In which I talk about the joys of painting, drawing, knitting, cats, music, living in London, and whatever else takes my fancy.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Xmas tree

I've been mainly focussed on preparing for Christmas, and winding down from work for the 2 week holiday. Here is my xmas tree. I'm setting myself the same challenge I did last year of filling a small sketchbook with sketches by the end of 2006! Have a very happy Christmas

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

3 french hens

Here is the '3 french hens' Christmas card at last! I'm gradually working my way through the 12 days, but not in sequential order. Each year around October, I get an idea in my head about which of the 12 days I want to do that year, then start drawing out ideas for the card design, in keeping with the previous ones. I enjoy doing something very Victorian-looking: years ago I worked for Smythson, and had a wonderful time looking through the scrapbooks they had kept of old Victorian and Edwardian cards.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The whole thing

The ginger cat I posted on Monday is an extract from a cd cover I made for a compilation. The cd has arrived with the intended recipient now, so here is the whole picture:

Monday, December 04, 2006

A bit of a tease!

Well, I got through an entire week last week without having a relapse of the lurgy! So today, I have been catching up with painting. Here is a small section of what I have been working on - the full thing will be posted later in the week.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More planning

Well, I am in mega-planning mode at the moment - which means tons of ideas for next steps, and not much actual painting or drawing is getting done! Quick sketches, though, which I may scan and post. I did go to a very wonderful exhibition of illustrations and cartoons at the Chris Beetles gallery in Ryder St, London, S W 1 - ranges from Arthur Rackham to Nick Butterworth.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

More drawing on Tube

Today I discovered that a couple of months of colouring my dummy Pinkty book on the tube, has given me a steady enough hand to actually be able to draw reasonably well in transit! So, this morning some fairly serious figuring out of cd cover design. Then quick sketch at lunchtime. Then more work on new Pinkty book on tube on way home. Cue happy person.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ideas in progress

I have been drawing over the past couple of days, although I defy anyone else to make sense of my visual notes! When I am working out ideas, especially for black and white drawings, I make the skimpiest of marks to try things out. so I am not posting any of them here, just saying that I have been working on: "three french hens' Christmas card design; a cover for compilation cd, and the next visual story for the next Pinkty book.

Monday, November 20, 2006

some sketchbook drawings

Here are some recent sketches from the sketchbook I carry around with me: I've been using the same size drawing pens without thinking much about it for a few years, so I thought it would be fun to experiment with using different ones again! I like the lively effect on the pages.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Feelings of digital achievement

I've been reflecting on how much I have learnt to do with digital imaging in the past year (I always do a kind of annual review around my birthday!), and this point has been very much brought home by the ease with which I have been able to 'virtually' sign the plaster cast of a broken foot belonging to a friend from an illustrator's forum. This time last year I would not have known where to begin, let alone done the whole thing in about 10 minutes using my mac and Painter! appreciative of all the help I have received from friends in learning these skills, too.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

autumn leaves

The colours in the autumn leaves are looking wonderful now in the very urban parts of London I'm in most days. I snapped these on my mobile phone today, partly to see how successful this is. Later I saw some even better ones while I was on the bus: sycamore shape, golden edges, and peachy-orange middles.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Three french hens"?

Today I have been trying to find out exactly what "french hens" are. This is something I have been pondering since I decided 2006 would be the year for the "three french hens" Christmas card in the "Twelve days of Christmas" series. (In previous years I have done "two turtle doves"; "six geese a laying", "seven swans a swimming" and "five gold rings".) It seems there is not actually a particular variety of the domestic chicken called a "french hen"! This means I can draw whatever type of chicken I fancy doing. It will, however, definitely be black and white. Here is "six geese" to show the way I am approaching the design.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Time I took my own advice

This is "cold remedy", which is a quick sketch I made in Painter when I began to learn it last year! My cold is lurkering around, and everyone who talks to me tells me how ill I sound - I keep hoping I'm better, as I do feel more well than I did yesterday. In the meantime, I have been perfecting my 'link making' skills, and also watching tutorials.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Making links

Well, in the past week I've been to the dentist and had a bad cold. Today, I am feeling much better, and planning to have another attempt at making links to this blog. First step is to buy new ink cartridge for printer, so that I can print out a coloured example showing the text bits I'd missed from the code that Fes made for me.

