Thursday, November 29, 2018


Here's a quick sketch I did in memory of Makulu, the baby Rothschild's giraffe immortalised in Don D'Raine's 1995 The Kiss photograph. His mother Misha died in 2016, and Makulu was put down in early November, aged 23, due to deteriorating health. 

Makulu was born in Perth Zoo, so I have a fondness for him, although he was moved to Melbourne in 1996. He and his mate Twiga had 58 descendants. 

Adobe Photoshop CC2019 - I can't remember how long it took, but definitely under an hour!

Snack Time

I had a bit of creative block when it came to Colour Collective's 'Amethyst' prompt. I love purple, and amethyst is my birthstone... but I was having trouble coming up with something. So, as I had been drawing birds, I gooded purple birds and discovered Lilac Breasted Rollers. I think we can all agree that they look pretty fabulous. I hadn't heard of them before. You learn something every day!

I added some African daisies for some extra purple, and voila. A Colour Collective Post!

Adobe Photoshop CC2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. It took about 2 hours. 

Castle in the Sky

For Colour Collective's 'Cornflower Blue' prompt I was way too ambitious. I knew this when I started, but I carried on anyway. Never the best plan...

I'd been to see Aladdin the Musical on stage with some friends the Sunday before, and all week my work had had a total lack of sparkles and curly-toed shoes, so I wanted to do something with an Arabian Nights theme. It went through a couple of iterations in my head and then I attempted to actually create something in a couple of hours, when actually I needed rather a lot more than that. 

But I think the concept is okay... so I'm posting it here so it doesn't get totally lost in the depths of my social media, in case I ever want to pick it up again and make it actually good. You never know. We are calling this a sketch, 'kay?

Adobe Photoshop CC2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. Just over two hours. (See, I told you I didn't have enough time!)

Warrior Princess

I was listening to Cressda Cowell's The Wizards of Once (fabulously read by David Tennant) on audio (I like a good kidlit story on audio, it tunes well with my kidlit work) when Colour Collective's 'Vanilla' prompt came around, so I went all 'warrior princess'

Unfortunately I ran out of time, so I didn't execute it as well as I would have liked. Oh well, it's in the files, and maybe one day I'll dig it out again and make it better. I think the potential is there.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Trouble with Bathing in Milk

For Colour Collective's 'Milk' prompt, I went with Cleopatra. Unfortunately, I in no way had enough time to fully do justice to my idea, but I'd like to go back and do it properly one day. When I have the time (insert hollow laugh here). I mean, I like Cleo... but the rest of it could really do with an overhaul. I'm calling it a concept sketch. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Adobe Photoshop CC2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. 2 hours.

Sunday, November 4, 2018


Here are two witch sketches I did, the first one I did actually on Halloween. I shouldn't have had time to do it, but I was having a bit of technical trouble with my graphics tablet, and we'd had to source a second-hand one so I could continue working while the original was being repaired. I kept working on the old one while I set up the replacement... and I foolishly signed out of Photoshop on the old one before I realised that Photoshop wasn't up to date on the new one... so I had a half-hour where I was waiting for updates, and I borrowed my father's iPad Pro and did this sketch. It was Halloween, and all I had for social media was a rough sketch of Hogwarts for the end of Inktober 2018. And I was a bit stressed, what with all the tech troubles, so I reverted to default 'poofy dress sketch'.

And the second witch was for Colour Collective's 'Auburn' prompt. It was a few days after Halloween at this point, but I've been listening to a Tiffany Aching book, so I've got witches on my mind. (Not that this is Tiffany, she wouldn't be seen dead in this cloak, although she would probably mildly approve of the boots). I needed a quick subject as I'd had a very long, active and busy day; I just wanted to draw something quick, and go to bed as soon as it was a reasonable time to do so. (Colour Collective falls at 3.30am here, not 7.30pm as in the UK, so I had plenty of time for a quick CC and an early bed time).


The first witch was done in Procreate on an iPad Pro, using mainly the default dry inking brush, and the second was done in Adobe Photoshop CC2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro, using mainly Kyle Webster's sketch pencil rough.

Inktober 2018: Harry Potter

I don't have any Harry Potter art in my files, which kinda feels like sacrilege for a kid lit illustrator, so I thought I'd make Harry Potter my theme for Inktober 2018.

I also decided to do my Inktober digitally (It's allowed, it's even in the official rules!) on my father's iPad Pro, to get a bit more comfortable with Procreate and the Apple Pencil. I work almost exclusively on my Wacom Mobile Studio Pro, only occasionally borrowing the iPad, and the different interface and behaviour of the Apple Pencil are a bit confusing. I thought Inktober was the perfect opportunity to improve my Procreate skills at the most basic level, without being too ambitious. I decided I'd mainly do character sketches, because I'm actually very busy, but add in a few scenes as well, to keep things a bit more interesting. I gave myself a 15-minute time limit for each of these, so some of them are very scrappy!

We'll start off with the three main characters, and I'll pop the rest below the cut:


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