Twitter Art Exhibit 2020

The Twitter Art Exhibit is an annual event created by the excellent artist David Sandum. Anyone can create a piece of original postcard-sized artwork and send it in, where it will be exhibited to raise money for charity. This year the exhibition is taking place in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA and the charity is Horry County Disabilities and Special Needs. As the name implies, Twitter is used extensively to promote the exhibition and it’s lovely to follow the account and see the huge variety of contributions.

It’s a great idea and a great cause and this will be my fourth year of being involved. I’ve just finished my postcard and will be posting it at the weekend. My previous postcards have sold quite quickly and I’m hoping this year will be the same.

A clearing, in the woods. Mitsubishi Hi-Uni pencils on St Cuthbert’s Mill HP Bockingford paper, 12x16cm 

There’s still time to get involved – if you’re interested, details are here.

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.

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.


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.