Artist’s Drawing Techniques – Dorling Kindersley

I’m very pleased to have been asked to contribute several double-page spreads to this terrific new book from Dorling Kindersley. My contributions were all about techniques for using coloured pencils. In total, I had to create 7 new images together with explanatory text  and working photos of the pictures in progress. The book, which was largely produced to a format developed by fellow artist Jake Spicer, is now available in all good bookshops or via the usual Internet shopping sites.

Here are some thumbnails of the pages I was involved with. The work was completed during a very intensive three weeks earlier this year with a lot of “to-ing and fro-ing” with editors, designers and copywriters. The two showcase pictures (“Hubcap Selfie” and “Flamenco in Barcelona”) were done in a single weekend of manic scribbling at a rate of working that was potentially injurious to my health!

I’m particularly pleased with the pages about coloured pencils and the colour space. I seem to unique (to my knowledge) amongst my coloured pencil colleagues in championing (or even using!) the concept of the Munsell Colour Space.

I don’t sell the book. However, at just £20, it is a really substantial (and very well produced) book for anyone interested in widening and developing their drawing techniques.

Introduction with my two showcase pictures
My pages on the colour space
Spread about mark making
Working in monochrome
Red, yellow & blue pencils only
Using complementary colour
Intermediate showcase picture
Advanced showcase picture



ArtWaves in Bridlington – Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th May 2017

I’m really pleased to have been booked for ArtWaves this year. Now in its third year, ArtWaves is a visual arts festival based at The Spa, Bridlington and features loads of workshops from a range of well-known artists, demos and an art market. I’ll be there all weekend – live drawing throughout the Saturday and then offering a drop-in drawing workshop and a coloured pencil workshop on Sunday 14th. To book my coloured pencil workshop, click here.  The full ArtWaves programme is here: Artwaves-2017-Programme

Lorry will also be there in the art market all weekend with a drop-in air dried clay activity. Pop by and make a hanging ornament out of clay which you can take home and paint when dry.

Studio Teaching Sessions

I’m pleased to be back teaching in my studio again! In 2017, I have increased the teaching days to include Wednesdays. A full list of the sessions for this year is:

Spend time learning and developing your drawing and painting skills with me. The focus will be on traditional drawing and painting skills using oil paint but including charcoal, graphite and coloured pencils. I focus on drawing in the mornings and painting in the afternoons – although there can be some flexibility on this depending on when students are free to attend.

Tuesdays – in 5-week blocks.

  • 17th, 24th, 31st January, 7th, 14th February
  • 28th, February, 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th March
  • 25th April, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd May
  • 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th June, 4th July
  • 19th, 26th September, 3rd, 10th, 17th October
  • 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th November, 5th December

Wednesdays – in 5-week blocks.

  • 18th, 25th January, 1st, 8th, 15th February
  • 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th March
  • 26th April, 3rd, 10th, * 24th, 31st May (no session on 17th)
  • 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th June, 5th July
  • 20th, 27th September, 4th, 11th, 18th October
  • 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th November, 6th December

Session times:
10.00 am to 12.30 pm, 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm, 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm

Cost £20 per person per session (morning, afternoon or evening). Special price for block of 5 sessions booked together £95. 10 sessions booked together £180.
Each session is strictly limited to 4 artists – ensuring plenty of individual attention. Tea/coffee/biscuits included. Some materials provided for beginners.

Hitting the Ground Running – and “A Very Happy New Year!

MC at Ely Art SocietyLargely as a result of being a bit unwell over Christmas and New Year, I’m a little late in updating the website and getting out information about everything that’s already planned for 2016! 2015 was pretty busy and I’ve emerged into the cold, bright January air with a really full diary for 2016 and even more deadlines and commitments for the year ahead!

I’ve just sent out a newsletter detailing some of the plans and I’ve updated some of the information on this site about the courses and workshops I’ll be running or teaching throughout the year. If you’re not on my mailing list – you can subscribe here – or I can forward a copy if you email me at with “Newsletter Request” in the subject line.

Here are some highlights!

  • I have an upcoming exhibition of all 64 of my “64 Pictures in 64 Days” project from last summer/autumn. It’s at The Fisher Theatre in Bungay from 23rd January to 23rd February – further details here.
  • I’ll be teaching lots of workshops at The Art Trading Co in Bungay throughout the year. Details here, here, here, here and here.
  • I’ll be offering regular small group tuition here at my own studio. 2016 MC studio tuition.
  • I’ll be teaching my first Painting Holiday in France at the stunning Stang Korvenn in Western Brittany. I really can’t wait for this one!
  • I’m running a “plein air” painting course in Walberswick during the Summer.
  • I’m really pleased to be doing 2 one day courses at Norfolk Creative Arts, a new centre for art tuition and other activities at Grimston, near Kings Lynn. This is a really exciting venture and I’m flattered to be part of it. Specific details of the two workshops are here and here.

