Wednesday, 30 October 2013


It's been quite a while since I've posted a new painting. I started this painting of Wolverine back in September but a run of illness had prevented me from sitting down to it properly until recently. So anyway, enough appealing for sympathy, lets get on with the art work :-)

Digital Print

I started this painting after watching "The Wolverine" at the cinema. It was one of those paintings that just meandered along, changing as it went. Initially I had intended to have one of the Chinese leads in the background, or perhaps Jean Grey but as I worked I just wasn't feeling it.

At first I wanted to do this painting landscape, giving plenty of room for Wolverines claws to be the center of attention. I sketched the idea out, added the rough values and an idea of the color scheme.
I really like working with two light sources of different colors, so I decided early on that I would use a blue "moon lit" light source and a orange flame light source.
As you can see from the first sketch, I kept to trend in that the proportions of most of it are very wrong. This wolverine is squat, his head is squished and I remember spending ages not knowing what to do with Wolverines legs.... no dirty jokes please!
Looking at this work in progress even I find it hard to believe that it is the same painting as the finished piece and I'm always struck, particularly when writing this blog, by how much of a transformation my paintings go through to get to the final stage. Often I think that I should spend more time developing my sketching so that my initial sketches reflect a far clearer image of the final painting. Many of my friends who work predominately in traditional media do this and create incredibly detailed work before ever putting pen, paint, or pastel to paper. But that just isn't how I work. When I think of the way I create a painting I'm often more reminded of sculptors or wood workers who are sometimes heard saying that they have an idea in their head but the wood or stone "tells" them the form it wants to take. It's the same with the way I work. I know roughly what I want to do and I will usually have a very clear image in my head or even as a sketch roughed out on paper, but in the end it doesn't matter what I planned to do, if the painting "wants" to so something different then I'm just along for the ride!
Right, enough introspection... On with the painting!!

In this second work in progress I've given up on the idea of a landscape painting and moved to portrait. I've also corrected many of the problems with proportion and spent more time that was possibly necessary painting Wolverines abs!
I still don't know what to do with Wolverines legs so I spent some time looking at reference photos (reading between the lines, I sat drooling over more shirtless photos of Hugh Jackman... but this time he had tight pants on too)
Now that I had the main figure pretty much up to scratch I needed to think about his placement, the lighting and background. I also needed to tackle one of my nemeses, Wolverines adamantium claws. While I'd been enjoying painting Wolverine I'd forgotten how much I hate painting metal!

This is the last work in progress and as you can see we're nearly there. A fluke of the blue light on Wolverines right side put me in mind of rain and as the orange light was going to be a fire light source I decided that Wolverine was going to be moving in from the cold rain to an roaring inferno. (Kind of fire and ice without the ice... I probably should not share the inner working of my brain) At this point I still haven't tackled those claws, and to be honest I was getting a little intimidated by them and so was putting it off. I was also worried about the colors feeling a little muddy.
I was almost there but lots of little tweaks would be needed before I was happy.

And here we are, back to the final painting. I finally got over my fear of Wolverine's claws and discovered that the worse part was not the large claws across the middle of the painting but the smaller claws on that are almost invisible on his other hand.
In addition to the obvious inclusion of the claws, I also spent some time tidying and refining, giving the edges and little more "edge", removing some of the mud from the colors and adding some sparks and a hint of fire for Wolverine to move towards... Oh and of course an X-Men belt buckle.... It wouldn't be complete without that.

You may have noticed that I've started to watermark my final images more noticeably. Sadly, a number of my artist friends have recently had work stolen or posted without credit. Artists put a heck of a lot of work into what they do, whether it's digital or traditional, and it's sad that there are people out there who feel it is OK to use others paintings without permission or in some awful cases use them commercially without paying for them or even claiming the work as their own. This is why I will now be adding watermarks to my images. Hopefully, some day soon the clever techy gods will come up with a way to prevent image theft without the need to scribble all over it.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

New bronze cameo necklaces availablein my Etsy store

Following on from my previous post, I now have even more pendants on my Etsy store. This time in bronze / Antique Gold tones.