Monday, November 06, 2006

aoi portfolio set up

Today's news is that my aoi portfolio is up and running!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

These are the 'trial tomatoes' I bought at the farmer's market today: I love the colours, and they reminded me of the mediteranean coloured ink rough I posted here. The boiler has been replaced, so central heating is working again, and I am having a grand tidy up of my drawing desks.

Friday, October 27, 2006

kitten mischief

This is another old piece: unusually for me, the finished artwork is in coloured pencil. Thanks to the magic of iphoto, it now looks good on screen

Thursday, October 26, 2006

assembling aoi portfolio

The boiler replacement saga continues, which has totally disrupted my flat, ho hum. Prospect of the new one being installed next Friday. In the meantime, I am scanning work, etc to put into my shiney new aoi portfolio, which means re-visiting folders I have not looked in for a while. I discovered this lovely summery rough I did for a potential job, and wanted to post it here

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

attempting to make links

Today has been rather a write off so far as working has been concerned, due to complete disruption in my flat to enable new fridge-freezer to be delivered and old one removed. The good news: new one is masses quieter. Only constructive thing I have achieved today creatively has been to assemble using spray mount the dummy book I am colouring on the Tube. I am pleased about this because it will make the book easier to work in.

I have also been on a bit of a mission to try to figure out how to make links to other blogs, and think I may have succeeded in making links to paula bowles and chichi parish. 'Won't know for sure until later. If the links do work, I will add some more soon.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Update on Pinkty book

Today I've been working some more on tube journeys on the colour themes for my Pinkty book: it is amazing to see how adding colour to the dummy book pages is bringing the story to life. My skills in wielding colouring pencils on the tube is improving by leaps and bounds, too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

my favourite working area

Today, so far, I have not done any drawing or painting. I thought I'd like to show a photo of my favourite working area in my flat: lovely turquoise and pink desk, complete with watercolours, Wacom and G4 laptop. Actually, when I am doing watercolour, I put a plain plywood drawing board onto the desktop, too, then set the paints up on that. Having first moved the laptop well clear! Scanner, and printer are in different parts of the room.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

sketching at lunchtime

This is the result of a 20 minute sketch made at lunchtime today, after carrot and spice soup, before shopping for oatcakes!I'm pleased that I'm sneaking more drawing into my days doing housing stuff: I also worked more on the colour scheme for Pinkty book on the tube

Monday, October 09, 2006

Plans for 'the owl and the pussycat'

After mulling over the gold-green experimental watercolour I did on 1st October illustrating Edward Lear's'the owl and the pussycat' going to sea, I now want to illustrate properly the entire poem. So today I tracked it down. 'Not sure what a 'runcible spoon' is, but will find out! At the farmer's market yesterday, I actually saw quinces on sale, so will buy some next Sunday to draw.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Trialling colour schemes on the tube

Life has been somewhat stressful for the last couple of days: the lack of central heating has finally go to me, along with the saga about getting the boiler replaced. Now I know far, far more about part L of the building regs than I ever wanted to. Consequence has been not much time for drawing or painting. However, I have experimented with working on my children's book on the tube journey across London, and discovered that I can use coloured pencils and a printed out dummy to try out colour schemes. I am very pleased.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

thinking about drawing a sea of tents

At lunchtime, I did a little more work on a children's book idea. The double page spread I was dreaming up today involves a sea of closely pitched tents at a music festival, which should be great fun to draw and paint in due course. As ever, I was being over-optimistic about how much could be achieved in 1 day, too!

Monday, October 02, 2006

3 french hens

Today I have begun sketching out ideas for this year's Christmas card, which will be another in the black & white series based around one of the 12 days of Christmas. Previous cards in this series have been: 2 turtle doves, 5 gold rings, 6 geese a laying, and 7 swans a swimming. This year, I want to do '3 french hens'. I need to research exactly what french hen is!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

new paint colour

Yesterday I treated myself to a new watercolour: W&N's 'green gold', after it was highly recommended by Lorna and Maya. So today I have been experimenting! The urban fairies pencil doodles I started while I was ill: inspired by admiring Cicely Mary Barker's fab flower fairies, and musing about what kind of fairies would live in London. The 'owl and the pussycat' (who went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat) has been on my mind all morning, so it seemed a good plan to take that as a theme for a limited colour experiment. Only 3 colours were used: french ultramaring, permanent rose, and the green-gold. I'm liking the effect

