Saturday, February 27, 2016


When I saw Colour Collective's 'Moss' theme, it made me thing of lush, humid rainforests. The only rainforests I personally have experienced have been in south-east Asia, and my original plan was to have two Malaysian children with some jungle fowl for some bright red accents... But then World Pangolin Day came around and I was reminded of how cute pangolins are. So I changed my plan to include pangolins. 

The butterflies are Rajah Brooke's Birdwings - the national butterfly of Malaysia, and completely stunning. They're quite big, too. Here's one sitting on my shoulder, for scale, and one sitting on a flower, because I'm pleased with that photo:

And here's a video of a pangolin climbing a tree (note that this is (I think) a black-bellied pangolin from Africa. I was drawing a sunda pangolin from South-East Asia. Or, to put it another way, no, I didn't completely ignore the colouring when painting them. =P)

I added a batik pattern to the girl's dress to continue the Malaysian theme, and I am reminded that I have the stuff to do batik, and really must get round to actually doing some. Anyone got some extra hours in the day that they don't need?

Adobe Photoshop CC on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. Still playing with Kyle T Webster's Photoshop brushes, too. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Portrait: Cat & Ashby

In December I was commissioned to do a couple portrait in coloured pencil. I started right away, but only finished a few days ago - not because I was lazy, but I had a lot of other work on, so the projects with the closest deadlines were completed first. It's a juggling act! =P

It's quite some time since I did a portrait (or anything, really) in coloured pencil (I think it's about five years!), so this was a lot of fun. It's a medium I used to use a lot more, but which fell by the wayside a bit for the joint reasons of my hurting my drawing wrist (back in 2008) and learning how to use watercolour properly so that I no longer had to rely on mixed media. My coloured pencil method has changed somewhat since I hurt my wrist - lots of soft layers instead of hard colouring - so that I can use them without ill-effect. This means things look a bit fuzzier close-up, but from a normal viewing distance I think the effect is actually much better than my old technique. 

Here's a progress animation so you can see how this came together. Note how I was struggling with the likenesses for a while, and was making lots of small changes. Coloured pencil is much more nerve-wracking than graphite when it comes to likenesses, because it's so much harder to make corrections! 

Prismacolor pencils on Quill Drawing Cartridge paper. About 20-25 hours.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


This week the Colour Collective colour was 'deep naples ochre' - definitely not one of my favourite colours, being essentially 'baby poo'. So I thought it would be good to temper it a little with a nice clear blue. Colour Collective fell on the 12th February, and my birthday is the 13th - I'm an aquarius, so what better theme to choose?

I've been wanting to build up a more fun and trendy illustration style for my portfolio, to use in addition to my traditional golden-age style illustrations etc. I'm still trying to settle on exactly what to do, but I think this is a step in the right direction. I think I'd quite like to clean it up a bit more...

I downloaded Kyle T Webster's brush megapack to play around with. This was done with the gouache and china pencil brushes which, as you can see, I am still getting used to. 

This was done over 5 hours, almost all while watching musicals on dvd, so I wasn't exactly 100% focussed (I look up for all the dancing, for a start =P). So it probably took considerably less time, which is why I think it could stand to be cleaned up a bit, there are definitely things that I think I could alter. 

Adobe Photoshop CC2015 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lavender's Blue

This week the Colour Collective colour was 'lavender' (oops, I just realised it was 'Deep Lilac'. That's how out of it with stress I've been this week, I can't even get the name of the colour right. =P It is the right colour though, I colourpicked from the tweet....), and I had plans for it, I really did. And I liked those plans. But then work got a bit feral, with the projects I am currently working on all suddenly increasing in size (but not the deadlines, no, they stay the same.) My Colour Collective plans had to be abandoned, but I didn't want to sit this one out, so I cropped out a small section of a colouring book page I'm working on (yes, I'm working on a colouring book, now everyone can stop nagging me about it =P) and gave it some quick digital colour. (I also removed the colouring book style patterns, because no way did I have time to go into that much detail ^.~) 
And voila:

It's a bit clean and digital for me, normally. I've been thinking of investing in Kyle Webster's Photoshop brushes, but I was hardly going to do that now when the object was to get something completed in the smallest possible amount of time. Maybe soon, when I have cleared off this workload and have time to play...

So yes, nothing special, but quite sweet, I think, and the dress works well in lavender. If you're a long-time reader of my blog (if you are, I salute you!) you may recognise the pose from a 2014 ink sketch from The Glass Slipper. With my colouring book, where possible, I'm incorporating things that I've already done, so as to speed up the process a bit. Kudos to you if you can guess the theme from the odd sneak peeks that have been posted on twitter and instagram. Anyone?

Adobe Photoshop CC2015 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.


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