I've fallen in love with the Azazel pendant just a little bit so I might have to make one for myself ;-)

Monday, 2 September 2013

New Silver Cameo Necklaces

I've been hard at work this afternoon (well I suppose that's a matter of opinion) making new silver tone cameo pendants from my artwork for my Etsy shop... and here they are, 3 lovely new necklaces. Snap them up before I decide I should keep them for myself ;-)




All 3 necklaces are made from nickle free settings with glass cabochons. The chains they sit on are also nickle free. £6 each plus p&p.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Geisha - Digital Portrait

Digital Portrait

If you've been following my blog then you'll know that a while ago I spent a few months obsessed with painting and drawing Geisha. Since moving to digital art I haven't painted any Geisha, until now!

As with most of my paintings I started with a rough idea that I sketched out on the computer. I usually keep this very loose as my final painting rarely looks anything like the original sketch.

Once I've got the basic shape sorted out I usually start a more detailed black and white under painting,  however as the majority of my Geisha was to be black and white I decided not to bother this time... BIG mistake. Deciding to jump right into colour reminded me why I never usually do this. Most of the alterations and corrections that I do are worked out in the black and white stage as it's harder to make big alterations once you're working in colour. Had I taken the extra time this painting would have taken a fraction of the time that it did.
As it was I put down colour blocks as you can see on the right side of this work in progress shot and then stated to add in the detail as you can see in the eyes and the left of the work in progress.

At this point I was starting to go a little nuts and remembering exactly why I work in black and white first. The hair decorations just weren't going right, the eyes were slightly unbalanced and those flowers were awful. It took me a lot of fiddling around to fix this mess.

Finally the finished article. I removed the awful flowers and replaced them with more natural looking cherry blossoms instead of a representation of the common paper flowers modern Geisha wear in their hair. The hair ornaments have also been made to look more natural and have been given depth, the eyse ate no longer unbalanced and look a little more "real" and detail has been added to the fan and the background to give some depth to the painting.

I always learn something from every painting I do and I think the most obvious thing that I have learned from this painting is not to rush. The result I get from taking my time, working on the under painting and then adding colour is always less strained even if it does take more time. It's far easier to make alterations at the start than at the end.

I'm thinking about setting my computer up so that I can record a time lapse of my painting process. It probably won't be available for a while. I've already started a new painting of Wolverine that I hope to finish in the next week or so but the next painting after that I may give it a try. I'm not entirely sure if my style will lend itself to that sort of thing as I tend to paint in short bursts but I'll see how it goes and let you know.

Geisha is now available as a print on my Etsy store here

Please also check out and like my Facebook page where I post lots of work in progress shots and random updates

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Win a wolf pendant

Would you like to win this lovely wolf pendant featuring my artwork? Well get over to my Facebook page at and enter my prize draw for your chance to win!

The winner will be drawn out of a hat on 1st September 2013. Good Luck!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Azazel - Then and Now

Unsurprisingly I follow quite a few other artists on Facebook and just recently a lot of them have been doing "then and now" posts. The idea is that you take a painting that you did a couple of years ago and re-paint it in your current style to see how much your style has changed and your technique improved.

When I decided that attempt a then and now painting, I chose one of the first digital paintings I ever completed to re-work. The subject was Azazel, my favorite X-Men Villon.
This original painting (on the left) was done in grey scale using only a round brush. I remember that I sketched it out directly from a movie poster and even though it's very rough and not very detailed it has got the basic features just about right. In my current style I usually use something like this in the early staged of painting and then build a more detailed painting over it. At the time I was quite happy with this painting and I think it still has a certain charm although it screams "UNFINISHED" at me which is another reason why I chose to repaint it.

The painting to the right is my revised painting. I purposely didn't spend a huge amount of time on it, just a couple of hours, about the same as I spent on the original. Once I found a few source photos I decided that I wanted to make the painting a head and shoulders shot like the previous painting, but unlike my first painting it wouldn't be a straight copy of a photo as I try not to just copy photos anymore if I can help it. To work out a pose I decided would take inspiration from my favorite moment featuring Azazel, in this scene he has just killed the entire crew of a Russian ship and for no reason other than his own perverse joy he grabs the captains hat and pops it on his head before heading off to steer the ship at some very miffed American soldiers… Good clean evil fun!
So in my revised painting I decided to have Azazel wearing a captains hat and smiling just slightly, as if he's up to something. I also made the painting slightly sepia in tone like an old photo.

