Wow I can’t believe we’re already on day 17! This has been a really fun challenge so far and I’ve been really enjoying making drawings every day and sharing my experiences and thoughts with those of you over on Youtube. I’ve been experimenting with a variety of different styles and tools throughout the challenge. I’ve especially been playing around with Posca pens and have been loving the results they’re producing. Here are just a few of my favourites:
If you want to see all of my drawings so far then be sure to check out my Youtube channel if you haven’t already! I’ve been uploading every day of the challenge. Throughout these videos I chat with you about techniques, finding your art style, experimentation and much more. You can watch all the days so far at the playlist below:
If you’ve not managed to participate in Inktober yet but still want to join in, don’t feel pressured into the thought that you have to “catch up” to everyone else – it doesn’t matter if you’ve missed days. The whole point is getting you drawing so don’t be afraid to just join in and have fun 🙂 And if you’ve made it this far with me, you’re doing a great job, keep it up because we’re over halfway now!
Once Inktober is over I will be doing a sketchbook tour of my Inktober journey as well as making select prints available of some of the artwork I’ve created throughout the month. I’ll keep you updated for when those are made available!
This week I made quite a daunting decision to participate in Inktober for the first time ever.
For those of you who don’t know, Inktober is an art challenge that happens during the month of October, where you have to do one drawing a day for the entire month. Given the name the main medium to use is of course ink in some shape or form, whether digital or traditional, but you can incorporate other mediums into the piece too. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since it first started back in my DeviantArt days a long, long time ago, but somehow I’ve just never had the time for it.
I’m going to be using a Stillman & Birn Beta Series 270gsm cold pressed watercolour sketchbook for the challenge. It’s my first time using this brand and I’m already really excited about it, good watercolour sketchbooks are hard to come by and the paper is so lovely and thick. All the main materials I’m using this year are linked at the bottom of this post.
My goal for participating this year is not improving my drawing skills- I mean improving would be nice and all – but my personal goal this year is consistency. I’ve struggled for a long time now with drawing and posting YouTube videos on a regular and consistent basis. It’s partly to do with my health issues – I have chronic pain which can be very exhausting, and I work in a day job where I’m on my feet all day. Most of the days I’m not in work I spend recovering. But it’s also because I’m not a very organised person and I find it tricky to stick to deadlines.
I’ll be uploading on a daily basis to my YouTube channel for the whole month. I’m hoping that Inktober and its very tight schedule, plus the accountability of you guys watching, will get me in the habit of editing, doing voice-overs and uploading on a regular basis. I’ve got a lot of goals for the channel going forward which I really want to stick to, so I’m hoping that Inktober will give me the motivation and routine that I need in order to do this. I want to teach myself self-discipline and prove to myself that it is possible to set aside time to draw and and work on content every day regardless of what I’m doing.
This year, I plan on using the official 2018 prompts, but with a twist! All of the drawings that I’ll be doing from these prompts are going to be animal related somehow. There are quite a few tricky prompts on this list which I’m a little bit nervous about but I am up for the challenge and super excited to see what I can come up with that somehow relates to some of these more difficult prompts.
The best part about Inktober is that we’re all in this together and the community and artwork shared during this time of the year is so awesome and motivating. So if you are joining me in participating in Inktober this year, good luck, and stay determined! I believe in us! Even if you’re not participating, I hope that this inspires you to pick up a pen and get sketching. I would love to see what you come up with for each day as well, so please do tag me in your inktober posts over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too!
My Recommended Inktober Art Supplies (sponsored Amazon Links):
Less than two weeks to go now! I’ve been drip feeding a couple of photos of my bee over on my social media accounts but thought I’d better post them here too. If you didn’t read my last blog post, I’m participating in Bee in the City, a public art trail where over 100 giant painted bees will be scattered around Greater Manchester. The art trail runs from 23rd July to 23rd September.
Bee in the City preview shots!
My sculpture will be on display outside North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall for the duration of the trail, after which it will be moving to its permanent home in Manchester Royal Eye Hospital on Oxford Road.
My bee is sponsored by the NHS for Henshaws, a charity dedicated to helping blind and partially sighted people. To create an accessible piece of artwork, I incorporated many different sensory elements including different textures and 3D features, shimmering pigments, and an audio box on the base describing the sculpture. I poured my heart and soul into this project and enjoyed every second.
I can’t reveal the full sculpture until the trail begins (not long to go now!) but here’s a little preview of the elements included in my sculpture as well as a couple of photos from when I was working on all the textures. I can’t wait to unveil the full thing!