Hoping to be a bit more regular in posting during 2016! Mind you, I was taught as a youngster that “the road to hell was paved with good intentions”!




“Will you still need me, will you still feed me … when I’m 64?”

Day 01Day-32Day-64


“The world is full of magical things – patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” W B Yeats.

Here I am in early October – wondering why time passes so very quickly! Radio silence has been maintained over the last couple of months – purely because I’ve been so busy with my “64” project on top of an already pretty heavily committed summer. Actually, I have had a really productive (and intensive!) summer and have finally landed in the autumn with a lot of extra experience under my belt.

I’m always full of “good” ideas! The recent “64 pictures in 64 days” project being one that has tested me in lots of ways.

Above are thumbnails of the studies from Day 1 (28th July), Day 32 (28th August)and Day 64 (29th September). They illustrate aspects of my 64 day “journey” (as X Factor would no doubt describe it). Essentially, these are of the same view over our back fence across the water meadow by the river Waveney. It is a view that I love and one that constantly reminds me in times of stress how fortunate we are to live in such a delightful setting.

Various “painterly” things have evolved for me over the last couple of months of regular painting in a square format:

  • I’ve become tidier “out in the field” – my paint mixing and general palette discipline has improved
  • I cart far less stuff around with me (mostly using 6 tubes of paint as the basis of all the landscapes)
  • I (mostly) work more efficiently than before – with less “fiddling about”
  • I understand that almost any view makes a good subject for a study – this is all about learning to see
  • I love oil paint even more than before
  • I’m now even less inclined to work from photos than before

The full collection of 64 pictures is now in a dedicated album. Each 8″ x 8″ study was painted (and in one case drawn) directly in the landscape or from a still life set up in my studio. Aside from very minor bits of tidying up, they are untouched after the painting session in which they were created. Each picture was offered for sale at £64 (unframed + P&P). Several dates were reserved ahead of the painting being made and several sold after being posted each day to a Facebook page and Pinterest board I set up for the project. All currently unsold works will continue to be available at the “project” price for 64 days (’til 3rd December 2015) following my recent birthday on 30th September (the reason for the whole project in the first place!).







Some Special Dates in July

studio 01I had a great couple of weekends in the new studio with my second year as a member of Harleston & Waveney Art Trail. Here’s a photo of the display wall I’ve put on the back wall of the studio. Here I’ll be able to keep a permanent (but changing) show of small works.

I’ve got lots to catch up on now that the open studio weekends are over. Firstly, I’ve just sent out a newsletter to my regular mailing list with information about some special dates in July. Here are the details:

Please make your way to the bottom of this post for details of a real challenge I’m starting in July!

Drawing and Painting Farm Animals From Life

Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th July
10.30 am to 4.00 pm each day
A unique two-day course for artists of all abilities who wish to learn and improve skills in drawing and painting directly from live animal subjects. Each day will include specific tuition in observational drawing and painting (literally “in the field”) on an independent working smallholding in the Suffolk countryside. Refreshments and a light lunch provided. Bring your own paints and other materials – a hard-backed sketch book is recommended.
£85 for the full weekend or £45 per single day
Venue – Maisebrooke Farm, Shipmeadow, Beccles
To book, contact Malcolm at or call 01986 893291

“Going Green” – Coloured Pencil Techniques

Saturday 18th July
10.30 to 4.30 pm
Learn and develop your coloured pencil and composition techniques including:

  • Seeing essential light and shadow shapes in the subject
  • Finding the right greens
  • Varying marks to describe depth
  • CP palette and layering techniques
  • Erasing, softening and blending techniques
  • Composition and working from photographs
  • Choice of pencils and papers

£45 per person (includes a 10% voucher for lunch and other purchases at The Earsham Street Deli next door)! Places are strictly limited for this special workshop which is at The Art Trading Company, Earsham Street, Bungay. To book, contact Sue Kemp at or call 01986 897939

Two to the Power of Six!

To celebrate moving into my new home studio and a “significant” birthday later this year, I’m planning to embark on a big painting and drawing project.

For each of 64 days, starting on 28th July and finishing on 29th September, I shall be making a picture a day. Each picture will be 8” x 8” (do the maths!). Each will be posted to a special section of my website and be available (booked in advance or on a “first come, first served” basis) for up to 5 days from the date of painting for the special ‘celebratory’ price of just £64 (unframed, plus P&P). To take advantage of all the art I’ll be producing during my adventure, I’d like to invite you to reserve a date in advance or keep a close eye on my website for the duration of the project.