The difference in the two paintings are quite pronounced. My current work is a lot more detailed and has a bit more character to it. I'm getting much more skilled at capturing light, drawing hair and indicating texture… although I think I've probably got a way to go on that particular skill. For all that my style hasn't changed dramatically. The majority of my work is still done with one brush which has a pencil like texture to it, but is still basically a soft round brush. My paintings in their early stages usually look very much like my 2011 painting and are done using 3 shades of grey. The main difference in my technique now is that I build upon the original image, making it more detailed with every pass. In my finishing touches I do often use custom brushes now to give my paintings a little extra texture or detail, however I try to limit the use of custom brushes to the bare minimum, as despite their time saving qualities I find that when I finish a painting using a custom brush I often can't look at it without seeing the obvious signs of whatever brush I've used. Not good!

So, what do you think? I know that if someone had shown me my second painting when I painted the first and said "in 2 years you'll be able to paint this" I would have probably just responded "I wish!". On the other hand, looking at the painting I did recently I can't imagine being able to improve my skills much further. Perhaps I'll have to pick this up again 2015 to see if I really have got as good as I'm going to get, or if I've made another leap to something I never would have imagined myself capable of today! Here's hoping!

If you like my work please like my Facebook page at

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Claws and Robbers - Commission

I recently undertook a commission for an author, Susan Rae Glass and her new book Claws and Robbers. The brief was to create a illustration to for one of her books characters which would show both the supernatural side of the book and the Police connection, that would be used as part of a pack given away with signed books. This is how I went about it…

After some discussions in the pub (where all the best discussions are held) regarding Susan's ideas and how they could work, I headed home and worked up some very rough ideas in black and white (and in this case blue) so that Susan could decide which was her favorite. I always think this stage, where I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do just looks like scribble or finger painting but apparently Susan saw past that and chose the middle idea.

Once I knew where the painting should be heading I could rough out the background and the main subjects body. I tried a few ideas for this but then I started reading "Claws and Robbers" and it was immediately apparent that the character should in a relaxed but alert pose, instead of crouched.
Once I'm happy with the rough shape of the character I always try to get the head/face right as this will help me develop the character in my mind and give him personality. After that the rest is relatively easy. At this point I was relatively happy with the pose and the head but something wasn't quite right. Later I worked out that the left hand side of the face was too fluffy and the left eye wasn't quite in the right place.

Once I had corrected the problems with the wolfs head I could get down to fur, fur and more fur. Thankfully I managed to go though most of my fur painting learning curve while painting my previous wolf so this time things ran far more smoothly and took half the time. It just goes to show that the adage "practice makes perfect" is alive and well.
One other change I made was to move the wolf to a better position as I needed to keep in mind that I had both a background and a title to add to the painting.

Speaking of backgrounds, here we are! I cannot express how much the thought of painting all those police officers in riot gear filled me full of dread. Particularly as I needed to make it fairly obvious what they were without drawing too much attention away from our wolf. I'm afraid they do somewhat remind me of the scary skeletal spacemen from Dr. Who, spooky!

And here it is, the finished article. I had some fun playing around with the text to give it that finishing touch and I was so happy with the result that a copy is now hanging on my wall.

If you would like to purchase a copy of "Claws and Robbers" you can do so on Amazon at

… or you can follow Susan Rae Glass on Facebook and purchase one of her fantastic signed books directly from her with a "MET" pack which includes a post card sized print of my work at

… and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page where you will see work in progress shots and news often weeks before it hits my blog.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Captain Malcolm Reynolds - Firefly

I completely forgot about posting this painting which I completed a few weeks ago. The subject is Captain Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly.

As usual I started with a rough black and white painting to get the general shapes and lights and shadows placed.