That’s it on my bee for now! Keep your eyes peeled in a few weeks for the full unveiling! Also if you’re in Manchester in the near future then be sure to check out the Bee in the City art trail, there are so many incredible sculptures on the trail and it’s definitely worth spending a day out exploring the city and looking at them all!
I’ve been buzzing with excitement over the last few weeks and now I can finally reveal why! I’m participating in Bee in the City, a public art trail where over 100 giant painted bees will be scattered around Greater Manchester. The art trail runs from 23rd July to 23rd September.
My sponsor, Henshaws, is an amazing charity that gives training, support and advice to visually impaired people. They do a lot of great work and I couldn’t have asked for a better sponsor- I am genuinely humbled that they chose my design.
My bee design is going to be tailored to be interactive so that it’s accessible for all people to enjoy it. I’ve been exploring lots of textures and other elements to include in my bee. I can’t reveal too much yet, but I hope you enjoy the cheeky sneak previews that I’ll be posting occasionally (Oh yes, and bee puns. Lots of bee puns.)!
Today was my first working day in “The Hive” – the warehouse where I and many fellow artists are painting their bees for the trail. I gave my bee a good bath as well as a fresh coat of gesso to get her ready for painting. At around 5 feet high she’s pretty big – but I’m just about tall enough to see over her head!
I had just about enough time to sketch out some of the facial markings after letting her dry for a bit, but it was getting late by that point! My hands were itching for the paint brush! I am so, so excited to get started!
I will of course be filming my progress in making the bee so look forward to that video once the art trail starts! Until next time!
It’s been a busy time for me in the last few months but I am still somehow finding time here or there for art. A lot of things have happened since my last blog post and I have lots to update you guys on!
My tutorial for my Kudu painting in acrylics is now available to watch, check it out below. Don’t forget the longer version is available over on Patreon and goes really in-depth on all the techniques I’m using.
A few weeks ago I also made a tiny little drawing of a horse in coloured pencil, and tried a few new techniques out for it!
Combining Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder, then glazing over the top with coloured pencils allowed me to get lots of depth in this tiny drawing! This method is pretty risky because the touch-up texture does flake off a little when drawing over it (mainly because of the paper I’m using) but I love the effect I can create with it!
I’ll be making a short version of the tutorial for my YouTube viewers soon so stay tuned!
While we’re on the topic of Patreon, don’t forget to pick up this month’s reference photos while they’re still there! These reference photos are all taken by me for use in your artwork with no copyright worries. Even if you’re not a Patreon, I upload one entirely FREE reference photo a month up there that everyone can download, so don’t forget to come back each month for your free reference photo!
Perhaps the most exciting recent update (well, for me, anyway!) is that I’ve been upgrading my recording setup for videos!
My previous microphone setup involved a cardboard box lined with audio foam and a tiny little condenser mic precariously balanced inside. It took up all of my desk space, was very DIY and wasn’t ideal at all! Plus the background hum from my computer’s fans in the was getting on my nerves… and yours! I’ve been long overdue an upgrade after having the same setup for two and a half years…. and that’s where you came in!
I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who’ve supported me since setting up my Patreon account! You’ve made these new upgrades to my recording setup possible and they’re going to lead to much better quality videos from now on.
My new microphone is much better at eliminating background noise so hopefully the audio quality of my videos going forward is going to be much higher quality! Unlike my previous mic (the Samson Go Mic) I’m also able to mount this one on a proper stand clamped to the side of my desk, meaning it isn’t taking up any desk space at all!
I also bought a little clip-on light bulb holder and daylight bulb to add to my lighting setup. I already have a desk lamp with a daylight bulb in it, but I’m hoping the additional bulb on the opposite side of my table will help improve the visual quality of my art timelapse recordings. It will eliminate any shadows under my hands that were making it hard to see what I was doing and give me more consistent lighting.
Whether or not you’re a Patron, I just want to say a huge thank you for your support on this journey of art. Art tutorials are something that I’ve really wanted to do, and I can’t believe how quickly my youtube channel has grown since I started up! I hope to keep continuously improving myself and the quality of my content!
I’m going to leave this here for now as this post is already long enough. Until next time!
Finally found a spare moment when it wasn’t raining to get a good photo of the finished painting!
I’m hooked on acrylic painting now. Working on this piece was very relaxing and at some points while painting it I was so in “the zone” that I kept forgetting to hit record on my camera for the YouTube tutorial I’ll be making… oops!
