Murderous Abbie


Murderous Abbie


I’ve had a bad cold and I’ve been in the doldrums, thinking a lot about what I am doing. I have been working on some of my character portraits. I wanted to spend the week finishing and refining some ongoing projects (they must be deemed finished at some point and the deadline for that book is approaching!)  I think that is the hardest part – knowing when to stop – I heard someone once say – stop when it cannot be made any more beautiful – but what if it isn’t beautiful? What if all I see are the flaws? The things that frustrate the hell out of me?  The things I want to do better? I think stopping when things are barely adequate is crazy but you can take the thing too far and destroy all your hard work, too. I think I did that when I first decided I needed to draw a face. I remember being really happy with  a lot of my early attempts and so I didn’t push myself enough perhaps – and then when I realised that the drawings could be a great deal better  I often found I kept pushing it until it looked overworked and seriously lacking in spontaneity. I think there is a vile fine line between the path of inadequacy and that of the destroyer!

I hope the things that I am making now are heading in that direction.  We never stop learning so it would be insanity to stop and say that will do, but I guess equally important – we mustn’t give up when we realise we could be more.

I’m going back to bed.

Oh, wait. I guess I should explain about Abbie. She’s a new character I am illustrating. She is a slightly murderous, post-apocalyptic badass, and scarred. Inside and out.  I hope she stays for a while as I really enjoyed drawing her – from her wild hair to her scarred, pretty face.

These images show the stages of my drawing – I will probably try to remember to keep a record like this in the future. I can then look back and find exactly where it all went wrong!



Bibliography and Inspiration

Turbo Kid – Directed by Anouk Whissell, Francois Simard and Yoann-Karl Whissell – 2015

– because it’s a post-apocalyptic masterpiece!

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing

Faigin, G., The Artists Complete Guide to Facial Expression, Watson-Guptill Publications, 1992

Beginners Guide to Sketching: characters, creatures and concepts, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015


Music I listened to

Chronicles of the Wasteland/ Turbo Kid Original Motion Picture Soundtrack  –  Le Matos, 2015

Because it’s a post-apocalyptic/80’s/synthwave masterpiece!

Portrait in charcoal

This is a recent portrait I made in charcoal. He is a new character in the book I am working on and I spent a huge amount of time practising this guy as I didn’t have any useful reference photos, or a model for that matter, and I didn’t want it to end up being a caricature just because I was trying to do it from my imagination.


Different races have key characteristics which an artist can refer to but that shouldn’t be an excuse to over exaggerate features just to make your point.  Gary Faigin (from Craftsy) briefly covers the differences in skulls and explained that Caucasian skulls in profile are flatter, African are sloping outwards (with the jaw sitting further out in relation to the forehead) and Asian skulls fall somewhere between the two.  I did a little more rooting around on this subject and there are even more skull types to learn about. I actually ended up drawing upon a variety of sources to make this drawing, including google for information and images about the skull, Faigin, graphic novels and I used an image of Christie from Alien Resurrection for his expression and age.

I stayed with charcoal for this drawing to be consistent with the rest of the portraits I have been doing but mostly because I am really enjoying learning to use this messy, unpredictable medium! I love blending with different brushes and I am discovering that depending on the coarseness of the bristle you can manipulate the charcoal in different ways. A small, flat, soft synthetic brush can push the charcoal in different directions, a finer brush loosely used in a circular motion can help blend small areas. Courser bristles can push the charcoal into the paper to help lay down a darker tone, and when finding the initial shapes this can be pretty useful in preventing greasy finger marks on the paper.

Bibliography and Inspiration

Faigin, G., The Artists Complete Guide to Facial Expression, Watson-Guptill Publications, 1992

Skulls and Race in google images

Alien: Resurrection, Directed by  Jean-Pierre Jeunet and written by Joss Whedon, 1997

Music I listened to

Faith and the Muse

Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord – The Devil Wears Prada

Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

The Big Stink – The men who will not be blamed for nothing

I love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness