04 December 2016

A MOOC kestrel

I've been enjoying doing a MOOC - a Massive Open Online Course - in Natural History Illustration, hosted by the University of Newcastle, Australia. This was my submission for the final assessment.

Female kestrel, graphite on Bristol board

29 November 2016

An afternoon out at Wicken Fen

I had an unexpected free afternoon last week, so  popped off down to Wicken Fen with sketchbook and camera in hand...

Wicken Lode, Baker's Fen, watercolour and ink
It's a unique landscape and is stunning at any tie of the year! Watercolour and ink in my Stillman & Birn beta sketchbook. More over on my other blog, Cambridgeshire Nature Notes.

15 November 2016

05 November 2016

28 October 2016

Dunnock post-mortem study

Dunnock post-mortem study, pencil and coloured pencils in my Stillman & Birn zeta sketchbook. More about this bird over on my other blog Cambridgeshire nature notes!

Dunnock post-mortem study

25 October 2016

A new blog!

I've started a new blog for my nature journalling/photography/general ramblings - pop over and have a look. Not much on there at the mo, just a 'hello' post and some nice piccies!


30 September 2016

Wood mouse studies

I had another opportunity, via the cat, to study some local wildlife - this is a wood mouse.

Wood mouse watercolour studies

Wood mouse watercolour study

Wood mouse watercolour study

Wood mouse pencil studies
Pencil and watercolour in the Stillman & Birn zeta journal, which is slowly but surely being filled up!

01 September 2016

Scrumptious succulents

A couple of months ago I had a lovely afternoon with a couple of pals, visiting gardens in an 'Open Garden' event (Moseley in Bloom, in Birmingham UK). The gardens were, of course, just beautiful, and a common theme seemed to be succulents - people had them planted in pots, planters, kitchen sinks, and all sorts of places. They looked fab, and inspired me to try a reduction linocut, and this is how it turned out...

Scrumptious succulents reduction linocut original hand-made print

This was the first chance I've had to use the Ternes-Burton registration system (available here in the UK) - suffice it to say I will be using it forever more, it's that good!

I started off with some sketchbook research. On the left-hand page I have made cut-out shapes which I played around with until I found a composition I liked.

Some in-progress pics...

There's now a gap where I didn't take any pics. We did have a few weeks of hot and humid weather when the ink was taking forever to dry, so I think this was the reason...

I printed an edition of 6, on Hosho paper, and for one of the prints I tried the reverse, slightly rough side of the paper. You can see how the ink coverage is patchy (I don't have a relief press, these are printed using a baren and/or wooden spoon). Always useful to know!

Coverage was much better on the smoother side of the paper.

Finished print: Scrumptious succulents, reduction linocut, edition of 6 on Hosho paper with Caligo Safewash inks.

21 August 2016

Couldn't resist a bunch of home-grown beetroot that someone was selling at their garden gate. Ink and watercolour sketch of one, before they all got turned into beetroot houmous...

Ink and watercolur sketch of beetroot
Lamy Safari fountain pen with Platinum Carbon ink, watercolour, on Saunders Waterford CP watercolour paper, 9 by 12"

13 August 2016

Indian running ducks

Ink and watercolour sketch, Indian runner ducks.

Ink and watercolour Indian runner ducks
Fun to draw, with just a splash of colour too...

27 July 2016

Cherries and a bullfinch

More ink and watercolour sketching. There are a couple of cherry trees on the green area near our house, but the birds usually get to the cherries first. Our next door neighbour managed to pick a bagful and gave some to us. And while I was sketching these ones (and before I ate them) a bullfinch was calling from the top of the rowan tree at the end of the driveway. I could hear him, but took a while to spot him!

Ink and watercolour sketching cherries and bullfinch
Lamy Safari pen with Platinum carbon ink and watercolour, Stillman & Birn alpha sketchbook.

23 July 2016

Kestrel study

I was out cycling the other day when I noticed this unfortunate juvenile kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) dead at the side of the road, presumably a victim of a collision with a vehicle. As soon as I got home I grabbed a plastic bag, jumped in the car and went back to retrieve it. What a beautiful bird. Don't feel like I've done it justice really.

Watercolour study of a kestrel

Watercolour and pencil, in a Stillman & Birn zeta sketchbook.

18 July 2016

Urban sketchers Cambridge at Downing College

Sunday was a beautiful hot and sunny day, perfect for a couple of hours of sketching with the Urban Sketchers Cambridge at Downing College.

Ink and watercolour sketching at Downing College Cambridge

30 June 2016


I thought I'd try an ink and acrylic combination for this, rather than the ink and watercolour that I normally go with. I quite enjoyed it!

Jackdaw ink and acrylic

23 June 2016

Nice weather for ducks?

Nice weather for ducks? Even the duck sat on the front lawn the other day couldn't take the torrential thundery downpour that suddenly appeared - she got up and waddled to the shelter of the shrubs... I took a photo of these guys a while back and enjoyed sketching them the other day. Platinum carbon ink with a Lamy Safari pen, watercolour, Seawhite sketchbook (square format, which I'm quite enjoying :-))

Watercolour and ink mallard ducks

24 May 2016

Sketching starlings

Well, the starlings are fledging here et the moment and they are very noisy! I thought I'd do some ink sketches, based on photos I've taken over the past couple of years. Such characters!

Ink sketches of starlings

Ink sketches of starlings

Ink sketches of starlings

Ink sketches of starlings
And here's a starling dad, looking a bit overwhelmed!

Starling fledglings

18 May 2016

Sketchbook mash-up

From pics I took while wandering around my local nature reserve...

ink and watercolour sketching
Click the image to see it a little bigger!

25 April 2016

Sketchcrawl video: sketching condensed!

Here's a video clip of me sketching at the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge, part of the Creative Reactions/Pint of Science art/science festival...

Creative Reactions sketchcrawl with Cambridge Urban Sketchers

#‎CreativeReactions‬ @pintofscience ‪#‎pint16‬

Thanks to Creative Reactions for the opportunity for some sketching, and to Dr Jacek Mokrosinski for hosting.

23 April 2016

Pygmy shrew watercolour studies

Yet another gift from the cat has provided a subject for some studies. This is a pygmy shrew, common across northern Europe. Tiny!

Watercolour studies pygmy shrew
Pygmy shrew studies

25 March 2016

Sketching in the lab

I thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon of sketching yesterday at the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge, organised by Creative Reactions and Pint of Science. Thank you very much Jacek for hosting!
‪#‎CreativeReactions‬ @pintofscience ‪#‎pint16‬

Ink sketch of lab coats

Ink and watercolour scientist at bench

Ink and watercolour flasks

Ink sketch multichannel and pipette

Ink sketch scientist

10 March 2016

Hedgerow gold

A reduction linocut

Hedgerow gold reduction linocut
'Hedgerow gold' is a reduction linocut inspired by bright crab apples in a dark hedgerow; sometimes I spot a blackbird amongst the branches...

And here are some of the sketches and prep for the print. The idea was swimming around in my head for quite a while...

Hedgerow gold prep sketches

Hedgerow gold prep sketches

Hedgerow gold final design

Hedgerow gold prep sketches

28 February 2016

Field vole study

Well, the cat brought me a non-too-delightful present in the form of a field vole, so I took the opportunity to do a few pencil/watercolour studies.
Watercolour and pencil studies of a field vole

Related Posts with Thumbnails