Given the boot.

The next ten days should be fun.

That’s how long I’ve been advised to wear this delightful contraption following a steroid injection into the bursa of my right heel*. This is just the latest attempt to address a long-term issue I’ve had in my heel that started out years ago as an achilles’ sprain (three decades-worth of regular football being the most obvious cause) and gradually evolved into a condition that was eventually diagnosed earlier this year as the alarmingly-named Haglund’s Deformity. The hot-link is to prove I’m not simply inventing a new syndrome.

The boot is likely to curtail social activities somewhat for the next week or so but if the treatment enables me to resume playing pain-free badminton and tennis, it’ll be a small price to pay. It actually feels very much like a ski boot – not something I’d normally choose to wear around the house admittedly, but not an unfamiliar sensation either.

Here’s hoping.


* As with all ‘selfies’, this is a mirror-image.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sketch roundup.


Selected life-drawings from the last couple of weeks, in analogue and iPad/digital format. I trust you to distinguish between the two types by now.

From the top, we have Sophia, Hannah and Kate. You can probably just see a hint of Hannah’s elaborate full-back tattoo but it would take a lot longer than the ten-minutes I spent on that particular sketch to remotely do it justice.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drawing the Circus

Brighton’s life-drawing enthusiasts – and there are plenty of us – don’t know we’re born. As if the daily availability of classes and sessions at a multitude of different clubs and venues wasn’t already enough to satiate our appetites, last Sunday we were presented with a chance to truly gorge ourselves on the latest incarnation of the Drawing Circus.

Billed, with justification, as The Grand Drawing Circus, this was Draw‘s biggest event yet. A large team of costumed models, accompanied as ever by the splendid ‘Drawchestra’, took over the whole of the Old Market Theatre in Hove and enacted a slightly gothic murder mystery over a marathon six-hours via a succession of highly-theatrical tableaux. I confess I became too absorbed in my drawing to fully engage with the narrative aspect but, if I understood the final big reveal correctly, it was the White Lion that did it. But don’t quote me on that. The costumes were terrific, the models and musicians all excelled themselves and the whole event, in spite of its epic length, flew by. Congratulations are due to all involved; it’ll be interesting to see how they propose to top this one.

Here is a selection of sketches from the day, cleaned up and enhanced with a bit of spot colour in Photoshop back in my studio. I’ll leave you to fill in your own storyline!



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


Earlier today I received notification from WordPress that my blog had just passed the one thousand followers mark – small beer in blogosphere terms but still a remarkable number to me. Many thanks to everyone who’s taken the trouble to visit, it makes all the time spent composing these posts worthwhile and has in turn introduced me to any number of unique and talented individuals via their own blogs. It’s a fascinating world out there – keep up the good work, people!

Here, to return to a well-trodden theme, are a selection of life-drawings from the last few weeks, both analogue and digital (you know the drill by now…).

Michaela, back from an extended period of travel:23Sept14–Michaela@SCACx4

Some sketches from a Picasso-themed drawing session hosted by Draw last month:22Sept14-LauraN-Picasso@TOM22Sept14-Picasso@TOM_iPad


Laura Kate:7Oct14-LauraKate@SCAC7Oct14-LauraKate@SCAC_iPad

… and finally Laura B modelling at SCAC last Tuesday (you might need your shades for that third image – apologies if your retinas start to burn):14Oct14-LauraB@SCAC_114Oct14_LauraB@SCAC(lo-res)14Oct14-LauraB@SCAC_214Oct14-LauraB@SCAC_3

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sixty Reasons.

It was my friend Justin’s 60th birthday last week. You know – the chap with the chalet in La Clusaz where the self-styled ‘Sonneteers’ gather for their annual ski trip? That’s the fella.

