I’M DRAWING a proverbially Thieving Magpie and a boy snaffling pies today and, after a busy day of appointments unrelated to artwork of any description, I’m trying a different approach from my roughs first, then pen and Indian ink final artwork regime; I’m simply doodling these as Barbara and I sit and relax after dinner. I don’t get off to a good start and I think that I might have to draw these two later, but two so-so drawings are better than nothing.

Working this way a drawing takes about as long as some of my roughs. And, as I say, I can still redraw it if necessary, I don’t have to stick with my first attempt.

My drawing of Old Nick himself has turned out about as well as I’d have managed in the studio. The hand and trident are a bit shaky but the the face and figure will do.

His horns have the simplicity that I’m aiming for but my everyday sketchbook lets me down a bit here because the cartridge paper in it isn’t bleed-proof so I can’t get really crisp woodcut style lines.

Drawing a self-important Victorian gentleman wearing spectacles for my next illustration I, not surprisingly, end up with someone resembling Mr Pickwick.

I’ve used a Rotring ArtPen with a fine-nibbed sketch nib filled with ArtPen ink, not my usual Noodler’s, for these drawings and an ArtPen with a larger ‘M’ nib for thickening outlines and filling in. The hatching on Old Nick’s cloak and my Pickwick character’s coat introduces a messy sort of animation to the drawing, which I expect adds a bit of hand-drawn charm, but I’ve got something a little more sharp, graphic and punchy in mind for the images in my book, so I’m going to go back to Pentel BrushPen for the fill-in, or to watercolour brush and black ink.

And it’s got to be bleed-proof paper!

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