Wednesday, 30 November 2011

I've Almost Forgotten What You Did Last Summer

Most phone conversations I have will have at some point the phrase 'not much to report really' in them, but actually looking back I reckon I've done quite a lot this year dammit!  And then I've realised that being as it's been a bit of a whirl (and when it hasn't I've enjoyed the break from my computer..), I haven't really told you guys about any of it.

So in small bursts I'm going to tell you where I've been.  There will be MONKS!

TINY DOGS! (larger when I've found the right file!!).....

 MEERKATS (in case you're not sick of them already!!)....


I'll bet you can't wait...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Sam's latest offering gets luke warm response from forest animals...

Woo! Woo!  That's right, I've been back to Story Corner again - the latest episode of Driver Dan's Story Train to include scribbles by me aired last night on CBeebies.  I never tire of having my name read out in Dan's chocolatey tones...Dan's a lion by the way.  You can see more shots from it by clicking on my portfolio on the right (dammit I'm organised).  Looking forward to early next year, as the Driver'll be reading a story wot I have wrote too! 
PS for pedants I know that cats and goats aren't technically forest animals...they are however in a forest in this picture, so I'm having it.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Big Draw

Well, sort was a bit early - we did it on the 29th.  I had a great time, as I think did everyone.  Had a go at doing big pictures (with a paintbrush and everything..very Rolf Harris) and it was kinda addictive.  Once again properly put in my place by the superior imaginitive power of kids though...

Thanks to Foyles, everyone that came and of course the Brillustration lot (check more pictures on their blog by the way!)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Be there or be square!

If you're in the Bristol area this Saturday and fancy helping some top notch illustrators fill the walls with nice pictures, then please come on down!  Also, keep an eye on Brillustration's blog...ees nice.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

More gorillys

Hello again folks.  Slightly slim pickins today; partly as I really had to do these sketches in a stolen moment before going to pick up my kids from school, but also as Salome was doing the sensible thing and  keeping out of the limelight a bit...looked out for all the time I think by her other son Komale (apologies if I'm getting any details wrong here!).  I did quite literally hide in a bush to draw these; they are pictures of them resting under a little shelter.  I appreciate that the first sketch is just shapes that may mean nothing to anyone but me, but I quite like it.

Also struggling a little to get the feel of these pictures right with just a pen. Their expressions tend to be really subtle, and quite hard to pick out of a face which is so black , so I think I might get adventurous and get some watercolours on the go for the next ones.  

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Well I wasn't expecting that..

What a day!  I have been working on and off on a small mural at Bristol Zoo - I went in today to start on the final stretch.  It was mentioned it'd be nice if it could have a tapir on of I went with me sketchbook to scribble some down....

Got carried away with sketching, and wound up sketching the gorillas.  There was just one sat out in the sun on their own, almost as if they were biding their time waiting for something to happen...

 There was a bit of excitement with keepers and staff running round in a very purposeful 'can't tell you why' kinda way, so I hung around for a bit.  Glad I did, because i got a chance to see  this gorilla (Salome?) step out into the sun clutching her literally just born baby.  In celebration I did a terrible sketch - doesn't quite capture it but it was an amazing moment!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Field notes..

A little page from my field sketchbook.  Recently had to do some research (scribbling) at Durham Cathedral.  There are some some lovely Norman illustrations in the cloisters there chronicling the life and times of St Cuthbert (the cathedral was built to house his shrine).  Reading up on it, it seems his sainthood is pretty much down to the devout way he lived his life, and exemplary services to Christianity.  You've got to have a couple of miracles's one that tickled me.  I tried to copy the expression as accurately as possible.

I can thoroughly recommend a trip to Durham by the way, it's a beautiful place.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Cancelled due to lack of interest (it was just a page of me drawing the same nose over and over again - ah the sad world of the half arsed perfectionist!).  But replaced with something far nicer.  My daughter did this the other day, and there is nothing about it I don't like.  It is a goblin dressed as a fairy by the way, and before any of you think of ripping that gorgeous idea off, I am way ahead of you!  I have started with the nose...

Monday, 22 August 2011

A taste of the border..

As you may have figured I've been a tad busy of late.  I'll show y'all the results when I'm allowed to, but in the meantime here's a scribble that I did in the border of the page I'm working on.  Tomorrow, World of Noses!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Train Doodles

Greetings friends - long time no see with usual apologies and excuses.  All work and no play has done level best to make Sam a dull boy, but not quite there yet (hopefully!).  Anyhoo, some sketches from a train trip I took yesterday.  Had a go at the 'drawing people from a glimpse' thing that I recommended Keith (sorry about that mate!) with mixed results, and as you can see doodling and the odd pretentious scribble took over!

