Life Drawing 7: 27,02.15. Andrew & his Torso.

Andrew in blues on brownAndrew has a great torso. He has modelled at the British museum amongst the statues. The classical look of his musculature gives drama to any image of him. Nice guy too. This took 15 minutes. Painted over an average drawing. You can see the old hand on the left.

Andrew expessionist

This pose brought out a German expressionist feel. At the time it didn’t  look too distorted. I might put some colour washes on the background. You can see the three ‘boxers reach’ muscles underneath his armpit. 30 minutes.

Andrew times two

Two 15 minute poses. Rivers of muscles.

Andrew on donkeyOldacres, my favourite printers have given me some outrageously nice paper. What a colour. Deep Claret Colorplan by GF Smith, 270(?) gsm. The brush strokes are trying to go with the line of the muscle tone. The colours chosen were to make the image flat, letting the marks and tones do the work of making the image 3D.

Skull on gold paper

Shiny gold paper! This was made in the 20 minutes before the lesson. I should do more on this.

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Museum Of London: Sherlock Holmes web game.

The original homepage. The headline text faded in and out.
The design works perfectly on laptop, tablet and mobile.


A sample of game pages. The headline type fades after 5 seconds. Rather atmospheric.
The woodblock typeface was printed and scanned in quite a while ago now. There are lots of different impressions and amounts of ink / paint of each character. Nice.

Sherlock_sign-up-page_141118_rgb  Sherlock_MasterTemplate_141120_rgb-b Sherlock_MasterTemplate_141120_rgb-c  Sherlock_MasterTemplate_141120_rgb--h   Sherlock_MasterTemplate_141120_rgb-f  Sherlock_MasterTemplate_141120_rgb-g Sherlock_MasterTemplate_141120_rgb-d  Sherlock_MasterTemplate_141120_rgb-e    Sherlock_MasterTemplate_141120_rgb-z

Created with super coder / writer Darren, super account lady Nazz & super account person Malcolm.

Close ups of the suspects. All but one were drawn from life, then exaggerated to fit the mood. notice the colour coding.

Marie Devine  Hugh Boone  Mary Watson Mortimer Tregennis  Violet Smith  Shinwell Johnson

Close ups of the murder weapons.

accupuncture needle  Aconite  CobblestoneCrowbar  heart attack   Poisoned Syringe

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Life Drawing 5: 13.02.15. Charlotte & Skellington

A skinny model who kept on moving, his arm kept on falling down.
This was made 10 minutes before the class started while speed eating a slice of pecan pie and chatting about strapping pastels to sticks (which is how I created this drawing).

Skellington posing

This weeks theme was drapery. The lines of fabric follow the form underneath, the sweeps and loops, the highlights and depths make you think of classical or Renaissance sculpture. The use of a large amount of green was put on as a challenge – an interesting ground to work on. There was talk about Matisse and his use of flattening background colours, the red room pianists, so in homage the background was brushed in the same tone as the skin, to bring the background forward. 3o mins.

Charlotte sitting

You can tell how near I was to the model by the slight ‘lens’ distortion. 45 minutes.

Charlotte seated 1

This drawing was grown from the feet. The light skittery lines do not photograph well at all. If anyone knows how to photograph light thin lines on white, give me a call… 15 mins.

Charlotte standing

I like the solidity of this painting. The seated figure takes a while to see. 2 x15 minute poses.

Charlotte standing and sitting

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Ernest Shackleton 130115 FINALThis was a commission for the same great patron who wanted a portrait of Winston Churchill.

The idea behind the portrait was to make his face show all the trials, pain and strength in the man’s amazing adventure in the South Polar regions.
If you haven’t read his recounting of his expedition in the book  ‘South’ I urge you to do so.
Texture upon texture was created with many different materials, the colour palette was restricted to to cold hues and the mark making was frenetic with no pussyfooting.
As the surface is so textured, the light really effects it’s appearance. Above is the work in weak sunlight, below is with an overhead bulb.

Ernest Shackleton final hard light

The book about the making of this portrait is available here.

Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 12.16.41

You can see a readable pdf of the book here.

Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 12.19.00


This is a study for the painting which is also being framed.
In hindsight the ears are tiny! Shackleton, being dead could only be drawn and painted from photographic sources. This made me really try and bring out every contour to combat the flatness of the photographic source.



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Life Drawing 4: 06.02.15. Felt tip man.

Created with felt tips in a sketch pad paper,  so around A3, under a 3rd of the usual size. Just normal Pentel felt tip pens plus a light wash of water with a big brush just after the model had finished the pose.
I didn’t want to get my suit dirty.
Had to go and drink large amounts of red wine, so missed the last hour.

felt tip man 2

This works. Most of the lines have a purpose. The distortions are not too bothersome on the eye. The zing of colour over colour is the best thing about felt tips, filling in large areas in them always looks terrible. 45mins of close observation.

felt tip man 3 15 mins. Lots of talk about each line being helpful.

felt tip manThe first scribble of the evening. 15mins.


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Track 0: the publication.

I am so happy to be working on something that could benefit everyone.
Track 0 really is a big deal, with a lot of important types getting involved.

The project has involved a lot of copy which deserves to be read, a lot of quotes and many bullet points. The solution was to made the body copy choice a condensed font (Trade Gothic) put the quotes into speech bubbles and replace the bullet points with two tone text – saving space and helping stand out. A large palette of greens and blues were deployed to delineate sections.  Imagery and illustration fitted around and highlighted the text. All going towards the same point; the convincing argument about reducing our carbon footprint.

It’s great to see the brand grow, from designing the logo, to this document and into the future.

Download the pdf here.

here’s some of the spreads.

track 0 blog

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Life drawing 3: 30.01.15 Alice. The Super Model.

Alice seated with donkey Quite a textured piece of paper. The last pose of the night. 30 mins. Alice profile with hand One conté pastel.  The first work. 15 mins. Alice seated with red aura The paper wouldn’t stop curling, so taking what was to hand, made paperweights of apples. They give a good reference to the size of the work. It was said this was influenced by Egon Scheile. I was trying to make the image dynamic, to have something to bounce off, as the colours on the body are fairly life-like, for me. 30 mins. Alice x3 the muses 3 poses of 10 mins each. The rules were: on the left a dark background, in the middle a medium tone and on the right a white background.

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