Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Back to work!

Bank Holiday or not, I've been drawing today, mind you I love it and so i'm not complaining! Had a nice family Christmas and got some really useful presents this year! Have had fun today drawing fairy doors, cute rabbits, magical crystals and tin soldiers! All in a days work...!

With any luck i'll be able to share this work with you in 2011 - gosh I hope so. in the meantime this is a picture of two Polish dancing fairies. Yes, you heard correctly. I actually did it for the actress Jeri Ryan's daughter, but it got stolen in America in a postal office before it ever reached the three year-old - how mean is that?

Friday, 23 December 2011

Fairy sketches!

Well it is nearly Christmas and I still have work to do, but I am slowing down! I'm working today and even Christmas Eve, but only a wee bit, as I've got to wrap all my Christmas presents yet!

I think one of my New Year resolutions will have to be to keep my blog up to date a bit more than I have been lately. Things are winding down though, well until January! The Agatha Christie project from my perspective has stopped for Christmas and I am slowly working my way through sketches for the book and hope to have all the roughs completed by about mid-January. I so wish I could share some sketches with you, but it would be very unprofessional of me to do so, and so I can only share sketches from projects that are already published and in the shops. So here are a few for you...

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Some mothers to 'ave 'em

Crazy old day! Sorry I haven't blogged yet this week, but I've been away. Went to see my first pantomime in decades! The Dame was great and wore wonderfully outrageous outfits and colourful wigs, and i particularly liked the striped stockings! It was meant to be Robinson Crusoe, but was absolutely nothing like the story! The children liked it and laughed a lot and there was the usual "look behind you" and "oh know I didn't - oh yes you did!".

Got home today ready to get on with some artwork and everything went wrong! Firstly I went to check something out in my loft I had left up there and found a pot of emulsion paint had spilled and covered EVERYTHING in the loft! It was still wet and so I spent an hour mopping up and cleaning everything and discovered how hard it is to take buckets of water up a narrow ladder into a loft space - on your own! Then I discovered I'd left my contact lens liquid at where I had stayed and so had to go out and get some more. To save time I got on a bus, which proceeded to take a diversion wildly far away from where I wanted to go! By this stage there was visible steam coming out of my ears!

I eventually sat down and did some work late afternoon - what a crazy day! Anyway I managed to find time to finalise two characters for a book I am illustrating at the moment. This is a really fun project, because it is all fantasy stuff, and so I can really use my imagination. Hopefully later this year I'll be able to share some of my work with you.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

What a crazy week!

Hi everyone!

I am so sorry that it has taken nearly a week to blog, but I have had such a busy one! Meeting deadlines, preparing for exams and Christmas shopping. Today I had two exams, a multiple choice and a practical exam. I had to do a fifteen minute audience participation public speech, and I was filmed! Luckily the work I have been doing for Videojug came in very handy indeed. I used all the preparation from one of my videos for the speech bit and it went surprisingly well. As I had to leave early today the examiner got me to one side and said I had done very well and she had no negative comments, so I think I've passed!

I also finished another set of Agatha Christie suspects this week for the magazine. I really enjoyed this one, and used for inspiration one of the characters, who is a herbalist and so all the colours I used were greens, lavenders and cool greys. It worked a treat! As usual I cannot divulge too much information until they start hitting the high street, but once they're selling in W H Smiths I can start to share the artwork with you, until then you'll just have to wait!

Anyway,  here's an example of what I used today for my public speech exam:

Friday, 9 December 2011

How to draw baby animals

Here's just a short blog today about how to draw a baby duck! One of the many 'how to' videos I recently did for VideoJug. See if you can follow this:

Thursday, 8 December 2011

What a dreadful day!

Today I had to set aside my artwork and go off to do the second day of my course, which was terrible, or rather I was! I didn't realise we had to prepare for a five-minute public speech/lesson and of course I had done nothing and so had to 'blag' it! I hate doing that, because you're left feeling like you've just run through a ring of fire and got your bum singed a bit. So with hair smoking and eyes rolling I did it and wanted the ground to swallow me up! I think I'll stick to my day job of drawing - lol!

