Monday, 20 August 2018

Coloured Ink

 Lately I ordered some nice pen accessories, including a cartridge converter for my Rotring pen and some coloured cartridges for my cheapo £5 cartridge pens, so I drew Nettle and Spider while I was messing around testing them. I’ve never done spot colour with ink and water, it looks pretty nice I think.

Having said that, I’m not a fan of this ink. It’s a weird colour called Bilberry that can’t decide if it’s blue, purple or black. (I tweaked it in photoshop to make it more purple.) They do one called Imperial Purple that might have been a better bet. Ah well, next time.

Monday, 13 August 2018

6 Monsters

I don’t often have nightmares (in the sense of dreams that have a real feeling of terror rather than just horror imagery) but I do often see monsters in my dreams. Lately I’ve been doing watercolour sketches of some of the ones I remember, with a vague notion of using them for something later.

Starting from the top left, these appeared in my dreams as follows:

The Split-Faced Man - he didn't seem hostile, but he was covered in old blood.
The Man in the Doorway - he was impossibly tall.
The Rag Men - these were made of blood-soaked bandages and everything they touched rotted away.
The Maggot Men - there were many of these all crawling around far below me, they had bulbous eyes and thin, loose skin.
The Skinless Man - he broke his own jaw to prove we couldn't hurt him, there was no way to escape.
The Obese Demon - he was covered in tumours and extra limbs, he was slow but unstoppable.

In related news, I think I’ve finally got the hang of wet-on-wet watercolour painting.

UPDATE: Two more which aren't really monsters, but I decided the imagery was close enough to go in the set since I've had some requests for a sketchbook of these. These two are both from the same dream.

The 'baby' was found wrapped in newspaper, and you had to stay out of the searchlights.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Fret and Larkspur

At long last, pictures of Fret and Larkspur in colour, so you can all actually see a major part of the character designs I never, ever show! Also, I’ve finally worked out how to get muted colours out of my coloured pencils, it’s only taken 18 years…

Sympathy with their environment makes elves of their type rapidly change appearance to match the plants and light where they live. Fret lives in a birch grove and therefore resembles a birch tree, Larkspur once lived in a beech forest and looked very different, but now she lives in a fetid marsh and appears sodden and mud-flecked, with hair like reeds. Fret had spent a century believing she had burned to death with her forest, and didn’t recognise her at first.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Pocket Witch Vox

Do you remember the Pocket Witches? Introducing Pocket Witch Vox!

Before she took shape Vox encountered a little girl who loved to sing, she had no ear for music at all and was horribly out of tune, but she was too little to know it and loved to listen to the radio and belt out songs at the top of her voice, pretending to be a pop star. It made her so happy that Vox was able to take form from her happiness, and took the shape of a song!

Unlike the little girl, Vox is an excellent singer who can mimic any voice and change her outfit to match the song she sings. She likes to hang around humans who love music and sing along to whatever they’re playing, she doesn’t care if you’re any good, only that it makes you happy. Karaoke bars are her favourite place in the world.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Address Labels

I’ve been getting a little bored of the stamps I use when I package Etsy orders, so I’ve made myself some address labels! The larger ones are for the customer’s address and the little ones are for the return address. (I did have to edit the top one slightly from how it appears here to give myself more space though.)

I was tempted to make more, but I’ll stick with these two for the time being. I have a bad habit of being over-enthusiastic when I make things and ending up with too many to use!

My shop:

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Some Vrega

I'm fairly often guilty of developing characters with important colour schemes and then only drawing them in black and white, so here are some colour pictures of the vrega. There are many minor differences between them and humans, but the only obvious one is their slightly corpse-like purple skin, which you can never see because I never draw them in colour.

Khet and Vekh are showing off minor mutations that are considered to be a blessing from the god of nature, Violet wants to know if those spikes are sharp, and Visuk at the bottom just is not, and never has been, a morning person.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Adventures in Spot Colour

I was once told at a portfolio review that I'm 'afraid of colour', which I think was fair (at least at the time). I wonder if that's why I like spot colour so much? I find it really satisfying to do a mostly black and white drawing and then pick out just a couple of details in colour.

These are my two favourite pro heroes from My Hero Academia, Eraser Head and Present Mic. I'm really enjoying the recent surge of anime about western-style superheroes.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Book Wyrm

Another birthday card! This one was for a friend who likes dragons and books. With any luck she also likes puns, since I can't seem to resist writing them on the card when I think of them.

Monday, 28 May 2018

White Horses

Is there still time for one more Mermay picture? This one is another birthday card, for a friend who loves the sea (despite not being able to swim). I really enjoy drawing the 'white horses' on waves.

Monday, 21 May 2018


A beached mermaid, since it's Mermay.

Should she call attention to herself in the hope that humans will help her back to the sea, or stay quiet for fear they'll put her in a specimen case? With the tide going out, she doesn't have much time to decide.

Monday, 14 May 2018

A Garden Party

This was my little sister's birthday card this year. I almost always draw her a Spring flower fairy, since Spring flowers are one of her favourite things, but this year I was inspired by some strange illustrations of personified flowers from the late 19th century and tried something a little different.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Some Common British Trees

Here's a little side project from the last few days. My pal Sammy Borras has been drawing a new comic (about a monster Riot Grrrl band!) which needs more rural backgrounds than her usual work and she wasn't happy with how she was drawing trees. I think the trick is to know what type of tree you're trying to draw so you can give it more distinctive features, but that takes a lot of research if you don't know much about trees to start with.

I'm a great believer in just asking someone who already knows before wasting time and energy starting from scratch, so I made her a cheat sheet showing the major visual features of 8 common British trees. Maybe someone else will find it useful too?

