Doodling my home town of Nantwich and other places

This last few weeks I’ve enjoyed photographing particular spots in Nantwich and doodling them from reference. If I get the time I’ll also plonk myself in a suitable cafe seat and draw from life. Both are enormous fun.

I’ve also spent a fair bit of time in Leamington, Warwickshire this last couple of months. It’s a beautiful town and not without its own superb array of coffee shops, delis and restaurants. All of which deserve to be doodled!

I’m always thinking of ways to use the art. I rather like the idea of producing a short range of postcards or greeting cards.

Here are a few mockups.

As the collection grows I’ll be looking at ways to use the art. A book, maybe?

Ink Illustration Of Carole Lombard

I love the beautiful women of the 1930’s silver screen. Rita Hayworth, Greta Garbo, Fay Wray. These ladies looked stunning and I love to sketch their publicity shots using different media.

Carole Lombard, in particular, I find hypnotic. Those eyes.

So here I’ve had a bash at a quick ink drawing. I’ve taken some liberties with the hair.

For the eyes (crucial to get those spot on) I started with two large dots for the pupils and built around them. Essential to place the eyes correct in the head and get the right amount of white space around them.

Carole Lombard. Velocity Sketcher. Corel Painter 2017. Click for larger version.


Occasionally I enjoy just putting some music on and illustrating. I’m a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails so this morning I put their album Hesitation Marks on and fired up Corel Painter 2017.

I enjoy the contrast between organic and tech and have always wanted to recreate some iconic images in that style.

I remember playing Space Invaders back in the day in the arcades. It went a long way to defining who I am nearly 40 years later.

Great fun to draw.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s style

I am fascinated by the French artists of the 19th century. Monet, Renoir, Degas and Manet in particular. But it’s Toulouse-Lautrec who I think has the more interesting story.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

My first thought when viewing Lautrec’s paintings is for Degas. The real life nature of his behind the scenes look at the Parisian brothels is quite reminiscent of Degas’ work at the ballet.
It also puts me in mind of Manet or Renoir in that there is some close study and strong tone around the face.

Seated Ballet Dancer - Toulouse Lautrec

Seated Ballet Dancer – Toulouse Lautrec

Lautrec was a man who never seemed to let his disabilities get the better of him. At just 4’8″ his legs were weak and he was quite clearly a man with some health issues. His love for alcohol and beautiful women however led him to be party to some incredible events. Most notably and famously the Moulin Rouge and the associated acts of La Belle Epoque (The Beautiful Time).

Lautrec’s style appeared hasty to say the least. He often worked on cardboard where the natural tone of the background would appear through any gaps in his brush / pencil strokes. It’s a neat effect.

La Promeneuse by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Oil on cardboard, dated 1892

As well as being influenced by the older and more established Degas he found inspiration in the works of the far east. Japanese wood prints offered Lautrec a great deal in their style and execution. The use of diagonal direction and flat colour within harsh black outlines became very common in Lautrec’s work.

I love the colour in his work. The soft, blue / lilac tones that help to lift the skin tones. Their relationship to the whites and pale pinks found in the clothes of his models (who weren’t models at all but working prostitutes and dancers).

It’s easy for me to be inspired by Lautrec in that his work seems instantly accessible. But to reproduce it takes some serious thought. For one Lautrec’s most striking work was completed with oil. My own work is largely pencil based due to my love of the soft shading. But this aside I’m going to produce a few pieces based on my brief understanding of his style and technique.

Detail of La Promeneuse

Detail of La Promeneuse

Ultimately I will produce them digitally using Corel Painter but to start with I want to use cardboard and a soft range of pencils. I’ll struggle to get the whites that he used but perhaps that’s something I can achieve with chalk or pastel.

Freelance illustration for a local school

I recently completed some work for a local school – Rodeheath Primary School in Alsager. The project centred around Engineering and a new initiative by the school to encourage children into understanding the various forms that it takes.

Here’s a few concepts and finished pieces.

The popular engineer and TV personality Danielle George has given her support to the project and features in the foreword.

danielle kidgame sketch-kidsplan sketch-kidswater wind youareanengineer

Some of my beautiful friends

I really am a very lucky guy. I know some absolutely gorgeous people.
I enjoy sketching people in public and sometimes I can get the odd friend to sit still for me whilst I doodle. Here’s a few of my most recent illustrations.

In some cases I do this with a sketchbook and micro Copic ink pen. Typically 0.1 size.
But for each of these I worked from a photograph.

portrait Untitled-2 portrait-small


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