Category Archives: pencil sketch

Winter Catkins – original graphite pencil drawing of woodland catkins

original graphite pencil drawing of catkins, woodland, nature drawing

Winter Catkins

My drawing of catkins has gone really well.  It took me about 4 mornings of an hour – 2 hours sketching each day.  Every time I sat back down to draw it seemed darker and I kept having to go over some previous completed areas.  By the third day I realised that the catkins themselves were darkening as they were drying out – 🙂

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These are the catkins that I plucked whilst walking Charlie,  I thought that in January / February there would be nothing worth sketching,  I’d already done holly and pine cones but no, I was wrong, there is plenty.

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A progress drawing, this is drawn on Daler Rowney Bristol Board,  it is a great surface for these small studies, it holds the graphite well and has a bright white look which then frames well….

The finished piece sitting in its white rustic frame.  The piece is 6 x 6″ and is framed to 8 x 8″.  If you would like to view it in my shop click here or on the image below…

framed pencil graphite drawing of winter catkins

Winter Catkins

Winter Cones – original graphite drawing of pine cones

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Winter Cones

Drawn in graphite on Strathmore Bristol Board.

It has taken me a long time to complete this drawing.  As soon as I stopped fiddling around with the setting up I knew I had made a catastrophic misjudgement of the time it would take me.  Looking at all the intricate folds of the cones and the texture, shading and lines it did not fit into my ideal of daily sketching the world around me.

However, it was a busy period for me and made sense to have a still life on the go that would not wilt or change colour as it sat there.  And indeed they sat proudly next to my desk easel for quite a few weeks.

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I am not even sure why I decided to draw two together.  In hindsight one on its own would have been a much better option.  I liked the bottom of one and the full side of the other with its little lean inward so that was set.

A couple of shots of my set up and the materials I used.  I have two easels on the go in my studio, this desk easel which sits quietly in the corner and is used for my still life daily sketches and a larger studio easel that I sit at with a high chair (or stand) that I use for my larger pieces.  I like my pencils very long and sharp as I draw with my hand on the side as if painting.  It is the first time I have used Strathmore Bristol Board, the pad is a little too large really for these daily sketches but yes, its a good surface and held the graphite well allowing some blending.  It was fairly easy to keep clean.

And some progress shots as I go along.  

I made a short video of sketching one small part …

The finished piece is available to buy from my website shop – you can visit it here

Reunion Drawing – charcoal drawing of a family reunion, graphite snowberries & cricket mugs

This week has all been about working through this very technical drawing.  In the nick of time I figured out that you can work graphite with charcoal to help with those fine details on the very small faces.  This is a drawing from an old black and white photo that has been commissioned by a customer in Texas, USA.  The family will be reuniting again this year and he wanted it complete to share with them.

Here is a slides show of progress shots…

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Here is the completed drawing, winding its way to Texas

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Daily Sketches

Back to my botanical studies from life.  This time snowberries, a lovely gentle bunch of berries found in most hedgerows in winter.

graphite pencil drawing of snowberries framed in a wooden frame

Snowberries


Cricket Mugs

Finally I have some cricket mugs that I really love.  Initially going for two of my most popular drawings – That Taylor Catch and Swept Away if they prove successful I will introduce more of my designs.  Check out my collection on my website shop here or click on the image to follow the link.

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Christmas Drawings

During the last few weeks I have been working on commissions, attending art fairs and working on my new mini 8 x 8″ pencils studies from life.

Here is a collection of my recent work…..

graphite pencil drawing of a kitten

Lowra

This is Lowra, she has been drawn in graphite pencil, various grades from 9B to 6H.  Lots of blending to give her the softness.  You can click on the image or click here to find out more information about Lowra.


These small studies formed the beginnings of a new series ‘ Daily Sketches’.  They are all sized 8 x 8″ and come framed for £55.  They are completed in graphite pencil on Arches Watercolour paper.  They have proved popular with two of them selling fairly quickly.  By doing these small detailed sketches each morning it gives me an opportunity to keep my artist’s eye finely tuned before moving on to my larger commissioned piece for the rest of the day.  You can discover more about my daily sketches by visiting the page on my website here


Finally here is a collection of my commissions completed for Christmas…

The New Year has brought a wave of commissions, mostly for cricket and some pet portraits….Exciting times

Exhibition & portraits from life

I have two pieces in an exhibition in Macclesfield, Cheshire.  Typically the day I needed to drive to drop them off coincided with Stage 3 of the Tour of Britain.  The route went pretty much on the route I needed to take, there seemed to be no best time to go, so I had to bite the bullet and head off.  I managed to get there and back without delays which seemed a miracle but it meant I needed to hang around Macclesfield for an hour.  Not daunted I wandered off to check out their Art Shop, a real rabbit warren of a shop where you could not see what you wanted on display but they managed to produce everything from various hiding places.

