After I drew the magical, colourful unicorn for a pupil, I was asked by my friend E to draw her a unicorn for a niece and, by the way, could you do a Harley Quinn for my son? Not Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn but a more Disney-fied version that apparently is a popular doll. Finding a reference online, I sat down with some Kraft brown card and Prismas. Now, I have complained numerous times about the quality of Prismas and their rubbish cores but if you set that aside they are rather great to draw with; creamy, blendable and very bright on Kraft paper. Also, Kraft brown paper, a new discovery, is wonderful to draw on. It’s rough enough to layer on and makes coloured pencils sing.

I started with the hotpants and already I am a little concerned that the crotch highlights are a little…off. A quick check with hubby confirms my doubts and I know I’ll need to come back to that.

Doesn’t the coloured pencil really stand out on the Kraft paper?


The hair was a lot of fun to draw. It’s less detailed and gives me scope to draw long fluid lines. The curl on the blue streak side is a lot of fun too.

Actually this whole piece is a lot of fun.









I have added my friend’s son’s name into the background as graffiti – it stands out well because I layered white and the chosen colour. Lastly I added 3 little diamantes on Harley Quinn’s belt for the studs I was too lazy to draw in!

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Mad about Mousepads

The department where I work recently held a little event to raise awareness of Autism and get a little money to make the department more welcoming and fun for the pupils. A donation of 200 mousemats meant we had to come up with a creative idea to get them sold. First of all I used a shop-bought stamp with lino cut ink, which worked pretty well.

But my friend pointed out that they weren’t very girly and I was restricted by only really having this Sugar Skull stamp which was large enough to make a statement.


Before Christmas I bought a lino cut set with it in mind to try some lino printing at some point. This was that point. I leapt straight in, carved a ‘girly’ flower print and got printing. I found it quite easy to carve the lino after drawing on my design with a permanent marker. Carving is easier than I thought it would be and yet I still managed to jam the carving knife into my thumb at one point.

Still, look!










The roller and the ink make it really simple and I am really looking forward to having a go at lino printing again without the time pressure.

A little coda, we raised 924 pounds on the day which is quite incredible!










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Copperplate Calligraphy

I enjoyed creating my friend’s Christmas place settings so much that I thought I would do more of them but first I really need to polish my calligraphy. ‘Polish’ as in actually learn some proper calligraphy and not just my bastardized calligraphy that solely relies on using an italic-nibbed pen rather than any actual talent. So I got a hold of a Speedball Oblique pen, Winsor & Newton black calligraphy ink and a recommended book. For once I am also determined to start from the bottom and learn my way up instead of taking short cuts.

Things didn’t go great when it took me nearly 3 hours just to line out my guide sheet. Who knew 55 degree lines would be so hard? And getting it right would take a few gos? A week later, I sat down with smooth tracing paper, my book, my pen and ink and started learning the basic lines. It’s really difficult. I began with straight lines then added in up and down strokes. I tried to remember to pause at the top and bottom of the line so that I would have a squared off line. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting a thin line on the up stroke until I realised I wasn’t allowing time for the tines of the nib to come back together after widening for the down stroke. I am so much more impressed by some of the wonderful calligraphers I have seen online – they make it look so easy, but I’ll get there.








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Magical Unicorn

I know they don’t exist before any calls for the men in the white coats but one of the pupils I work with loves them and I thought since I had to sit and help my eldest with his art homework, I could knock a little unicorn picture up for her. Honestly, it’s not my usual kind of thing but it was so much fun to draw something this colourful and this ridiculous despite the looks I got from the boys in the house.

I had a wee look online to get some references for a unicorn and picked elements I liked. The rainbow seemed like a no brainer though. And I added the dappled freckles because freckles are always cute. As I was finishing up, I decided that it wasn’t magical enough and added some stars. I hope she loves it.





















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Festive Place Settings

My friend L asked me to make place name settings for her Christmas dinner table. The only brief I was given was that her theme was black and silver.

I began by making the basic sized card to be folded over and glued silver glitter card to one side. This is the side that the names would appear on.






