Monday, 29 September 2014

DD29 - a sneaky peek

For today's drawing I'm sharing a sneaky peek at some work I've been doing ready for a DMTV video workshop. I'm exploring ideas with digital photos and composition. This new video will go live on DMTV later this week.

Hope you've been enjoying your drawing and if you've not joined in yet, why not give it a go! I'd love to see some new names popping up on the Flickr page.
Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, 28 September 2014

DD28 - Finding Inspiration

I've not drawn today, I've used the time looking for some new subjects. It turned into a bit of a photographic survey of the garden; there's still some lovely colour out there.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

DD27 - One thing leads to another

You'll remember that yesterday's drawing bled through the paper onto the next page. While sometimes that can be annoying I've decided to use it as the starting point for tonight's drawing. I've just used the marks that came through as a guide and added more lines to them.

Thanks for dropping by,

Friday, 26 September 2014

DD26 - Five minute Friday

I wanted something quick to work on today so I've switched to using charcoal blocks. I love these as they lay down loads of generous tone really fast. They're not suitable for small scale, detailed drawings, but for something more gestural they're perfect.

Of course if you're using charcoal, and even just pencil, then you'll need to be fixing your drawings. If you don't fix them, then as you turn the pages and keep drawing in your book, the graphite will smudge and transfer. Disaster!

You can fix drawings with artists' fixative spray, but I tend to just use hairspray.

One word of caution, hairspray (and possibly fixative too) can affect different media in unexpected ways. Biro and markers like Sharpie are soluble in hairspray. This can either be a good thing or a bad thing! I quite like the effect and so encourage it by spraying fairly generously. If you don't want any bleed, then you'll need to do your charcoal or pencil drawings first, fix them, then add any pen work afterwards.

Ooh, and be aware that often when the pen bleeds after you've sprayed it, it'll go right through the page and show on the other side. Another disaster? Maybe not, maybe it's the start of tomorrow's drawing…

Thanks for visiting,

Thursday, 25 September 2014

DD25 - Mixed media approaches

Today I've gone for a layered, mixed media approach that makes use of what I've learned from previous work. The starting point for this page was one of the digital tracings that I'd done on the iPad. I printed it to the sketchbook page and the added a layer of watercolour wash.

The watercolour wash wash fairly light and I just used it to block in some tone to the background.

I'd really enjoyed using the water-soluble pencils yesterday so next I added some detail and extra colour and tone with that same method. Thinking it was all done I took some photos, but then I decided to add more...

I thought it might be interesting to give the sunflower head and stem more tonal weight so I've used a simple black biro to add some cross hatching.

I hope you're enjoying your drawing as much as me. I'll be back again tomorrow with more tips and ideas.
See you then,

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

DD24 - Wet Drawing

Here's my drawing for today, it's the one on the right hand side of this spread:

I feel as though I need to qualify it! It's a bit wonky and rather rough, but I only allowed myself 5 minutes which isn't long, well not for me, I like to labour over my drawings much more slowly and carefully. I've worked these little studies over three days allowing myself less and less time. It's an interesting challenge!

The technique I've used today is one that I thought you might like to try. I'm calling it Wet Drawing but I'm going to have to come up with a more glamorous name don't you think! Here's what to do:

Wet the area of paper you're going to draw onto. You can use a large watercolour brush or a spraymisting bottle. You don't need to soak the page. Next sharpen your pencils! They need to be watersoluble and you can use either soluble graphite or soluble coloured pencils. I used Derwent Graphitint and Inktense.

The damp page will be highly receptive to the colour and you'll get a very instant, strong mark that's much bolder than pencil usually allows. Because the wet page eats the pencil so readily, you do need to keep sharpening to avoid a dull line.

I hope you enjoy giving that a try. If you're a DMTV viewer then you'll be able to see me demonstrating this very method with lots of other examples in a new video workshop coming soon. If you're not already a DMTV member then we'd love to have you. Here's a link to all the info:

I think it was Susan who asked about the sketchbook. This landscape format is really lovely to work in. I can't remember where I got it, but inside the front cover it says it's a Hand.Book manufactured by Global Art Materials Inc. I just Googled them and came up with this:

I reckon mine is the 'large landscape'. Having looked at the site it says they're sold in the US and Canada so I guess I must have got mine when I was over in Vancouver. I just looked on the Great Art website and they stock some landscape format books. But enough of this talk, we're supposed to be using up sketchbooks not buying more!!

See you again tomorrow,

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

DD23 - media

In line with yesterday's principle of keeping it simple, tonight I've drawn the same subject but just varied the media. I've made this drawing with a black biro and set myself a short time limit of about 10 minutes. Working in pen eliminates much of the potential for fussing about as of course it's impossible to rub anything out, you just have to commit to making a mark. I've purposely gone for quite lively (messy!) cross hatching to create a stitch feel.

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, 22 September 2014

DD22 - keeping it simple

OK, you caught me out, I didn't draw yesterday. I've decided the best way to stick to the challenge is just to keep it simple and quick. I didn't set a time limit with this one, but I did work quickly, maybe about 15 minutes max.

I had bought this perfect little blue and white jug on the market in Bridgnorth last Saturday for £2. Our kitchen needs total renovation, but this might be the starting point for a colour scheme. Now I'm on the hunt for more!

Bye for now,

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.