The majority of the pictures produced will be landscape or still life studies painted “alla prima” directly from the subject. Land, sea or river-scapes could include animals or people within the view. Occasionally, the picture may be a “tasteful” figure study in oils, graphite or other dry media. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to take commissions for the subjects of these daily paintings. But – if I know a particular acquaintance has reserved a date, that may influence (to a degree!) the subject I chose for that day.

If you’d like to reserve a date between 28th July and 29th September (inclusive) – perhaps one date has special significance for you – please get in touch to check availability. If you would like to register to see each day’s painting or to receive the updates about the project, please get in touch through my website or by e-mail.

I’m really excited by this project. I’d like to invite you to be part of it too. I mentioned it to some visitors during my recent open studios weekends – and some dates have already been reserved.

Just in case you needed any further clues about the maths!

Moving In – and Moving On!

studio-03At last – after moving to East Anglia four and a bit years ago, I am now in the process of moving into my own dedicated home studio! Whoopee!!

It’s been quite a struggle – and the studios did have to take their place in the queue behind the higher priority of a completely refurbished, fully functional kitchen – but, finally, I’m within days of being able to “go to work” each day in my own studio. The shed we’ve put up isn’t all for me (!) as it also includes a studio and clean room which is Lorry’s pottery.


Work on the house and studios has been the principal reason why I’ve been neglecting my website since last autumn. However, despite this, I have arranged a pretty heavy schedule for the year ahead. I’ve increased the amount of courses and workshops I’m teaching this year and, given that it’s already the end of April, I have already completed two one-day courses (coloured pencil and graphite techniques) and a four-week oil painting course at The Art Training Company. I’ll be posting much more information about these workshops and courses in the near future.

26 Minutes of Fame!

EADT-Oct2014-for-webMy latest excursion into the wonderful world of TV has just aired on The Painting and Drawing Channel. Filmed in August on location in Bungay and Walberswick, I feature in an episode of “Fraser and Friends” – an eight part series from the SAA/Teaching Art Ltd. In the series, professional artist Fraser Scarfe spends time with eight different artists and learns a bit about them and their work. Each episode also features Fraser painting on location with the featured artist. The Painting and Drawing Channel is a digital channel available on Sky (192) and FreeSat (402). The programmes are also available online on YouTube for those without a satellite dish or cable.

The series trailer is here:

My episode’s trailer is here:

And the whole programme (in two parts) is on YouTube here: and here:

This new series is a departure for the SAA in that the content is not “instructional” in the way that the previous magazine programme – “A Splash of Paint” – focused on techniques and tips that could be followed or copied by viewers. “Fraser and Friends” has much more of an “out and about”, interview/chat based format. The viewer will learn more about the personality and interests of the featured artist and their chosen locality than they will about precisely how to make paintings or use art products. Personally, I think this can provide just as much inspiration as an “instructional” programme and is much more the sort of programme I would watch myself.

My episode includes a visit to Bungay’s Bigod Castle, The Earsham Street Cafe where I spent so many hours working on the Bungay Panorama, The Art Trading Co. where I do much of my teaching as well as a painting trip to Walberswick where we were able to meet the fascinating artist and historian Richard Scott – author and expert on the artists who have lived or worked in Walberswick in the past.

101 Top Techniques for Artists

101 Top Techniques imageAround a year ago, I was invited by the SAA to submit an idea or two for a proposed book (their first) that would feature 101 interesting techniques for artists. Among those ideas, I included a run down of how I work with coloured pencils on cradled wooden panels – specially adapted for creating smaller works. This technique was selected and I prepared some examples for a photography session at SAA HQ.

I’m delighted to say that the book is now published and my two-page feature looks great! The whole book has been very well produced and is jam packed full of ideas and techniques  (there really are 101 of them!) for new, improving or established artists.

Priced for SAA members at £14.99, the book is a good buy for anyone looking to expand their repertoire – with tips, techniques and ideas from all your favourite SAA TV artists! The book is also available with a DVD featuring a handful of the featured artists (Geoff Kersey, Marion Dutton and Jeremy Ford)

Here’s a link to the trailer: here

I have a small stock of the books only (at £14.99) and, as a special offer, the first 10 ordered directly from my website will be sent postage free! Just go to The Art Shop and order direct from me.