Then I got the chance to draw this chap, and it might be one of my favourite sketches to date.  Obviously I know nothing about this guy, but he seemed genuinely thrilled to be on a train, so I really enjoyed drawing him.  I think he rumbled me too, but was enjoying the view out the window so much that he wasn't bothered.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Another of my favourite things...

This one from my wall.  I love the effects you can get with screenprinting but do get put off by the expense and the chemicals.  One technique I do really like is just using paper stencils on the screen -bye bye expense and chemicals for starters, plus it makes me think about picture-making in a way I never normally do. I was talking to a guy recently who does printing just this way on a table at home.  Hmmmmm.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Under the bridge...or the homework my dog ate...

So this is the stuff I left in the car...and after all that really only one sketch actually.  I likes it though.

A bit of background - my favourite place in the whole world at the moment I've decided is just under the swing bridge/by the lock gates in Cumberland Basin.  I cross the lockgates every day I go to work, and often as not that will be the most interesting part of that day.  Both the gates and the bridge are mechanical wonders (the bridge when it swings above your head seems hyper-real), there's the Suspension Bridge in the background, the Bond buildings and then there's the nature side of things - the water, the river banks, the effect the weather has on the place.  It's always different whenever I go there and I love it.

One of my favourite things is when they fill the lock with water to allow boats to pass.  The water goes crazy in a way very hard to describe and, as it turns out, to draw- but I had a go..

Today the plug seemed to have been pulled out..

Funnily enough I was a little late for work...

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Eyop!  Sorry I've been a while away - I've been feverishly drawing (can't tell you)s for my a story I wrote about (shouldn't say) for another episode of Driver Dan's Story Train.  I am dead excited as this the first story I've written to have been published, aired or more or read by a cartoon lion.  Watch this space!
I meant to post some groovy location sketches from my travels around Bristol (erm, walk to work) today, but I realised I've left my sketchbook in my car which the lovely Mel has now driven to work.  So to fill the time here're a couple of pics that I did recently to illustrate whimsical facts for the new meerkat enclosure at Bristol Zoo  (if you want to see the rest you'll either have to visit or wait till I leave my sketchbook in the car again).

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


This fell out of my drawer when I was looking for something the looks of it I did it around Christmas time.  Whenever I'm working I always tend to lose one sheet of nice paper when the doodles take over, both of stuff i'm meant to be working on and other random brain rattles.

Sunday, 29 May 2011


Over on Keith's blog a while back he asked for suggestions for new projects/approaches and I suggested speed drawing...for example drawing people on the platform whilst your train stops at a station.  He duly rose to the challenge, whilst I realise I really haven't put my money where my mouth is.  There was also some debate further down the line (no pun..) about the nature of drawing, and what your scribbles mean to the scribbler and the viewer and why.  Here's (by my reckoning) a 15 second drawing done whilst my friend was paying for and returning from the bar with her coffee.  I'm really pleased with this because with the minimum information I can now call to mind the guy's pose, what he was doing even perhaps his mood.  I've got no idea if this is just because I did it though...may mean bugger all to anyone else!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Sorry to have been away a while again folks - I am currently frantically scribbling for a job (usual rules apply and I can't show you any of it!).  In the meantime here's a study sketch I did the other day that I quite like. Karisma pencils on Chartwell Lab Book paper possibly more satisfying than drawing on bananaskin with a biro. Watercolour pretty satisfying can see the moment I realised these things fairly early on in this (fairly battered now) sketchbook....

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A little bitta fun..

I recently contributed to a game of online consequences that was started by Frances Cony on the South West Illustrators was a bit of a rush job but i quite like it.... hopefully it'll take off!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Mel's Stuff again!

Hey all, just to say Mel's finally got a Folksy site where you can buy goodies with her lovely designs on.  Annoyingly she's made her first couple of sales within minutes of it going live (no mums or close friends were prewarned neither) so she will likely be unbearable when she gets back from work!  Do check it out - her stuff is ace -abd  if you like it there'll be more where that came from soon...  Now tell your friends!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Fame at last!!

Anyone wondering how to cut a dash on the beach this summer should check this link.  It's all about the hat.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Half an hour in the pub..

