Tag Archives: people

Facing Fears


This week I haven’t had an illustration assignment to do so I’ve been taking some time to just draw. I haven’t used an actual sketchbook regularly in a long time and I realised that I was missing it. Most of the work I’ve done lately has been on loose sheets of paper, which has made it easier to scan. I went through the stack of sketchbooks that I’ve not yet filled and each one was for a different but very specific purpose.

So today I started a new everyday sketchbook. It’s a type that I haven’t used before – a Seawhite of Brighton watercolour travel journal. My plan is simply to fill a page every day – or most days at least – with whatever I feel like drawing or painting.



We’ve had a hint that our next MATS Bootcamp assignment will have something to do with ‘faces’. For some reason I tend to avoid drawing faces because they feel so difficult but I think it was Tommy Kane who I once heard say that it’s not about being able to draw a particular type of thing, because it’s all drawing – observing something and translating that through your pen or pencil to the page.

So as uncomfortable as it might feel, I’ve started practising drawing faces this week. The first I did on loose paper and the second one is on the first page of my new sketchbook. My ultimate goal would be to loosen up and draw faces in a more minimal or stylised way, but for the moment I’m enjoying learning by creating portraits with a bit more detail to them.

For reference I’m using my own photos – either old family photos or pictures I’ve taken myself. Is there a subject you tend to avoid in your creative work because you’ve told yourself that it’s too difficult? What might happen if you started practising that type of work more regularly?

Creative Links 52: Solitude vs Loneliness, Finding Consolation in Art and a Watercolour Watch

Empty parade of shops

Every week I share a few links to things I’ve enjoyed reading, looking at or listening to online. Here’s my selection for this week: Continue reading

Creative Links 51: A Cat in a Car, Avoiding Comparison and How Drawing Can Open Doors.

Chess pieces on board

Every week I share a few links to things I’ve recently enjoyed online – videos, podcasts, blog posts and so on. Here’s my first Continue reading

Itching to Start Something New

Woman on steps

I’ve been drawing nothing but people (one each day) for almost 2 months now. I decided to carry on with that ‘self assignment’ (to use Fabio Consolli‘s words) after Drawing August ended and until my current sketchbook was filled.

Coincidentally, it seems that my Continue reading

The ‘How’, ‘What’ and ‘Where’ of Drawing People.

Drawing of couple walking

Since I started drawing a person a day at the beginning of August, I’ve been sharing each drawing on social media. Some people have been asking questions about these drawings so, although I’ve answered those questions directly I thought I’d also put the answers here in case you had the same questions.

‘What kind of paper are you using?’

For all of these people drawings I’ve been using a Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook which is hard covered and contains 150gsm cartridge paper. It’s not the best paper for either watercolours or the pens that I’m using but I’m sticking with it for now.

‘Where do you get all the ‘models’?’

The very first drawing I did on 1 August was from a photograph that I found on the New York Public Library’s online digital archive, which is really handy because you can search specifically for images that don’t have copyright.

Apart from that one, the rest have all been from photographs that I’ve taken. As you know, I enjoy photography just as much as drawing so I take a LOT of photographs. Some on my DSLR and some on my phone. So I’ve gone back through lots of my old photos to find ones that just happen to include people.

Over the past few weeks I’ve also taken a few photos of busy places in London (the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral is a really handy spot), specifically with my drawings in mind so that I have a bank of resources to draw from.

I do keep thinking and saying that I’m going to go out and draw from real life in public as well but so far that hasn’t happened – partly because I’ve not had the energy to go out regularly to draw and partly because it always feels quite daunting whenever I draw outside.

This is definitely something I want to overcome though so I’m thinking I might do some ‘real life’ drawing in my next sketchbook, once this one’s full, which should be in about 2 weeks.

‘Do you draw in pencil first or directly in pen?’

The very first of my people drawings I did in pencil and then went over the lines with a pen but if I remember correctly, I did all the others directly in black ink.

‘What kinds of pens/markers do you use?’

For drawing the outlines I’ve been using one of the following: a Pigma Micron in 03, a Copic Multiliner in 0.3, a Unipin pen in 01 or a Pilot G-Tec C4 in 0.4.

For the large areas of black in some of my drawings I’ve used either a Pigma Micron or Copic brush pen or Copic Multiliners in 0.5, 0.8 and 1.0.

For the other colours I’ve been using Copic Ciao Markers, which have both a chisel tip and a brush tip (I use the brush tip more often than not).

Again, for my first person drawing I used watercolours and for the drawing of the Queen’s Guard, I used acrylic paint for the red jacket and a gold uniball pen for a few other details.

‘What pen do you use for the skin tone?’

I use the Copic Ciao marker in Skin White (E00).

‘What size are the drawings?’

The sketchbook I’m using is A5 (approximately 8 1/2 x 6 inches) and each drawing sits in the middle of a single page.

‘Is there somewhere I can see all the drawings together in one place?’

You can see all the drawings I did in August in my recent blog post, which also links to a higher res image on Flickr, showing all those drawings together.

The easiest place to see all my drawings together is on Instagram, although there will be a few other photos mixed in with them.

I hope this post is helpful and if you have any other questions about my drawings (or anything else I do), feel free to ask them in the comments below. Alternatively you can tweet me or send me an email.