Endangered Animals

Art work for Endangered Species

I have participated in Twitters Animal Alphabets community for a year now and its been so rewarding! Its also been a little heartbreaking this time round.  The latest prompts were all about endangered species, a joy to draw but so sad to find so many amazing creatures that are at risk because of the human impact on habitats and animal population.

It finished a few weeks ago and this is the complete collection.

First 16 AA2Template Last 10 AA2_edited-1

I managed to make every single one and learned a lot on the way. Both on creative techniques and, sadly, on the horrors people inflict on animals.

The illustrations can be viewed individually here.

The next round will be about monster movie/book characters! A more palatable kind of horror,  I have to say, and I’m excited to have spent a whole month practicing! I took part in Drawlloween/inktober. So exhausting and so worthwhile. I’ll update my journal with the collection (and what I learned) shortly. Even the really bad ones. I don’t care – 31 drawings in 31 days is immense and I seriously don’t think I can expect to be happy with every single one.

In the meantime: Animals. I’ve singled these two drawings out as the numbat was my absolute favourite to draw, and the cranes were made at the request of Animal Alphabets to use as the reference art for week W (I’m so proud!).


I’ve included my inspiration, books and music below but it was over such a long period of time its all I can remember!

Bibliography and Inspiration

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Terryl Whitlach

I would really like to own all her books but for now I am pinning and following on Instagram:

Bobby Rebholz

I also follow on Instagram, and pinned:


Music I listened to

The Raveonettes

Queen of the Damned Soundtrack

My Chemical Romance

As I Lay Dying

Nine Inch Nails



New Shanghai


New Shanghai – digitally enhanced

A while ago I was invited to collaborate on an e-book- Engella – with the super author/scientist Paul Ian Cross and I’ve had so much fun with this project! It’s set across multiple universes -a sci-fi geek’s dream come true! It included bonus illustrations, and this one is my favourite. I like working traditionally – it makes me happy, but sometimes sci-fi kind of demands a bit more – I really wanted to have a dusky cityscape with lights and rockets launching; and that meant trying digital.

Learning to draw digitally and using it with my traditional works is a great ambition of mine. This is my first attempt and I am really proud of the outcome. It has given me a huge desire to do more.

I worked on the cityscape in graphite and then used the fill function on Photoshop Elements (PSE) to create the dark city sky, add all the lights and enhance the chem trails.


New Shanghai – original graphite



Bibliography and Inspiration

Sci-Fi Essentials, Sketching from the Imagination – An insight into creative drawing, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

Sketching from the Imagination: Sci Fi, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Music I listened to

Some space music on you tube –it’s a thing!

The Devil Wears Prada – Space E.P

Mozart – Requiem

Faith and the Muse

The Birthday Massacre


I have been busy working on more fairy tales. I especially love my attempt at Jack and the Beanstalk. I think it is because I had the time to work on the environment for this one.



It’s  a very simple environment and  I am keen to practice and develop my ideas with more depth and textures – they just add so much more to the  story. I have collected a huge amount of inspiration for this idea. My ImagineFX subscription is probably the best thing I did this year! So, as usual, no new year resolutions except to learn something. Last year I wanted to practice my figures and character design. This year I want to continue with that but take it a step further and give them a place within their story.

Some of my other illustrations (up to K, so far) are here – Creatures.

Bibliography and Inspiration

Fairy tales!

ImagineFX Future Publishing

500 Manga Villains and Heroes, Yishan Studio, 2010

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

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

Music I listened to

Warm Bodies Soundtrack

The Birthday Massacre

A is for Alice

I have been so busy making things; other things have been left behind (this blog, for example!) and that annoys me.  Saying that, I think if you find the motivation to make something then you should embrace it, as it’s not always guaranteed! One thing I’ve come to realise, though, is that waiting for inspiration to come your way could mean you are in for a very long wait – actively seeking out ideas and inspiration will most definitely help you find your way – or another way – eventually. Sitting on your arse probably won’t.


A is for Alice

This lead me to the fact that I needed a change so I started taking part in a fun weekly drawing challenge on Twitter called Animal Alphabets https://twitter.com/hashtag/animalalphabets

It’s a lot of fun , provides a weekly source of inspiration and its amazing how so many people take part in the challenge yet each submission is so cool and unique!

Currently it’s up to E and I have encamped the rest of my progress (so far) on my Creatures page.

Bibliography and Inspiration

Martin, Justin.,  Poses for Artists, Vol. 1 and 2, Eagel Ink Factory, Justin Martin, 2016.

