t is the natural world, wildlife, literature, music and feelings, that spark my imagination. A childish curiosity of perpetually asking why? How? What if? Is at the heart of my creativity. Generally a story emerges in response to these questions and usually a character and then finally an image. The Inkling (pictured right) was the result of asking where do my ideas come from?
Research, References,Planning & Sketches
nce an idea takes shape, I begin sketching to get a very rough version of what is in my mind’s eye. Athough often there is a fantastical twist, I always draw upon the real world for reference though. Then I begin thoroughly researching the subject, looking in great depth and detail at all facets of the subject and sifting through what is relevant. I work from a variety of sources including video, reference books such as ‘Animal Anatomy for Artists’ by Eliot Goldfinger, the internet and my own photos (I have been known to take photos of unfortunate deceased wildlife too- just for reference).
use small aspects of a number of references to inform my work, but I never copy another image. After gathering the information required, I will return to my sketches and develop them further, including the relevant detail, modifying them and using my imagination for anything else.
Completed pen and ink drawing
he final drawing is then put onto paper or canvas. I generally have the black and white ink drawing scanned. This enables me to have prints taken from that image as above.
I then begin in colour, generally ink as in this case, but sometimes watercolour or gouache. I enjoy optical mixing and glazes to add to the layers and depth of the work. This image shows me building the layers of which there might be three or four. The oak leaves began as a yellow base too but were then painted blue to make the green.
Completed work in ink with a little pastel: ‘Cornelius the Fox’
Materials & Studio
ne painting can take months to complete (especially in ink when you cannot correct mistakes). Fine draughtsmanship and quality is at the core of all my work. Where possible, I prefer traditional methods and enjoy researching and experimenting with old techniques, materials and mediums, then mastering and adapting them then incorporating them into my work. A unique feature of my work is the love heart that I hide within each piece and which represents where my art comes from: the heart. I work from my studio overlooking the beautiful Walkham Valley on Dartmoor.
lthough I prefer traditional mediums, and only use the finest quality materials, I usually use Winsor and Newton professional series and Series 7 Finest Kolinsky sable brushes , I also embrace the digial age and produce prints. However, I am as particular regarding quality and materials when it comes to producing a print too. All my prints are produced by a fine art printer and are giclee prints on Hahnemuhle paper and are archival quality. I now only print an edition of 50 prints and each one comes with its own hologram number and certificate of authenticity.
When some detail of the original cannot be replicated I hand embellish those prints, such as the whiskers on Tristan and Isolde or the 22 carat shell gold on the colour version of Triskelion.
Tristan & Isolde:
Click on the video to watch a short time lapse video to watch me working.
Once you start the timelapse you can click to full screen if you prefer.