Saturday, 10 November 2018

Family Portrait

A coworker from the library commissioned me to do a drawing of her family from a photograph, and this is the end result! Her son is very cute.

I don't think I ever posted them here before, but this is a bit like the baby portraits in that it's something I don't really advertise, but seem to get asked for a lot anyway. I've even been hired to do them at a wedding, and to this day I have no idea how the client knew that was something I could do.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Inktober 2018 : Happy Hallowe'en!

Happy Hallowe’en! The Mirror Twins are looking for some new friends, if you’d like to join them.

No Tabitha this year! I had so many Tabitha pictures that I recently made them into a set of postcards, so I thought it was time to try something different. I don’t think I’ve ever tried ink wash over hatching like this before, so maybe this will be my next Hallowe’en tradition?

Inktober 2018 : Day 30 - ink and water

Among the places you may find Isaac: mausoleums.

This one was more of a test to show Isaac’s wing shadows bending around a wall, so it’s a bit messy. I might try to work it up into a full painting some other time.

Inktober 2018 : Day 29 - Pentel Pocket Brush

As Hallowe’en approaches it gets harder for Leilus to hide his unnatural features, but in this age of contacts, acrylics and prosthetic makeup he can still hide in plain sight if he chooses his outings carefully.

This was originally going to have spot colour, but I ended up having to do it at work where I didn’t have any of my coloured pens, so it became a game of ‘how much flat black can I put on this before it becomes an unreadable mess’. The answer was 'quite a lot'!

Inktober 2018 : Day 28 - fineliners and grey pen

Here’s a Sweetpea to match Coriander from day 3! I normally try to avoid doing so many dolly style pictures in a row, but I was too tired for anything more complicated. MCM has insane opening hours these days, it even opens at 9am on the Sunday! Opening before 10 o'clock on a Sunday is just unnatural.

Inktober 2018 : Day 27 - Pentel Pocket Brush and ink wash

One more for the ‘girls looking straight at the camera’ set! It was hard inking the Mirror Girl with such a thick pen, but it was one of the only ones I hadn’t used yet for this set.

You can tell I was at MCM this weekend because all the pictures become extremely simple.

Inktober 2018 : Day 26 - fineliners and grey pens

Poppet and her friends have dressed up as koroks for Hallowe'en!

Inktober 2018 : Day 25 - ink and water

Augury is the practice of divining the future from the flight of birds.

I have still been doing these, I’ve just been away from my scanner again! I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy during Inktober, I can count on one hand the number of full days off I’ve had this month. I’ve had to scrap some really nice ideas because I just didn’t have enough time to get them done.

Inktober 2018 : Day 24 - Pentel Pocket Brush and ink wash

I felt too sick to come up with an interesting composition so I went for broke on the hair. On the plus side, I haven't been happy with how I draw Nat's hair for years and I'm really pleased with it in this one, so I've made progress!

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 23 - fineliners and felt tip pen

I usually try to avoid using the same medium two days in a row, but yesterday’s fineliners were plastic nibs and these are normal fibre nibs, so it’s okay, right?

I think I have one more character I can draw for this set, as long as I can think of another way to ink her.

Inktober 2018 : Day 22 - plastic nib fineliners

May-Lee has spent so long being told to do painful or uncomfortable things, she no longer thinks to stop herself getting wet or cold.

I had a long day at work, so I’m adding another one to my ‘oops I drew another girl looking straight ahead’ set. I wonder how many of these I can do before I run out of appropriate characters or different ways of inking?

Inktober 2018 : Day 21 - gel pen

The Crow Boy appears in dark corners, by means best known to himself.

I had the idea for this one days ago, but I didn't have enough time to draw it until now. I think it took about 4 hours from start to finish, which I'm quite pleased with considering all the layers of cross-hatching.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 20 - G-pen and brush pen

I did two pieces with this composition by accident, so I decided to keep going and make a set. I wonder how many more I can do before I run out of suitable characters?

Inktober 2018 : Day 19 - fountain pentel

Here’s that matching picture I promised! Trispin’s glamour mostly just makes him look cleaner, but it does remove his freckles. Two supposedly-unrelated pupils with the same unnatural freckles at the same small school would probably arouse suspicion.

I finally had a proper day off work this month but I'm still incredibly tired, it's making it hard to spot mistakes.

Inktober 2018 : Day 18 - grey and black fude pen

I’m really pleased with this one, but I might re-draw it later. I made a couple of small mistakes that are bothering me more than usual because I’m so proud of the concept. It’s partly because I used my fude pen when I shouldn’t have, but I realised I could do the whole thing with just that one pen so I wanted to try it! Ah well, I can do another pass some other time.

Inktober 2018 : Day 17 - fountain pentel

Ely looks quite different with and without her glamour.

Another outing for the splatter pen! I’m still learning how to handle shading with this one. I’ll do a matching picture of Trispin later.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 14 - Pentel Pocket Brush

Spider trusts Nettle not to drop him, but he still gets nervous when she sends him too high.

I've drawn a version of this scene for the last 4 Inktobers, so last year I decided to keep going and see if I ran out of pens or ideas first. I did have to think harder than last year to come up with a new one! I can't believe I never thought to change the perspective before.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 13 - ink and water

I drew this one very late at night because my sisters were visiting, so poor Louise is a bit off-model.

She hopes to ward off some alarming fairies with those twigs.

Inktober 2018 : Day 12 - fountain pentel and felt tip pen

Given how often I draw it you could be forgiven for thinking that Franz spends most of his life maiming people with his bare hands, but I’m actually drawing the same scene over and over.

