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.