Selected for UKCPS Open International 2014

Little-Toby-for-webI’m very pleased to learn that “Little Toby Dreams of Durer” has been selected for the 2014 UKCPS Open International Exhibition and really happy that it will be getting an outing.  I made it with last year’s Derwent Art Prize in mind – but it was not selected for that show!  It’s big (for coloured pencil anyway) at 120 cm x 90 cm (4′ x 3′) and is an idea that first formed in my mind while I was demonstrating at the UKCPS Open at Stamford Arts Centre in 2010.  It has been getting very good reactions when I show it at Art Society demonstrations and talks – so I’m chuffed that it has been selected for this show (where I know the selection process has been a bit tighter – with far fewer works being picked than last year).  If you’d like to know the story – read on to the end of this post!

Stamford was only the second UKCPS exhibition I’d seen and I was struck by the fact that no-one else seemed to be working in the same way as I was – largely the result of experiments at college around 2002/3.  There seemed to be a great focus on very tightly rendered small works that showed tremendous technical skill but that sometimes didn’t engage the eye at a regular viewing distance.  By contrast, my big works on prepared wooden panels could be clearly seen from across the room(!) but probably didn’t satisfy CP die-hards on closer inspection. I also have no real interest in animal portraits for their own sake – but observed that this genre was extremely popular amongst CP artists.

Being a lover of low viewpoints, the idea of “doing” a tortoise from ground level appealed to me greatly!  However, I rather dislike the popular habit of rendering portraits of domestic animals that seem to exist without context or narrative.  If I was going to go big and fill the frame with a small animal, I’d need to tell a story or encourage the viewer into some kind of imaginative world.  In addition, what would the tortoise be standing on? The Aesop fable of the Hare and the Tortoise came to mind almost immediately.  It was also not much of a stretch to think of the tortoise being on grass – with the challenge of random blades and leaves.  It was then that I remembered two particularly wonderful pieces by Albrecht Durer, the German artist (1471 – 1528). His drawing of a hare and another of a clod of earth are models for CP artists to this day of brilliant observation and technique. In addition, the fable of the hare and tortoise seemed to be a metaphor for the whole business of working in coloured pencils – and I decided early on to use a coloured pencil as part of the finishing line!!  So – as Toby crosses the finishing line, spurred on by thoughts of the Renaissance, he demonstrates the virtue of perseverance! Alternatively, if you’d prefer, it’s just a CP picture of a tortoise and stuff!!

Little-Toby-sketchbook Here’s an undated page (early 2011) from a sketchbook where I was starting to think about the composition.  Looking back on it now, although I tried a few variations, I stuck very close to my first idea for the final composition.  This is usual for me.  I don’t often do extensive sketchbook work before “fixing” my ideas.  I nearly always do the work in my head and have a very clear idea of how I want a finished piece of this type to look – before I start to work.

And so to the search for resources. I don’t own a tortoise – but I thought it would be easy to find one!  How wrong could I be.  As a child, so many friends and neighbours owned a tortoise (often with a hole through the edge of the shell and attached to a piece of string, or with the house number painted on the shell).  Not these days!  After asking around and searching the Internet, I came across Norfolk Tortoise Rescue and fired off a speculative e-mail to the contact.  After a few exchanges during which I had to confirm that I would keep the location secret (these animals are now protected and subject to kidnap), I was given permission to visit and take photos.  Several tortoises of varying sizes were brought out of their luxury sheds and “auditioned”.  These animals are amazingly fast and I took many dozens of photos of several potential candidates.  Mostly they were too quick for the slight delay on my digital camera and a lot of the photos were out of focus!  Little Toby, the smallest of the lot at around 8 inches across, showed the greatest character and I took loads of photos of him charging towards me across the grass. He was very sociable!

Key elements of the composition are arranged according to the rule of thirds. Toby himself (and some of the closest foliage) was based on a couple of the photos – but with some details from pictures of a different tortoise altogether. I looked on the Internet and in a couple of nature books at home for a reminder of what made a hare different from a rabbit (!) – but was more concerned to get a sense of rage in its eyes than anything else.  To get the pencil/finishing post looking right, I stuck a drawing pin in one that I’d been using and held it up with the light coming from the correct direction and drew what I saw. The sky, horizon, ribbon and much of the foliage is from my imagination.  As is my usual practice,  I made good use of the electric eraser right at the end when tightening up specific edges and other features.  Although twice the size of my other larger CP works, this piece probably didn’t take a lot longer to complete – maybe 60-80 hours. I worked standing at a large studio easel.

Even though this is a pretty big work for CP, it is nevertheless a “pure” coloured pencil painting.  I used Derwent Artist and Studio pencils dry on 6mm MDF prepared with several coats of white gesso and sanded to a smooth finish.  There is a lot of bracing on the rear of the panel and the surface is protected by a couple of spray coats of matt artists’ varnish.