After my bluetit test painting in acrylics back in February I really wanted to try out painting a more detailed piece in the medium. It was a big learning experience for me. The background wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked and I managed to leave some brush strokes behind, but now at least I know to get my background in entirely before adding my rough sketch of the subject in instead of trying to paint around it! 😛
It took me a little over 9 hours to complete. Something about the lighting in the reference photo made me really want to paint it. I really loved the cool purplish and bluish shadows, contrasted by the rich, warm highlights created by the backlighting from the sun.
And now a little bit about the subject of this painting, if you’re interested! Greater Kudu are a species of woodland antelope native to eastern and southern africa. They are one of the largest species of antelope. This painting is of a juvenile male, whose horns are not yet full length. The adult male’s horns are much longer and curvier.
Anyway, I hope you like the finished painting! I can’t wait to get started on the next one, though my next artwork is in coloured pencils:
This time around I’m trying coloured pencils out on pastelmat for the first time. I’m blending with paint thinner for this one. Can you guess what it is yet? 😉
Wow, it feels SO good to finally have this drawing down on paper rather than swirling around in my head for months on end (since October)!
The drawing only took around 9 hours to complete! I used powder blender to blend. I was planning on using paint thinner for the okapi initially, but honestly I was having so much fun using the powder blender that I completely forgot all about it!
It was also my first time trying out Fisher 400 sanded paper and it is leagues above UArt paper in terms of quality in my opinion. An extremely pleasant, consistent paper to work on and it can take a lot of layers! I was a little apprehensive about how the background was going to turn out at first, but the powder blender made it so easy that I breezed through the background in just two hours.
The subject for this drawing is my absolute favourite animal – the okapi. They are an endangered species native to the Congo and their closest relative is the giraffe. When they were first discovered by european explorers, they were so strange-looking that they were thought to be mythical creatures – hence the title of this piece – “Mythical Beast.”
My goal in this portrait was to portray a sense of ethereal surrealism, so I chose to have the okapi looking up at the aurora borealis – something you would never normally see in the tropical forests of the Congo! It also gives me the excuse to use lots of pretty blues and greens! I had so much fun from start to finish with this piece.
I’m currently working on the commentary for the extended Patreon tutorial of this piece. It should be available soon! Speaking of which, the extended tutorial of a boxer dog in coloured pencils is now available over on Patreon at the $4 tier, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested! The artist reference photos at the $10 tier are also changing to new ones starting tomorrow (1st April) so be sure to grab March’s references before they disappear!
That’s about all from me for now. I have a lot of other projects in the works including the kudu in acrylic you saw last time and a new pastel pencil drawing, so keep your eyes peeled!
It’s that time of year again where all sorts of colds and bugs are going round, and unfortunately I finally succumbed to it this week! Being ill sucks but I was still determined to get some art done in between my sneezing and coughing!
My review of Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils is now available for you to watch on my Youtube channel, and I also show you how I drew my leopard portrait in pastels in this video too!
I’ve also been playing with my Rembrandt soft pastels for my upcoming review of them on YouTube! This landscape was a quick A4 study and took me around 50 minutes. Hopefully I should have a video about them up as soon as my voice recovers!
Recently, on a whim, I bought some Winsor and Newton Galeria acrylic paints to try out. I’ve not painted with acrylics since my art GCSE. It’s amazing how much you remember about a medium even after a decade! This is a little 2-hour test painting on a cheap canvas board that I did with them using my own reference photo. Not the most exciting of paintings and the canvas texture was a little too rough to get detail in easily, but I just wanted to see what I was capable of!
I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed painting with them so I decided to start on a more serious project.
Yesterday I started a painting of a male greater kudu in acrylic. I’m doing this on an ampersand smooth board which was left over from a failed coloured pencil attempt (yay for recycling!) This is a very different way of working to what I’m used to in coloured pencils, so I’m finding it a little tricky! It’s so much fun though!
I need to stop working on so many pieces at once! Last but not least, I’m still working on my okapi drawing in coloured pencil. The okapi’s face is starting to come together now that most of the underpainting in that area is done! Started off with just blues and greens and black, but I added some reddish browns and bright purples into the shadows of the fur afterwards as an experiment, and WOW did it bring the animal to life!
There’s still a lot of work left to go on this guy but I’m having so much fun with those green and blue pencils that the time is flying by. It’s kind of hard to even tell what you’re looking at at this stage as none of the fur or fine details have been blocked in yet (!) but hopefully it’s going to start taking shape and start looking a lot more tangible soon.
