Posts Tagged ‘Lynne Chapman’

I really believe in the benefits of drawing something every day. I always start with a proper sketch, which I upload to a sketching thread on ArtTutor, or sometimes maybe a few thumbnails for an illustration I’m planning to make. I try to fit in some writing too – and that’s all before breakfast!

But at Christmas, a friend gave me a Moleskine Accordion notebook:


I’d never had one before but have many times followed Lynn Chapman’s adventures  as a resident artist doing similar things (with greater skill haha!).

So I set about it, documenting bits of my life every few days or when I felt like it. And today I got to the end of the second side. (You work through it one way, then it sort of folds over and you work your way on the reverse until you get to the cover again.)

It has been such a fun journey. Here is one of my spreads from a month or so ago.FullSizeRender 8

I might have to buy another, but then I also need a few other things, like, um, food! Although art does tend to become all-consuming 🙂


I’ve been trying out using blocks as the gesture basis for posing people. The idea was to do as many as I could think of, without actually thinking too much, in just a few minutes. Later, I scanned them in and added pencil lines to tidy them up on one layer, then a pen layer, and then some colour on another layer – all in Photoshop this time.

It’s not entirely successful with my current skill level, but it at least gave me an opportunity to tidy up the poses a bit and have them as a reference for when I need some similar ones.

These were the original block gestures in my A4 sketchbook. You can tell they were done at speed!

A4 set of block gestures done in 5 minutes in Pitt pen in my sketchbook.

A4 set of block gestures done in 5 minutes in Pitt pen in my sketchbook.

These were the final colour versions completed in Photoshop. I’ve turned off the scanned sepia pen layer and the digital pencil layer, and added a white background layer, but left the digital pen layer showing. The colour layer was on top set to Multiply.

I used  Kyle Webster  brushes: Animator Pencil New, Thick ‘n Thin (pen) and nu-pastel to colour. He does some great brush bundles at ridiculously cheap prices for Photoshop.

Coloured in Photoshop with Kyle Webster's

Coloured in Photoshop with Kyle Webster’s “nu-pastel” brush

I then bought Lynne Chapman’s new Craftsy video on Expressive Picture Book Characters and tried out her method of building children’s book characters from a basic snowman shape. Interesting! But it’s a really good craftsy vid – clear, showing the drawing method constantly, showing examples from her book large on screen rather than passing quickly over them, and is so full of tips it begs to be emptied! Into my brain hopefully 🙂 Go see?

Using a 'snowman base' for the character, as suggested by Lynne Chapman.

Using a ‘snowman base’ for the character, as suggested by Lynne Chapman.

All feedback welcome!

Still in search of what feels best for me in terms of style (and I agree we might need flexibility and a few variations), I really love doing biro sketches. Instead of taking them into Photoshop or Manga Studio5, I’ve been experimenting with just adding a touch of colour with Neocolor 1, which are non-soluble wax crayons. I could have used Crayola either, because I get on with them quite well too and have 100 colours instead of the Neocolor’s 40!

I sketched a man on the telephone (a singularly old-fashioned one – a smartphone would have presented fewer problems) and then saw a picture of the author/illustrator Lynne Chapman – – apparently taken as she was leaving a SCBWI retreat (no idea who shot it but thanks – it was a super photo). She has given permission for me to put it online, so here are the two:

Adapted from a magazine picture I once saw

Adapted from a magazine picture I once saw

Author/illustrator Lynne Chapman, with permission

Author/illustrator Lynne Chapman, with permission

I’d really value your opinion as to whether this would be a valid way of colouring in a proper illustration. Casual but effective.

Someone asked which biro/ballpoint I use. The answer is not a Bic or similar from a stationers because they blob if used on their sides for drawing. I find that the Contour Argent pen – that is, they say, the most used charity pen in the country – is brilliant. I have saved a stack of them in case they disappear off the face of the earth just as I decide it’s my pen of the future.

Contour Argent ball point pen aka my 'biro' in generic terms

Contour Argent ballpoint pen aka my ‘biro’ in generic terms