What shall I draw today?

It’s National Drawing Day, which leads me to the old question – what shall I draw? If you find yourself wondering this, it can be helpful – really! – to think about things you don’t usually draw. It’s always good to practice doing studies of new subjects.

Today, I found myself thinking about moths; though I may sometimes include a distant moth in a picture I’m making, I never really draw them in any detail. I don’t know why – they’re every bit as lovely as butterflies when you look at them closely.

I decided to make them my focus for today by doing some moth studies. These were drawn in the Autodesk Sketchbook app on my tablet.

I think I may have found a new favourite thing to draw 🙂

Happy drawing all!




Art supplies and other distractions

I am in a kind of software update purgatory today. I haven’t used my desktop machine for a few days,  so pushing the power switch was never going to be pretty. Software updates are like buses – they all seem to arrive at once; maybe it’s some sort of quantum thing.

Still – while the updates are installing I have a good excuse to play with some new art supplies.

Earlier in the week I was mashing up marker pens with coloured pencils. I thought it might be fun to bring some blendable,  alcohol-based markers into my experimenting, too. I haven’t used blendable marker pens before, so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and comparing the effects.

Back soon -most likely covered in ink stains! Happy weekend all 🙂

Happy scribbling

I treated myself to some scribble time. I blocked out some flat colour in an A5 sketchbook first of all, using marker pens. Then I used coloured pencils to add in some light and shade, as well as some variation to the colours. I did this part pretty roughly – I want all those lovely, messy pencil marks to be visible, as they’ll give some nice textures. 

Once scanned this will be the background of a scene; I plan to draw and scan other elements separately before bringing them together to create a digital composition. More on this to follow 🙂

Bumbly Bee

Whilst working on some new business cards, I’ve also been thinking about some new bits and pieces to use around this site. This little guy popped into my head and demanded to be drawn.

He’s all set to become a recurring character, zooming around the galleries to say hello 🙂

Start at the very beginning

It’s that time again – the business cards need a refresh. Today I have been playing with ideas for a new design.

After a bit of head-scratching I decided to base the illustrative components around the practical aspects of image making. As a starting point, I sketched out some of the basic tools of the trade.

I’d like to incorporate some of these as elements of the design, but having made these sketches I decided I’d also like to include some more organic, flowing elements too.

Hurrah! An idea has begun to take shape – phew!

Back to the sketchbook for now,  before staring work on the high-res artwork 🙂

Digital Painting – Poppy – Part 2

My previous post showed the first stages of a work-in progress. Work has continued and the next stages are shown here today.


Continuing from my earlier steps, I added layers of colour to the image, building up light and shade to define the character’s form. I then went on to add a little more definition, as well as adding details to the facial features.


With these steps completed, I’ll put the image to one side for a few days. When time permits, I find a few days distance from an image is incredibly useful, as it allows me to view the piece with fresh eyes before adding any finishing touches which might be needed.

Happy weekend! 🙂


Digital Painting – Poppy – Part 1

Today I thought I’d share a work in progress. The images show the early stages of work on a character project. This little figure – her name is Poppy – will eventually sit with a logo, so the layout has been chosen with this in mind.

The image shows my first three steps on the project, all done in Photoshop.

First (page left) I made a very rough thumbnail. I wanted the figure to fit roughly into a circular shape, so I started by marking in a circle to guide me. At this stage I’m mainly interested in getting a feel for the pose I want, and don’t worry much about the drawing… as you can see from the super-messy doodle!

Next (centre) I made a more precise sketch – still not a ‘proper drawing,’ but enough to help me block out the figure more clearly.

Using the sketch, I then laid down some colour (page right). In this step I’m laying the foundations for the digital painting work proper; it’s a little like the underpainting you might make when using natural media.

With these stages in place I can get stuck in to some more detailed, delicate work; more on this in part 2 🙂