I think I’m starting to get the hang of the fountain pentel, which I have affectionately nicknamed ‘the splatter pen’. There’s something nice about the scrappy lines it makes.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 11 - brush inking and ink wash

Levitating is Nettle's equivalent of fidgeting.

I only have a short shift at work today so I hoped to do something more impressive, but I was so tired that this was all I could manage. I did try to ink with a brush though, which is something I still want to practice more.

Inktober 2018 : Day 10 - plactic nib fineliner

Lena is showing her friends how she can see the future in a bowl of water, but one of them is more on board with it than the other.

I haven't had a full day off work since September and I think I'm starting to make mistakes in these.

Inktober 2018 : Day 9 - grey and black fude pen

I have a nice fude brush pen with one grey tip and one black tip (I'm told this is because sympathy cards are supposed to be written in grey in Japan, but I don't know if that's true), so I wanted to try doing 'colour holds' like Sammy. Although we couldn't decide if it's still a colour hold when the colour is grey.

The girl Isaac has attached himself to can see him, so his preferred method of introduction is to sit creepily somewhere nearby and wait for her to notice him.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 8 - gel pens

Violet lives with the Vrega because she was accidentally exposed to a terrible Vrega disease called Black Rot. It doesn’t affect her the same way as them, so she’s not in immediate danger of dying and isn’t contagious, but it does have symptoms. A common one is sudden attacks of nausea and stomach pain, there’s nothing to do except wait for it to stop.

Inktober 2018 : Day 7 - ink and water

Spider is a powerful telepath, but his telekinesis is weak and he’d like to develop it, so he spends a lot of time trying to bend spoons. Sometimes he can do it and sometimes he can’t.

I didn’t draw him in his usual woolly jumper because I had a sudden desire to show you all that he’s kind of hairy.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 6 - Pentel Pocket Brush

Last year I was inspired by Heikala's amazing inking videos to get better with my brush pen, so here's another one inked with the Pentel Pocket Brush. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it, there's still a few areas I'm not happy with but this already looks better than day 2.

In Autumn it gets very blustery where Louise lives.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 5 - cartridge pen

Lena's prophetic trances come on involuntarily and without warning. Her friends have seen it before, but it doesn't stop being frightening.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 4 - G-pen (and brush pen)

(I used a brush pen to fill in the black areas.)

I have now come down with a horrible cold, so I thought the Mirror Twins would be nice and easy to draw, but I was sneezing so much that every line was a battle!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Inktober 2018 : Day 3 - fineliners and grey pens

I drew Sweetpea this way last year, so here is his best friend; Coriander! She belongs to a holly tree that grows right next to his oak, so they see each other every day. As an evergreen, her ear frills don't fall off like his do, but she does sometimes grow berries under them.

Inktober 2018 : Day 2 - Pentel Pocket Brush and ink wash

Alexis is a type of angel made to interact with humans, so even his unnatural features look soft and friendly. He likes loose, fluffy clothes like jumpers and scarves.

My Pentel Pocket Brush is one of my favourite pens, but I don't think I've mastered it yet. I usually do my inks in two or three steps but with a brush pen it seems it's better to make one line and then leave it alone. I'm going to try to use it more this Inktober to see if I can really get the hang of it.

Inktober 2018 : Day 1 - Fountain Pentel

When Nettle loses her temper at school, the sports field is the biggest casualty.

It's finally time for Inktober, my favourite art challenge of the year! I was out of the house for the first three days and didn't have access to my scanner, but I did do the drawings.

This year I want to try to use some of my more uncooperative pens. This one is a Fountain Pentel which is a bizarre soft-nib pen that almost acts like a brush. (I think it might be designed for writing kanji.) It splatters horribly when I use it, but it also makes some really nice, scrappy lines. I'm sure if I practice I can get something really good out of it!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Shaggy Inkcaps

I haven't used pen and ink for a while, I always worry I'll have forgotten how to do it, even though I've been working this way for years!

These are Shaggy Inkcaps, which are a tasty mushroom native to the UK. It's recommended to pick the young ones, as after the caps open they dye other food black! They can also be used to make real ink.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

4 Sci-Fi Eyes

I wasn't sure if the top two should count as one or two eyes, since they're the same person.

Apparently I hadn't got all the eyes out of my system, so here are four more. These are three aliens from a story I don't think I've ever shared before, so I suppose this can be their first introduction! All of them are members of a royal court in the far future, far away from Earth.

Top to bottom these are: Jothan, a Perevin courtesan (both relaxed and agitated); Susu, a Shyskish courtesan; and 'Sapling', the Dai Empress.

Winter Weather Spirits

Here are this year's Winter cards! This time it's a set of Winter weather spirits. I painted eight and sent the originals to friends and family last year, but printed a set of six as two of them didn't reproduce well.

I made six little snowflake stickers to go with them, and got colour-splash envelopes to match the Winter theme. They are ready to buy in my shop!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018


Occasionally Sweetpea grows catkins under his ears in Spring, and even more rarely they become acorns! They get quite uncomfortable as they grow, but he's too proud of them to mind. He'll spend Autumn showing them off to anyone who will look and admiring them in puddles, then plant them out with great care.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

6 Eyes

I scream, you scream, we all scream when we observe an injury or deformity of the eye.

I'm short-sighted but never wear my glasses so my eyes feel weird a lot of the time, and I also enjoy trying to express how things feel with visuals, so that's probably where this sort of thing springs from.