelter, but it's still such a marvellous place to get out a pencil and sketchbook. Last year, I regretted that I hadn't asked Mahmut bey if I could sketch him— it was a mix of shyness and a little bit of the pressure of being in a group that was on the move that held me back, so I was determined to get a portrait of him in my book this time around. I was pleased that he remembered me, and even more so that he agreed to patiently pose for a sketch under an unforgiving sun. I have no idea how much time passed, but after a while, he started to get fidgety.
A group of important-looking people had arrived with a police escort to inspect the site, and he broke his stoic pose to keep an eye on their whereabouts. Eventually, he glanced up at the sky with his squinty eyes, and politely asked if I could just take a photograph of him instead. Grateful for any time with him, I thanked him with a handshake and watched him disappear under the wooden structure. I was left with a decent pencil sketch of him and a photograph, which I used for colouring, while in my hotel room later that night. I'm pretty happy with the result, and glad that I overcame my shyness— after all, if portraits are my favourite subjects for sketching, I have to get comfortable talking to people!
Click here to see two sketches from last year's visit to Göbeklitepe.