Warlock the Hunter


This is a real Local Character: Jason of England‘s mighty hound, Warlock.

Warlock’s favourite activity is escaping in order to terrorise the local wildlife, but he can often be found in the local hardware store or just wandering about town like he owns the place.

Here’s how to make a picture of Warlock:

Step one: Have idea. Transfer idea from head to small scribble.


Step two: Remove subject to suitable environment for posing opportunities. In this case, the nearby and appropriately named Hound Tor.


Step three: Do a pencil draft, scan it in and fiddle about in Photoshop to get the layout right. On this occasion I made a colour rough – not something I usually do but I predicted I would get into a mess without some prior decision making.

Step four: Draw most of picture with pen and ink.

Step five: Apply watercolour and pencil until reasonably happy with result.

Of course, Psycho-killer Warlock has his soft side – here is photographic evidence…



No lambs were harmed during the making of this Blog entry.


Victorian Vagabonds



ImageI’ve just been doing some chapter headings for the new Ben Kingdom book (cover above, plus some early roughs). Here are some of the previous ones, from Claws of Evil…



More events have been scheduled for the Widdershins exhibition in summer. Apparently you can come and have coffee and cake with me; it’s described as an Artists Talk, but a more accurate description would be ‘Artists sit in the corner in a slightly embarrassed manner as they are not used to this sort of thing but are happy to answer questions Talk’. I will bring large piles of original art, finished books and sketchbooks to rummage through – it will be quite informal but (hopefully) informative.


Badgers and Muppets


I re-painted the next scene in the Ballad of Old Goat and Heron.

When I’d finished, I sat back, looked at and had a conversation in my head that reminded me of Statler and Waldorf, the aged hecklers from the Muppet Show. It went something like this:

“Oh yes, that’s much better, the drawing of the Goat is a great improvement.

Solly Badger is fine too. But the original one was OK anyway.

Actually, I think I prefer the background of the original painting. It’s lighter and the colours are more varied.

The old one had more depth and a feeling of light through trees…

This new one is terrible. Do it again, properly this time!”

I am a muppet.



Widdershins Exhibition


More facts have emerged about the Dartmoor Mythic Arts exhibition this summer – visit the Green Hill Arts page for further information. Various activities will be occurring around the time of the event (puppet shows, storytelling, book signing, etc.), details of which shall be revealed soonish.

At first, it wasn’t clear whether Brian’s Green Man image would be available, so RimaVirginia and I designed an alternative poster. It involved an extreme close up of one of Alan’s pictures that will feature in the exhibition: Faeries fans will recognise the detail is from one of the pieces in the classic 1977 Faeries book by Lee and Froud. Believe me, the book doesn’t do the painting justice, but you can decide for yourself as this and many other visual delights await you in Midsummer!



Penning the Heron

I managed to find a bit of time to continue the renovations on ‘Old Goat and Heron’.

These three were unusual in that I was quite happy with them as they were, but they needed to be linked stylistically with the newer pics. I decided to use the existing paintings and work over them with pen. I’d painted everything on very smooth watercolour board, which means I can take the paint off reasonably easily with a little water on a brush followed by careful dabbing. That way I can fix mistakes and tighten up the picture where needed.


Summer arrived, and high above

A flying Heron came,

returning to her favourite spot.

(Every year she did the same.)


Down through the trees she swooped

to perch upon a mossy rock,

whereupon she got a shock!

The Heron exclaimed, ‘When I was little this river was deep. Now it’s a trickle!’Image

In a flap the Heron went, up the river with grim intent,

to find out why (if she could)

the water wasn’t flowing quite like it should.

For vegetable’s sake the river had been harnessed…

but Heron’s hatchling home was tarnished!

Normally I draw in pen and ink, then apply the watercolour and pencils afterwards. This opposite approach was interesting as I could work back into the watercolour and pick out some of the random textures – particularly good for mossy boulders.