Passers By

hatmancava girlAs storm Eva lashes across Britain, shoppers are hurrying along. I try to memorise costume and colours, making mental notes in the tens of seconds that they’re visible.

The man in the woolly hat is suitably dressed to face the elements, the woman with sparkling wine isn’t as she hastens to get her shopping packed in the car.

Butterfly buns.
Butterfly buns.


astopad testHere’s my first faltering attempt to use my iPad Pro as a graphics pad for my desktop iMac. This has the advantage that I can see what I’m drawing on the iPad rather than having to look up at the iMac’s screen, as I do when I’m using my regular Wacom Intuos graphics pad. I’m using an Apple Pencil as a stylus and a program called Astropad to hook up the iPad to the iMac.

I’ve still to work out how to make adjustments such as brush size without reaching for my mouse and heading for the main screen but at least I’ve got to grips with the rudiments of drawing at my first attempt. It should be possible to set it up so that I can manage the whole process of drawing in Photoshop or Manga Studio using the iPad. The iPad has a long cable but it’s also possible to draw using a wifi connection.

Link: Astropad

Shady Characters

party peopleThere were so many healthy choices at the buffet at Judy and Don’s silver wedding celebration yesterday. Needless to say, I was still tempted by the mini-quiches, pork pie and sausage rolls. Well it is Christmas.

group by the barMost people were sitting but it was the characters standing at the bar who I found most interesting to draw.

light and shadeEach individual had a different way of standing. Some added gesticulations to a story they were telling, others stood listening, holding a drink in one hand and, in the case of some of the women, a bag in the other hand. Little touches that help sketch a character, rather than the standardised party person that I might draw from memory.

conversationI drew in line only but it was the shapes that fascinated me as I drew, so today I added washes of neutral grey to emphasise the overall shapes rather than the outlines.

A Restless Cat

pc and birdsVisiting our friend Diana gives me a chance to try to draw PC, a seven year old black cat who leads quite a busy life.

pcHe came in as we arrived, had a bite to eat, gave me an imperious look, groomed himself, flopped down and rolled about a bit then made a request to go out again before eventually settling down in the corner behind the television.


pcMeanwhile the birdlife of the cul-de-sac flew over or perched on the rooftop opposite; starlings, collared doves, carrion crow and black-headed gull.

Sketches with a Lamy Safari with an extra fine nib filled with Noodler’s brown ink drawn in my little yellow Moleskine.

Cane Armchair

chair and mugsI drew this bent cane armchair as we caught up with Barbara’s sister Susan this morning. Given the chance, I could quite get into drawing, drawing anything; chairs, mugs, trees, houses, sheds, a Victorian pump.

house endsBut I do hope I’ll be able to give myself a lot more opportunities to draw from nature in the new year.

Swiss Chard

swiss chardThe swiss chard is looking bedraggled but it adds some colour to the winter vegetable garden along with the five cannonball-sized red cabbages in the next bed.

Bird Shapes

bird shapes10.20 am, looking south-east; as I drew the view of Coxley Valley from my studio window, the last traces of the overnight frost faded from the meadow and the pearly hint of mistiness in the air dissolved away.

I decided on a change from my usual pen first, then watercolour technique and tried looking at the great tits, blue tits and greenfinches coming to the sunflower heart feeders as coloured shapes. I watched each bird until it moved then tried to get the whole pose on paper with a freshly sharpened HB pencil. If I could practice this a bit more, I think it would give me a grasp of the shapes of birds which I don’t take on board in the same way when I’m adding details in pen.


pheasants and blackbirdsThere were eight blackbirds in the garden this morning. The lawn is the main gathering ground but now that the crab apples are starting to turn soft there will occasionally be one in the tree. Wood chip paths and a cotoneaster bush dripping with berries give them further foraging opportunities.

Star of the show is the ring-necked pheasant with white streaks on his crown. A female gives him the opportunity to puff himself up and display his plumage. As I add the colour, I can’t decide whether his tail coverts are grey or a very pale green. I get Barbara to take a look and we decide that the exact shade changes depending on how the fine feathers catch the light but the colour really is a sage grey-green.