Posts Tagged ‘software’

I said I’d be back 🙂

These are some of the wooden items that are making it onto my “wood board” – for the particular Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells course that I’m doing, which has five substrates to do things for. First up, a wooden mask clock. I invented it in Procreate on the iPad with an Apple Pencil and transferred it to Photoshop.

mask for blog

The craft of mask making in Africa is apparently dying out.

The next one, and possibly my favourite, is a box. I think the box would have to be painted and textured and/or distressed (this is only a mock-up) and then the art is applied in decals. It could be hand painted but that would make it more expensive. I used a Rotring Artpen to draw the outlines of the flowers and rendered them in Photoshop with a Grut brush called (oddly!) Ol Butter Bits.

wooden box flowers

The colour palette is similar across all five substrates in the course.

And finally for now, this is a tray with a rectangular applied piece of artwork. The vague pattern was done originally in watercolour scribble (if you can scribble with a size 8 brush!) with an added digital “running stitch” from a brush I made. The flowers were done in pastels. I like reusing artwork!

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 18.54.52

Only a rough screenshot – needs tidying up considerably.

This is the palette, by the way.

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 18.57.55

The 2nd and 5th from the left are to be used “sparingly”! Plus black is OK.

I hope you liked seeing these. Have a good week!


I will start writing again next month. I’ve found myself some time by stopping counselling young people and running drug and alcohol group work. All really fulfilling activities and worthwhile in terms of outcomes, which I’ve done for the last 13 years. But I don’t believe in an afterlife and there are only so many hours in this one! So I really want to spend more time writing and illustrating and that is what I shall be doing with the time I’ve freed up.

I’ve sold many articles, stories, novels (and puzzles and brochures) over the years. It’s something I can do. It just got pushed out by the editing and proofreading, both of which bring in a more reliable income. So, encouraged by last year’s win in a short story competition and the knowledge that I know how to write and sell, I’m embarking on bringing together some threads. I shall write about or for children and young people – perhaps articles to pitch to magazines and newspapers, as before (but specialising in my more recent experiences professionally) or stories that are either real or fantastic but contain an emotional or mental health truth. As indeed all stories must. These will also be inspired by the needs of young people I’ve met over the years.

It feels like a plan. But in this month of ‘not working much’ (by intention – some people have foreign holidays!), I’ve designed two book covers for two slightly updated fairy tales. One goat is a girl, so no “Billy” in the title! And the Pied Piper is a girl – plus the person refusing to pay her is a business man. I enjoyed drawing and painting the components in watercolour, and also used Procreate App and Photoshop to assemble them. Maybe I’ll write the stories too!

two fairy tale covers


I often try to draw the same character doing different things. Keeping the style, keeping the character recognisable: it’s all grist to the mill in children’s illustration.

I thought of these two kids last week and drew the first image out in ink. I used permanent ink for the characters and soluble ink for the background – I wanted to keep the focus on the characters, who would be coloured, and leave the background as monotone after some moving around of the soluble ink for shading. The digital work was done in Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint – I just love the blending brush in CSP and often choose to colour there too, leaving any initial cleaning up of scanned line work and the post-processing manipulation for PS.

When I had done both images, as an afterthought, I made the background of the first one look cooler as it was outside, and the background of the other look warmer as it was inside. And I double-checked they were dressed in the same clothes here – although in the course of a book this might not be so.

I think probably they go better in reverse order actually – they have a lovely shared natter and then he bids her farewell on the doorstep and goes home! The third image shows the sequence all together: ringing to ask to come round, sharing together in the warmth, and saying goodbye.



I’ve been promising some info on my digital journey.

I had been using Photoshop in a rather elementary way, mostly for photo manipulation, for a while before I got into proper stuff and iPad art apps. I originally had Photoshop Elements to adjust photos but Adobe offered me a ‘can’t miss this’ opportunity to buy PS CS5 cut price. At the time I didn’t have the skill to use most of it but it was a good offer. I then renewed my laptop and the new (used) one had the whole CS5 suite on, and I made some progress with Illustrator. Trouble was, I was just getting better at this when I changed laptops and crucially forgot to deregister the CS suite first. So I lost access! That left me with Photoshop on the big iMac. Fine. But I missed Illustrator.

Still with me?? Well, when I finished the Children’s Book Illustration course at London Art College, I enrolled on their Digital Illustration course. This used Gimp (um, fine if you like non-intuitive key presses and menus!) and Inkscape – a progam for vector art that I grew to hate. Luckily for me, just after Inkscape trashed my brain, along came Affinity Designer. Now that is a program that will blow Illustrator away eventually. Intuitive too. So now I have both Photoshop CS5 and Designer and lack nothing 🙂 Well, just skill!

However, the point of telling you this is that although I didn’t like the software specified on the digital illustration course (both of which are free, hence their use on the course), I did thoroughly enjoy following through the assignments.

Here are two of my many pieces. I particularly took a liking to my hound! I realise now that the scribbly biro work I have been doing recently may have started with this scribbly stylus-drawn alien.


Alien hound painted in GIMP

Cartoon done in GIMP

Cartoon done in GIMP

I would love to hear what you think and what your favourite painting software is. I haven’t even started on iPad stuff yet, of course.