Sunday, 1 May 2016

First post of 2016

I've really neglected my blog. Bad artist. I had a lot of work and absolutely no time to post or even draw new pictures.
But now I have a bit of time and can add some drawings. 

The last year has all been taken up with drawings of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, BBC's amazing and double BAFTA winning drama adaptation of Susanna Shaw's book.
I'm ashamed to say I only read the first 2 chapters of the book, but will finish it.

Jonathan Strange

Mr Gilbert Norrell

John Childermass

Mrs Arabella Strange

The Gentleman with Thistledown Hair

Stephen Black

Mr Segundus

Mr Honeyfoot


Sir Walter Pole

Lady Emma Pole

Mr Drawlight

Mr Lascelles

The Raven King (John Usglass)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Cardiff Castle's Animal Wall

Cardiff has quite a few architectural landmarks- the castle being the most eccentric. Perched on the battlement-style wall are stone animals, (some with glassy eyes). They're simultaneously humorous and spooky, looking like a second away from springing to life.


Here are the latest viking drawings, from the York Jorvik Viking Festival. The textures and colours are particularly interesting, viking costume can be very rich, especially the Russian ones.

Since I've been using KyleBrushes amazing photoshop tools my love of drawing has really taken off again. It still takes the same skill of pencil and paper, the only difference is that you don't rub a hole in the surface when erasing mistakes. An unexpected challenge of working this way is the temptation to be very detailed, something I have to drag myself away from. There still has to be a roughness to the edges and freshness in colour, and there's still judging what to put in or leave out.


Saturday, 31 January 2015

Hallowe'en dinner

So it's 3 months after Hallowe'en, but I dug this photo out of my collection and realised that it would be a great subject for the next picture. The location is Banners Restaurant in North London, it's such an interesting place, there are so many details to feast on along with a great sense of space. The Jerk Chicken is gorgeous, and the Singapore Sling will knock you out.

In the last few months I've started looking at combining drawing with using textures. The second image has some paper underneath, matching the slightly grungey feel of the place. Usually it's a base of an Ingres or sugar paper, but now I'm adding scuffed and mottled surfaces. The tricky part of that is not to let the background look gimmicky or obtrusive.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

House in the clouds

This is a complex image made with the starting point of a wooden house model. It started as a birthday present for my Dad, then has been on a bookshelf for a year. After seeing it for so long little cogs started working and my subconscious came up with the perfect scenario to set the building in. 

It's drawn in Photoshop, and is quite a large image, about 50cm wide. There was no intention to make it like the house in 'Up', maybe it's a common theme to dream about houses in the clouds. The whole image is just simple fantasy, a combination of two things I love- architecture and billowing clouds.

The first blue-tinted clouds version.

 With an apocalyptic edge to the clouds.

The line is removed, for a nice 'chunky' quality.

Here's the original model:

Monday, 13 October 2014

Etching Class at The Art House

This is a drawing of the etching class I taught at The Art House in Wakefield. It was a two day course, and was very successful for the students, who left still smiling.
The drive to improve and discover new ways of making work has really taken hold. It's interesting how old methods from art school have resurfaced and proved to be still interesting and effective.
There are two different styles here; one is to use a watercolour drawn line and then use a rough conte brush as the colour, and the other is to just have the pastel and no line. I prefer the latter, it's more painterly and chunky, it just about hangs together as a description of forms. This could go more rough and abstract in future drawings.

Neal's Yard, London

This was quite a big project. It started as a watercolour from about 4 years ago, but I decided to really push myself and do a big 60x24cm version in Photoshop with the new rough Dry Media brushes.
I'm really getting into my stride with the Kyle's Brushes, and have discovered quite a lot about drawing and painting. The most important lesson has been to work out how detailed to go and where to leave the quality more rough and loose.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Tea Time

On the trail of the Tour de France (Yorkshire Grand Depart), I had lovely cream tea at Bainbridge in Swaledale.
Then did a picture of it. Forget photographing your food, draw it too. Maybe that's a good idea for everyone to try…

It actually started as a test to see if I could tackle my horror of drawing ellipses. It took a day to draw it out, and a day to add colour and get the balance right for the composition.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

History Girl

It has been a while, but I'm back now, with a drawing of a Tudor Feast. It is a scene from Tudor Christmas, BBC. The scene was so reminiscent of the beautiful Dutch paintings of the 17th century, so I had a go at tackling such a lovely scene.
It was made on the Wacom Intuos tablet, and Kyle's Dry Media Brushes, which have fantastic texture qualities.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Mystery House drawing

This house has always fascinated me, it is in Crouch End, north London, opposite where I used to live. Apparently it looks even worse 4 years after I took the photo.
The dark picture is a tryout at night-time lighting, with an orange light in the hall. What I've found so enjoyable with this new way of working is the quality of shading with the Dry Media Set (Kyle's Brushes via

Monday, 30 June 2014

Portrait time

If you follow my blog you may know I'm a bit of a Doctor Who fan. Sometimes I like to draw portraits of some characters. So before the new series starts here are a couple of portraits of new-boy, Peter Capaldi. If you are eagle eyed you can see that the lower one has the mouth slightly more pursed. What is this man thinking? Will a witty comment come out?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Etchings of elder vikings

Some more vikings (I'm building up a collection).  These are two expressive vikings, the first is looking worried, and the second very imperious. They are both c. 18x26cm.