Thursday, May 25, 2017

Drum Major

Another very quick little piece for Colour Collective, this time for the 'lava' red prompt. If I'd had more time I would have liked to have several mice in a little marching band, but as it was, I only had time for the drummer. 

Here's the original sketch, which I did earlier in the week:

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About an hour, I think.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sweet Dreams

I've been very busy lately, but I try to snatch a little time for quick sketches before bed. And I try to snatch just a little extra time for Colour Collective. The result is a bunch of very sketchy Colour Collectives, but at least I get something done!

This one was for the 'Kingfisher' prompt. I'd seen some light-up star cushions in my reference-searches around the internet, and they were just crying out to be put in an illustration, so I used them as my base and threw this together in rather less than two hours. Overall, I quite like it as a concept (although it's scarily full of mistakes)!

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. Under two hours in total.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


I was in a big hurry for Colour Collective's 'Coamaru' prompt, so I did a quick colour job on a sketch I did during the week. It went down well, this has the distinction of being the Colour Collective that has garnered the most likes on both Twitter and Instagram in the several years I've been taking part (good heavens, is it nearly two and a half years already?!)

Here's the original quick digital sketch. As you can see, I added more leaves.

Really very fond of this one!

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.
About 1 to 2 hours, tops.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Alastair: 12-month Portrait

I keep thinking I have blogged this, and it appears I haven't, so I must rectify that! If you follow me on social media you will have seen snippets of this piece some months back; it's a piece I did for a friend's birthday in July. Her son, Alastair, was also born in July, just a week after her birthday, so it seemed like an excellent time to give her a 12-month portrait of his first 12 months of life. I was inspired by her remarking that he changed so much from day to day. I enlisted the help of her mother, who made sure I had a selection of nice photos for every month. Babies are so expressive, I had fun choosing lots of different moods! 

The painting is just under A3 in size, so each individual portrait is quite small:

I took a number of timelapse videos while I was working. All of them were shared after I had finished the painting and given it away, so that it was a complete surprise.

These last two timelapses are two parts of the same painting. The limit for a timelapse is 10 minutes, so I couldn't fit a whole painting into one. As it was, I always started with the base skin tones already down and dry - no one wants to watch a timelapse of paint drying!

Each individual portrait took in the region of 40 to 60 minutes to sketch and paint, so we're looking at somewhere in the region of 8 to 12 hours for the whole piece. I sketched each portrait out in pencil first, and then it's almost entirely watercolour, apart from a few coloured pencil touches, mainly in the background. I'm really a mixed-media girl. 
I decided to keep the focus on the face by making all of his clothes white - in reality he has a varied wardrobe, but that made everything rather messy when 12 pictures and placed side-by-side.

Winsor and Newton watercolours and series 7 brushes, with Prismacolor pencils, on Moleskine watercolour paper.

This makes a great gift for a mother in your life (or for yourself), so if you'd like to commission something similar, please contact me via my website - I'd love to discuss it with you!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

More First Easter Eggs

Easter has rolled around again, so we needed a couple more felted Easter eggs for two little girls who are celebrating their first Easter in 2017. The first one of these I made was in 2014, and I did three last year and one in 2015. I've made quite a few!

These eggs have a slightly different design from the eggs I've done previously, because the egg cups we had for them we different to the ones from other years. Spots just didn't seem to match!

Each egg has an initial on the back - J for Jemima, H for Hannah. 

Here they are together, in their egg cups. I'm really annoyed that one of them is so much smaller than the other. I only had one polystyrene egg, so I made the other one from scratch, needle felting dacron and covering it with pink roving. But I misjudged how much it would shrink when I felted in the pattern.... so while they started out the same size, the dacron egg shrunk while the polystyrene one stayed, of course, the same size. A lesson to me to pack the base shape harder to start with! I had thought that as the pattern wasn't going to cover all that much of the egg that shrinkage would be minimal, so I lazily didn't spend hours felting the shape to rock-hardness.  

Merino Wool over Polystyrene/Dacron. A couple of hours each. 

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Move along, no eggs here!

For Easter, Colour Collective had 'Jonquil Yellow' as its prompt. Originally I was going to go with a lamb, garlanded with flowers, and I'd got most of the way through the linework when I suddenly changed my mind and decided to go with something more Australian (not that sheep are not Australian, but they're not actually native!)

Here in Australia we have the Easter Bilby. A bilby is a rabbit-eared bandicoot, a super-cute burrowing marsupial, so an apt animal for Easter. We still have the Easter Bunny, of course, and we still have chocolate rabbits - but there are also chocolate bilbies, which help to raise awareness - the bilby is critically endangered and needs all the help it can get. 


Bilbies are not noted for their jonquil yellow fur, but they do like to burrow near acacia shrubs - which handily have yellow flowers - and I added in some yellow Easter eggs as well. Our little bilby here is doing his best to distract you from them, it's not Easter Sunday yet!

Here's the partially-completed lamb linework:

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About 2.5 to 3 hours, I think. I was watching tv at the same time. ^.~

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Yet again, a very quick Colour Collective, but one that I like, and that other people seem to like as well, so that's nice. =) 

The prompt was 'Burnt Sienna', which is a very rich brown. As I was in a hurry I looked at the sketches I'd done during the week to see if one of them was suitable to use brown in, and settled on a viking girl cooking, inspired by a photo in the March issue of The National Geographic:

Here is the original sketch:

I redrew it in dark brown to fix up a few mistakes, but mainly stuck to the sketch. I had fun with that halo of blonde hair!

Here's the original photo that inspired the sketch (handily in National Geographic's Instagram feed so I don't have to scan it from the magazine):

It nearly wasn't a viking girl, the other sketch I was considering was this pirate:

I'd still like to take her a bit further. Do you think I made the right choice for my CC?

About 3 to 3.5 hours (including the original sketch) in Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.


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