Illustration Friday: Small

Took last week off from IFfing – had a nice idea, but no time/headspace to polish it up – so wanted to get back on the wagon this week. Given that lots of my earlier illustrations have played upon the small/big dynamic I was worried about repeating myself, and in a way I think I have. Only a few weeks ago I had very small person vs very big thing (snowman, in that case) seen side on, yet here we are again. Oh well. More time bashing out sketches would probably help add some variety to my drawings, but it's as though once I've got a particular idea in mind I want it down on paper (or screen) as quickly as possible.

Anyway, the idea for this came quite quickly, although I had a couple of days flapping around trying to make the ninja character's pose work. I ended up drawing the whole thing on the iPod using Sketchbook Mobile during commutes to and from work (oh, for the comparative vastness of an iPad Mini screen!). I like the starkness of red and black, and wonder whether I should've maintained a similar starkness in the rendering of the eye. I also feel I could've got more tension, more drama out of the concept of the drawing than I did. Still, it's done now. Next!

Illustration Friday: Small

Life drawing 14/06/2015

After sneaking last month’s session in on the last day of May, June’s took place just a couple of weeks later. It was a welcome respite from a lot of potentially-good-but-exhausting stuff that’s on the go just now, although I worried beforehand I’d have trouble focusing on the drawing. It’s certainly impacted on my daily sketching (or lack of it) but once we were in the studio and the poses started, everything else faded into the background. Continue reading %s

Lunchtime quickies

Although being a desk-based bureaucrat isn't quite the wild-haired bohemian artist career path I might have wanted, the location of said desk does allow me to get out onto Calton Hill in a matter of minutes and knock out a quick drawing or painting at lunchtime, weather permitting of course. Here's a couple from earlier this week.

National Monument, ink, 09/06/2015

The (unfinished) National Monument of Scotland:

The monument dominates the top of Calton Hill, just to the east of Princes Street. It was designed during 1823-6 by Charles Robert Cockerell and William Henry Playfair and is modelled upon the Parthenon in Athens. Construction started in 1826 and, due to the lack of funds, was left unfinished in 1829. This circumstance gave rise to various nicknames such as "Scotland's Disgrace", "Edinburgh's Disgrace", "the Pride and Poverty of Scotland" and "Edinburgh's Folly".

Old Observatory House, watercolour, 10/06/2015

Old Observatory House – you can sleep in it!

Illustration Friday: Airborne

Bashed out the below yesterday evening – it didn't take much idea scribbling before I settled on something along the lines of what would constitute a space program for fish. Granted, there's no guarantee that the fish concerned is a willing explorer into the realm of the wetless, and you could take it as a more drawn out version of this cracking Far Side cartoon, but I prefer to think that fish is an explorer of the most intrepid kind, a voyager into the unknown from which there is nothing but the sound of inevitability, that sound being "pop". Godspeed, small fry!

image from

Drawn on Mischief for maximum scribble in minimum time, and while the temptation to keep working on it burns strong, I'd best let it go and spend what little creative time I have on something new. I should remember to not get too fussed about these drawings – for me at least, IF's a creative challenge, not a portfolio-building exercise.

Life drawing 31/05/2015

That time again, and this month (well, last month) I decided to have a paint-free session. Working from a female model, I started off with that lovely condensed charcoal…

2 mins, charcoal, 31/05/2015

…before gradually moving to vine charcoal. As you can see, I'm still struggling to get the use of dark surrounding space around parts of the figure right, as the Mighty Yan does so blimmin' well.

5 mins, charcoal, 31/05/2015

Then some charcoal and chalk drawings on grey and black paper – I was pleased with the way the second one here turned out:

10 mins, charcoal & chalk, 31/05/2015

For the longest pose Р45 mins РI went with good old fashioned pencils on some lovely grey toned paper, using white Conté pastel for highlights. Nice!


As usual, all of the surviving work from the session is up on Flickr.

Soundtrack? Fast poses were driven along nicely by the second album from METZ - abrasive, narky, ace.

I kept the momentum going for the second hour with the recent four-track-but-long-with-it album from Follakzoid – really good instrumental Can/Neu-style rock, tracks in excess of 10 minutes that you can just dive into and lost yourself in. Get on that.

Last of all, the new album from Mew curled gorgeously around my brain, the perfect accompaniment to a gentle pencil drawing – I read Steve's review of a recent gig and damn near frothed at the mouth with envy.