Next week I have got to do a fifteen-minute session and so obviously for that I will prepare. I have decided to stick to my strengths and teach everyone how to draw something. Probably something I have already prepared for VideoJug.

I have a nice day tomorrow though, sketching my characterful pigs! Much more fun...

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

More pigs and Heath Robinson!

It is really weird and rather freudian that I should have shown you yesterday how to draw a pig when today I've got to do just that! Five pigs! But these five pigs have attitude and reflect their human counterparts. Yes it is another Agatha Christie novel in which I am illustrating the suspects for the magazine. Can any avid Christie reader out there work out the title of the book? If you can, send me a message. It's a really fun one to do, giving animals personalities is always interesting and can be quite a challenge too.

I may also be doing some more silhouetted work soon and this time it's a house, which makes me think of William Heath Robinson and his wonderful silhouettes of domestic mayhem and eccentricity. Here's a lovely Heath Robinson picture, which shows you exactly what I mean. If you would like to see more of his work, you must visit http://www.heathrobinson.org/. Isn't it beautiful?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

How to draw a...

In the midst of doing my usual artwork, doing story time sessions and going to French classes, I am doing a short course in... well public speaking. I didn't mean to do the course, thinking it was something else, but find myself doing it anyway! It's City and Guilds course and on the final day I've got to do a fifteen minute slot in front of an audience and whatever I do must involve the audience. Well an idea popped into my head almost immediately. As you know I've been doing all these Videojug videos on how to draw various things and I thought "why not adapt a couple of them and get the audience drawing", which should be hilarious. It is guaranteed to last fifteen minutes too! So I thought i would do "how to draw a pig" and maybe something else.

I thought I would share with you today my preparation I did for the "how to draw a pig" video, which won't be broadcasted by the way until about January, or possibly February. I'll keep you posted about that!

Monday, 5 December 2011

I'm still here!!!

I can't believe the last time I blogged was last Tuesday - LAST TUESDAY! That's terrible. I must get a grip here!

Well my silhouette project is completed and I am very pleased with the results, but unfortunately I cannot share the artwork with you until it starts being used on the company's website and elsewhere. It was quite fun and I wouldn't mind doing more work like that. Next it's the book, which is apparently nearly finished and so I should be getting the list of illustrations soon.

I am also working on the magazine as usual. Wonderful period to work on, which is 1925, and so I have some great references for 1920s stockbrokers with their wonderful straw boaters, and Flappers!

Here are some lovely references I've found:

This is actually a 1924 fashion page, but I thought it was really lovely.

Check out the pince-nezs

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bonsoir mon amis!

Well I have actually had a day off from drawing today, and so was busy chasing unpaid invoices - yawn! 

I have also done some of the dreaded Christmas shopping. I think the rest will be done on-line, as I really do not like doing it - especially in a hurricane-like wind and driving rain O_o!

Here are some more unseen pieces of artwork for you again today. Again these are the preliminary drawings I do on a project that never end up in print, but they are very important, as it is at sketch stage that all the ideas are established and a designer or art director edits your work, before you do the final artwork.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Doggy silliness

Well this week seems to be starting better for me - fingers crossed. Last week was a sheer nightmare and very stressful, and so hopefully things have settled down now on the freelance front!

Still working hard of course! Just finished another spread for the magazine, and so I guess it won't be long now before they begin advertising it on telly.

Over Christmas and New Year I am going to be working on a book using my pencil style, which I am keen to do, and so that should be fun. But as ever there is very little I can reveal without getting into hot water!

I thought I'd share some artwork with you today that only clients really see and never the public: some roughs. These are working sketches I did for a series of doggy inspired greetings cards. Hope you enjoy them!

