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 🙂

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 🙂


I thought it might be fun to share a work-in-progress.

This project was inspired by a song lyric. At around 3AM I was saved from the tedium of insomnia by a documentary on the music of the 1960s. The show offered (amongst other treasures) a rendition of ‘High Flying Bird’ recorded by Richie Havens in 1969 (authored – so far as I can see – by Billy Edd Wheeler).

The vocals were wonderful…and one line in particular kept leaping out at me. It needed to be drawn.

Above is my initial (very rough!) sketch, along with the snippet of lyrical inspiration from which it sprang.

I then used the rough as a guide to block out the figure in more detail, adding some light and shade to solidify the form.

I’m quite pleased with the sketch so far and looking forward to tackling the next stages … watch this space 🙂

All change!

Starting today, I’ll be trying out a new posting schedule. I’m aiming to bring in some different types of post, as well as making more of those I especially enjoy. My hope is to make the site as interesting, useful and other good stuff as I can – whilst also allowing myself some extra time for study, projects and play 😀

To those of you who have been following along with me – thank you all so much…your support is truly appreciated. Hello and welcome to new friends, too 🙂

Today’s image belongs to a category I’m calling my Doodle Book – these posts will be given over to doodles which help me capture ideas for further development.

For me, this type of playful, free doodling is so important – I try not to worry too much about accurate rendering, and focus on the ‘feel’ of the piece. Sometimes I’ll move straight on to a more finished illustration – and sometimes I leave it to simmer on a low heat!  Either way, the doodle process is a really useful exercise for me. 

Happy new week lovely people 🙂


Another pencil texture to test today. This one is more binary than yesterday’s – the marks are more defined and repetitive.

Testing the texture using a quickly snapped photo of my sketchbook page, I made today’s quick fishy doodle. I quite like the effect in the background, and I reckon this one will be great when blended into areas of foliage 🙂

Graphite Therapy

There is something wonderfully therapeutic about making marks on a page. A simple pencil, applied to a page, provides a hypnotic pastime.

I used a sketchbook page and sat happily making marks for another digital texture. I took some snaps along the way, to show the different kinds of marks I made to build up the layers.

To test the texture  I made a quick image in a sketchbook app, using just the photo to apply the texture. I like the general effect this gives, so I’ll go ahead and make a high-resolution scan. The scanned image – after some digital tweaking – will give a much more nuanced effect when used to apply texture to a high res illustration. 

Making textures like this one is a great way to make digital artworks more organic and personal to you. They can be used singly or in combination to build up unique textures in your art.

Most importantly, though – this is loads of fun 🙂