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Inktober 2017 - Happy Hallowe'en!

Day 31 : brush inking and coloured ink

It's that time again! Tabitha and her coven are busily preparing for All Hallows Eve, when many spirits roam the village and magic is at its strongest.

In Tabitha's village some people still carve traditional turnip lanterns, while others have swapped to the new imported pumpkins, but this year her job is just to ensure they're all lit before sunset.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Part 1, Bonus Picture, Part 2, Part 3

Monday, 30 October 2017

Inktober 2017 - Part 3

Day 21 : fineliners and felt tip pens - Eventually the school agreed that Nettle should just sit out of P.E. lessons.

Day 22 : mapping pen and brush pen - "It followed us home, can we keep it?"

I was hoping for this one to have a more scary feel, but the Mirror Twins seem to be too cute and are taking away from the horror of the black dog. I'm pleased with the composition though.

Day 23 : G-pen - Tree fairies of his type don't usually venture very far from their home tree, so Sweetpea has never seen a sweet chestnut before.

Day 24 : brush inking and coloured ink - I regretted not using coloured ink for the flames on day 1 every time I opened the sketchbook, so I finally relented and did a new version of the same concept, this time with coloured ink.

Day 25 : cartridge pen - Lottie is fairly sure she shouldn't talk to the Crow Boy, but she doesn't really want him to leave either.

Day 26 : mapping pen - Sweetpea's ear frills, like the leaves on his tree, turn brown and fall off in Autumn. Also like the leaves on his tree, they tend not to go at the same time.

Day 27 : fineliners and grey pens - The next three were all done while helping Sammy at MCM! It's very hard to find time to do anything else while at a convention, so I feel quite proud of myself for not falling behind. While we were on a bus Sammy requested some more pictures of Poppet's friends, 'with a musical instrument', so here are the two we didn't see in the teacup picture earlier.

Day 28 : brush pen and ink wash - Louise's house also plays host to a slightly alarming type of house fairy called Lob-Lie-By-The-Fire. He looks a little more frightening than most house fairies, but he just wants to sit by your fire and help with the washing up.

I still can't quite believe I managed to do this one after spending 9 hours selling comics in a packed convention hall, and a further 45 minutes on a bus.

Day 29 : fineliners and felt tip pens - I caught con lurgy so this was one of the hardest ones to do all month, I felt dreadful while I was drawing it! It's also very hard to draw when one has to stop every 5 seconds to blow one's nose. Still, it looks pretty good I think.

Leilus has a lot of features he could choose as his 'I am a demon' warning sign, but the tongue is the obvious best choice because it can be hidden inside his mouth. The stereotypical spaded tail would probably be the worst.

Day 30 : ink and water - Well, it seems I finally ran out of steam and had to settle for one that I really wasn't happy with. I wanted to draw Nat one more time because it was the last day, but I was still ill and didn't have the brain power to get him on model or work out a good composition. I probably should have used a different pen too, but I'd hardly used ink and water at all! I should have been sensible and opted for something with less risk, but these are the lessons we learn in Inktober.

One of the reasons Nat keeps his hair so long is that it's usefully prehensile.

Just a Hallowe'en picture still to come!

Part 1, Bonus Picture, Part 2, Hallowe'en

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Inktober 2017 - Part 2

Day 11 : fineliners and grey pen - If you didn't want to share your fancy tea with the house hobs, you shouldn't have left it unattended.

Day 12 : brush pen and coloured ink - Demons aren't allowed to walk around in human shape without at least one tell-tale feature.

Day 13 : ink and water - If only it really were just sleep paralysis

Day 14 : G-pen (and a brush for the black) - Shasta's face is not the most comforting sight to see looming over you when you wake up in a strange, dark world.

Day 15 : mapping pen (and others) - This one is a bit of a hodge-podge, it's mostly mapping pen, but I used a brush pen for the black and the effects on the ribbons, and a fineliner for the string.

A bundle of oak, ash and thorn twigs tied with red string will ward off fairies, both good and bad.

Day 16 : gel pens - Wipe that glamour off your face Trispin, Ely isn't impressed. I have a super-fine gel pen (0.25) that I rarely use, so I gave it a try for the hatching on this one. I like it but it's just so scratchy! I had to keep stopping to pick paper fibres out of the nib.

Day 17 : fineliners and grey pen - Lottie's 'friends' snuck up on her while she was reading. Partly inked on a moving train!

Day 18 : brush pen and ink wash - Isaac knows a lot of sung prayers, but he doesn't remember where he learned them. This one was partly inspired by Heikala's lovely process videos, I'd never seen someone get such a fine line out of a Pentel Pocket Brush and I wanted to try it myself. I also found a spare waterbrush pen so I've filled it with diluted ink, which means I can use ink wash when I'm out of the house as well.

Accurate skeletal hand brought to you by A Colour Atlas of Clinical Anatomy, since I was drawing this one at work at the medical library.

Day 19 : cartridge pen - I draw Lena in shiro-lolita a lot because it looks cute, but in reality she and Lucas don't have a lot of money and this old, eyelet lace dress is the only party frock she owns. This is another one finished on the train because I was determined to go to bed when I got home.

Day 20 : gel pen - Oof. This one is definitely in the 'why have I done this to myself' category. I sketched it in the morning, but didn't have time to ink it until late in the evening, and it took until 1:30am! What's worse, this sort of cross-hatching looks like absolute arse until it's nearly finished, so for most of that time I didn't even know how it was going to turn out. Thank goodness it looks okay.

Someone walking past might not see the shadow, but it's there.

Part 1, Bonus Picture, Part 3, Hallowe'en