Once I was happy with the black and white painting, I added the first layer of colours and tweaked the composition again. I also put in the basic background so to make it easier to tie the subject and background together ay the end.

At this point I tweaked Malcolm's face a little, it looks a lot more like him now. I also added more colour and started putting a little more texture into the background to make it weathered.

...And here's the finished article. I had lots of trouble with the gun but got there in the end, and I had lots of fun creating the messy background.

I'm currently in the process of updating my website and finishing off a exciting commission so watch this space for up coming news. Alternatively if you would like to be kept up to date with work in progress and news please like my FaceBook page

Friday, 5 April 2013


 Naytiri Portrait

So the past couple of days I've been entertaining myself with this little portrait from one of my favorite movies, Avatar. My goal with this painting was to try to capture the character without doing a straight copy of a photo or still. The painting took about 5 hours and was completed digitally on CS3. Without a doubt the thing that took the longest was working with the pink and blue light sources hitting blue skin... Not a combination you have to worry about very ofter!

Below, for your viewing pleasure are a few work in progress shots to show how I achieved the painting.

 Before doing anything else I roughed out a greyscale sketch to give me an idea of where the shadows would fall. I do this with most of my paintings as it helps to map things out and catch errors before I get too far into the painting. In this case I found it a bit of a mixed blessing as because of the secondary blue light source places where I thought shadow should be were actually florescent blue.

I also drew in one of the pink willow like trees in the background. I don't normally touch the background yet but I found it helped a lot later when I tried to work out the pinks on Nytiri's skin. I may make a mental note to work out the background first going forward.
 Once I had the greyscale image to work with I could start working on the skin tone and roughing in all the elements, lights and shadows in colour. At this point I realized that Nytiri's right eye wasn't quite right. I also noticed that her face was too rounded and her nose too thin, so I spent some time correcting the proportions by flipping the image to get a different perspective and "re-set my brain".
 At this pint I had corrected all of the obvious floors, Finished the right eye and added more definition to the rest of the face. I also painted in Nytiri's stripes and roughed in the light points under her skin so that I could get a feel for the finished painting.
When I first started painting digitally I would paint each element on it's own layer and then stitch it together with a blending layer, but while that made it easy to alter elements without needing to repaint the surrounding area I always found that the painting felt a little disjointed. Now I tend to create a new layer for every sitting. That way I can easily undo anything that I've altered recently but don't like, but I'm always working in the same way I would if I was working in traditional media (in other words, laying down colour, waiting for it to dry and then laying down another glaze on top of it) This works much better for me but I still use the odd additional layer for working on something complicated like hair or working out how something works within the painting like Nytiri's spots and stripes.

To get to the final painting I continued refining and adding detail, I tweaked Nytiri's nose and mouth a little more and drew in the lips. I spent some time adding more florescent blue to the shadows and doing my favorite part of any painting, working on the hair :-/ Finally I blended Nytiri's stripes and re-drew her spots.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Alphonse Mucha Practice Sketch

Alphonse Mucha Practice Sketch

Alphonse Mucha is one of the most famous art nouveau artists. Even if you haven't heard of him you will have probably seen his work which is easily recognizable by the elegant art nouveua style, iconic line art and delicate watercolour washes. He's also one of my favorite artists by far and I often practice doing sketches after his work when I'm struggling to think of what to draw.

...So, this year hasn't gone quite to plan yet. At the start of the year I had big plans for doing a lot more artwork. However in January I was informed that I was being made redundant (something that came to pass last week) as a result I have mostly been trying to think of ways to feed myself over the next few months!
Despite this and the ever present need to find a new job I will be trying to pick up my feet over the next few weeks. I have several ideas in the pipeline including several individual paintings, a few projects that I'd like to get finished and a deck of tarot cards. I also hope to spend a lot more time sketching and drawing as I seem to have allowed myself to get side tracked from that recently.
On top of this I'm hoping to redesign my website again using some very complicated looking books on XHTML, CSS and Java that I picked up at the library and open a eBay store.

