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

Drawing Diary 21 March 2019 : Artwey

I decided this year that I’d try to get away from my desk a little and join things. The Mustard Seeds gallery was part of that and Artwey was another. Artwey is a “visual arts community for Weymouth and Portland”. It was a big step for me to join a community of actual artists and I’m still not entirely sure I ought to be there. The group has so many extremely talented members as can be seen if you take (and you should) a few minutes to browse the member pages.

Last week there was a meetup for new members. Smalltalk has never been my thing but it turned out to be a lovely hour or so meeting some very creative painters and potters.

One of the benefits of joining Artwey is that you have access to exhibition spaces during the year. Consequently I’ll be exhibiting some of my drawings in a few weeks time, for a month. I’m looking forward to showing some of my drawings in public.

I’m hoping to have my Weymouth Bay drawing finished in time for the exhibition. I drew the sky using cross-hatching rather than shading by ‘colouring in’. It’s the first time I’ve drawn a sky this way and I like it. The pencil marks are clearly visible (which I like) and I think they give the sky a dynamism that I haven’t been able to capture before.

Drawing Diary 14 March 2019 : Mustard Seed gallery

This last week I’ve been pootling about a little with my drawing, with a couple of little sketches and a slow start on a new Dorset drawing. This Dorset drawing is going to be of Weymouth bay with Portland in the distance. It’s a bit of an experiment. My drawings tend to work best when there’s a strong focus with lots of detail and this one isn’t going to be like that. At least, the source photograph isn’t, but I’m going to need to find a way of drawing a focus as I go along. I have some ideas but I’m not sure if they’ll work.

The start of my next Dorset drawing

In the meantime, I now have some of my prints available at the Mustard Seed gallery in Weymouth. This is a wonderful place that we’re lucky to have here in our little seaside town. It’s a community gallery. As a member, I pay an extremely reasonable contribution towards the rent of the space and commit to working in the gallery at least five hours a month. In return, I get generous amount of space in which to show my work, in a space right on one of the main shopping streets. I’m enjoying being part of this group of lovely and talented artists.

Drawing Diary 7 March 2019 : J & C Portrait

This portrait is from a photo taken by my wife Julia of her two youngest children. They’re a fine looking pair and I worked hard to do them both justice. As always, I’m not entirely happy with the result. I’ve never been entirely happy with any drawing. Isn’t that always the way?

J & C, Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on Derwent heavyweight smooth cartridge paper, A3

What I do like about the picture, though, (and this comes from the original photograph) are the contrasts within it. It was fun to do, although the fur collar drove me a little loopy at the time.