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Sketching from the Imagination: Sci Fi, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

Music I listened to

Queen of the Damned Soundtrack

The Raveonettes


The Zombies in the Wood

I am teaching myself to draw and someone (not a zombie!) asked me if I had any advice on how to go about it. I think, for me, there are many answers to this and I decided this question might be something I could write about here.  I think it worth noting that you should never stop experimenting and pushing yourself – otherwise what is the point! Whenever I have the time I like to look back at old work and try again. Like this project – The Zombies in the Wood (the original piece is included further down)


Work in progress – The Zombies in the Wood – graphite (2H, H, HB)

For me, drawing things that interest me is very important. The few structured art classes I did years ago were pretty uninspiring and I think I have figured out why. I like fantasy and Sci-Fi. If someone asked me to draw a chair (which they did) I could see that the task was useful but not ever so exciting. If someone asked me to draw a pirate king’s throne then I think I would have been all for it. Clearly I didn’t have the imagination to see that back then, but I guess better late than never. I also get that the chair is totally necessary – it’s really important to use reference material and if you are drawing people or animals then it’s a good idea to consider the anatomy and think about what lies under the skin. This really helped with my figures and characters.

I use all kinds of things for reference – I collect objects ,  catalogues with pictures of vases and clocks, fabrics and furniture  or just stringy people in jeans! Every autumn I go to the park and collect Autumnal things. I decorate my home with Autumn.  It helps with the arduous task of getting through summer.

I draw every day if I can and I always listen to music – that is important for me but not compulsory. Maybe.

If I don’t draw I look at my books (see Inspiration) and plan what I am going to draw. I have collected a lot of books. I have learned so much from these resources so far and I haven’t even scratched the surface!. Perhaps I buy too many.

Ask yourself what you want to draw and then make it your mission to find out how.  It’s important to look at the larger shapes and negative space – once you’ve established these you can then look at the smaller shapes within.

When I first began learning I tried a lot of different media. It helped me discover what I wanted to use. I think it’s important to experiment with different media but ultimately use materials that you enjoy using so you can be really good at one or two things instead of OK at lots of things. My favourite is dry media – especially graphite. I’m starting to really realise how much – I always come back to it.  I am desperate to try the coloured water soluble graphite pencils from Derwent. Maybe I will get them for Halloween!

I also love watercolour although I am not sure that it loves me! Some advice I took without regret was to buy the best materials you can afford –  cheap materials can be frustrating and the results disappointing no matter how much skill you have.


My favourite pencils and my home made drawing board (incline fashioned from ImagineFX magazine cardboard packaging)

I think what I have learned the most from is making a finished drawing – not a sketch – but a complete illustration.  Drawing individual subjects in a vacuum is great for practice but actually planning, researching, sketching thumbnails, practicing key elements and then making a piece – a finished piece – is by far the most exciting way of learning how to draw – it forces you to look at so many different things and bring them together and make them work.  You can look at what you made – see what worked and see what didn’t, and then start again. I am going through this process with The Zombies in the Wood. I did this in a rush last year and I have developed a keen hatred for it. So, I am starting again. I will probably look at it in another year and do it again. In fact, I am counting on it!


Bibliography and Inspiration

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.

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

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


Music I listened to

Miss May I – Monument

The Birthday Massacre-  various

2B, or not 2B

Finding time, when you have no time.

Summer holidays and there is no time to draw when I feel the urge. Luckily, I have no idea how to just stop and be still these days so when I do get a spare minute I usually grab it. I decided to just relax and sketch and look for inspiration from other artists and illustrators (there are lots of examples in my Sketchbook). It’s also a great excuse to enjoy all the books I collect – so far I have worked from A Brain is for Eating, Poses for Artists  1 and 2,  and ImagineFX (bibliography below).  I concentrated on gesture but didn’t try to use the media they used – I love working with graphite and it’s a chance to practice!


Working from A Brain is for Eating, by D and A Jacobs, illustrated by Scott Brundage

I am really enjoying the light touch of the harder range of pencils in my pencil box.  I remember being criticised by a well-meaning advisor an age ago – asking me if I thought that was correct? Weren’t they too hard? I took it to heart and listened to this advice. I really shouldn’t have!! The hard pencils are perfect for lighter tones – you can build up tone and you can use them to figure out the initial line drawing without messing up your paper – lightly done pencil work will leave very little evidence of initial errors and, if you want to add watercolour later, hard pencils don’t dissolve into your paint like the B’s will.


Dynamic figure practice – from Poses for Artists (Justin Martin)

I think learning from other artists and other peoples methods is a very useful approach – trying to make what they make really makes you stop and think about the how of a drawing and, personally, it makes me look at other drawings differently, too.  Saying that, it’s important to remember your own voice because what works for other people may not be right for you.

All this book worming is making me want to make something. Anything!

Bibliography and Inspiration

A Brain is for Eating, D and A Jacobs, illustrated by Scott Brundage, Pale Dot Voyage, 2013

Martin, Justin.,  Poses for Artists, Vol. 1 and 2, Standing Poses, Eagel Ink Factory, Justin Martin, 2016.

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.


Music I listened to

Really bloody annoying Minecraft songs from YouTube.