Saturday, 20 September 2014

DD20 - Line

A real quick drawing tonight. It's a digital tracing done on the iPad and I've worked it as a continuous line. Quite good fun to pick a starting point and trace all round the image without stopping! Of course you could do this on paper too - just pop tracing paper over a photo and trace with a marker or fine liner  pen. Easy!

Thanks for visiting, bye for now,

Friday, 19 September 2014

DD19 - More digital drawing

Here's my drawing for today:

More and more colour is popping up on the Daily Drawing Flickr Pool and I couldn't help but get in on the act. This is a digital drawing but tonight I've gone for a more painterly approach. I've drawn it on the iPad using ProCreate. DMTV viewers will be able to see me doing a demonstration of this technique in a few weeks time. 

Wow, can't believe it's Friday night again already. Hope you all have a good weekend. I'll be back tomorrow with more drawing!

Thanks for visiting,

Thursday, 18 September 2014

DD18 - Digital tracing

I demonstrated this technique on DMTV a few weeks ago and it's an ideal way to make quick and accurate drawings.

It's the same subject as yesterday but I've gone for a line drawing with no tone at all. It's worked on an iPad using the ProCreate app.

Digital drawing on a tablet or iPad is a great way to fit drawing into your daily schedule. My pal Annabel has made some lovely examples. I've pinched this one from her blog, but there are more to see, here's a link:

Thanks for dropping by,
P.S. I've just announced my new workshops for 2015, you can find the info via the Workshops tab at the top of this page. Hope there'll be something to tempt you!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Digital Print Showcase

Every so often I like to share with you the work of one of the artists or designers that we print for here at Fingerprint. These vibrant cushions and lampshades add a strong contemporary statement to interior spaces and best of all? They're on a special sale until tomorrow via this link:

You'll need to pop your email address in to make an account then you can browse these and the rest of the collection.

Drawing and highogs

When we had to cut these sunflowers I photographed them from every angle so I might be able to draw or paint them over the coming weeks. They were in a vase that was way too small propped up against the kitchen window sill. When I looked back over the photos I thought the composition of this one (which was completely arbitrary) was quite interesting and I liked the combination of the flower with the glass chemistry bottles.

So I drew it. I've left out all of the distracting view through the window, Amelie's toy pushchair, the gazebo, the washing, etc. etc. That's the beauty of a drawing over a photo don't you think? You can edit the truth!

Had to share Amelie's art work for the day too. A 'highog' made from the leaves that are already falling.

Thanks for visiting. 

Yesterday's drawing and "what pencils?"

The main problem I'm finding with drawing each day is not the actual drawing, it's having enough energy when I've done it to take photos and post them to the blog! So yesterday's drawing is appearing a day late and my resolve is set to try to draw earlier in the day so I'm not taking photos in the dark and being lured by the comfort of half an hour on the sofa in front of the TV instead of posting.

Enough whining, here's the drawing:

I decided I hated the wimpy way I'd drawn the word 'flying' the day before so I took a chunky graphite stick, worked side on and covered that section of the page. Then I've redrawn the word in what I reckon is a more successful way.

The monoprint has a lovely quality, partly because of the paper surface and it's possible to achieve something very similar with the side of the graphite stick. I've drawn into it with an eraser and then a pencil.

Thank you if you've left comments either here or on Facebook. I do read them all and will try to answer them gradually as we go. If I miss your question please feel free to nag me, my memory is hopeless!

I've been asked what pencils am I using. Here's a look at my drawing toolkit:

I'll start by saying I'm in no way affiliated to Faber Castell, I just love their pencils! Their drawing pencils are very nice to use and I favour soft grades like 3B and 5B, but since I tried their propelling pencils I've been converted. You can see them near the top of this photo. They're available with two thicknesses and grades of lead and you need a special sharpener (on the right) to sharpen the leads. Why do I love them so much? Well, you can sharpen them easily to a super sharp point. I'd always recommend keeping pencils sharp when drawing, you'll get more precise controlled lines which won't look clumsy. So I sharpen mine all the time and if you work with normal pencils that means that you're down to stubby shorties really quick. With a propelling pencil that's not an issue. When you're not using the pencil you can retract the lead into the handle and pop it in your bag for drawing on the go.

You should be able to find all this stuff in a good local art shop or online.

Thanks for dropping by today. I'll be back later with today's drawing.

Monday, 15 September 2014


For today's drawing I've worked over a monoprint. The print was done with a method that uses drawing so I think it works quite well to add a bit (tiny bit) of sketching, over the top.

Of course in my mind's eye the lettering is beautifully done, think I'll have to work on my calligraphy skills.