Woof, woof, woof!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

How to draw Cloud Strife

Well I have had a rather trying week with a difficult freelance situation, which is all I can say and it is why I haven't been able to blog too much. Needless to say it has left me exhausted and feeling a bit flat!

Never mind I am still enjoying my on-going magazine commission and work with a very charming client to-boot, which is always a bonus, as you never know who you're going to get!

Here's another videojug preparation for you that you may like to try yourselves! Go on - have a go!

How to draw Cloud Strife:

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A whirlwind few days

Sorry I haven't been blogging, but I've just been too busy! Last week as you know I had Videojug over filming in my living room twenty-one new 'how to' videos, which I am told are to be broadcasted in January sometime! My room was filled with lights and it was quite exhausting. 

I have also been working hard on my logo project, which is challenging but most enjoyable! 

I've been beavering away on the next magazine issue with the usual mixture of unsavoury and slightly unhinged characters, wonderfully penned of course!

Today though I thought I'd share with you some of my Videojug preparation, to give you a flavour of what's to come!

How to draw a spider:

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Lights, camera - action!

Well I have spent the whole day talking to myself, whilst drawing with a camera man and I guess the equivalent of a sort of director! Yes I had Videojug in my home today, doing another twenty videos! We actually didn't quite manage twenty as the camera ran out of memory! But I actually did twenty-one separate drawings today and so there will be twenty-one in total, which will be broadcasted onto the website in probably the spring.

It was quite exhausting and I'm glad it's behind me now, as I'm
nice and busy with work at the moment!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Quick message

Sorry no post yesterday, but I was out in the evening at my French class, which was great fun last night - nice atmosphere!

Just a quick post, as I have a camera man coming to my home tomorrow from Videojug to film twenty videos and I still have three videos to prepare for - yikes! Plus I am working on my silhouetted animals today for a client. What a bust day!

Will tell you more later!

Au revoir!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Plus fours flourish!

Well sort of anyway...

Yes it's another Agatha Christie murder saga on its way. The editor said he was going to give me a break, but the illustrator he was using for the next issue, to use his words "has done a runner"! Luckily I can't run anymore, due to my MS, which is good for me because I got the commission instead - hurrah, hurrooh!

This one is marvellous. Set in 1934 with characters in Plus Fours and other country attire! We also have another heavily made-up vampish woman, a suspicious doctor and the handsome male with jutting chin and ear lobes that 'join his jaw'! 

So armed with my character descriptions I have been scouring the Internet and my fashion books for Plus Fours and found some wonderful photographs, and so here are some for you to look at. It is amazing really that anyone wore them, as they look really quite ridiculous.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Magical creatures

I have been having fun today working on roughs for a book with magical, fantasy creatures of all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, as per usual I cannot say too much about this project, but it is challenging and fun, and I am hoping as a result it will really develop my pencil style more and give me a whole portfolio of new work to show everyone! 

I have also been working on the logo again today, and took inspiration from feathers and erm, well BUCK TEETH, yep, buck teeth! Bet your curious now, huh? Well I'm sorry but I can't share this one with you either!

However I can share with you some more preparation i'm doing for Videojug. I'm really nervous about it this time, because I have not been able to put in enough time to prepare because I'm too busy, which means I won't be so relaxed and organised on the day, which is annoying!

Anyway, here is a sample of some more I have actually prepared!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Oh woe is me!

I have had a strange day, dabbling in a new logo, which I don't like, but maybe the client will - what can you do? I have also prepared three more video bits for Videojug. Problem is this time round it's going to cost me money, because they want me to demonstrate oil painting techniques and not being one for oils that means I've got to buy a whole load of unnecessary materials, which I'll never use again and I'm not even being paid to shoot these videos! All a bit wrong really. This however will be the last time, unless they are willing to pay me something next time. I think I have been generous enough. 

Also been practising my French. Is it my imagination or has it just got even harder? Or maybe my cognitive abilities have got worse? Damned MS!

