Thursday, March 31, 2011

My old teddy

I didn't have time to create something new for Illustration Friday - in fact this was painted many years ago. The real bear sat too close to a fire once and has a singed ear, but I repaired that in the picture.


This is a piece I started before I left and just finished today. I'm trying to increase my Photoshop skills and illustrating poems where the printed text is integrated into the illustration is one way to do that. I like the way the rhino is looking friendly and eager to meet the little girl at the top, but is rolling his eyes (a little sadly) at the fickle human at the bottom.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


This is a collage I did some time ago which I titled Northern Light because it was created from memories of being in the north of Scotland. And Scotland is where I'm off to for the next week, visiting family. I won't have much access to a computer let alone a scanner so I won't be posting again till I get back. I'm hoping that then my head will be filled with new ideas and images.
I just heard that my Figgy Oatmeal recipe was posted on They Draw and Cook. Go here to have a look.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Developing a taste for reading

You can't start too early... This one was done in different shades of grey marker. I'll have something more colorful for tomorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Playing with cars

When my brother was little he could play for hours with his cars and trucks, creating elaborate road systems for them. Neither of my sons was all that interested, but this post is for all little boys (and let's face it, it almost always is boys) who like being down on the floor with their wheeled vehicles. I was trying to show the same child in four different poses. I think it mostly worked.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Illustration Friday - cultivate

The snow is melting, the bulbs are starting to come up, so when I see the word "cultivate" I think of cultivating new life in the garden.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I have done quite a lot of work in collage. I find it helps me to be bolder with my colors and to simplify shapes while still allowing visual interest with the surface textures. I can try out color juxtapositions before gluing them down and sometimes discover combinations of colors that I might not have thought of but that really sing.
This close up shows how the background is made up of pieces that have been carefully cut to fit to each other while the giraffes and the border shapes were added on top. I usually find bits of old paintings to cut up though sometimes I paint the paper specially. Because I'm using watercolor paper the end result is quite thick and I will often use a piece of mat board to glue the whole thing down on so that it doesn't buckle.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Figgy Oatmeal

I'm working on a entry for The Year of the Fig recipe competition on They Draw and Cook. I still have to work out the details of the actual recipe which will go in those yellow panels but I thought I would post the painting. The competition ends on Monday for anyone who would like to have a go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who has the best hand?

This trio walked into my head when I was driving — first came the boy and the bear and then the owl joined them. I don't know where they came from...

Monday, March 14, 2011


Here's a more decorative piece for today - a visual rather than musical theme and variations.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Illustration Friday - stir

It's that little red-haired girl again (look here, here and here). This is a rather literal interpretation of the Illustration Friday theme, but as it happens I already had a rough sketch of it that I worked up.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring will come

It's a while since I've done a collage, but I was inspired by another illustration that had colored raindrops and collage seemed the best medium. Is it something to do with my British origins that I keep drawing kids with umbrellas and wellington boots?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ride 'em cowboy

The horse was lying alone on the floor of the waiting room. I decided that he needed an exuberant toddler on his back.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Playing with different techniques

I decided to try doing the "warning" illustration again, this time using the gouache and ink technique so that I would have a direct comparison. I'm still learning which pigments stain the paper so found I had to add quite a bit of watercolor on top. The image on the right has a bit more graphic boldness because of the black line but seems to lack subtlety and looks quite flat. This may not have been the best subject for this technique. On the other hand the woodcut-like look is reminiscent of old broadsheets which is rather appropriate given the eighteenth century clothing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Illustration Friday - Warning

I tend to use a lot of bright colors but the mood of this subject demanded a restricted palette.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Today's Illustration Friday subject is "warning" so here are my little thumbnail sketch (the original is 1 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches) and a to-scale drawing that I will transfer to watercolor paper. I've decided to use cold-press paper this time as I want to get some strong, dark washes.
I'm not sure when I'll get it finished as this will be a busy weekend...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dancing partners

It can be hard to show the same character in different poses and have it look like the same person each time, so that was part of what I was trying to do here. I painted it on cold-pressed watercolor paper but I'm finding that I really prefer hot-pressed for illustration.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Her own sense of style

Thanks to my two anonymous contributors whom I saw around town and who obviously have a great sense of style.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The joys of reading

There wasn't time to do anything new today (and anyway my eyes are still dilated after a doctor's visit) so here is a drawing I did a while ago based on a photo of my now-very-grown-up son when he was little and already liked to immerse himself in books.