Bye for now,

Sunday, 14 September 2014


So I'm two weeks into this whole idea of trying to draw every day and so far, so good. Unlike trying to get into other good habits like doing more exercise, vacuuming and eating less junk, drawing is easy to build into my daily routine because I love doing it so much. If you've been trying to draw every day, but just can't get into the swing, why not try changing things around a bit? Perhaps working with a pencil won't suit you, try working with a pen and wash, or with collage, or perhaps take a daily photo. After all, it's the process of finding time to be creative that's most important.

Anyway, enough pep talk, here's my drawing:

I'm starting to think a little about pattern and composition ideas. I've re-used the wire key shape I made yesterday and made repeated rubbings to fill the page. I left a space and drew a more realistic key into that spot. I think it's interesting to play with the subject like this, to show it in an obvious way and then in a more simplified characterful style.

Thanks for visiting today. I'll be back with more tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 September 2014


I always here the phrase 'I can't draw!', but honestly you can and I'm hoping that with the Daily Drawings I'll be able to show you some tactics for drawing that'll help increase confidence and also achieve results fast. Oh, by the way, when I use the word drawing, I don't just mean observational drawing with a pencil on white paper. There are lots of other approaches we can cover as we go

Yesterday I did a rubbing and today I'm taking that one step further.

I'm sticking with the key motif, but this is a great method for all sorts of shapes. If you couldn't try yesterday's idea right away because your subject matter wasn't flat enough to make a direct rubbing from, then this one is for you:

Using some fine gauge wire (cake decorator's wire, florist's wire), bend your desired motif into shape keeping it flat in 2 dimensions, (i.e. not a 3D model). The wire will be fine and soft enough to bend with your fingers, but you can use pliers for tricky, intricate shapes and of course, to cut.

I made a very simple, stylised key. The beauty of this method is that it requires you to simplify, to eliminate the detail and focus on what's essential about your subject. I guess it's about conveying the subject matter with the most economical use of line.

When the shape is ready, slide it under the page of your sketchbook and use the side of a pencil or better still a solid graphite stick and make the rubbing. 

Hope you've been having fun with the ideas. If you've just discovered the Daily Drawing Project then a big welcome to you, it's never too late to start and we'd love you to add your drawings to the Flickr Pool. Here's a link to check it out:

Thanks for dropping by. If you've been enjoying the blog please do tell your friends, colleagues and students and share the link:

Bye for now,

Friday, 12 September 2014


OK, it's Friday night and I'm sure everyone's got something better to do than drawing so my tip for today is super quick and easy, but still very effective…

Frottage. Or rubbings as the technique's more often called. Here's mine:

I've used yesterday's trick of scanning a previous drawing, enlarging it and printing it onto a sketchbook page. I've been working with keys so I found out a flattish one, popped it beneath the page and made a rubbing using the side of a solid graphite stick. Simply reposition and repeat to create a pattern.

This method works brilliantly with any flat object. If the results are a bit fuzzy then your sketchbook page might be a bit too thick, just try a thinner paper and attach it to the book later.

Thanks for dropping by. Hope you're enjoying the Daily Drawing Project. Don't forget, you'll find all of my drawings, plus lots of others on the Flickr pool. Here's a link: 


Thursday, 11 September 2014

DD 11

Here's my drawing for today:

I made this with a method you might like to try - here's what to do:

  1. Choose a drawing from your sketchbook. 
  2. Take a digital photo of it, or do what I did and pop it on the scanner.
  3. Save the file.
  4. Tear out a new page in your sketchbook, leave at least half an inch at the spine for re-attachment.
  5. Put the page in your computer printer.
  6. Open the image file and choose Print, play with the scale settings. I printed a few varying the scale between 200% and 300%. By enlarging the original drawing you'll exaggerate all the lovely marks and visual texture.
  7. Use a gluestick and attach the printed drawing back into the book.
  8. Work into it to add more detail, colour, pattern or other motifs and shapes.

I used Derwent Graphitint pencils (water-soluble) to draw the keyhole shapes and fill in some colour, then added a little clean water to wash the pencil marks and intensify the colour. 

I hope that helps you fill a few more pages in your sketchbook. Have fun!

Tiger Tiger

I did do my daily drawing last night, I promise! I was just too tired to take photos and post it. Here it is:

It's a quick study in pencil of the eye of one of the amazing tigers we saw yesterday. I love cats big and small, but have never used them in my work, maybe I will, I was lucky to get some incredible photos.

I was a few inches from this tiger, he looked me straight in the eye with those beautiful pale green eyes and I felt ashamed to be a human.

He is a Sumatran tiger, some reports say there are as few as 140 left in the wild. In my lifetime two subspecies of tigers have already become extinct. I have just made a donation to 21st Century Tiger. They work with the Zoological Society of London to fund conservation projects to help secure the safety of tigers living in the wild. 100% of the donation is used for the conservation projects, none goes to administration. 

