Pirate de Marseilles

I wanted to do something a little bit different for this picture. I picked the subject because of the poses of the father and son. The son is really making a statement! I liked the Off Licence sign behind them, too, but I didn’t want it to detract from the main subject. Hence the line drawing as the background.

Pirate de Marseilles. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight cartridge paper, A3

If you like what I do then you can follow me on Instagram, buy prints of my Dorset series over on Etsy, or contact me to discuss a commission.

M and O

I finished a commission last week, of M and O. It was a lot fo fun to do. It’s currently travelling over the Atlantic to the USA. This is the first time I’ve posted an A3 drawing overseas and I’m a little nervous about it. There is so much that can go wrong with a large and delicate pencil drawing in the course of such a long journey.

M & O. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight cartridge paper, A3

No matter how much I play around with light and post-processing, I’m never happy with how photos of my drawings come out.

I’m now working on a new double portrait. If you’d like to follow this drawing’s progress you can do so on Instagram (@penspaperpencils), where I post pictures of work in progress to my story.

Lyme Regis Cobb

I started this picture back in the spring but only just finished it last week. In part this was because I have a lot of other things to do during the summer; in part it was due to needing to complete a couple of commissions first; and in part it was because large parts of it took so long to do I would have gone a little loopy if I hadn’t taken a break now and then.

My aim when I began was to try to capture the light in the sky and on the sea and to evoke a sense of place and space. The location is the Cobb at Lyme Regis in Dorset. In the background is part of the famous Jurassic Coast, stretching off into the distance. Lyme Regis is famous for its fossils and the Cobb (a harbour wall) is famous from its starring roles in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Lyme Regis Cobb. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight cartridge paper, A3

Cards and prints are available from my Etsy shop. If you’re interested in purchasing the original please contact me.

Wedding Walk

This picture is of my good friends on their way to get married. It was a wonderful day that began with them walking through their town to their wedding, an old and rather lovely tradition. This picture is of them walking through the town’s community orchard, which I’ve suggested with dappled light rather than drawing it in.

Wedding Walk. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight cartridge paper, A3

I drew this as a present for them because it had been such a lovely and very special day.

Sharpening Pencils

Pencil sharpening is one of those tasks that most people don’t give a moment’s thought to and some get quite passionate about. I once wrote a long comparative review of handheld pencil sharpeners and was told by a rather opinionated Facebook gentleman that it just confirmed how sharpening with a knife was the only way.

In actual fact I don’t much mind how you sharpen your pencils but seeing as it’s something I spend a lot of my time doing, I thought I’d tell you how I do it and why.

First of all,. I’m aware you can avoid the whole sharpening conundrum by using mechanical pencils. Mechanical pencils are the sensible and practical option but they are no fun. They have no soul.

Secondly, although sharpening a pencil is very satisfying indeed, it isn’t something I want to spend all my time doing when I’m in the middle of drawing. This rules out using a knife, quite apart from the fact that I’m incredibly clumsy and would inevitably lose a finger or three if I tried.

That said, and thirdly, I do want a nice sharp point, so a good quality sharpener is needed; one that firmly holds a sharp blade (that stays sharp for a reasonable amount of time and is replaceable).

For that reason I use the sharpener I ended up recommending in the aforementioned review: the DUX single hole brass sharpener. I use it little and often. With all but the hardest grade pencils, I use it, just a quick little twist, whenever I put a pencil down and whenever the point dulls a little. It’s almost automatic, barely interrupts my flow, and guarantees a sharp point. If extra sharpness is needed, I use a bit of sandpaper.

Seamless sharpening for satisfying sketching.


Here’s Winnie, a lovely little dog I drew as a commission.

Winnie. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight cartridge paper, A5

If you like what I do, please consider following me on Instagram, buying something on Etsy or contacting me about a commission.

Twitter Art Exhibit and Olivia

Saturday was the opening night of this year’s Twitter Art Exhibit. This is an annual event that raises money for good causes by selling postcard sized pieces of original art. This year there were over a thousand entries from sixty-five different countries.

This video gives a good (and short) overview of what it’s all about and if you watch it to the end you can see my postcard by the presenter’s right elbow. Fame at last.

My entry to this year’s Twitter Art Exhibition

Someone very kindly bought my entry on the first night but there are still hundreds (literally) of amazing pieces of original art available to buy online. This is a great cause and a great opportunity to own some fantastic art for a reasonable price.

Last week I finished this commissioned drawing of Olivia. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out although I still struggle to take a good photo of my drawings.

Olivia. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight smooth cartridge paper, A4

If you like what I do, please consider following me on Instagram, buying something on Etsy or contacting me about a commission.

Exhibition Time

It’s been a busy few weeks for me, with the day job and with drawing. I’ve been working on some commissions which I’m unable to share but in the meantime I’ve had most of my Drawing Dorset series on display at a coffee shop in Dorchester.

The work is for sale and it would, of course, be lovely if I did sell some of it. It’s enough, though (at least for now!), to have my pictures on display in public. I draw because I enjoy it but in the end all art (or attempts at art) is meant to be seen.

There isn’t long left – publicity clearly isn’t one of my strengths – but if you happen to find yourself near the Engine Room in Poundbury, Dorchester in the next week or so then it would be wonderful if you popped in. The coffee there is excellent.

Drawing Diary 10 April 2019 : Weymouth Bay, Evening Light

This last week I completed my Weymouth Bay drawing and I’m quite pleased with it. My favourite paintings are those that capture the light and sense of place of a scene and I’ve been wanting to try to do something similar with my drawing. To do that with my picture I used a lot of cross-hatching, rather than smooth shading, to try to get a feeling of movement, of a dynamic sea and sky. I also made sure I didn’t touch some parts of the paper at all. Once the paper’s been marked it loses its brightness even if the mark is erased. For once, the end result is fairly close to what I wanted.

Weymouth Bay, Evening Light. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight smooth cartridge paper, A3

When I finish one of these Dorset drawings I take it to a local printers to be scanned and then made into cards and prints. The person I work with at the printers is currently on holiday so this is a photo of the drawing, taken before I’d signed it. I’ll hopefully have prints and cards available in a couple of weeks.

I also finished a fourth Dorset mini.

Towards White Nothe. Palomino Blackwing pencil on a postcard

If you like what I do, please consider following me on Instagram, buying something on Etsy or even contacting me about a commission.

Drawing Diary 4 April 2019 : Dorset Minis

It’s been a busy couple of weeks because I’m preparing for my first ever exhibition. It’s a joint exhibition, in a local cafe, with two very talented painters, and it’s very exciting. I’ll share more information about it soon.

My problem is that I don’t have a lot of work to show. Most of what I draw is either for someone in particular or personal to myself. What’s left are my Dorset drawings, so that’s going to be the main theme of my part of the exhibition. In order to avoid most of the wall being completely empty, I’ve been working on a new A4-sized Dorset drawing, which is very nearly finished (the Weymouth Bay drawing I’ve posted progress shots of here before); and a new series of what I’m imaginatively calling Dorset “minis”. These are postcard sized sketches of local scenes.

The Cobb at Lyme Regis, Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on a postcard

So far I’ve finished three and I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out.

Corfe Castle, Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on a postcard

If you enjoy my work please consider following me on Instagram, buying something from Etsy or contacting me about a commission.

Lulworth Cove, Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on a postcard