This beautiful boy was one of my Christmas commissions. His endearing puppy-dog-eyes and sweet expression were so much fun to render It was so refreshing to work with paint thinner again for my coloured pencil art too. I didn’t realise how much I missed it!
This piece was drawn using Caran d’Ache Luminance, Caran d’Ache Pablo, Faber Castell Polychromos and Derwent Drawing coloured pencils. The paper I used was Fabriano Artistico 140lb Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper. I used Daler Rowney odourless paint thinner to blend. Touch-Up Texture and Titanium White powder were used on the chest to pull out the white hairs and highlights on his collar.
This was such a fun experiment. I may have started off a little wonky on the chin and mouth area, but once I got the hang of the medium it was as natural as riding a bike.
The tools I used to create this piece are Rembrandt soft pastels and Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils on Clairefontaine pastelmat. Reference photo by Katerina Mirus from Wildlife Reference Photos, used with permission.
Soft pastel is a really enjoyable medium to work in. Expect to see more in this medium from me in the future! I can definitely see myself doing lots of little landscape studies in this medium.
The fully commentated tutorial video for this piece will be available this weekend! I’ll also be reviewing and discussing my thoughts on the brands I used to make this piece too. I might end up splitting it into two videos depending on how long it is. Stay tuned!
Last but not least I also started on a new coloured pencil drawing this week.
I’m so excited to share this one with you. The concept to this drawing has been swirling around in my head for months now and I finally have a spare moment to start putting it onto paper! 😀 The subject for this drawing is my absolute favourite animal – the okapi. They are an endangered species native to the Congo and their closest relative is the giraffe. When they were first discovered they were so strange-looking that they were thought to be mythical creatures – hence the title of this piece – “Mythical Beast.”
I’m trying to get a sense of mystic surrealism in this portrait so I chose to have the okapi looking up at the aurora borealis – something you would never normally see in the tropical forests! It also gives me the excuse to use lots of pretty blues and greens, muahaha!
I’m using Caran d’Ache Pablos, Caran d’Ache Luminance, Faber Castell Polychromos and Derwent Drawing pencils for this drawing. I’m using powder blender to blend the background, but I’ll also be trying out paint thinner when I get to the okapi itself as I’ve never tried using paint thinner on sanded paper before! I still marvel at how quickly I can get things done with the powder blender. I’m only an hour and ten minutes into the drawing so far, and my background is already almost finished!
I’m also trying out Fisher 400 paper for the first time for this drawing. The tooth of the paper is wonderfully consistent, and in my opinion is superior to UArt paper.
This is turning into a long blog post so I’m going to leave it here for now! I’ve got lots more in store for you guys so keep your eyes peeled 🙂
This is just a quick update to wish you all a happy holiday season regardless of what you celebrate, and to let you know what I have in store for you guys in the new year. Now that the busiest season of the year is over, I can relax and put my feet up! ;D
Last month I uploaded the commentated timelapse tutorial for my hyacinth macaw drawing on youtube – check it out if you haven’t already! Just one thing I would like to mention in addition to what I have said about UArt 800 paper in this video – it turns out that the weird rippling effect I couldn’t get rid of was due to a manufacturing fault from a faulty batch that went out in 2015. I have since got in touch with UArt and they have very kindly offered to send me a replacement. If you have been experiencing similar issues with this particular brand of sanded paper then it is most likely due to that.
Now that my top-secret Christmas commissions are complete I have time again to work on other things. I’ve sketched out a fox from a gorgeous reference photo from wildlifereferencephotos.com. I’ll be trying out the Derwent Inktense sticks and pencils on this piece for a review on my YouTube channel. I love the reference photo I’m using, the fox has such a cheeky sly grin, I just hope I can portray it successfully in my rendition of it. Can’t wait to get painting!
Another project I’ve just started on is an amur leopard in pastels! For this piece I am using Rembrandt soft pastels and Carbothello pastel pencils on Clairefontaine Pastelmat. I’ve never properly used pastels before (the last time I used them was the doodle of a red cardinal I did two years ago). It’s an interesting experience. I have no idea what I’m doing but it’s fun! Right now I’m laying down dark colours to act as the underpainting, and then I’ll draw in the fur in lighter colours on top. This could go terribly wrong but it’s all a learning experience! 😉 I’ve always wanted to work in pastel but have never taken the plunge properly before now. We all have to start somewhere!
That’s about it for now. I’ll have tutorials/product reviews for both of the above coming in January/February, as well as a fully voiced tutorial for one of my christmas commissions in coloured pencil, so stay tuned! See you all in the New Year!
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