Doodling a random character in Corel Painter X3 on iMac

As you may have noticed I love to doodle. I love to doodle with no clear idea in my mind as to what I’m going to create.

I created this video earlier to try and capture the process. In it I explain a little about my setup with Corel Painter as well as my prefered pens / brushes etc.

The terrible fate of Colin Collins

Continuing my doodle theme I fired up Corel Painter and messed around with an idea that started life as a small blob staring up into the sky. Naturally I made up a little story for the scene :-)

I wanted to show a sense of anticipation, mystery and a touch of nerves. This guy sees something high in the sky. Something that is not at all normal. It stops him in his tracks…


Simple sketch with a 6B Pencil and RGB 128,128,128 colour.


Outlined with a Flat Color pen and black colour

Colin Collins, THE most unlucky kid in school, saw something high in the sky. Something strange. Something… alien. He stopped walking and stared as the diamond shaped ‘thing’ fell from the sky. It span and shone and twisted and groaned as it tumbled right out of the sky at breakneck pace.

Young Master Collins stood in awe. He stood in awe for just a little too long. The diamond alien thing hurtled toward him at a little over one thousand feet per second.

When it struck him it was travelling at just less than the speed of sound. Colin Collins made no sound. The alien thing made a crater 240 metres wide and 78 metres deep.


Finished with Watercolor – Dry on Dry Paper


Colin Collins in Corel Painter X3 on iMac


I am a real hardcore doodler. I mean, anywhere, anytime, if I can get a hold of a pencil and paper I’ll just scribble and doodle.

More often than not such doodles wind up in the bin but occasionally I create something that makes me stop and think. This is really what I love about doodling – you never quite know what you’re going to get. It can be a nice surprise.

I doodled this earlier.


It’s really nothing at all. There’s certainly nothing on my mind as I’m drawing. Everything that ends up in the image has just been ‘logical’ at that point. I admit I don’t much like the witch’s hat and spider. Pretty naff. But I was intrigued by the character with the one big eye and mad hair!


As I was blocking some of that marker pen in I thought how cool it would be for a story. A young girl who loves to draw, sketches something (such as my straggly haired critter) and then in a bizarre turn of events, said critter pulls the girl into his world of scribbles and silly drawings. She sees the world completely differently. Everyone and everything she thought she knew is actually just a badly drawn doodle :-) The problem? She has a limited amount of time to avoid becoming a permanent doodle.

If I’d not already read a book entitled The Girl of Ink and Stars I’d be inclined to write a story with that exact title.



An homage to L.S.Lowry

I visited The Lowry earlier today (Sunday). It’s been a long standing ambition of mine to study Lowry’s work in a little more detail. I fell in love with it.

The juvenile appearance of his more famous paintings seem to belie some ability with the pencil. I admire his work and his attitude to his work. It seems that on a number of occasions he took the advice of others to help shift direction and improve as an artist.
I’ve no doubt that it also helped him to become significantly more commercial.


As I left Salford Quays I took a detour and found a few back streets to take some photographs. I’d taken a few photographs of the back streets of Liverpool around Toxteth a few months earlier so with a bit of Photoshopping I managed to splice together a composition.

I am conscious of the inconsistent lighting in this piece but as an exercise in employing Lowry’s loose style I think it works.

What do you think?


The finished piece


Initial ink outline

The Secret Society of the Hideous


Every year The Secret Society of the Hideous holds its Creepy Cabaret, and every year it’s an enormous success.

Mere mortals cannot attend. Oh no, sirreee. This is for the truly grotesque and its location every year is the best kept secret in monsterland.

This year, back by popular demand, is the outrageously camp but supremely talented Squidge Morrison. His unique blend of jazz and showmanship has transformed him from deep sea hobo to a theatre sell out in just four hundred short years.

Intensely private and notoriously abusive to reporters, Squidge was kind enough to offer us a few words following his standing ovation as the curtain fell.

Sadly we can’t print them. But rest assured he was in fine form.

Gaggle Spencer – Entertainment Writer
The Monsterland Mirror

Doodling a witch

Lazily doodling earlier in Corel Painter, I found myself testing the side of a 6B pencil. As I shaded without removing the pencil from the canvas, I fell in love with the tone and texture.

I paused for a moment to look at the screen and quickly identified a witch. I’m quite a fan of crafting something from an otherwise dispensable piece of art.


The original doodle

As you can see the original marks on the canvas could have been pretty much anything!


Inked with a Flat Color pen


Original doodle removed and Watercolor tone applied

But to me they were quite clearly a witch. I used a Flat Color pen from the Ink Pens collection to shape the character.
The animated broom was added at the last moment.

With a combination of wet paint brushes from the Watercolor collection I added some tone.

I rather like the way the witch is creepily drifting and dragging her toes along the floor!

Image created with Corel Painter X3 on iMac with Wacom Cintiq.

Sketching Cinderella

Each morning I enjoy sketching. This morning I fired up Corel Painter X3 on the Mac.
I recently watched Cinderella (2015) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The actress who plays Cinderella really does lend herself to a sketch. Her expression both in the film and in the film’s publicity shots is wonderful.
So I took one of those shots and had a bash at sketching it out.
For this I use a simple 2B pencil and work quite quickly to pick out the main shapes. I only ever intended this piece to be a sketch so I deliberately didn’t become obsessed with the finer details.


As a separate exercise I had a bash at applying some colour. For this I used a Wet Acrylic brush from the Acrylics collection in Painter. Again, I wasn’t at all concerned with the finer details.

Hope you like them :-)

Early morning warm up sketches

For me there can be little better than grabbing some coffee and sitting in the early Summer sunshine with an ink pen and notebook. Those first few moments after sleep where your brain is still just a little bit in dream land are superb for playing with ideas.

If it’s not so Summery outside (as it was this morning) I’ll sit at the Mac and fire up a drawing app. My first choice drawing app is Corel Painter but I’ll also use Mischief. Both are superb for sketching in though Painter is, of course, a much more heavyweight application than just a sketching tool.

This morning I’d woken thinking about chess! Not sure why. But I instantly thought of the agony and the ecstasy of the outcome of a chess match. So I sketched it :)

chessvictoryFor this I used a Sketching Pencil in Painter to quickly establish the lines. I wasn’t at all concerned with detail, far more important to develop the characters with as few strokes as possible.

The chap on the left is the victor and clearly elated.
The chap on the right is the exact opposite.


What I like about Painter is the texture that the strokes provide. With this detail image (above) you can see how the marker pen reacts to the paper. Such wonderful texture that helps to enhance the experience of digital sketching.

Doom monster concept art

I am a huge fan of the Doom computer games. Back in the early 90s as a young and disillusioned twenty something, the arrival of Doom on PC helped me a great deal. Not just in playing the game but in the rich visual style that the game used. The wonderful hybrid of tech and hell inspired me no end.
I recently bought DOOM for the XBox One and am thoroughly enjoying playing through it. It’s tough but challenging enough for me to pursue it. Better yet it’s helped once again to ignite my love for the visual style.

So I fired up Painter and sketched out my own bad guy. The first sketch is a simple pencil sketch. I then used my beloved ink pen to illustrate something in my developing ink style. The shading is achieved using a marker and pastel.
doomed1a doomed1b doomed1c