If you'd like to read more about the tigers, the conservation projects and perhaps make a simple one-off donation too, then the website is:

Sometimes it seems like an impossible task to try to do anything against the tide of devastation that humanity chooses to flood over nature, but you know, if we all do a little bit, just something, it adds up.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

We're going to the zoo...

It seems to be becoming something of a family tradition to stretch birthday celebrations out for as long as possible. Amelie loves all animals and so her birthday treat was a day out at the zoo.

Our nearest zoo is in the grounds of an ancient castle which makes for a pretty spectacular backdrop to the meerkat enclosure. This pair we posing just perfectly on their lookout post.

This tiger was most definitely the star of the show. I'm not quite sure how I feel about zoos in general, maybe it's good that species are being kept like this for us to see, so we can learn more about them, that our awareness of their situations in the wild is heightened, that a small child can appreciate how giant a giraffe really is and that they are real and not just in books. 

Naturally, in spite of the exotic species on all sides Amelie was just as enthralled by a pigeon. That's toddlers for you!

I know you're wondering where my drawing is. Well it's 9.20pm and I've not started yet, but I'll do my best and be back here later if I can!

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Daily Drawing Day 9

Here's my drawing for today…

Unfortunately I had to cut a couple of sunflowers from the garden today, they're now brightening up the kitchen and I've photographed them from every angle for future reference. I just added my drawing to the Flickr Pool and saw there were over 160 drawings on there now, isn't that amazing! Here's a link for you to take a look at what's been added over the last 9 days: 

More important than any drawing, our beautiful Amelie is two today. And yes, how the time flies. We feel as though these two years have just whizzed by and yet at the same time, can't remember what life was like without her.

Happy Birthday Amelie.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Daily Drawing Day 8

One week into the Daily Drawing project. Well, I have to say, I think my drawing is getting better and I certainly finding that I'm getting quicker. Mind you, that's mostly down to necessity; when there's no time to draw, then the only answer is to draw faster! Tonight had to be a really quick sketch. It's a certain someone's birthday tomorrow and I have presents to wrap…

Until tomorrow,

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Daily Drawing Day 7

I fancied a change today so I've gone back to working on my portrait of Amelie. I'm working from a photo of her taken when she was very small. It's worked with pencil, but on fabric this time. I'm hoping it'll be a quilt once I've figured out how best to stitch it!

Bye for now,

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Daily Drawing Day 6

OK, well the best laid plans and all that. I didn't get round to starting my drawing till 10pm tonight so I voted to work fast with this one and not spend too long on the detail.

I wanted to start to introduce some colour to the sketchbook. I've gone for Derwent Graphitint water-soluble pencils which have quite a nice muted colour palette. The paper in this book is a bit light for washes though, might have to switch to another.

So, my suggestion for today: if you haven't already used some colour in your drawings why not try colour pencils?

There are over 100 photos on the Flickr Daily Drawing page, hope you'll enjoy taking a look:

Thanks for dropping by,

Friday, 5 September 2014

Daily Drawing Day 5

I'm getting later and later with my daily drawings. I'm going to try to start tomorrow's at breakfast time rather than leaving it till the last minute! Here's my drawing for today…

These lovely marguerite daisies have flowered all summer and I've taken loads of photos one of which is what I worked from tonight. It's an interesting challenge to add tonal shading to something that's essentially white. I think the best way to tackle it is to actually draw the background rather than the object.

So that's today's little tip - look for the negative spaces between and around the objects that you're drawing and use them to help your study.

See you tomorrow for more,

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Daily Drawing Day 4

Here we go with day 4 of the drawing challenge.

I decided today to take a slightly different approach. Lots of people tell me they're nervous of the blank white page of the sketchbook. My solution for the day - enlist the help of a collaborator and get a toddler to scribble on the page first! That certainly takes the pressure off ruining the perfect page.

So I gave Amelie the book and pencil and she did her bit. Fortunately, I thought her scribble could be converted into a lace-like pattern that follows on quite neatly from yesterday's drawing. So I drew into one area blocking out shapes to create the feel of a lacey pattern. 

Elsewhere on the page I still wanted to use the keys. This time I didn't work from life, I drew them from my memory. I think after 3 days of studying them it was a good test to see if I'd learnt the shapes properly!!

So two tips for the day - scribble on the page to break the spell of the white empty space and test yourself by drawing something you'd studied before, but this time work from memory.

Happy drawing!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Daily Drawing Day 3

Instigating this challenge has certainly put the pressure on to keep up the daily draw and it's only day 3! Have to say though, that I've been looking forward all day to being able to sit down for half an hour tonight to draw. Here is the result:

I've added to yesterday's drawing with a quick study of some Victorian lace.

So my suggestion for your next drawing is to revisit one you've already done and add some interesting background pattern. You might decide to go ornate and decorative or simple and geometric.

Happy drawing!