Friday, 28 November 2008


The picture on the left is just a quick pen drawing of an elderly man which took around 10 minutes. I used waterproof Indian ink and my trusty dip pen to quickly get some marks down on some 300gsm water colour paper. Usually I wouldn't use this type of paper for a pen and ink drawing but I planned to pop a wash over it and needed paper that would stand up to some harsh treatment later on. The fine hairs of this type of paper constantly clog my dip pen which is a major disadvantage as it slows the flow of the drawing.

I applied the wash with a mix of water colour paint and ink and drew back into it again with my dip pen and non-waterproof Indian ink which dries lighter than the waterproof version and is more subtle. But not wanting to be too subtle, I flicked paint and ink over the drawing and sprayed it with bleach.

I've always really liked the contrasts of light and dark in drawings so I try and make something of that when I get the chance. I'll have to look at these drawings in a few days time and decide if they need any further work. Or maybe I've gone too far as it is eh, chums?

Monday, 24 November 2008


This is a pencil drawing of Yoda and which took a good 2/3 hours to do. With pencil portraits I used to start with a 2H and gradually build up to a 9B for the darkest areas. I don't know if I still do that as I've not done a pencil portrait for some time.

I'm prone to making mistakes and if you look at his left (your right) ear you'll see where I made one which I had to take a putty rubber to. If I remember rightly, I originally did the ear too long and I didn't correct it properly so the picture looks messy there, around the tip of the ear.

The full sized version of this drawing can be found in the portfolio section of my website.

Sunday, 23 November 2008


I like animals and I enjoy drawing them. This is taken from my sketchbook from when I went to the zoo with my little girl. I drew these pictures quickly because it was cold when we went and drawing quickly draws your mind from the chill and warms you up. I also drew them quickly because I had to keep one eye on my daughter to make sure she didn't try and get in with the monkeys again.

I don't like her going in with the animals unless I'm supervising.


This is a large charcoal portrait of Elvis which I did a couple of years ago. It's quite an involved drawing in which I tried to keep the marks loose where I could. With charcoal, I know that some people would suggest blending drawings like this with fingers but I'd rather cut mine off than do that. I find a soft brush better for blending; a tool from a more civilised age. If, when I was at college, I saw finger blending I used to have to leave the studio to be violently ill outside as I tried to get them ugly smudges out of my head.

I don't get to use of my easel nearly as much as I'd like to so when I do a drawing like this I try and make it last for days and this took about three.

More drawings of Elvis can be found in the portfolio section of my website.

Saturday, 22 November 2008


Last week I saw Leonard Cohen at the O2 Arena in London and found him such an inspiring figure that I had to draw the genius within hours of getting back home.

I started by quickly drawing the key shapes in black Indian ink before painting in some basic facial tones. I try to work as quickly as possible most of the time which keeps the drawing fresh but also means that a lot of the time I'm making it up as I go along. This drawing took around 30 minutes from start to finish.

His clothes and background were done almost at the same time and when I felt the drawing was slipping away from me I whipped out my faithful pot of non-waterproof Indian ink to re-establish shapes and forms that were close to being lost. I'm disappointed that one of his shoulders looks so sharp but I'll correct that in time.

I use dark blue Quink a lot of the time for areas of shadow. Quink is also useful because it doesn't stand up to being sprayed with bleach which I tend to do when I use it. I enjoy roughing up quick drawings like this by spraying on bleach and water and flicking it with paint and ink before drawing back into it again. This process might often be repeated several times over before I relent and stop bullying it.