From Afghanistan to Horsington - it’s artist Jacob’s remarkable journey

Jacob Sutton in the Afghan capital  Kabul with a child whose portait he has just drawn
Jacob Sutton in the Afghan capital Kabul with a child whose portait he has just drawn

Jacob Sutton has certainly led a colourful life. He’s been shot at by Al Qaeda and apparently one of his biggest fans is Hilary Clinton.

So, when it comes to teaching local children how to draw, it should be a pretty straightforward job.

Jacob recently moved to the village of Horsington after living in Wales.

Later this month, he will hold a series of masterclasses, designed to teach the art of portrait drawing to children and adults.

And, no-one can claim Jacob doesn’t have the experience to pass on more than a few tips.

He’s spent 30 years drawing portraits all over the world - including a three-year stint when he lived in Afghanistan.

That particular venture came soon after the infamous terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.

Jacob, who describes himself as an artist and documentary storyteller, said: “I had a sense I needed to go. It was an instinct, my decision proved right.”

He headed off with a TV film camera and some charcoals to document the lives of ordinary Afghan people.

Jacob duly travelled via Peshawar, the nearest town in the Kyber Pass and the main route into Afghanistan.

Soon after arriving, he visited a cafe run by an Afghan man and started to draw portraits of regular customers.

While at the cafe, he befriended a warlord - General Engineer Rafa - and travelled with him in a convoy of 150 vehicles to Afghanistan.

Jacob lived in the Afghan capital Kabul for three-and-a-half years but visited many other areas of the war-torn country.

He spent the first Christmas in the mountains of Tora Bora which is where he was shot at.

Despite that, he describes his time in Afghanistan as memorable.

He also says the Afghan people were perfect models - despite all their problems.

He adds: “They have an innocence that makes them wonderful to draw.”

He produced hundreds of portraits to add to an impressive collection built up over the last 30 years.

His book ‘Afghanistan Portraits’ was published in 2011 and followed a year later by Shakespeare & Friends’ - published for the Shakespeare British Museum exhibition.

He’s visited many other countries and appeared at a number of important literary and arts festivals. Hilary Clinton owns one of his works, others are on display in the British Ambassador’s residence in Beruit.

Jacob’s first masterclass will be held at Coronation Hall in Woodhall Spa on Saturday November 29 from 2-3.30pm and from 4-5.30pm.

He will also hold masterclasses at Stanhope Hall in Horncastle on Saturday December 6 - again from 2-3.30pm and 4-5.30pm.

The classes are aimed at 5-16 year olds and all materials are provided. The cost is £10 per child.

Parents, teachers and students can also take part in the later sessions. Details from 07550 733115.