Rafe – Boy’s Birth Picture

I had done a birth illustration for a baby boy called Joshua back in April 2015 and his proud Grandmother, Angela, contacted me, a few months ago, to say that Joshua had recently received a baby brother, Rafe (the original spelling for the name Ralph) and that she would like to commission me to do a birth illustration for the newest member of her family.

After doing a spot of ‘homework’ about the name Rafe, I discovered that it is an old Norse/English word, which means ‘wolf counsellor’. Angela then asked me to come up with a theme for the birth illustration. I thought ‘Peter and the Wolf’ would be a nice theme for the commission and did some research about this ‘symphonic fairy tale for children’: which is a musical composition written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936.
On his travels, young Peter (after leaving the safety of his grandfather’s house), encounters a small bird, a cat and a duck, which journey with him on his search for his adventure. Peter and the animals are all depicted by a particular instrument i.e. the cat is set to the clarinet, the duck to the oboe and Peter’s character is set to the string section of an orchestra. As the music unfolds, the different characters can be heard throughout the piece.

I wanted to create a different look for each of the characters and did a small scamp (Scamp – a first rough or mockup) before working on a more detailed sketch with characters in place. This is probably the hardest part of the whole process for me, as it’s drawing it all out and is fairly time-consuming. However, I love the process of creating the finished illustration, as all of the hours spent scamping and sketching finally start to take on a new dimension in colour, shape and texture before one’s eyes.

I was requested to keep the main character of Peter similar to the Disney cartoon, but I did suggest that we alter his hair and the colour of his clothes, as I never like to reproduce anything exactly. The small elephant on Peter’s clothes, relates to the motif on the birth announcement card that Angela received to inform her of his birth.

I am not sure when Angela is going to present her daughter with the new picture for the new arrival, but I do hope that they will like it and the thought and effort that has gone in to it from both the client and the artist…

Thoughts On – Doodle Time

Doing Doodles with giraffeMichael Quinlyn-Nixon
I was never considered academic at school. The fact that I came out of Grammar School with any results at all is still a mystery to me (and probably my teachers too!). I remember my French teacher saying that I spent most of my time looking out of the window drawing butterflies. I don’t think I was his most favourite (or attentive) pupil. I do remember looking out of the window (now and then), but I must admit to doodling during lectures. I am not sure if the subject matter was always butterflies (or any other insect for that matter), but I do remember doing lots of squiggly, whirly shapes, which I shaded in a cross-hatching fashion.
Doodles (main picture)lightenedMichael Quinlyn-Nixon
The subject of doodles has somewhat been a fascination to me and I wonder what psychologists would make of my doodles*… Perhaps there is a lot to tell from the way that we scribble in the corners of our notepads. Writing that last sentence filled me with certain sadness, in the fact that doodles are probably a dying art. How many people actually have a paper notepad anymore? Nowadays most people use computers or personal mobiles to record information. Do these allow one to doodle? Being an old-fashioned pen-and-paper chap I still love the art of doodling, when time allows of course.
Doodle(secondary)lightenedMichael Quinlyn-Nixonb
Despite my lack of good examination results at school, I redeemed myself in later life… When I worked at the local college, I re-studied a lot of my essential subjects and with the help (and patience) of two fantastic teachers, namely Mr S. Lane and Mrs C. Johnson, I passed my examinations in English and Mathematics. Passing my Maths exam was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, as I am so bad at that subject. Admittedly, I gained a much better grade in English (an A*), but it was my Maths that gave me the greatest pride in my achievements. I am sure that my senior school teachers would have been proud (and flabbergasted) too.

*On second thoughts, I would not really like to know what psychologists would derive from my doodles. I have a sneaky feeling that the results would be all too depressing!

Doodle.  Noun: A figure, design or scribble drawn or written absentmindedly.
TheEndlightenedMichael Quinlyn-Nixonb