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

While I've been ill I've done more on this tapestry: worked out how to do the lettering! When I have finished the other side, which is similar only without the lettering, and will have a blue border, I will make them into a small cushion.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Life has been most exciting since my last post: a private view, Sketchcrawl last Saturday, and meeting U2! I've also managed to catch a nasty virus, but on the mend now, and will be posting pictures soon - if not drawings, then photos of me at U2 book signing last week. Drawings will be appearing again before too long

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Back from travels

I'm home again, after a few days in Suffolk. It's good to be home, and likely to stay in London for at least 6 weeks. I'm looking forward to focussing on work again - while I've been away, only had time to do some sketching. Next Saturday, 23rd September, is another Sketchcrawl day, so hoping to go out drawing then, too. In the meantime, here is a drawing from the last one!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm still finding life extremely busy, and likely to be so for another couple of weeks, so scanning work has not been top of my list of things to do! However, I did scan this last week: it is an old piece, but I still like it, and still do black and white in a similar style

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I've been so busy for the past couple of weeks getting the Pinkty dummy ready to test out on small nephews and nieces that I forgot to post updates here! They all liked the book very much, so now will try it out on children who don't know me. 'Will also scan and post some new sketches tomorrow.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

holiday sketch

I'm mostly focussed at the moment on making a dummy of children's book to test out on nephews and nieces. In the meantime, here is a page of sketches from my holiday last week

Monday, August 07, 2006

new banner for blog

Today I've been making a new banner for my blog, and working out how to post it!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Here is a painting I made for a compilation cd cover this week. Watercolour, and yes, I still wish I went to Womad! My friends and I are in the painting, and the band playing is Tinariwen.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

At last, a post!

I've been having problems loading the 'create a post' template for several days - incredibly frustrating! However, after 8 minutes of waiting it appears to have worked. I am on holiday, so here is a drawing from Womad in 2004 of the wonderful Tinariwen warming up before a workshop on Sunday morning. Wish I'd been able to afford to go to Womad this year. 'Consoled myself by going to see the excellent Howling Bells.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

'Been busy this week, sorting out paintings, drawiings, etc for my sale tomorrow. Amazingly, I have already sold a print of one of the dragonflies! This is an old drawing of my feet, but pretty typical of the kinds of sketches I do in idle moments whilst listening to cds. (Today's is The Album Leaf "In A Safe Place" - highly recommended.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

finally success with scanning

Having grappled for what feels like weeks with scanning, I've finally succeeded in making some scans which bear a reasonable resemblance to the originals, so here is the celtic cat watercolour again, and a portion of the watercolour chart I've completed today using the bijoux box of paints

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More on Pinkty

Today I've not had much time available for drawing, although at lunchtime I worked more on Pinkty using pencil, to figure out how to make him more solid looking.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Whoops - that's not the eccentric peas! Here they are:

Eccentric peas

Today, I have had the techy here to sort out anti-virus software tangles on both Macs. And I have also begun making another watercolour chart: this time for the Bijoux box of 18 colours, partly so I can re-acquaint myself with it, and partly to practise drawing little squares! More scanning practise, too, of the celtic cat - still not cracked it, though. The thing which has worked is doing a 1 hour sketchathon challenge in Painter, with brief of 'Eccentric".. mine is peas!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Today: tried out drawing Pinkty with some children - think he works as kind of adult human size. Also been experimenting with drawing with my left hand: got the idea of trying this because my reading glasses case came apart yesterday, and could not fix it with my right hand, then mended it easily with my left one! Plus I am completely cack-handed with a computer mouse using my right hand. I like the quality of the lines drawn with my left hand. May post some tomorrow.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Today I have finished making water colour chart, and completed a rough water-colour version of celtic cat to try to scan more accurately. These colours are more lifelike, and I am not entirely satisfied with colour scheme, or scan quality.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Not done any painting or drawing since Friday. Yesterday was taken up with a combination of going to the Rise festival in Finsbury Park, and seeing some good music, including The Duke Spirit, Common, Sway, and some excellent Kurdish bands; along with final rehearsal, sound check, then first performance as a guitarist with a couple of friends, at another friend's 50th birthday party. Back to painting tomorrow!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Yesterday did a little work on fleshing out a character I've drawn for family cards, etc for many years, but now want to make cnetracl character in children's book(s), and need to work out size in relation to people. Interesting to think about.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Today I have been experimenting with scanning a drawing, printing out the scan, then begining to colour it using watercolour. Here is the work so far..

