Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My illustration process - Adding digital colour to hand-drawn images

I’m talking today about the process of creating the illustration above. The line was hand drawn with a digital colour layer added on Photoshop. Here’s how.

The client contacted me and briefed me as to what was required, supplying some images and specific details as to the cars to be illustrated. We agreed a fee and I returned my ‘Acceptance of Commission’ form.

The client requested some alterations.

A few more adjustments were asked for, but it was decided that I would make these of the final artwork.
I drew the image in pen, on an A3 sheet and scanned it at 300 dpi.
I opened the file up in Photoshop and added a new layer on which to put the colours, using a variety of brushes, particularly on the ‘speed’ lines.

I drew a small colour rough in pencil to try out the colour palette.

This the first colour artwork that I submitted to the client. There were a couple of minor changes to make help make the car look like it was moving faster, including taking away the strong black shadow under the front bumper.

And here is the final piece.

Below are some labels I made for the same client using a similar technique.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Making plans...

Quite a bit of time over the holidays has been spent reviewing my year so I thought I’d share the details of some of my favourite sources of stationery/books/guides that help.

I have the new ‘Dream Plan Do 2019’ from the Design Trust. It’s a workbook/manual/business guide that takes you through the year, month by month, with the aim of helping creative people “turn their ideas and creative practices into more sustainable creative businesses”. It’s the third year I’ve bought a copy and this year I am scheduling time in my diary so that I will work through it completely as I know from experience that the ‘dreaming’ and ‘planning’ are fine, but it is the ‘doing’ that really makes the difference to any creative business.

The Design Trust run workshops and the website has lots of information, much of it free, for small creative businesses and can be found at

I downloaded the free ‘Unravel Your Year’ booklet from Susannah Conway. She advocates having a word of the year rather than making resolutions and I tried this last year and found it quite a nice idea. This year’s word for me will be ‘Hone’ after last year’s ‘Develop’.

More information at

I had a lovely Christmas gift of another journal by Fran Meneses. It’s always difficult to find the perfect diary and a bit like the story of the Three Bears, they are usually too big or too small, but this one is just right! I’ve been using one throughout 2018 and it has lasted the distance. Fran has a great YouTube channel too, sharing lots of useful information for illustrators.

Shop Details -

YouTube account -

I watched the ‘Makelight Advent’ in December, a free series of daily videos from Emily Quinton. She is also part of the ‘Year of Colour’ team, who provide a free survey of your colours on Instagram. Here’s mine for this year:

Year of Colour -

Makelight -

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

London Urban Sketchers 2019 programme

If you are looking to start sketching in 2019 and live in London, you might like to look at the London Urban Sketchers programme which is now on their blog. All welcome whether you are a beginner or have lots of experience and events are free, just turn up with your own drawing materials! 

Monday, December 24, 2018

London in sketches 2018

Chelsea School of Art, February 2018
London drawings from my sketchbooks which haven't appeared on my blog this year (although some have featured on Instagram and Twitter).
Leadenhall Market, March 2018

God's Own Junkyard, April 2018

Three Mills Island, May 2018

View across the Thames, June 2018

Flatiron Square, July 2018

The London Mastaba, Hyde Park, July 2018

Mercato Metropolitano, September 2018

Around the Russell Square area, September 2018

Cambridge Circus, October 2018
The view from Peter Jones cafe, October 2018
The Theatre Cafe, Vauxhall, October 2018
Peckham Levels, November 2018
Mercato Metropolitano, November 2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

Drawing in Docklands

I worked on an exciting commission in October with IRS, the specialist office interiors company. They were fitting out new offices in Docklands for an international tech company and wanted bespoke drawings to decorate the walls. One of the images was blown up to fill an entire wall and others formed a gallery in the main boardroom.

A compilation image was used as a large mural.

The brief asked for black and white line drawings with touches of blue, reflecting the client's corporate colours. They needed to reflect the heritage of the area, focussing on cranes, boats and canals. I made most of the drawings on location, in and around the South Quay area. It's a really interesting spot so was a very enjoyable job. The sort of drawing that I love to do!

If you would like to know more about commissioning bespoke illustrations for yourself or your company, please get in touch!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Christmas online shop update!

I've added some new items to my online Etsy shop and here are a few photos to show you what is new. I've tried to reflect the current season in the styling!

This is the link to the shop if you'd care to take a look -
It closes for a holiday break on Thursday 20th December and re-opens on January 3rd 2019.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Visiting the travel sketchbook festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France

It was lovely to visit the travel sketchbook event, ‘Rendez-vous du carnet de voyage’ earlier this month. I first visited the festival, which is held in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand, last year and vowed to return, this time with more spending money! Over 90 artists, including many from the Urban Sketchers community, come together to show drawings from their travels all over the world. Quite a few artists who I follow on Instagram had stands at the festival and I left with a great haul of books, all signed and some with special drawings too. 

The festival is held at the Polydome near the city's rugby ground.
My haul of books!
Here are links to the artists I bought books from:

Hugo Barros Costa - @yolahugo on Instagram
Manu Ripoll - @manuripoll89 on instagram
Juliette Plisson - @juliette.plisson on Instagram
Marielle Durand - @idrawamerica on Instagram

Hugo Barros Costa on his stand 

Lapin drew a portrait for me!

Manu Ripoll signing my copy of his book of drawings

Beautiful fold-out print by Juliette Plisson

Lovely display from Francois Wagner

Below are my own sketchbook pages from the trip.

The watercolour illustration at the top of the blog post is of the 'Hotel le Lion' where I stayed on my trip. I had a room on the top floor with a great view across the central square, which you can see in some of the sketches. I booked through Expedia and thought it was good value and would recommend it to anyone visiting the city!

This is the link to their website -

This is the link to the 'Rendez-vous du carnet de voyage' website -