Anyway, earlier in the year some of his other friends sounded me out on the possibility of commissioning a bespoke illustration as a birthday present. I was happy to take it on – there was plenty of time to fit it in and these private projects usually provide tons of artistic freedom and can be a lot of fun. I decided early on to go for a format I’ve used before when making birthday images for members of my family: a visual compilation of items of significance to the recipient, arranged in a grid of squares corresponding to the landmark age in question and headed ‘x reasons to be cheerful at x’ (where x = the relevant age). Make sense?

The x-factor this time round was, however, significantly higher than on those previous occasions…

Any project like this requires a very methodical approach and before any sketching could start, we needed to compile a list. I jotted down a few initial ideas but they fell well short of the requisite sixty. Try it yourself – it’s tricky, even for someone you know well. Fortunately, some of the others had known Justin since University days and were able to provide plenty of anecdotal inspiration and even a few extremely useful reference snaps. With the final list complete, I then found myself somewhat masochistically dividing it into separate topographical categories after I spotted that most of the sixty items would lend themselves to being placed into a particular section of an underlying background landscape. This in turn led to the eventual layout in which a scenic backdrop is anchored to a tightly-structured grid, with individual items alternately boxed-in or placed within the context of the background. Once the tortured logistics of all this had been worked out, the actual content thankfully fell into place with relative ease.

Here’s how it evolved. First off, the aforementioned grid; this provided the scaffolding for everything that followed. Boring but essential for a piece as complex as this:

Basic CMYK

This is the final rough sketch, after all the content had been fine-tuned and agreed on:


I then produced a basic, minimally-detailed background in Illustrator:


…followed by line artwork, drawn in six sections using SketchBookPro on the Cintiq. Dividing it up like this keeps the file size down and ensures a snappier performance from the software: Justin's_60th-Linework_section1

Here you can see the rough sketch with its opacity reduced, and the line artwork traced over on a separate layer: Justin's_60th-Linework_section2Justin's_60th-Linework_section3Justin's_60th-Linework_section4Justin's_60th-Linework_section5Justin's_60th-Linework_section6

The various elements were then assembled in Photoshop, with colour and typographic content (created in Illustrator) added on separate layers. Keep clicking image below to enlarge for a detailed look:


Finally, here’s the birthday boy with the finished item, giclée printed on textured art paper and simply framed in white. I’m pleased to say it was enthusiastically received and came as a complete surprise to him; everyone involved had kept impressively schtum.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Cabinet of spontaneity.

I picked up a freecycled filing cabinet last week at a big clear-out of used office equipment just down the road from where I live (ta for the heads-up, Fred!). It’s not that I suddenly needed to accommodate a freak influx of un-filed documents, it was more a case of wanting some extra storage space for the ever-expanding mounds of studio clutter that currently have no obvious home.

The cabinet, while in perfect working order, was a depressingly municipal brown & beige number so I decided to jazz it up with a quick re-spray and some entirely improvised black enamel graffiti. Gave it some Paul Klee and took the line for a walk; the sort of un-planned doodling that I generally do far too little of. It was, needless to say, great fun.

Here’s the ‘before’ version, with the handles removed and ready for spraying:


After one can’s-worth of spray paint:


After two:


I walk the line…


… et, voilà!


(other side):


Finally, in situ, one upcycled filing cabinet – looking right at home:



I’m pretty sure it won’t be too long before further items of entirely blameless furniture are subjected to similar treatment. This could become addictive…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Deficit reduction.

The flesh deficit, that is.

Here’s a selection of life-drawings, all but one produced on the iPad, from the handful of sessions I’ve managed to attend over the last couple of months. It’s been a period full of extra-curricular activity and sundry distractions which has consequently left a lot less time to spend on drawing. Either recreational or, more worryingly, professional. The onset of Autumn (in the calendric if not, as currently, the climatic sense) should see a welcome return to something like normality.

From the top down we have Laura Kate, Izzy and Laura N, the latter from a couple of days ago.

On an entirely unrelated note, the Scottish Referendum is being held today. We could all be waking up in a significantly diminished Great Britain tomorrow.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments