It’s the 3rd time I’ve taken part in Twitters illustration collective – Animal Alphabets.  It’s been a great way to practice, try new things and see all the amazing work produced by other creatives. The Monster Movie/Book Characters round has been suitably gloomy as I love dark art – it’s also been really hard as I have a picture book to finish! I’ve made some rather mediocre monsters at times – some that are definitely on my redraw list when I have the time. Here are my favourites so far. The rest can be seen with all the other entries here.


I’ve been thinking a lot about how I work. I used all kinds of references for these creatures  – my tablet is full of photos, I follow many awesome artists and my book shelf  is full of books.  I think my Spectrum collection and my Japanese Comickers  are probably the most inspiring set of books I own but then the postman brings me an Imagine FX once a month and it’s so full of awesome digital work I suddenly remember why I bought that graphics tablet. The tablet is barely used – I really will learn how at some point but I love working traditionally so much, maybe it was a massive waste. I really hope not but I think it was, deep down.

I need music when I work – I go through dreadful phases of being hooked on the same thing and then suddenly it’s all over and a new fad starts. Right now it’s anything Tokyo Ghoul – that season 1 opening theme!  I just finished the anime (season 1 and 2) and I’m heartbroken. Not sure if it’s because it’s over for now or if the story was just so sad.  I have started purchasing the Manga.

Bibliography and Inspiration

Spectrum Fantastic Arts

Imagine FX

Japanese Comickers

@AnimalAlphabets (Twitter)

Music I listened to

Probably a lot of metalcore and goth – as is my way.

Tokyo Ghoul Season 1 – full song Unravel by TK

Tokyo Ghoul Season 1 Actual Intro with characters/art


Fileas and the Balloons



I have been taking part in the Animaloon Collective on Twitter- each month a new animal is chosen to inflate (February is Guinea Pigs). What fun!

I decided to try and use it as an opportunity to work on Fileas Funeral Pyrate as he has been cast aside over other work lately and it’s frustrating . I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your own projects and interests alive when you are doing work on other people’s projects – it’s a good way to relax and take stock of your own goals – it’s all too easy to see your personal projects abandoned and collecting dust where you left them. Drawlloween helped me with that in October and now the Twitterverse is keeping me sane with Animal Alphabets and Animaloons.

Fileas is a story I am developing. It began with the idea of him starring in scenarios I wanted to draw and I’m now looking at developing his character and giving him some history.


The earlier drawings for the Animaloon Collective

The illustrations here are the works in progress. I drew him on his Grandfather’s bike and then added a growing entourage of balloons – each month I added more detail to his clothes, and of course the new balloon. Each month I noticed all the flaws in the drawing too, so it became a useful tool in assessing the work which, unfortunately, eventually turned into self-loathing. Oh! the horror of how bad I thought it was! I decided the time had come to make a new illustration using the Indian ink I had fallen for during Drawlloween/Inktober. I enjoyed making the hot air balloon/Grandfathers bike conversion so much! The ink makes swift work of the colouring and works very well with my beloved Polychromos pencils!

The New Year balloon  is a unicorn which I decided to Steampunk because Fileas is Steampunk and I am excited that this balloon project works with my original plan of using the character for  practice with environments, as well as his developing story. This new idea for my animaloony balloons will no doubt evolve. It is evolving! The bike, and adding a new balloon each month, could only last so long so I’ve committed myself to a new illustration each month –  a patchwork, steampunk inspired hot air balloon with Fileas at the helm! Saying that, I’ve already set my cap on a space ship for next month…

Fileas Hot Air Balloon (Reindeerloon)

Fileas in his Hot Air Balloon (with a Reindeerloon to light the way)


Bibliography and Inspiration

Spectrum 22

Spectrum 23

Spectrum 24

Sci-Fi Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Anatomy for Fantasy Artists – An essential guide to creating action figures and fantastical forms, Fabry, G., and Cormack, B., David and Charles Publishers, 2006.

Animaloon Collective – @animaloonies

All of this:


Music I listened to

This is a link for a playlist called Into the Void  from the YouTube  channel “Pandora Journey”– its dramatic, sci fi, futuristic space music and its wonderful! I listen to it a lot when I’m working !








26 Fairytales later

It is a proud moment when you complete a drawing challenge! This has been a lot of fun and I think I have learned a lot from it – not only in creating characters and settings but also in meeting a weekly deadline on top of all the other projects I am working on.

26 weeks later – the next round will be about endangered animals. Challenge accepted! I will continue to collect them on my page dedicated to creatures.

