Making Waves

I live in the south of Dorset, right by the sea. I’m lucky enough to be able to open my front door every morning as see the sun rising over the water. It is wonderful, every single day.

Many of my drawings are of local landmarks but the sea has never been anything more than background. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to draw the sea as the subject itself – how to capture the movement and light of the waves. The sea is always there but it’s always changing. I’d like to draw that but I’ve not found it easy.

This picture, provisionally titled “Splash” (I continue to struggle with titles) is a step towards this goal.

Splash. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on St Cuthbert’s Mill CP (Not) Bockingford paper, A4

It’s on St Cuthbert’s Mill Bockingford CP (Not) watercolour paper, which is just beautiful to draw on. It’s got a wonderful texture which forces you to be a lot looser with your pencil marks. I think the sense of waves crashing against the rock comes through, although the drawing it hasn’t photographed very well. (This is my way of saying it looks better in real life…)

I have a lot of pictures I want to draw but this subject and technique is, I hope, going to become an ongoing theme.


Here’s a commission I finished recently.

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

Lots of fur! The trick with hair and fur, if you don’t want to drive yourself mad, is to set the general depth of shade with pencil marks perpendicular to the direction of the hairs. Throw in some random lines and then draw in enough of the fur to create the illusion of having drawn it all. The interplay of these cross-hatched lines gives the fur a sense of movement and vivacity. You can then pick out particular areas, even particular hairs, to draw in more detail. Don’t be afraid to lighten areas with an eraser so you can draw in a lighter piece of fur or hair. Some people say you should never rub anything out but that seems like making a rod for your own back. However, paper never shines as brilliantly once it’s had pencil on it, no matter how good your eraser is, so be careful not to touch areas you want to become your brightest highlights.

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.

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.