Here's some more videojug stuff:

Monday, 7 November 2011


Dear me I have my filming at videojug soon and I'm still only half way through preparing for it - yikes! I have so much on at the moment that I rather think I shouldn't have agreed to this somehow!

Still doing lots of Agatha Christie stuff - all weekend actually and only finished the spread and hour ago. I'm really looking forward to working on this fantasy/animals inspired logo soon, especially as I have got to do it in Adobe illustrator, which I played with last week and had a lot of fun. My first idea was a bit too over the top and so I've got to go back to the drawing board tomorrow and come up with something simpler, bolder and easier to read. However they did like the feathers! I bet your intrigued now!

Here's a little wee spoiler for the artwork I've just finished, can't tell you anything and this is just a wee hint, or I'll be in big trouble!

Woof, woof!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Odd balls and sensible dogs...

I am beginning to learn a lot about Agatha Christie. For instance in each book she seems to get a little fixated with a particular character feature and then you find most of the people in that particular novel have that feature, like 'small suspicious eyes' or in the latest one, the opposite 'bulging, bulbous eyes and messy hair! It's quiet amusing really. This time it's set in 1936 and the only normal character in the bunch is the dog! You have two eccentric bohemian hippy-type sisters, a good candidate for Cruella de Ville, scatty crazed women, some very peculiar men and rather drab murderer! They are all quite good caricatures and even the way they are dressed is odd, (although in keeping with 1936!). I have to say it makes it far more fun for me though.

Am also getting to grips with Adobe illustrator this week as I have to create a logo in a vector format for a client! I am actually really enjoying it. I have created the logo from freestyle and then transformed it in Illustrator. It may not be the one they end up using, but I quite like it.

Here's one of the character's faces - an earlier version. I cannot share with you the final version. Not yet anyway!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Making waves with Cloud Strife

Today I am waiting to hear back from two clients on changes to roughs and so thought I'd crack on with some preparation for Videojug and so today I have prepared for how to draw owls, how to paint roses, how to paint waves and how to draw penguins, and finally how to draw Cloud Strife who is a Manga style cartoon character and not something I've drawn before! 

So I thought I'd share with you some of the preparing I've done so far...

Here's Cloud Strife:

How to paint waves. These are a bit bumpy because just for the 
practice run I didn't bother stretching and mounting the paper.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Eccentrics and Cruella de Ville

Oh how I have neglected my blog - too busy that's why! 

Am now working on two art commissions, developing my new website, trying to get all my Christmas cards made for people and preparing for my next filming day at Videojug later this month! Phew! Not enough time in the day at present.

Anyway, here's a bit of a run-down. Am currently working on the latest Agatha Christie magazine and this one is GREAT! It's full of affected, eccentric characters, a cute dog and one suspect reminiscent of Cruella de Ville! So I am having a wonderful time. It's set in 1936 and so more research has been needed into costume, shoes and hairstyles - for both men and women of course.

The other project I am working on I have to be very discrete about, but the first part of the commission involves my getting to grips with a new software package I have no experience of using and so bit of a crash course required! 

Hopefully tomorrow I will share some of my preparation for Videojug for you, to give you a taster of what i've been asked to do.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A techie day!

I am having a day off from doing artwork today and putting my techie head on, well trying to anyway! I have been giving a computer lesson this morning (another strong to my bow), and this afternoon I'm the pupil as I am being taught how to use a rather complicated database in order to build a new super-duper website!

Tomorrow it's Videojug preparation day. I need to start working out how I am going to do these twenty new videos - I must be mad!

in case you've forgotten - here is one of my previous videos:

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The bodies are piling up!

Yes, you've guessed it I am still drawing suspects, red herrings and the odd innocent made to look like a suspect. This time it's the early nineteen forties and so I have been battling with 'victory rolls' - a popular hairstyle that came into fashion, because it was easier for wrens to place their hats securely on their heads over the 'victory roll'. You learn something new every day! 

Here are some of the lovely references I have found so far:

Great image of shoes and boots

This is from the V & A Museum, 
who have a great costume gallery