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Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils review and playing with Acrylic Paint

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!

This little guy is a blue tit on 18 x 12.5cm canvas board. Own reference photo used. It only took around two hours to complete!
This little guy is a blue tit on 18 x 12.5cm canvas board. Own reference photo used. It only took around two hours to complete!

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.

Until next time!


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Christmas Update

"First Snow" Watercolour sketch

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 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!

cheeky fox sketch


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!

amur leopard work in progress in soft pastels

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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Finished cheetah drawing and tutorial

"Relaxed Afternoon" 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Whew! It’s finished! Up till now the only things I had drawn using the powder blender were invertebrates, which are generally very shiny and easy to shade. I wanted to see how easy or difficult it would be to draw fur using the colored pencil painting kit, so I decided to draw this!

I discovered that it was so easy to draw in light hairs over a darker base colour, which made drawing fur miles easier! I used Uart 600 paper for this piece, instead of the Uart 800 paper I used in previous pieces, so it had a little more tooth. I found I could layer a lot more before running out of tooth, however the tradeoff for this was that I had difficulty in getting fine details and thin pencil lines. It was a fun drawing! It took me around 20 hours in total.

"Relaxed Afternoon" 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used.
“Relaxed Afternoon” 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used.


You can watch my commentated tutorial on how I created this drawing here:

Last but not least I just started working on my next graphite drawing! This time I’ll be drawing my grumpy old ragdoll, Suki this is the second in a pair of portraits, matching the one I did last year of Toto. I’ll be using Mars Lumograph pencils for this portrait for a product review video, and will let you know what I think of them next week! 🙂


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Meerkats in spaaaaace! (speed drawing, art tips video, and update on my Cheetah drawing)

Work in progress, coloured pencil and powder blender on sanded Uart 600 paper.
“Asteroid Runner” – 9 x 12 pen and ink sketchbook doodle


I’m still working on my cheetah drawing in coloured pencil so this week’s update is about a sketchbook doodle I did recently! What made me put a meerkat in space? I have no idea. Kind of works though! Reference used was my own from one of my trips to Chester Zoo 😉  I used Rotring fine liners, waterproof calligraphy ink and a sword liner brush for this drawing. My sketchbook is a Strathmore Bristol Smooth 9×12 inch Visual Journal.

You can see the sped up video of me drawing this here:


In this week’s Art Tips video I show you some very easy and quick drawing exercises that will help you to become more confident and accurate with your drawing skills!

Last but not least I’ve progressed a little further with my cheetah drawing. I’m using powder blender and drawing on UART 600 sanded paper for this piece. I’m really enjoying how easy it is to draw fur with the colored pencil painting kit! You can go light to dark or dark to light, it doesn’t matter! So fun 😀

Work in progress, coloured pencil and powder blender on sanded Uart 600 paper.


Busy bee! Hoping to have the cheetah finished by next thursday so that I can get the video tutorial for this drawing out on time. See you next time!


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How to use fixative sprays + new cheetah drawing!

cheetah colored pencil drawing work in progress using uart 600 grain paper and colored pencil powder blender

In this week’s Art Tips video I show you how to spray your artwork with fixative spray the right way!


Last week I started a new coloured pencil drawing using powder blender! I’m using my own reference photo of a cheetah from Chester Zoo for this one. This time I’m using UArt 600-grain paper and seeing how it compares to the 800-grain that I’ve been using in previous drawings. Really excited to be back to drawing fur again!


On Friday I’ll be uploading a commentated tutorial to Youtube on how I drew my jumping spider, so stay tuned!

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New Drawing and Art Tips Video!

pearl cat sphinx coloured pencil portrait colored pencil drawing art commission pet portrait

pearl cat sphinx coloured pencil portrait colored pencil drawing art commission pet portrait


Here’s a little close-up of the beginnings of my latest coloured pencil commission. This is Pearl, a beautiful sphinx with a genetic mutation that caused her to grow beautifully wooly, soft fur.

My favourite part is getting the base layers of pencil down and blending before adding detail and hair over the top ❤  (who am I kidding, it’s all my favourite part!)

I also uploaded a new Art Tips video today! In this videoI show you how to use touch-up texture and titanium white powder by to create archival white highlights on your coloured pencil artwork.




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Print Shop launch and more Grebe drawing progress!

print shop announcement

print shop announcement

This week I spent my time adding the finishing touches to my website. There was a bit of a blooper where the site went down for two days, I apologise for that! Now that we’re all up and running again, I finally launched my print shop this week! You can now purchase high quality fine art prints of my artwork, with anything from your more traditional framed prints to cushions, phone covers and even shower curtains! Please do check it out!


I have also been doing some more work on my grebe drawing, still thinking of a title for this thing! I have now finished the detail work on his head and neck, and now I’ll be moving on to tackling all those feathers on his body.


great crested grebe preening grooming feathers water bird drawing pencil coloured pencil colored pencil art artwork

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Back online!

great crested grebe preening grooming feathers water bird drawing pencil coloured pencil colored pencil art artwork

Phew! We’re back online with a new site host and shiny new site theme after being down for a few days! I’ve been tearing my hair out all evening trying to get everything working again. I apologise for the disruption in service, it’s been a bit of a bumpy transfer!

I finally migrated hosts from WordPress’s own hosting service, so I can now use plugins and have a lot more freedom with the design of my site. I’m still working on things so they might break occasionally but please bear with me! 🙂 I am currently in the process of adding a prints shop to my website along with a couple of other cool widgets so stay tuned!


For now here’s a small update on my grebe drawing to tide you over until the next update. Most of my flats are down, now that I know where all the feathers go it’s time to build on the detail work and shading!

great crested grebe preening grooming feathers water bird drawing pencil coloured pencil colored pencil art artwork

Until next time, see ya!

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Grebe drawing WIP and Staying Organised With Multiple Simultaneos Drawings

art tips video #1 how to keep track of which pencils you've used between drawings
"Grebe Preening" (working title) 11x14 Inch work in progress drawing in coloured pencil
“Grebe Preening” (working title) 11×14 Inch work in progress drawing in coloured pencil

I recently started this drawing of a Great Crested Grebe using my own reference photo. This grebe is one of a mated pair on a lake near where I live. I’ve spent a lot of time watching them both throughout winter and have amassed a lot of photographs of them! They are such beautiful birds and I’ve been really looking forward to drawing them.

I walked down to the lake yesterday after not going for a while and they have sucessfully had two chicks! Exciting times!

A new Art Tips video has just gone live on my YouTube channel. In this video I show you how I keep track of which pencils I’ve used in my coloured pencil pieces. Please do check it out!

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The Home Stretch


Just a small update this week. I’m on the home stretch with Jack and Jess’s portrait now! I should hopefully be finished by the end of next week. Still recording my progress on this drawing, then I’ll have over 116gb (20+ hours!) of footage to edit down for youtube. I will be uploading my first vlog this coming week too, a studio tour of my art desk. Stay tuned!