Monday, July 20, 2020

My illustration process - Using photographic reference

One of the things I enjoy about making drawings on location is that the results are your own. No need to search for photos online or look through books for reference images of second-hand impressions. In the past I’ve asked people to model for me when I needed to draw figures or set up still life groups when illustrating food or products. Of course, that isn’t always possible when working on illustration jobs and often I need to look at others photographs for reference.   

As I have never visited Brazil, this series of illustrations for a travel magazine spread of Rio de Janeiro were drawn from a variety of secondary source material. The client sent me some images, I researched some more using Google, looked at a couple of videos and also looked at the location on Google Earth. It is always important for me that I don’t copy other creatives work, as I wouldn’t want mine copied, so that thought is in my mind when I start. I also am trying to create images as I would if I were there, in the actual location, thinking about which elements I would focus on, what shapes, what colours and patterns are important. The idea is always to use the photographs as an aid and not let them dictate the outcome of the illustration.

When creating images for a client I firstly supply a black and white line ‘rough’ to give an idea of what the finished image will look like. Nowadays I try to work directly on these roughs to develop the actual finished illustration so as not to lose any spontaneity that was there in the initial stages.

Here are a couple of the roughs for this series:

At the colour artwork stage, I used a limited colour palette of six colours to help create a cohesive feel to the group of illustrations.

Here are the finished pieces:


Monday, July 13, 2020

GSA illustrations

I recently worked with the team at Goodwood as they relaunched the ‘Goodwood Supporters Association’ also known as the GSA. Here are a few of the illustrations and some screen shots of how they were used online.

The illustrations were made by mixing hand-drawn black lines with digital colour, the whole project being completed to a tight deadline. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Black lives matter

To amplify and promote voices of people from Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities, here are some creatives you might like to follow, who produce inspiring and beautiful work in each of their own fields. Links are to their Instagram accounts and all images copyright of the artists.

Samira Addo




Adebayo Bolaji




Enam Gbewonyo

Textile and performance artist



Wesley Baker

Photographer and artist



Atia Azmi

Design and colour inspiration



Tarunima Sinha


Food photography and baking


Allison Sadler

Fashion and interiors



Medina Grillo

DIY and home improvement author and blogger



Diana Phiri-Witty

Illustrator and designer


Adebanji Alade

Artist, author and presenter



Michelle Marshall




Yinka Ilori

Artist and designer



Jay Blades

Designer and presenter



Juliet Uzor

All things sewing



Beth Collier

Nature and wellbeing



Lucy Peltier

Photography and embroidery






Harold Offeh



Friday, May 1, 2020

That time I went to Spain - personal project update

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a challenge, to complete an application for the French sketchbook festival, Rendez-vous du Carnetde Voyage 2020. I have visited the event in the city of Clermont-Ferrand twice in the last few years and really enjoyed looking at the work of the exhibitors. My application was sent this week and the 20 illustrated pages which I have completed so far are below. I have written a little about it on a previous blogpost and shown the initial roughs. Even if I am not selected, I think I will continue with the project. Publishing it would be great but even having it as a digital book may be an option too.