Sunday, 9 November 2008


This is work in progress - I'm illustrating a story I wrote a few years ago. I published it on my old website, but I thought I'd try to revive it.

This is the mechanical tiger prowling through the woods by day. I've also begun a sketch of the mechanical tiger prowling by night, but it's only pencil so far...

Monday, 27 October 2008

Snagged in coloured pencil leaves and golden autumn

I've managed to do a bit more work on my woodland scene. There are some incredibly clumsy areas, and the odd place I'm not too unhappy with. The left hand dark area contrasts quite nicely with the brightness of the foreground tree I think, and I quite like the central area of mid to back ground, with the strokes of colour set almost in almost Pointillist style to capture the impression of light and movement of breeze through coloured undergrowth and leaves. At least that's what I was trying to do!

It's my first drawing for a long time (2005 was my last serious bout of visual work, and then I was working totally in black and white pen and ink), apart from a little sketching this May just gone. The pencils I'm using here are Caran d'ache and Signature - both the watersoluble kind, though I like to use them dry as they're quite vibrant on the page. I've never really done much coloured pencil work, and I'm not so confident with colour on the whole, so I'm not surprised this effort has come out a bit on the bland side so far. I think I'll do another couple of hours' work on it, and then let it be. The thing about coloured pencil is, if you over do it the colour tends to become leaden and waxy, I'm trying not to let that happen.

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more...

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

'To Autumn' by John Keats, 'Poppies in October' by Sylvia Plath. Both October born poets, in fact Sylvia Plath's birthday was the 27th October, the date she penned this poem.

Ironically, tommorow will mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Ted Hughes, husband of Sylvia Plath. Two extraordinary poets linked by fate and by ultimately tragic love.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Slow progress

Every day I promise myself that I'll do some visual work, autumn is a lovely time of the year and like spring, I always feel more 'visual' than I do in summer and winter.

But the day ticks away, and when I'm through writing it's 9 in the evening and I just want to lie on the living room floor and surf the Net on my laptop.

I managed a couple of hours work on my (terrible) coloured pencil drawing this week. Kneeling on the living room floor with my drawing on Mum's ceramic topped coffee table, my pencils sitting in their tin and box on the carpet, occasionally sent flying by the paw of a passing Westie. But despite all's what I've done.

That top picture has come out a bit pink, that's me attempting to over-compensate in Photoshop for a dodgy photograph taken with the white balance to compensate for tungsten light! It's actually on white paper, and when I'm feeling less slatternly I'll take a better photograph. Promise.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Coloured pencil on watercolour board

I've started this drawing from a photograph I took last autumn at a National Trust garden. Although I bought some lovely coloured pencils a couple of years ago, I'm yet to really knuckle down and make a serious effort with them. I'm more confident with pen and ink, it's much easier to make an impression, colour confuses me in many ways. Will I win or lose the battle with this one? Time will tell...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Art (drawing, painting) was a huge part of my early life. I have a degree in Graphic Design (specialised in illustration) from the then City of Birmingham Polytechnic, but I always wrote as well, and this has been the form my creativity has taken over the years.

From time to time I get the urge to do something visual though, often it's tied into the seasonal creativity thing - i.e. at certain times of the year I get specific creative urges, the times when I'm most likely to have the visual urge is spring, and autumn. The obvious reason for this being that simply, I love the transitional seasons - right now I love trees in a blaze of colour, and the strange fungi that are bursting through the mulch of leaves and moss and fallen seeds, nuts and seed pods, these natural phenomenom I find so inspiring. Mostly lately I appease my urge to capture something visually (to capture the moment, to understand something about my own interaction with the world, a childlike interaction that I hope I will never lose) by digital photography. I feel guilty though that I allow my artistic skills, mostly drawing, to atrophy, though the main reason for this is a practical one - there simply isn't the time to do EVERYTHING, to write poetry, to write fiction, to slog at getting these published (to deal with the failure when I don't - dealing with failure is EXTREMELY time consuming) and to express myself visually as well.

I tend to work visually off and on, exhibiting occasionally, mostly at one of the annual RBSA open exhibitions. Still, I'm aware at the moment that I need to pack my life with creativity in order to keep my 'spark' going, and this blog is part of my strategy of doing this.
I'll explain, later...