The last couple of months of 2019 were extremely busy for me, as so many clients required commission work done at the latter part of the year. Luckily for me, most of my customers were quite happy to wait until the turn of the new year to get commission work done. I never rush an illustration and could not sell anything that hasn’t had the right amount of work that is required to complete it.
One of the commissions I managed to get done just in time for Christmas was a pet portrait of a beautiful spaniel, which had been called ‘Buster’. His owner, Wendy, from Consett, County Durham, had commissioned me to do a picture of their late beloved pet as a present for her husband, Rob.
It may sound quite strange, but I got the impression, when I was drawing Buster, that he was ‘speaking’ to me, as he had the most beautiful expressive eyes to draw! Quite honestly it was very easy to imagine he was communicating with me. He was a wonderful canine to illustrate, despite the complexity of working from photographs where the colour was not correct and having to employ computer techniques to alter the coloured photographs before the illustration could be started. Not the easiest task, but I was pleased that Wendy was pleased with the finished result.
I heard that Rob was also thoroughly delighted with his wife’s very thoughtful Christmas gift, and hearing that news was also a nice Christmas surprise for me.
I would like to wish all my clients and Blog readers a very happy 2020…
One of my friends, Mary Redshaw, has commissioned a great many illustrations from me, but this time it was her niece, Laura Stewart, who approached me to do an illustration for her husband as a Father’s Day gift. Gary and Laura became proud parents of Oliver last year and this picture shows the pride that Gary has in his wonderful son.
I have done numerous portraits in my time, but very few, if any, has given me as much joy to do as this one. I think the fascination for me is that the image has captured a special moment, as Oliver goes to greet his father who has lifted him up. The joy on Oliver’s face and his cute smile were wonderful to create.
As the photograph I was given to work from was black-and-white or mono, the best medium to use, for me, was graphite pencils. I chose a harder pencil, primarily 2H, as I didn’t want any part of the picture to be too dark or black. The picture is tender and emotional and I felt the pencils used to create this should reflect that. So, all the B pencils were banned from this commission!
Thank you, Laura, for allowing me to the share this special moment and to produce it in illustration form. I am very pleased to hear that Gary appreciated his Father’s Day gift and I hope Oliver was suitably impressed with it too 🙂
Taffy is a mischievous Welsh terrier who lives in Rhyl, Wales with Joyce and William. They are relations of my close friends Mary and Peter Lupton who commissioned me to do the drawing in honour of Joyce’s birthday.
Taffy who likes to be out for walks along the promenade – in all weathers – was, I have to admit a total delight to draw. Being the first Welsh terrier that I have ever drawn I was soon ‘under his spell’ as I worked away at him on my drawing board. So much so, that I was rather loathe to part with him when the time came.
I was very pleased to hear that Joyce was delighted with the present. saying, “It’s the best present I have ever had”.
Mary scribbled on an envelope “I love the illustration, darling”, so that was a very satisfactory outcome as I had enjoyed every minute of creating Taffy on paper.
I went to visit my friend, Mary Redshaw, this month and catch up with her over a few pots of tea and a fish and chip lunch. I always enjoy this social time with this lady, who proudly displays all of the commission work that I have done for her (all beautifully framed and presented in her living-room). I always enjoy seeing her two ‘new’ dogs: one a Greyhound named Rio and the other a whippet named Tina.
One of my favourite dog portraits I illustrated for Mary was the picture of her brown Doberman Pinscher – Tia, who was such a character. She certainly was a dog that knew her own mind and no amount of persuasion or commands could change her mind if she thought contrary to the request.
I remember doing a mono illustration of Tia, as well as the colour…because I wasn’t sure which one I liked best… Which one would you choose?
It’s my last posting of the year next month; I am so grateful that there are so many people reading this blog now. I am told by WordPress that my stats are booming, so thank you to all of the people who are reading my posts regularly…
I’ve done many teddy bear illustrations over the years, but some of them I do forget, but this isn’t one of them. Although I am not a great fan of Hallowe’en, I do love the colour and imagery that I had to capture in this drawing.