Being blessed with more than their fair share of cafes, I was spoilt for choice and settled on a cafe with tables outside, a lovely cappuccino and a great view of the pedestrianised street to sit and sketch on my new watercolour sketch book.  I don’t really like sitting in cafes on my own, unless I’m busy and this seemed an ideal opportunity to try a bit of plein air sketching.

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Having swotted up on this arty activity I took the right reference photographs to complete later or in case I was met by a sudden change in the weather…

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No sooner had I put pencil to paper and begun to plan out this challenging composition than a rather large lady practically dismantled the table and chair next to me to plonk herself down in the chair that virtually touched mine.  I ignored her as best I could, trying to concentrate the tricky lines of perspective when out of my peripheral vision I saw her slam down a packet of cigarettes, a lighter and her phone – she meant business.  Not wishing to spend £2.30 to be smoked all over I asked her ‘do you intend to smoke?’ ‘Yes!’ she replied with a curl of her lips and a definitive crossing of her arms.  I packed up my stuff and left – even leaving the lovely cappuccino (but not the cookie) and wandered off.  There is nothing you can say, we are outside, there’s ashtrays on the tables….grrrr.

So I moved to another cafe – this time inside and ordered a second cappuccino.  It’s a lovely cafe (though no chocolate on my cappuccino 😦  ) and I began on a new page to sketch this view…

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I love drawing but I am not a fan of watercolours.  You can’t blend them and they seem to have a life of their own.  I made a bold attempt and completed the sketch from the other cafe but next time it will have to be pastels I think…

 

On Friday we went along to the preview evening (my first one as an artist).  Its quite nerve wracking wondering firstly if your work is up, if it’s put anywhere decent (or is it round a corner where no-one can see it).  To be fair it was positioned really well.  I have entered my cat and mouse drawing….

charcoal drawing of a cat looking into a mousehole with the silhouette of a mouse in shadow

Cat and Mouse

and my Ballerina Waltz drawing.  The cat and mouse drawing had a lot of attention, people were just staring and staring at it, one chap stared at it for ages then went away and came back to stare some more.  If it doesn’t sell I will be really surprised.  A great collective of work on show at Charles Roe House in Macclesfield for the next two weeks.  I will pop along some time next week and check out how they are getting on.  I picked up a leaflet that said they are turning part of the building into an Art Cafe which is great news.

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Here are a couple of snaps about the open studios and a photo of my entry in the brochure.


Portraits from life

I picked up from where I left off drawing Lorna on Friday morning last week.  My plan was always to begin the drawing from life – take lots of photos and then complete it in my studio.  I see a lot of portrait artists doing this, it’s a good idea as it allows you to get a good sense of the expressions and little facial uniquenesses that we all have and can not be captured in a photograph as well as allowing you to calmly work on the fine details in your own studio.

Here is a make up of some stages of the drawing starting from where I had got up to from life and then the finished piece underneath.

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portrait drawing from life by alsager cheshire portrait artist

Lorna

It’s a fairly good likeness, although not perfect.  I wasn’t really happy with the paper because it was too smooth and didn’t hold the charcoal well. Also being grey the white charcoal stands out really well so there is a tendency to go mad with it.  On Friday I will try to draw someone else from life at Two Doors studio gallery in Alsager, Cheshire.

As a ridiculous challenge to myself (sometimes you wonder why you start such things) I decided to draw this photograph posted by Kate Wimbush Jewellery – she is a local jewellery maker and sourcer of great material.

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I think I was entranced by all the bright colours and the fresh fruit feeling – here is a progress drawing:

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I went through the motions with this one, firstly I wanted to focus on a row of 5 fruits and then make the other fruits background, loose and out of focus.  This didn’t work as the background fruits looked scruffy and lacking care and attention.  So I had to change and draw them properly with each little fruits individual highlights and shadows.  It was at that point that I realised what a massive undertaking it would be and began to loose heart.

However, not wanting to give up I decided to give it one more day and see where we were.  Adopting the mindset that this was an excellent opportunity to show the beauty of pastel colour in a bright and happy drawing I immediately began to love it and then the process of taking control artistically took over….

This should be finished over the next few days….

TIMid – original cat pencil drawing

Meet Tim, I have called him TIMid to represent his name and his nature.  It was lots of fun drawing him all the time keeping my focus on the timidity expression I wanted to portray. The original is currently available to buy from my shop – click here or click on TIM to take you there – if the original is sold there are a limited number (50) prints available.  I would love to know what you think, please feel free to leave a comment.  There is also a little clip video I made of his progress….

pencil graphite drawing of a black and white cat and kitten

TIMid

Cat pencil drawing – in progress

I have been wanting to draw a cat for a while and this is my opportunity.  What a great expression this little chap has, I am really looking for innocence but currently I am getting scared to death so I need to change that today…

pencil drawing of black and white cat