Hello again!

Ok, so I have been AWOL from this site for quite some time. Truth is, I lost my drawing mojo. Life took over for a little while. And I missed it, I have really missed drawing and just having fun with little creative projects. I even stopped taking photographs. All the things that brought me joy and kept me sane. But I am back again. It wasn’t a total creative desert. I made a poster for work – a little poster directing pupils (and more importantly HMIE) to our English department. The only photo I have of it is when it was half-finished. I added on other genres.

From memory, and it shouldn’t be so difficult because I see this in situ every day, I added Western (a cowboy boot), Adventure (a hot air balloon)…and my memory has failed.

I decorated two blank birthday cakes for my gothic-horror obsessed eldest child. A little black sugar paste icing and red food colouring and voila! we have a Penny Dreadful cake and a Game of Thrones cake.The Hodor is his.

And a few other things that I’ll share over the coming days, just to get back on track. One thing I would like to do though, is stress how important being creative is, it doesn’t even matter if you are a creative person, but the very act of creating forces you to zone out of all the drama, lists, minutiae of life and just be. I have sorely missed that. And this site. Hello again!

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This piece was a hugely personal one. My boss, who is absolutely one of the finest people I have ever, will ever meet, recently retired. Earlier this year her beloved dog, Snoops, passed away and I had always intended to draw a portrait of him for her. The retirement provided a fortuitous time to finally do it. I had to obtain a photo of Snoops in secret and this led to getting one reference photograph that I had to run with.











IMG_2786I used Faber-Castell Polychromos on ivory Mi-Tientes paper for Snoops portrait and when I struggled to get the darkest of blacks I added in Derwent Coloursoft in Ivory Black and some very dark blues underneath.



And the finished piece – IMG_2788

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This piece was a special one to do. The Beagle community is large and when a member loses one, others wish to mark that event. This was what led me to this drawing, Cuillin. I haven’t drawn such a light coloured beagle and it was nice to do, especially those big expressive eyes.






IMG_2703IMG_2704Usually, I draw the eyes last but recently I have taken to drawing the eyes in first when tackling the centre of the subject’s head, it seems to make it easier to curve the fur around the eye, as if the eye is the very centre of the fur and everything spirals out from there. It does make it more natural when starting that big body of fur in the centre.






IMG_2775I added some blue into to white fur as Cuillin’s reference photo was quite shadowed on one side of the face. It’s a brighter and more pleasing shadow than just greys.

And so the finished piece, which oddly, leans best to be seen from the side, it must be Cuillin’s beagle tilt –


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Beagle Smoosh – Completed

So I have a lot of explaining to do. I have not posted in absolute months and for that I apologise. A very busy life and I lost my drawing mojo. I have been trying to get fit and working out regularly on top of a full-time job, kids, dog, yadda yadda yadda, I got exhausted and neglectful. But I have the luxury of working in a school and that means summer holidays which, in turn, means I can catch up again and get back into the drawing groove.

But first I need to give you some closure in the Beagle Smoosh which I finished and sent to the owner of the lovely Dandy and Beano. Here’s the progress shots-
















I absolutely loved doing this piece. Not only was it for the loveliest of all beagle lovers, but drawing all the folds and shadows of those velvety doggies was just a dream. And here’s the finished piece –


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Beagle Smoosh

It’s been a while but I have been working on a piece – it won’t come as any surprise that it’s of a beagle. Actually, it’s 2 beagles – SURPRISE! A veritable beagle smoosh. I am using the smooth side of Mi-Tientes and Faber-Castell Polychromos for this piece and I don’t know what kind of good fortune has befallen me, but I have discovered that this is the absolutely best combination of paper+pencils+my style that I have ever come across. It’s bliss and is working out fabulously well. So much so that I may have to trim down my coloured pencil and paper collection – what’s the point of having such a collection now?

Anyway, here’s where I started. I can’t show where I am until the piece is complete and given to the owner.



While I am using Polychromos, I am using a white Prisma pencil for the really white bits of fur and granted, I moan a lot about Prismas, but this is one pencil that has lasted till the bitter end –

IMG_2091That really is the last few millimetres of the pencil. I stopped using it because I couldn’t sharpen it anymore, it was just spinning in the pencil extender.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll have an update soon.

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Max Redux – Pastel Beagle

No, not a new breed of beagle but my first beagle in pastel pencil. Because I took so long to finish Paula’s portrait of Max that she won the auction for (blame holidays and a horsefly), I decided to draw a second portrait of the lovely Max for her but in pastel, so that she had something different.

I used Clairefontaine pastelmat (which I loved) and various pastel pencils, namely Derwent, Faber-Castel Pitt and some others.


Pastels are much quicker than coloured pencils and you can easily draw light over darks. Blending is a lot of fun too. I really enjoyed this experience and am looking forward to trying some more pastel works.

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To The Max! Finished.


Thank you to Paula for donating to Beagle Welfare to secure this pet portrait. Thank you to Gary Clacher for kind use of his reference photo. And thank you to Max for being so gorgeous!

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To The Max! Further update.


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To The Max!

I mentioned a while back that I donated a pet portrait to the Beagle Welfare fun day and that a gorgeous beagle called Max won. Well, Paula his owner did, but I got to draw Max. Paula didn’t want to see the updates until the picture was done and received. So, because I like to tease, here are the first of the updates:











I used grey Mi-Tientes paper and Prismas. Paula provided a lovely selection of reference photos, but we felt that this one was the right choice. Adding in the little blades of green grass that Max sat in provided a nice contrast to the oranges of Max’s beagle fur.

Max’s reference photo was taken and kindly permitted for use by Gary Clacher. Gary attends most beagle outings and takes fantastic photos of all the beagles. Credit and thanks to Gary for a great reference.

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Fabriano Artistico Watercolour Paper

IMG_1472I haven’t used this paper yet so am unqualified to give a full review of it. But I will tell you why I bought it. I dislike the favourite standard paper of coloured pencils artists – Stonehenge. It’s too soft, sucks in pigment, makes lines fuzzy and blurred. So I tend to stick to Mi-Tientes which I love. It’s hard-wearing and stubborn – much like myself. But sometimes it’s texture isn’t what I need.

IMG_1571It is very white and very smooth. It reminds me very much of the smooth watercolour paper that Derwent produce, so I have high hopes.

One coloured pencil artist whom I admire greatly, Alan Woollet, uses this paper almost exclusively with Faber-Castell Polychromos and he gets fantastic results. So I thought I would take a chance. It’s expensive – I paid around £34 for this pad – but I hope it works as well with me.

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