Female figures sketch


Following yesterday’s post showing a page of male figures, I thought I’d best practice drawing female characters too. I usually avoid drawing women if at all possible as I find them really difficult to draw, so all the more reason to practice really! One thing I really try to avoid when I do draw female characters is stereotypes. It irritates me in children’s books and some graphic novels where the female characters are depicted bearing emphasised eyelashes and lips and wearing make-up and hair accessories as symbols of their femininity. There are so many women out there with so many different appearances, none of which conform to society’s bizarre conceptions of ‘ideal’. The same goes for men, who I imagine feel equally as pressured to live up to society’s expectations. So for that reason, my sketches will strive to be a stereotype-free zone!

Male character sketches


I’ve had extra shifts at work this week so i haven’t had time to sit down and work on anything. So I’ve just been working on some character drawing instead. I’ve recently started collecting the manga/graphic novel series ‘Battle Angel Alita’ by Yukito Kishiro and his amazingly thought-out characters made me want to get drawing people again. I’m not great at true representations of people,  so for the time being I’m sticking to stylized beings instead. I have a tendency to draw people who all look the same so I’m trying to branch out a bit and create clear identities for characters. I’ll probably never use them for anything but it’s fun imagining their lives, their pasts and their little worlds that they live in.

Above sketches created using Biro (ballpoint) on plain paper

22nd September: It’s World Rhino Day!!!


Since 2010 my favourite animal has been given it’s own celebrated day, World Rhino Day! I love rhinos and hate how such magnificent animals can be poached for their horns. In late 2013, the Western Black Rhino, not seen since 2006, was declared officially extinct and it is warned that the Northern White Rhino and Javan rhino are on the brink of extinction.

I really don’t want these amazing animals to go extinct or for them to be forgotten entirely so I’m really happy there are brilliant organisations out there dedicated to helping them. I’ll be making a donation later to do my small part and I wish everyone a Happy World Rhino Day!

Above illustration was created using fineliner on old newsprint paper that had been used in the monoprinting process (leaving an ink residue). Rhino illustration based on a photo of a rough-skinned black rhino, taken by Toni Angermayer, included in The International Wildlife Encyclopedia (Vol 14). I would draw a rhino from memory but they have weird-shaped heads, so I needed a bit of reference on this one!

Week 38: Giraffe



My entry for week 38 of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge. This week’s theme was ‘Giraffe’ so I’ve had fun today drawing a scene from Rudyard Kipling’s ‘How the Leopard got his spots’.

“What is this,” said the Leopard, “that is so ‘sclusively dark, and yet so full of little pieces of light?”
“I don’t know,” said the Ethiopian, “but it ought to be the aboriginal Flora. I can smell Giraffe, and I can hear Giraffe, but I can’t see Giraffe”.

Pastel pencils on coloured paper.

Bookshop window, Season 2: – Autumn

Autumn’s almost upon us in the UK so my task this week was to re-illustrate the Melton Bookshop’s window with an autumnal theme and what better to represent the season than a fabulously majestic stag? Especially when I can turn his antlers into tree branches to carry the leaves! Because that idea’s never been used before… coughcough.  Even the Pokemon franchise has used that one, (Sawsbuck). Never mind, it creates a good effect anyway. The quote for this month was a couple of lines from William Allingham’s ‘Autumnal Sonnet’:

Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt…’

The brief I was given for the window was ‘You can draw anything as long as it isn’t morbid’ so I think that quote fitted quite well. Now I’ll have to start having a good think about the winter window…

Bookshop window: Autumn illustration

window plan

Back in July, I created a summer design for my local bookshop’s window with a nautical theme (see here). Now that the UK is into Autumn, or it was apart from we’re experiencing a sudden resurgence of summer at the moment, I have been asked to do a new window illustration with an autumnal theme. My brief? ‘Anything autumny, as long as it’s not morbid’ – owner of the Melton Bookshop. Well that’s taken some of the fun out…

The sketch above is very rough, I could never be a professional window-dressing planner, but mainly shows an idea where a stag will take up a good portion of the window. His antlers will act as branches, carrying leaves that will fall and float across all windows along the front of the shop,gathering in the bottom corners.

As for an autumnal quote, I’m currently caught between the suggested ‘No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace/ As I have seen in one autumnal face‘ (The Autumnal by John Donne) of my favourite ‘Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt…‘ (Autumnal Sonnet by William Allingham). Think I’ll go with that one. Should have the window done by Friday so I’ll be putting up photos then!


52-week Illustration Challenge: Week 37 – Balloon


Far too tired after work to tackle Photoshop last night so spent an evening scribbling pictures of airships for the 52-week illustration challenge’s ‘balloon’ theme. This image was created using my favoured media, fineliners, and pencil on some really old, yellowing lined paper which gives it a nice effect, almost like the fuzzy effect of black and white photos. Airships have fascinated me for a good few years now, I find it amazing how hydrogen alone was able to drag the metal skeleton of these juggernauts up into the air and yet their huge bulk could be easily destroyed by a shift in the weather. I’m often sad that I was born far too late to see these beasts in the sky, romantic visions of a slower era and all that.

Typography experiment: – Let’s get Kraken


Another almost-completely-illegible typography experiment! I think i’m going to have to reign in when adding detail, but it’s been a while since I’ve drawn tentacles so I’ve let myself go a little over the top. No deep thinking behind this one, I just heard a work colleague say ‘let’s get cracking’ and heard it as ‘kraken’, which is weird only in the way that our work doesn’t normally conjure up that much enthusiasm in the first place… certainly not enough to warrant a ‘let’s get cracking’. My mishearing words and replacing them with fantastical monsters on the other hand is actually quite commonplace.

Anyway, as I have the next three days at work, I decided today would be ‘Flop-about Friday’. So I grabbed a scrap of green card (the horrible cheap textured stuff that cardboard folders are made out of), my trusty fineliners and a white pen and drew up this monstrosity. So all in all, it’s been a fantastic day.

Enjoy university my friend!


It feels weird this year not getting ready for a new term at uni. For the last 4 years I’ve been worried about what horrendous timetable I’ll get, whether I’ll know where my studio is, getting finances sorted. I’m really happy tat I graduated with great grades but I’m a bit sad as well, but never mind. Now it’s my friend’s turn to head off to uni to study art so I’ll be wishing her a fond farewell tonight down the pub! The illustration above was one I created in 2008 and was my friends favourite picture… apart from she didn’t like the crocodile’s intentions. So I’ve drawn her out a farewell card with a bit of a nicer scene on it with the duckies she’s been begging me to draw for ages. Bye Dom, have a great time at university!

Both of these illustrations were created using watercolours, coloured pencil and biro (ballpoint) pen.