Digital brushes - hand drawn look

 

I’ve been experimenting with brushes in Photoshop to recreate my hand drawn style. Here’s my first creation…

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Colonnade House

I have moved studio to Colonnade House in Worthing. A beautiful old building with a curved front built in the early 1800’s. My desk has an amazing view over Steyne Gardens and a glimpse of the sea between the roof tops. There is a great creative community here and I share my space with author-illustrators Sarah Edmonds and John Bond and my eagle Blue (made from paper).

 
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Good Living Magazine

Some veg I was commissioned to draw for an advert in ASDA Good Living Magazine, August Edition.

 
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Black and White

I have been busy developing writing for a children's chapter book (deep in my world of imagination) which is why I haven't posted any illustrations for a while. So it was good to get back in my studio and do some drawing this week. I've been working on my black and white skills using dip pen with Indian Ink.

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My Narrative Workshop with Students at Bellerbys College

Last week I taught two narrative workshops for the International Art Foundation students at Bellerbys College in Brighton. The focus was on story design rather than high finish. Here are a few of the great concertina books that they made, each one breaking down a different folk tale into a short narrative.  The students worked really hard and achieved so much in just a few hours. Thank you to the students and staff for making me feel so welcome. It was a great day.

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Bears at the Bandstand

Bears at the Band Stand. My Town Planning application for my illustrator pal Sarah Edmonds (@sarahsarie) Alphabetown. Sarah put on a fantastic exhibition at Colonnade House in Worthing of illustrative prints that show locations in an imagined seaside town based on letters of the alphabet. As well as Sarah's fantastic prints I also loved looking at other people's town planning applications including some great imaginative ideas by kids. I made a building bricks elephant and bought a great print of Leonard's Lighthouse that I love! I want to live in a lighthouse and have round rooms and fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves!

 
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Happy Valentines!

I made this lego heart to accessorise a fancy dress costume at the weekend. Lego was my favourite toy when I was a kid. Its great for creativity and dexterity!

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Working Methods

Recently a publisher asked me about how I create my illustrations, so here is a blog post to show the process.

First I plan out the characters and layout, making careful notes about colour mixing for consistency. When drawing the same character or setting many times you need a record of how you created it the first time.

Next I draw out the illustrations onto watercolour paper using a nib and waterproof ink.

Then I stretch the paper to stop it buckling when I paint on it. This involves totally wetting the paper with a dunk in a cold shallow bath and then taping it to my drawing board with special artists gummed tape. Once the paper is dry I start to paint on it. In this example I have done three illustrations at the same time. Painting with watercolour is all about building layers so it’s handy if you can switch between illustrations while waiting for layers to dry (requires multi tasking skills!)

The finished illustrations are then scanned into Photoshop and tided up. 

The End of Mr Wolf


"And that's the end of you Mr Wolf!" cried Granny.

Who needs a woodcutter when Granny can save the day?! I have made the little sub characters, the mice, do a jubilant victory dance to make it a 'ding-dong-the-wicked-witch-is-dead' type moment. I have designed the full flat plan for the story, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and will make up a few more spreads in full colour before sending it out to agents/publishers.

The process. I start by drawing the outline in ink. Next I build up colour layers with watercolour paint. When the painting is finished I scan it into Photoshop to tidy it up. You will notice I changed the position of the mice to fit with the low view point. You can see my notes on colour mixing, and a comparison of the characters from another a drawing. This helps with consistency. 

Fairytale Retellings

A sneak preview of some new characters I'm working on, fairytale archetypes for modern retellings. Loving the wolf, granny and the innocent. I have to make lots of notes in the design stages so I can draw the characters looking the same with consistency.  

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Childhood Drawings

This is a picture I created when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I like it because it has anthropomorphic frogs and tells a story. The little frog is very happy because the dad has brought him a new bike! The dad frog is wearing a flat cap, probably inspired by my own dad. My mum carefully saved all her favourite drawings my sisters and I did, so happily this still exists.

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