I was asked by a big company in America, to illustrate one of their many beautiful teddies and after looking through their glossy catalogue several times, I was ‘taken’ to this little witch bear, with her sequinned cape and starry hat. I liked drawing this teddy bear ‘as she was’, which included her rather sad looking face. A number of my customers used to say, “Can you draw that teddy bear smiling?” and I replied, “I draw the bears as they present themselves”. Teddy bears have individual characters: some happy some sad – just like human beings.
I remember my youngest niece, Cora, was just a baby when I started this illustration and the small wizard or witch that was coming out of the jack-o-lantern resembled her a little bit (she will be cross with me for putting this on here!), so I had to include him/her in the illustration. Many of my teddy bear illustrations have a soft pastel theme, but with this one I could use the strong colours of green, orange and purple without hesitation. I loved doing the confectionery: lollipops, cupcakes and biscuits with the ghosts and black cat cake toppings. It was a great deal of fun (I think I ate them ALL afterwards!).
Whatever you have done or are doing for Hallowe’en, I do hope that you get a lot more treats than tricks! Enjoy yourself and be safe…
Earlier this year, I was asked if I would do a watercolour or pencil illustration of a church in Spain that was to be the theme for some wedding stationery. Joanne Rogan, the client and bride-to-be was brilliant in providing me with a range of church illustrations that she had seen and liked, so that I could get ‘the feel’ of what she was looking for. A better start and brief could not be had, as most clients know what they want, but are not very good at explaining it, leaving the artist or designer ‘in the dark’.
Joanne also provided me with some photographs of El Salvador’s Church in Nerja, Spain where she was marrying her fiancé, Gary Cooper. The photographs were beautiful, showing a white stately church against an azure sky. There was a tree in the photographs that I had to ‘remove’ but that didn’t prove to be a problem.
It took me a couple of days (in the bleakness of early February) to produce the coloured pencil illustration of the church bedecked in sunshine, which was then sent for Joanne and Gary’s approval. Thankfully, they loved it and it was then sent to the printers to be incorporated into their wedding stationery. As you can see below, Joanne and Gary did a great job of it and the stationery looks unique and amazing! Having said that, so do the happy couple in the photographs, as you can see. I would like to offer my congratulations to Joanne and Gary for their marriage day and also for doing such sterling work on their wedding stationery!
Every best wish to you both for many happy years to come…
Joanne and Gary were married on the 21st September 2018.
The photographs feature on this blog post with their approval and permission. Thank you.
I am always delighted when a customer returns to me for another commission. It is an endorsement and validation that they appreciate the style and quality of my work and are happy to commission you to do another piece of artwork for themselves or a loved one.
Last year, Mrs Angela Rose had commissioned me to create a birth illustration for a young relative, with a collection of dinosaurs. On this more recent occasion, she requested me to create a portrait illustration of her daughter’s two West Highland Terriers: Milly and Harper. I prefer to take photographs of pets myself, whenever possible, so I went around to do a photoshoot of the two canine characters. Both of these two dogs were in a rather soporific mood on a hot July day that they needed to look their best for the camera. They were both very well groomed, but their sleepy moments were interspersed with bouts of running, racing and jumping, as Mrs Rose’s daughter, Amy, and myself strived to keep them awake whilst I took numerous photographs.
I have to say that both Milly and Harper were adorable in different ways, but I have a ‘soft-spot’ for Harper who gently raised her nose to touch mine whilst introductions were being made.
The illustration took a number of days to complete and required a background of fawn and soft browns to make Milly and Harper stand out. Whenever I am drawing ‘white’ dogs I am amazed to discover all of the different colours that go to make up the fur. These colours can include a range of browns, creams and fawns to name a few.
I handed over the finished commission to Mrs Rose and her husband, Ian, and they commented that the illustration was “spot on” and that Amy would be delighted with her personal and unique commissioned illustration.
I later heard that Amy was delighted and the commission will soon be displayed on her living-room wall. Thank you to the Roses and my other clients who return to me time-and-time-again for illustrations – it is very much appreciated.