So, if you'd like to keep up to date on whether I'm being a good girl and drawing instead of watching episodes of Lost and eating cookies, now would be a good time to "like" my facebook page which is updated regularly with random photos taken from my phone and odd bits of non-blog-worthy news!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Music in the Night 12x10 Print

Music in the Night 12x10" Print
£20 + p&p

My wolf painting with some finishing touches is now available to purchase as a 12x10" signed limited edition print.

"Music in the Night is professionally printed on high quality sem-gloss poster stock with a 1" white border. Each print will be signed and numbered (out of 50).

To order your copy, please email me at or visit my Etsy shop. I accept payment by Paypal or personal cheque however please note that payment must clear before your print will be sent.

Please follow me on Facebook at

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Wolf 8x10

Wolf 8x10

My first painting of the new year is complete and I'm very happy with him.

My wolfy took a little longer to complete than I had anticipated as the gremlins decided to invade my flat again and kill my graphics tablet!!! On the bright side I now have a shiny new one which I've finally got to grips with.

If you would like to pre order a print of this painting please contact me via my Facebook page

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Wolf - Work in Progress

I thought I'd give you all a sneak peak at the new 8x10 print I'm working on.

I've promised myself that this year I will try to finish one print every month so this pretty little chap is my January offering.
This is the first time that I've tried to paint this much fur in such detail and I've hit upon the unexpected snag of writers cramp! I can only manage sittings of about an hour before I have to step away from the computer and give my wrist a rest.

I have to finish my wolfs tummy and legs and put in the finishing touches but I expect to have him complete by the end of the week.

To seem more work in progress photos and news please like my Facebook page at

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Happy New Year!

 Christmas Mini Commission

Here we are in January, at the start of a whole new (hopefully excellent) year. I hope all of my visitors had a enjoyable Christmas with lots of food and the odd tipple.
For me the Christmas period was full of highs and lows. The highs were getting lots of lovely art books and a shiny new Spyder (a clever technical thing that improves the colour output on my monitor) sadly this was offset by my last little rescue rodent passing away Christmas nigh.

RIP Peanut My special little boy

He was named peanut due to his tendency to annoy everyone (human or rodent) around him to such an extent that he had to be separated from his brothers for the sake of their sanity. But once he became a only rat he seemed to mellow, he also invented the "yoggie dance" which seemed to involve jumping up and down on his hind legs while doing jazz hands until someone gave him a yoggie... It always worked! He passed away at the grand old age of just over 3 1/2 smashing Reggies record for rodent longevity.

So, what do I have planned for this year? Well I already have a few possible commissions to look forward to and I'm hoping to be a lot busier on that front this year. I am also planning to take part in a lot more craft fairs and produce a lot more limited edition prints. So all in all I'm planning to draw, paint and generally work my little socks off! I also intent to be a lot more fastidious about updating my blog, so I should be posting at least once per week (Or I will have to take myself outside and give myself a good talking to).

Todays picture is of the secret mini commission completed before Christmas. The client wanted a vintage teacup cameo necklace and specified that person it was made for is not a girly girl so no flowers. Instead I used a gold lace motif which was no small feat particularly as my computer decided that it didn't like the first one and chose to crash just as I finished! Modern technology is definitely a double edged sword.

Don't forget that you can now follow me on Facebook at

Monday, 19 November 2012

Pet Portrait

My goodness it's been a while since I last posted anything new! But I've finally got myself sorted with a shiny new super quick computer so it's back to business as usual I hope!

While my computer has been out of action I've been working on this lovely little pencil commission. This little chap was quite a feat with his very impressive, but very fiddly ears. He was approved by his owner today so he will be winging his way to her this week. I must admit that despite that fact that I've done a few commissions now I'm always terrified when I send through proof photos. I think it's very similar to the feeling of sitting in a waiting room before going into an interview for a job you really want. Still, I'm sure the fear must serve to make me work harder!

The next commission I'm working on will be back to my beloved Photoshop to create a image for a unique cameo necklace but unfortunately I won't be able to share this one with you until the new year as it's a Christmas present.

If you would like more updates on what I'm getting up to please follow me on Facebook at