Unedited drawings: Part 1

I love to draw on a variety or interesting papers so my drawings are often not on a crisp white or untextured background. Because of this, I edit the majority of my drawings to give them a cleaner background which changes the drawing itself ever so slightly even though I always try to make the final digital version as close to the physical drawing as possible.

You can use the best scanner in the world and have your illustrations printed at the best printers but nothing’s quite the same as the original drawing. Therefore, I thought that it would be nice to share some of my drawings totally unedited, how they are straight from the scanner (with a few tea stains and smudge marks).

These particular drawings were used for the first children’s book I worked on during my children’s book MA ‘A Natural Order’. The book showed 50 various animals in size order and to scale.

Croton Plant

I have wanted to draw a plant for a while as I love botanical illustrations and plants in general. A few years ago I tried one or two plant based drawings and could never get the colour to look right underneath the pencil so I had been putting off drawing another one ever since.

Where I was going wrong is that I was trying to get the colour to match the exact colour of the real plant instead of finding a colour that works best with my illustration. I chose to illustrate a Croton plant for two reasons. One reason being that I thought that the patterns on the leaves would be really interesting and challenging to draw and the other reason being that they are normally quite brightly coloured. If I could find a way of colouring this plant that works with my illustration style then adding colour to future plant illustrations should work too.

This illustration took several times longer than I expected it to but I feel like that’s the case with most of my drawings recently as my work is gradually becoming more detailed. Although I am not quite sure what I am going to use this drawing for at the moment I have learnt a lot from it and will feel more confident drawing plants in the future.

My Finished Books

I am quickly coming the end of my children’s book illustration MA so in preparation for the final show (10th October) I sent both of the books which i have been working on over the past two years off to be printed. I now have a hardback copy of each of my books and I’m so happy with them. Seeing a book which you have but so much love and time into as a physical book makes all of the hard work worth it.

I have had a few queries about whether I will be selling hard copies of my books and unfortunately I can’t afford to buy hundreds of copies of them which is what i would need to do in order to sell them at a reasonable price. I will certainly look into buying paperback copies of the book which may have to be saddle stitched in order to lower the cost. If I ever do have my books in my shop I will let you know as soon as they are for sale.

Coral Studies

In the next few months I will be graduating (hopefully) from my MA in children’s book illustration and looking for freelance illustration work even more so than I currently am. Because of this I wanted to have a wider range of subject matters in my portfolio as up till recently my portfolio was roughly 99% animal illustrations.

I have always had a strange fascination with seaweed when I find some washed up of beaches and I have tried on numerous occasions to bring some home so that i can do some pencil studies. I’ve never managed to keep the seaweed in tact by the time i get home as it’s either completely dried up or damaged in one way or another.

After watching the ‘Chasing Coral’ documentary fairly recently I was also fascinated by coral and the many different structures which they have to suit their surroundings. For months I have been wanting to do studies of seaweed and coral but was busy working on my book and a few other illustration ideas for my shop. So, when I finally got a free week i knew exactly what i wanted to work on.

I have done 2 coral studies at the moment and will hopefully do some seaweed studies very soon. The two types of coral which i have drawn so far are a cauliflower coral and a toadstool coral which is a soft coral structure.

Cauliflower coral
Toadstool coral

Every Whale

For the past year, I have been working on this book and earlier this week I finally finished it. My drawing style has changed a lot since my first picture book back in 2016 and while I am so much happier with the final product, it has made the process of making a 32 page book a lot longer!

The book tells the story of all humpback whales during their first year as they learn from their mothers how to survive on their own. I first got the idea for this book while researching whales for my previous picture book which looked at 50 various animals from the smallest to the largest when my fascination with whales began to grow. In particular, humpback whales interested me. Learning about their close familial bond, group hunting staratagies and their annual migration which is the longest migratory journey in the animal kingdom made me have to tell their story in a picture book format.

The colour palete for this book took a lot of playing around with to get to a point where I was happy with it. As my drawings are all in graphite pencil, I found that brighter colours didn’t compliment the drawings and actually overpowered them a lot of the time. I experimented with colour behind the pencil drawings as well as for the water and that felt too digital. In the end, I decided to keep the pencil drawings as they were and only use the colour for the ocean and even then, I was keeping the colour fairly unsaturated to compliment my drawings and layering various textures over the top. I also found that this colour palette worked perfectly with the subject matter as it made the book feel quiet and calm.. if that makes sense? 

Manchester Bee Print

As I am a Manchester based illustrator I felt that I was obliged to draw a worker bee – the symbol of Manchester since the industrial revolution. Over the past year, the bee is probably my most requested drawing and I love drawing the detail in small insects.

I am currently getting a number of print samples from various printers to find a decent printers that wont break the bank and when I do, these along with a number of other new prints will be added to my easy shop. I decided to have a black and white illustration as well as the coloured illustration in my shop because I think it look equally as good and the yellow may not match everyone’s walls.

I’m really happy with how these have turned out and I would love your feedback as well as any suggestions for future prints.


31.05.2018: Puffin

I’ve been looking a lot at birds recently. A few months ago i bought a massive book full of Audubon illustrations who drew hundreds of birds in his lifetime so that could have something todo with it.

I’m really happy with how this drawing turned out and the splash of colour is a refreshing addition for me and I might be introducing some more into my work, especially now that it’s summer!