Wednesday 27 August 2014

Art Material Review - Derwent Inktense Pencils

I always love to experiment with new art materials, and this week Derwent Pencils were kind enough to offer me a set of their Inktense pencils to try out.  Exciting!

Yes, they do look like watercolour pencils - but honestly, there's a big difference.  The core of the Inktense pencils are, as the name suggests, ink; which means you get this gorgeous, bright quality to the tones when you use them with water.  One of the main benefits I found was that once they're 'activated' with water and left to dry they're permanent - which is brilliant for base colouring and ink linework over the top, no bleed whatsoever.

Stage by stage: Pencil, activated pencil and ink linework overlay.

Another massive benefit of this is that the permanence means that you can use the pencils with water to paint onto cotton or silk.  That opens up a whole wealth of uses, especially if you're a professional creative - I'm definitely going to look into creating some hand-painted silk scarves or illustrated tote bags to whip up with the sewing machine.

The pencils are easy to use for both professional finished work or quick sketches.  They'd also be great for adding a quick splash of colour to storyboards or concept designs.

Single Inktense pencil sketch and after activation with water and paintbrush.

There's a huge range of colours available, and I'd definitely like to try more than the starter pack I received; but they're easily blendable and with a little creativity there aren't many shades you can't produce.

Stage by stage: 2B pencil sketch, colouring with Inktense pencils, activation and Ink pen overlay.

To be honest I don't often find the time to use paintbrushes and water with my sketches - with tight deadlines I often opt for digital colouring, but I do think it adds something special to a sketch and you can end up with an image you didn't expect - which can be great for the ol' inspiration.  I'd say they're definitely worth choosing over watercolour pencils, if only for the permanence aspect - that's the thing that really impressed me, it's just such a practical quality if you're looking to use ink linework, overpainting or to experiment with textile uses.

If you'd like to grab yourself a pack, or have a look at the full range of Derwent products (the graphitint pencils and inktense blocks look really interesting!) head to 

Obviously this was only a test over a few days, so I'll keep this post updated as I use them in the future to comment on their durability, usability and any other elements that crop up with more frequent use! 

Monday 18 August 2014

What Katy Did cover illustration for Egmont

Back in November I was asked to illustrate the cover of Egmont's new Heritage edition of What Katy Did.
It was one of those dream commissions which just flows so easily from sketch, to approval, to final artwork.  It was a real joy to work on, and I'm so pleased with how it's turned out.

I focused on the iconic swing scene from the book, so there's that instant communication of who and what the story's about.  We chose to stick with sketch 3, but take the house and windmill from sketch four - which worked well compositionally and had a really nice depth to it.

I chose a warm colour scheme, evoking one of those hazy Summer days.  The binding of the book looks absolutely gorgeous with the colours of the illustration, so I'm chuffed. I love the gold on the binding!

Egmont were brilliant to work with, and hopefully I'll get to collaborate with them again at some point!  The book looks lovely, and I was really impressed with the quality of the production.  Definitely keep an eye out for these and the rest of the Heritage series in shops soon.  

What Katy Did is officially released October 9th! I'll give you a shout when it's available!

Tuesday 5 August 2014

New Norwegian Wood Prints

New in! These Norwegian Wood posters have just arrived in my online shop here.

I illustrated this for the release of the film adaptation of Murakami's Norwegian Wood, and ended up as a finalist in the poster competition.  Had a great little exhibition at the Curzon cinema (and I danced next to Tony Leung at the premiere party, what?!). This illustration has had a surge of re-popularity after being featured on the Murakami facebook page recently.  Pretty chuffed, I love Murakami's work (although The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is my favourite so far!).