Okay so I lied..more black and white stuff.  Found myself in the glorious situation of having half an hour with absolutely nothing to do before picking my kids up from school, so I plonked myself in the nearest bar, ordered the least fancy kind of tea on the board and sat and sketched.  There were lots of people either reading or having discussions over bits of paper, pads, magazines etc, so I decided to make paper the theme of the day...

Alas paper can only hold the attention for so long....

Monday, 25 April 2011

A day at the beach

Went with the family to Clevedon yesterday and had an ace time - only managed to find a little time for sketching.  Bit of a paradox here with the sketches - the beach was full splashing and shouting and running and general good times.  As a result I did loads of half sketches of people on the move that'll mean nothing to anyone but me...the only ones I got anywhere near finished were ones of people standing still (and often out of context) - these look kinda melancholy which is completely misleading!

Ah well you live and learn - I'm off to empty the sand out of my shoes...

PS - I may have to take a slight leave from the blog until I've done something colourful - there's been a bity of a run on the B&W!!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Dogs and a sprog..

The last of my farm pics, mostly of Bob the sheepdog - a little wonky I'll admit, but being as they were drawn in stolen moments when he was waiting for me to throw the ball again I think I'm justified in still being pleased with them! The other one is of my daughter mixing animal feed. She's harder to get to stand still than the dog.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

And now for the chooks...

Some more scribbles from the farm, although I have to admit I spent more time just enjoying being there (as opposed to sat at a desk) than I did drawing. Click here for some lovely pics of Cwmchwefru Farm and you'll get an idea why -a very nice place to spend a few sunny days..

Friday, 22 April 2011


Whilst we're keeping true to our word, I promised one of my faithful readers some pictures of goats a while back. Finally made it to Mel's folks' farm in Powys on the weekend, and got a few sketches down in the barn (more species to follow!!).

Game on! (again)

Mentioned in a previous post that I had some more pictures of gamers (them that is engaged in videogamery being ideal as models), but subsequently failed to find them. Then look what i found in me loft - there is a point to spring cleaning after all! Sorry about the slightly wierd ear on the first one....if you slightly close the sketchbook it looks perfect honest!!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Mel takes over the internet...

It has been threatened for some time now, but now it is a reality. Soon, you will be compulsively buying linoprints, teatowels, cards, all sorts of things; unable to remember how it all started but similarly unable to stop. That's right, Mel has finally sorted out her blog! Whilst this is great news, because you 'll be able to see loads more of her designs and how she prints and what inspires them (I can't wait to find out!!), I will admit to a little sadness as it signals an end of an era. Due to increased levels of 'work in situ' photography, I may have to start being tidy.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The little black notebook...

Found this on a recent visit to my folks...
there was tattered old note book nestled between books on a bookshelf - in a way that had it been in a film would have screamed that it contained spells, maps or dark secrets. Not quite any of those but a lovely find.

My great grandad I learn was a pharmacist of some standing, and this was his 'formula book' containing all his special recipes for everything from hair restorer to cold remedies. He also kept press clippings and all his old adverts, bottle labels etc. This one here is my favourite, firstly, because anyone who starts their advert "ARGUMENT' is alright by me,
Secondly, it's always nice to see that members of your family were silver tongued so and sos,
and thirdly, it works quite nicely if you replace 'Pharmacist' with 'Illustrator', 'Medicine' with 'Scribbles' etc - indeed I may have to do so and give the result to potential clients...

Good on you Great Grandad

Friday, 18 February 2011

If you're ever In Fuengirola, go to....

It's a dead good multilingual bookshop, and it's run by my kin! Here's a bookmark design I did as a linoprint (God bless photoshop though -in my enthusiasm I forgot that linoprints come out reversed). I like this technique, but I fear there's only room for one linoprinter in my house...look out for Mel's blog soon...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Prompted to post this one having seen a post on Lining a Drawer of someone playing the DS. People playing computer games are the best models as they invariably don't move and keep the same expression for huge periods of time! Here's some sketches I did of a couple of my mates, who I don't think would have held any kind of pose for me had they not been doing pretty well on Silent Hill...

Monday, 14 February 2011

With Easter approaching...

I planned to design some cards for this Christmas just gone, but I have to admit I find this really hard to do. As time was against me I gave it up as a bad job -but I thought I'd put this sketch up as it shows how I tend to work - normally I work ideas up in pencil, try out a myriad poses and ideas all on top of each other, find the bit I like in the middle and then rub everything out around it. Doesn't quite work with pen sketches, but I like the effect.