New classes for Autumn.

Petsnu1 copy

I’ve been busy with drawing comics and the school holidays, so there hasn’t been a lot of life drawing going on. I got to the Papcastle class, but it turned out I was modelling instead of drawing! I’m also doing a bit for Tullie House and Wigton Adult Ed.

On top of that, I’ve got a new class to teach at Egremont’s Florence Mine. It’s going to start off as an all day workshop on October 4th. Hopefully I’ll see a few people there.


Posted by on September 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


Summer Classes.

Helen’s classes are running over the Summer holidays, as, possibly, are a couple of others. Most are shutting down this month, so if you want to get some life drawing done, get up to Carlisle. It’s a nice friendly class.

I’ve just been doing a wee bit of drawing at Papcastle. It’s the first life drawing I’ve done in months, as I’ve been much too busy drawing comics instead. I’m reasonably pleased with bits of it – as usual I tend to just see all the mistakes until I’ve left the drawing for a while.

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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


More on the comics festival.

222013456601619545_2GBU7kgG_cI was down in Kendal last week for a meeting about the Lakes International Comics Festival, which meant I didn’t get to any life drawing classes. The festival sounds really exciting, with over sixty top artists turning up from all over the world. One of them will be Glynn Dillon, who drew the incredible ‘Nao of Brown’. Normally, I’d be prepared to hate any comic that was about things Japanese. Japan is my thing, and I get very jealous of others writing about it. I realise that’s not wholly rational, but jealousy never is. However, I’ll forgive Glynn for encroaching on my territory as the book is fantastic.

Sinner-MunozAnother artist I’m very excited about meeting is Jose Munoz, the Argentinian artist behind Alec Sinner and Joe’s Bar. I love the way he leaks black ink all over the page. It’s almost as if the ink just flows into shadows and lines by itself.

On top of that, Costa prize winning Bryan and Mary Talbot will be along and Sean Phillips too! It’s going to be Geek Nirvana in Kendal.

On the life drawing front, there may be a new class starting at Florence Mine, which is an amazing venue. And maybe another artist group around the Penrith area. All depends on artist numbers, of course, but I think we should have enough.


Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


The Lakeland International Comics Festival

October sees Cumbria hosting a big international comics festival, which I’m hoping is going to be a regular event. The Bunkasai at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal last year was a great success, and this certainly has the potential to be too.
A lot of the guests are from the more arty end of comics, rather than the mainstream superhero genre, so if you’ve ever wondered why the Guardian or the Independent art critics were twittering on about comics, this is your chance to turn up and find out.
More details here
I really got into life drawing as practice for drawing comics, and it is invaluable. Even if your comics are anthropomorphic mice, you still have to know how to draw movement and the way the limbs work. My own comic art is on one of my other blogs and, hopefully, the amount of time I put into life drawing is evident there.

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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Keswick life drawing.


There’s another course running in Keswick towards the end of April. I’m reliably informed there are a few places left, but they’ll go quickly, so contact Celia at the about number.
There are rumours of other classes starting in other parts of Cumbria, but I’ll wait until they’re finalised.


Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


Playing with layers on the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

I had another play with the tablet at Papcastle last week, as I’ve figured out the layers…sort of. Layers are something a few people have mentioned finding difficult to comprehend, and I don’t know how they work or anything, but I tend to think of them as transparent sheets you put on the picture and then colour in. 🙂 That’s as technical as I get really. Sketchbook allows three layers at mid resolution, and up to eight at low res. I wanted to use a medium resolution because I like to get into the details of the eyes and face, but maybe a lower resolution would have allowed me to play with colour more.
For this picture, I ended up having to merge layers down to get more colours in, using fairly transparent layers on top to add in greens and red to the skin tones, merging them down and then creating another layer. If I’d stuck to low res, I’d have had more layers to play with.
Sketchbook could also really do with a blend tool in the Android version. You can get around this by playing with the eraser set at different levels of opacity, but it’s pretty slow.
On the whole, I’m reasonably happy with the picture, and the new stylus, with some sore of fabric tip instead of the squashy sticky rubber tips most of them have, is a definite improvement. But it’s still work in progress.

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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


More Samsung Galaxy drawings.

Sketch1921326SC20130219-110356 SC20130219-111045 SC20130219-111637 SC20130219-111815 SC20130219-112249 SC20130219-112330 SC20130219-113223 SC20130219-113555 SC20130219-121241 SC20130219-121902 SC20130219-122530 SC20130219-122836SC20130219-123911I got an automatic upgrade on my Sketchbook pro app for the tablet, so decided to give it a whirl at the Papcastle class today. It’s a wee bit over an hour’s sketching and I thought I’d take a few screenshots to show how I did it. Not that it turned out particularly brilliant in the end, but there’s precious little around on how to draw with a tablet, so maybe it’ll be of use to someone. 🙂

I began with a scribble, going by eye. One problem I find is that the screen is just too small to measure out properly, so she ended up with a bit of a giant foot. What does work, though, is the zoom, which is great for fiddly little details like toes. So once I got the basic shapes in, I could zoom in and out to get the details. That’s a double edged sword if you’re as picky as me – I get a bit bogged down in them!

After that I mucked about with the opacity settings to give a quick ‘wash’ with some grey shadows. I followed that with some flesh tone washes, building the skin tones up.

It’s a useful exercise and a fun way to draw. I didn’t get her right, but there are bits I do like about the drawing. I think ideally I’d like to draw with pencil, scan it in and then use the tablet to fix it and colour it. I’ve started doing this with some of my comic artwork for my other blogs, and it works well.

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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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