The Parker and the Padfoot

I’M INTENDING to illustrate my next book (not the Sherlock Holmes, that’s going to have to wait, but a new, less involved idea that came to me this week) in black and white line, so this morning I got some of my fountain pens in working order again, including three of these Parker Reflex pens. I’ve got used to using my ArtPens with waterproof Noodler’s ink as this suits my everyday pen and watercolour wash drawing but I’d like to experiment with something that’s just a bit more fluid and inky to create a rather different visual identity for my new book.

I drew this vinegar bottle in the fish and chip restaurant yesterday using my extra fine-nibbed ArtPen with Noodler’s black ink and you can see the difference compared with the dunnock (right), drawn with a fine-nibbed ArtPen loaded with a black ArtPen ink cartridge. The ArtPen ink isn’t waterproof, so I can’t use it as I would the Noodler’s in conjunction with a watercolour wash.


I decided to try out the pens on a randomly chosen cartoon illustration for my new book, which includes, as one of its themes, creatures from local folklore. All we know of Padfoot is that it was a four-footed supernatural animal with saucer-shaped eyes which waylaid people on dark nights in lonely places.

I prefer my sketchy rough (above, right) in the fine-nibbed ArtPen to this more stylised version in ArtPen with solid black added with a Pentel Brush Pen. I want to have fun with this project so I think that I should be going for the rougher line version, which seems to come more naturally to me but then part of having fun with drawing is in trying out new approaches, so I’ve still got an open mind.

I’ll just have one more try and then move onto a fresh subject. The vagueness of the apparition of Padfoot was one of its main characteristics. It padded along softly behind you and if you looked back at it you’d see a shadowy, half-real creature in the hedgerow.

My final attempt has gone too far towards Dracula gothic and by putting trees on either side of the path I’ve implied that Padfoot’s natural habitat was woodland. You’d be more likely to meet it on a lonely byway.

The Jester of Kirklees

On a lighter note, I need an illustration of the Jester of Kirklees. I think this kind of cartoon style is going to be more successful for the book. My drawings are intended to illustrate specific points, not to be stand-alone drawings in their own right. I don’t, for instance, like to go over lines in an observational drawing but to give this cartoon a graphic look – something along the lines of a woodcut – I’ve gone over the outlines with the ArtPen.

Next, I have to illustrate a rough and ready form of clearing weeds using a spade; this book is nothing if not varied and that’s the appeal of illustrating it.

The Man in the Straw Hat

Then there’s a particular sort of straw hat. It’s associated with a local character who I’ve tried to depict here but the trouble is his character then dominates the drawing; it’s actually the straw hat that counts here.

So here’s my second version in which the straw hat takes centre stage.


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