Bibliography and Inspiration

This was over a long period so it covers a lot of reading and research – I usually use at least 2 or 3 of my books for reference and inspiration for each drawing. So. Pretty much all of this.

Music I listened to.

I always listen to music when I draw. Again, this was over a long period and I have probably forgotten a lot of it but I can safely say it was:

Mozart – Requiem

The Birthday Massacre – especially Superstition

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Westworld Soundtrack

Echo and the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain

The Devil Wears Prada – Space EP


Turbo Kid Soundtrack



Engella ~ On gesture, Chinese lanterns and swirling cloaks.

I have been practicing gesture. It’s something I really wanted to focus on for some of the illustrations I made for the sci fi story, Engella, by Paul Ian Cross.

I began by seeking out reference material.  I examined how clothing swings when you suddenly turn, and what it does when you walk and are caught in the breeze on a balmy beach.  (Since I didn’t have a balmy beach nearby some of this took place in my head and in my living room).  I made about a million colour studies with pastels to find the right mood for the final painting and then I moved on to making watercolour sketches to decide how to make the watercolour work for what I had in mind.

Part of the story takes place in the future so for inspiration and the pure joy of it all I researched cyber punk and Chinese lanterns, and dark alleyways. I made a cyberpunk mood board on pinterest.   This is something I like to do! A lot. I have collected a huge amount of reference material and inspiration there for other projects and for safe keeping.


Engella  (graphite)

I sketched out lots of ideas to find Engella and this is who emerged. I love adding energy and movement to my drawing – its so rewarding making the subject come alive and tell a story!

Kindle cover

The book cover (watercolour and watercolour pencil)


Bibliography and Inspiration

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Martin, Justin.,  Poses for Artists, Vol. 2, Standing Poses, Eagel Ink Factory, Justin Martin, 2016.

Music I listened to

All about Eve

Cocteau Twins

I love you but Ive chosen darkness


Creeps of London Underground

I have been drawing zombies and zombie portraits for a book a friend of mine is writing – he is self-publishing and when he asked if I would help I was really excited as I am big a fan of the old zombie!

He had a deadline and so my earlier drawings needed to be kept simple – I didn’t have that much time to explore some of the ideas I had so I saw book 1 as a chance to develop characters.  Now I am on book 2 I am continuing working on the characters but I am also taking my ideas a little further and exploring action, gesture and composition.

Blood Chin Zombie

This is one of my newer zombie portraits – a recently infected wreck of a man who just scored a meal. Compared to my previous portraits I have focused more on detail, rather than mood, as I have started to think about the decomposition of muscle and flesh. It’s no way near that point yet – but I can see my exploration of anatomy is going to be useful for this project and that’s the next step for me – I will be working from the inside out.

Like my other attempts, I used charcoal and a variety of old watercolour brushes for blending.  I spent some time looking at zombie art and graphic novels, and I bought “Fantasy Underground – How to Draw Zombies” so I could take some lessons – my page “Zombie Book” includes some of the little projects I did and I think they were really useful and most importantly, lots of fun. I’m also using “Anatomy for Fantasy Artists” which has been very useful for gesture, anatomy and reference photos.

Tunnel zombies

This is a scene I am working on (I think it’s almost finished) showing zombies creeping towards a fleshy meal in the dark tunnels of the London Underground. I used vanishing point to work out the perspective and I tried to make sure all the heads of the upright zombies in the mid ground and background were at the same level which helps keep the perspective consistent. I began by lightly working out the larger shapes and then focusing on the gesture, capturing the smaller details as I went along. I used graphite and a lot of swearing.


Bibliography and Inspiration

Leonardo da Vinci, Anatomist , Clayton. M, and Philo, R, Royal Collection Publications, 2014

Fantasy Underground – How to Draw Zombies,  Butkis, M, and Destefano, M, Walter Foster Publishing Inc, 2010

Anatomy for Fantasy Artists – An essential guide to creating action figures and fantastical forms, Fabry, G., and Cormack, B., David and Charles Publishers, 2006.

The Walking Dead Vol. 1, Kirkman, R. and Moore, T. Image Comics, 2006.

The Walking Dead Vol 2 -17, Kirkman, R., et al, Image Comics.

Revival, Seeley, T. and Norton, M., Image Comics,

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, Austen, J. and Grahame-Smityh, S., Titan Books, 2009.

Music I listened to

The Zombie E.P – The Devil Wears Prada

The Powerless Rise – As I Lay Dying

An Ocean Between Us – As I lay Dying

JuJu – Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Creep  – Radiohead