Last year I had the pleasure of designing the wedding invite for friends of mine. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, so I thought I’d share a little bit of the process of making it.

To start with I was given the theme of succulents and hexagons. It was fun trying out different compositions, some more traditional and some less so.

I also quickly realised that a sketchy succulent (in this case a Mexican Gem) can look very similar to a sketchy rose.

I started with quick sketches exploring the theme

Once the preferred designs were chosen I painted some quick mockups using digital watercolours to give a feel of how the final image would look.

Rough studies of the selected designs

At this stage preferred fonts were selected, and I began painting the final design. I discovered that painting a pale succulent onto a dark background gave a kind of ghostly image which didn’t work very well. The design was reworked to feature a single plant.

In the final stages I created mockups with a kraft paper background to match how it would be printed.

Mockup and final design

It was a lovely project to work on. Plus, I got to see my work in real life when I received one of the invites through the post!

A double update! Both characters are from The Princess of Nowhere, the first novel I ever finished writing. Trennte is the manservant of Prince Jespar, and is the prince’s friend and mentor. Jeffrey is a tie. For some reason I cut Jeffrey out of the later drafts, something I regret as he was one of the things that made the first draft special. It’s possible that one day I will return to the story … I think it may work as an animated series, something a bit mad where talking clothes make sense. With that in mind the Trennte sketch is Gravity Falls-inspired.19_Trennte20_Jeffrey

I meant to post these last weekend, but forgot. I drew them last month, using the Bodies in Motion site, beginning with 30 second poses and gradually giving myself more time. The site is excellent for capturing poses that a model would never be able to hold.

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Bree (or Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah, to give his full name) is the titular horse of The Horse and His Boy. Shasta is the boy. I had wondered about drawing Aravis and Hwin, the other main characters, but there are so many other characters I want to draw I initially decided against it. Now I’m two weeks through the list I made I’m starting to wonder about some of the characters I initially scheduled, so Aravis may appear later in the month …

Like yesterday, I’m looking at The Secret of Kells for design inspiration. Several of the animals like wolves and deer have legs that come to a point. Though it’s quite elegant I think, if I were designing for a real film, I would rework Bree to have hooves.

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Shasta is the main character in The Horse and His Boy, my favourite of C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia books. I would love to see it on screen as I think this story has so much scope – adventure, horses, battles, an escape across a desert. Now Netflix will be developing new films and series (see here for more information) it’s possible my dream will come true!

For design I’ve followed Cartoon Saloon‘s style quite closely, particularly their film The Secret of Kells. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out – their work is beautiful, especially Song of the Sea which is one of my favourite films.09_Shasta

At the end of a bitter battle with a dragon, a knight searched its layer and discovered its egg among the treasures. Feeling its warmth he found himself unwilling to kill an innocent, unknowing creature. Instead the knight wrapped it carefully in his cloak and cradled it on his saddle as he rode all the way home.

This is the opening of a story I wrote a few years ago about what happens when a knight tries to raise a dragon. In short, nothing good. Today’s drawing is of the young dragon the knight keeps chained, and drugged with herbs.

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These next characters come from Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, a fantasy novel I adore. As it’s set in the desert land of Damar I took inspiration from The Prince of Egypt for design. Harry (full name Angharad) is the heroine, and I show her here near the beginning of the story when she has been kidnapped by the hill folk.

Though I took time to colour her I really like the pencil lines, so I’ve uploaded them on their own too.

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Captain Frederick Wentworth, for those who haven’t read (or watched) Persuasion, is the love interest of Anne.

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Persuasion is one of my favourite Jane Austen novels (I find it hard to choose between it and Pride and Prejudice) so I thought I’d draw Anne Elliot for day four. I wanted to draw her in a style similar to some of the cartoons of that time – lots of lines and hatching.

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Fraser was enjoying a walk on the beach with his dog when he came across something extraordinary …

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Inktober is an annual drawing challenge which I’ve taken part in before, but this year I’ve decided to do it a little differently. As the name suggests the drawings are supposed to be in ink, but this year I’m going to cheat and draw digitally. My aim with this challenge is to develop my character design skills, so I want to focus on that and not on my inking skills. I will also be taking the weekends off as I think it’s important to have a couple of days to rest or catch up, depending! To that end I’ve created a list of 23 characters (some mine and some from favourite books), many of which I’ve been meaning to draw for a long time.

Elsa is the first – not wholly a character, but certainly caricatured for my Selkie storyboard.01_Elsa

I was in Edinburgh yesterday for an animation event, so I spent some time drawing in the museum on Chambers Street. I sketched a sperm whale skull and a haughty-looking llama as well as some of the visitors. The sketches are pen on paper, but the tone was added digitally.01b

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I’ve been busy with work and a family wedding, so it’s taken me a while to post anything new! Here’s a group of studies from one of Muybridge‘s wonderful sequences.

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These drawings are from last week, but it took me until now to cherry-pick the best to upload. They’re all studies from Bodies in Motion; most of them are of neutral expressions but some of the short poses (between 30 seconds and 2 minutes) were of a variety of emotions. With the longer studies I really focused in on the eyes, nose and mouth to get to grips with the structure and form.

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More studies from the Bodies in Motion website! I began with some 30 second sketches, all of which were very rough so I haven’t uploaded any of them. Next I went through one of the motions spending a minute on every drawing. Finally I spent quite a long time on a study of one image.

The gif below is a bit jumpy because I was only drawing every third photo, but I think there’s still a good sense of the overall movement.Ballet_0101

Last week I went to a show of students’ work where Katrina Ellis, a weaver and life model, modelled with some of her fabric. It was fun, and challenging, to draw.

Recently I signed up to Scott Eaton’s Bodies in Motion website, which is stuffed to the gills with stunning figure references. The ‘Motions’ feature sequences of photographs of people dancing, leaping, and fighting. What’s lovely about it is that moments of action can be studied which could never be held by a life model.

Today I began by studying a sequence, playing each frame for 30 seconds. Getting all the information down was a challenge (I’m a bit rusty).

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After drawing the gestures I took a bit more time to study one of the images.

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I’m looking forward to exploring this site more. It’s possible to used the randomised ‘Quickdraw’ feature for free (as long as you register) and you can also view thumbnail images, but the plans, which give you various levels of access, are currently on sale.

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