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Today I have been out earning £s, but did find time to work out what next steps are for children's book(s) I am working on. Looking forward to tomorrow, when will be working at home all day

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hmm. I am sure I wrote a post on Friday - must have forgotten to publish it! Anyway, has been an eventful few days, with London Sketchcrawl on Saturday, which was great fun; plus a visit to A&E for treatment for a sting yesterday. The antihistamines are leaving me groggy, plus finger is still very sore, so proper drawing not happening today. Here are a couple of the sketches - one from A&E, t'other from the sketchcrawl

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Despatched most of mail out for painting sale yesterday - still a few to send for people whose snail mail address I did not have. Also did a tiny amount of drawing whilst waiting for others to arrive at London Illustrators Gathering - try to flesh out idea for 'sullen' brief. Today, I have been re-arranging my diary for July, so that I can focus single-mindedly all day on being an artist on regular week days. Not drawn much today, and not scanned what I have done in, so here is another of the dragonflies

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Today, did a little drawing out at a cafe in Old Street. Also, been thinking a lot about how I use collage usually I make for fun.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Today I am feeling a bit frustrated with the digital Painter - it keeps doing things which I am sure (?) I have not told it to. However, I have started the mail out for painting sale - using this dragonfly as image on the invite

Friday, June 23, 2006

Today I've not done any drawing or painting so far, but will do later. After my post yesterday, I finished The Album Leaf fantasy cd cover - coloured it in using coloured pencils in various shades of green and blue, with a touch of gold. Will have to experiment with the scanner, to see if I can scan finished drawings well enough to post

Thursday, June 22, 2006

That worked! I made a link to my flickr account. The image was made entirely using Painter, mainly digital watercolour and 2B graphite colour pencil, with touches of coloured 2B pencil, and was a time-limited to 1 hour response to brief of "It came from the deep"

OK, so today I am going to make another attempt to post something I have just worked on here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I did apply the mixture of ultramarine and raw umber very thinned to the canvas yesterday evening, so am feeling pleased with that start. Today I am planning to complete a fantasy cd sleeve I started on Monday: basic design drawn up in blue biro, and needs shades of blue and green added now, but need to decide whether to use water colour, or ink or coloured pencil. One factor is that I have not yet used wet media in this particular (nicely cd cover size and shape) sketchbook, so am not sure how the paper will react. Best plan will be to test on the page that has red marker pen bled through on to it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Today I have been shopping for the new oil paints I need: deciding which colours to actually buy was tough, given the cost of pigments like cadmium red and viridian. Now looking forward to doing the mid-tone mix of raw umber and ultramarine. May even do this evening, given it is a nice, sunny day, so can have the windows open.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Not been organised so far at keeping this blog up to date. Aiming now to post every day, with latest on my work. Today, I had planned to tone down the glarey white canvas for the cat portraits by painting with a mixture of ultramarine and raw umber. Discovered that the lid is firmly stuck on the ultramarine, and various other colours, so instead making a shopping list! Also not worked out how to size images so they will upload here - more to find out.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Well, I am having router problems, so not so easy to fiddle around how to post here. Much easier to do at home. Have been exploring Painter further, and seeing what I can make of a 1 hour'w work based aroung a photo I took in Venice. 'Will see if I can post it

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The dragonfly picture was made using rotring pen and coloured inks to use as an avatar in 2005. I posted it here because i like it, and I needed animage to practise porting pictures with.

Here is something more recent: done as a 1 hour challenge using Painter - 2B virtual pencil and digital watercolour.

Friday, May 26, 2006

dragonfly 1

26th May 2006

I am starting this blog as a way to have an on-line sketchbook for the many diverse ideas about how I want to progress my work