Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Lost Stone of SkyCity

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of illustrating the cover for HM Waugh's debut middle grade adventure, The Lost Stone of SkyCity with Fremantle Press. To celebrate the release of the book today, here's a little look at the process I went through.

See more after the break!

Friday, September 20, 2019


I'd been reading Nevermoor, by Jessica Townsend, which is rather like Harry Potter, only without Harry - and as I always found Harry pretty irritating, this suits me down to the ground. It's the sort of fantasy kidlit book that makes me want to draw all of it, so I've been doing a few sketches:

"Suddenly that's what she was - a living tidal wave of rage and fear. She was not like him, she would never be like him."

"Morrigan stumbled backwards and instinctively threw up her arms, surrendering herself to the wave inside."

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Building Practice #3

More sketches of buildings from my holiday photos!

First, we have Knaresborough, in Yorkshire - there are the most amazing chequerboard buildings there. This one is Mother Shipton's Cave (although as I understand it the cave is some walk away, I think this is where you bought tickets. We were just stopping off on our way through, so we didn't investigate the cave)

Next up, and slightly off-script, is a sketch purely from my imagination. It was going to have some figures in, but I worked for longer than planned, and my bedtime sketch was accordingly cut short. 

Thirdly, Micklegate Bar, York. This was just down the road from our hotel, and I walked this small section of the York Wall several times. I also did the whole Wall walk with my mother. 

Next, Chawton, in Hampshire. This is the village where Jane Austen spent the last years of her life. This little set of cottages is on the short walk between Chawton Cottage, where she lived with her sister and mother, and Chawton House, where her brother lived. 

This quick piece is based on a photo I took in Clifford's Tower, York. My photo did not feature a cat, of course, but I thought it needed one.

And finally, (in this set) we have Kynance Mews in Kensington, London, which I for some reason forgot to label. This is what happens when you throw things together when you really should be going to bed...

These were all done in Adobe Photoshop CC2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro.

Building Practice #2

After sketching buildings from holiday snaps in black and white for a while, I began to be sad that I was missing all the colours, so I upped my game and turned to colour:

I started with the Hartley Mauditt church in Hampshire. Such a cute church, it's all that's left of the village of Hartley Mauditt (and fortunately it had a sign, so I knew where it was!)

I hadn't planned on doing two churches in a row, but my father asked me to sketch our friends' church, St Mary Magdalene at West Tisted. This is a flint church, so very different from the one at Hartley Mauditt. 

Next, I chose an amazing building somewhere in Hampshire. So many levels!

After that, I thought it was time for a thatched cottage. We saw a lot of them in Hampshire, but this one is in Godshill, Isle of Wight.

And finally (for this post) a 15th century farmhouse. At the time of sketching, I didn't know where this was, hence the label reading only 'Hampshire', but when I posted it on Instagram someone very kindly told me it was Goleigh Manor in Prior's Dean. The wonders of social media!

I've actually been having a lot more fun with these than I thought I would! And as I have a lot of material in our holiday photos, I plan to continue. The aim is to be able to draw interesting and realistic houses from my imagination, eventually... but it's fun to make use of the holiday photos!

Adobe Photoshop CC2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

Practicing Buildings

I like to draw people and animals, and find perspective and buildings more difficult, so naturally I draw less of them. It's normal to have some things you like to draw better than others... but I really should practice the other things more! In that spirit, I thought I would do a series of sketches from some of our holiday photos.

Starting off easy, with wonky old buildings where the lines don't have to be straight anyway:

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Pink-Headed Fruit Dover

When Colour Collective rolls around and I have no time (and also a massive headache), birds are always a good subject matter. For the 'Opera Rose' prompt I chose a pink-headed fruit dove, endemic to Indonesia. Birds have such amazing colouring!

This took about an hour and a half, although that was longer than necessary as my tablet froze and ate my last save (I'm positive I had saved more recently, my my Wacom does like to eat saves. You think you're safe and saved up until five minutes ago, but no, turns out Photoshop is going to recover the file as it was 40 minutes ago...)

Adobe Photoshop 2019 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13" 


This year Colour Collective is recycling favourite old colours from previous years. A lot of the time I have no idea what I drew for any specific colour, but I did remember my illustration for 'Serenity'. It was two Indian girls bathing a baby elephant at dusk, done almost exactly three years ago. It makes me cringe now, as old art has a habit of doing, and I briefly considered reworking it... until I realised that people with as many projects and deadlines on the go as me do not have that kind of luxury. So I kept the baby elephant and ditched everything else. Gosh, my work has got simpler!

I threw this together very quickly, it probably took less than an hour, and it needs more work, really, but for the time I had, it is enough. I do like my little elephant, and it was a lovely peaceful scene to work on while I myself was not feeling at all peaceful with everything I had to do! I try to carve out time to do both Colour Collective and Animal Alphabets each week, with a time limit of an hour, because it's important to do some drawing that isn't work-related, just for mental health (if nothing else, it doesn't have to be perfect!), and it keeps my social media from completely atrophying while I work on things I can't share. 

Adobe Photoshop CC2019 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13"


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