Next, I cut the name plates with fancy scissors, you know the ones that cut a scalloped edge, and added the names. Children got a little Christmas themed stamp which I coloured in. Male adults got a manly stripe of black and silver washi tape and female adults got a silver sticker from a collection of stickers I bought from Lidl a while back. Female adults also got a little diamante.

The name plates were attached to the silver card with foam tape to raise it off the card.





On the back of the place settings, I wrote ‘Christmas 2016’ in silver and added another wee sticker. That way they can be read from the back, across the table and they become a keepsake. Lastly, I packaged them up in their own individual slip cases and handed them over for the festivities to begin.


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A Little Sign

The department where I work recently changed names. We used to be Support for Learning but we have rebranded as Pupil Support Base. Emphasis not on learning but supporting. Anyway, things like that in our school usually signal a request for a new sign and I got to work. As an old person, we tend to think the young people appreciate graffiti style writing, and rather than buck that assumption, this is what they got –



I quite liked them in black and white, a simple black Sharpie on Derwent Heavyweight paper. But I had to add some colour, using Ecoline inks. If only I was as funky and cool. Really old huh?








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A ‘C’ special catch up

So another little catch up, just to bring us right up to date. During my haitus, my friend C asked me to design a tattoo for her. She is a huge Terry Pratchett fan and following his death she wanted to commemorate him. She chose a line from his last book and I came up with a few ideas. This is the one she went with –

‘The magic was already here’ in the shape of a witches hat. I don’t have any photos of my actual design or the other options and I thank C for the photo used here. It makes me so pleased to see it on her foot.

Speaking of C, she is our school librarian and she often asks me to do a little creative work for her. A Game of Thrones inspired poster for her Readathon (no photo regretfully), a little ghost with ‘Libscary’ on it for Halloween (no photo regretfully) and this, dripping green slime for her Halloween display. Credit goes to C too for her photo and the creative tweaking too.

And to finish off the C trifecta, I include a little coloured pencil painting I did for her of her cat. I did start to take progress shots –





But these are the only ones I could find. Thank you again to C, for her inspired photos of the finished piece, framed and placed in amusing areas over the real pet –









And there we are. A C trifecta of catching up.

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Hello again!

Ok, so I have been AWOL from this site for quite some time. Truth is, I lost my drawing mojo. Life took over for a little while. And I missed it, I have really missed drawing and just having fun with little creative projects. I even stopped taking photographs. All the things that brought me joy and kept me sane. But I am back again. It wasn’t a total creative desert. I made a poster for work – a little poster directing pupils (and more importantly HMIE) to our English department. The only photo I have of it is when it was half-finished. I added on other genres.

From memory, and it shouldn’t be so difficult because I see this in situ every day, I added Western (a cowboy boot), Adventure (a hot air balloon)…and my memory has failed.

I decorated two blank birthday cakes for my gothic-horror obsessed eldest child. A little black sugar paste icing and red food colouring and voila! we have a Penny Dreadful cake and a Game of Thrones cake.The Hodor is his.

And a few other things that I’ll share over the coming days, just to get back on track. One thing I would like to do though, is stress how important being creative is, it doesn’t even matter if you are a creative person, but the very act of creating forces you to zone out of all the drama, lists, minutiae of life and just be. I have sorely missed that. And this site. Hello again!

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This piece was a hugely personal one. My boss, who is absolutely one of the finest people I have ever, will ever meet, recently retired. Earlier this year her beloved dog, Snoops, passed away and I had always intended to draw a portrait of him for her. The retirement provided a fortuitous time to finally do it. I had to obtain a photo of Snoops in secret and this led to getting one reference photograph that I had to run with.











IMG_2786I used Faber-Castell Polychromos on ivory Mi-Tientes paper for Snoops portrait and when I struggled to get the darkest of blacks I added in Derwent Coloursoft in Ivory Black and some very dark blues underneath.



And the finished piece – IMG_2788

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This piece was a special one to do. The Beagle community is large and when a member loses one, others wish to mark that event. This was what led me to this drawing, Cuillin. I haven’t drawn such a light coloured beagle and it was nice to do, especially those big expressive eyes.






IMG_2703IMG_2704Usually, I draw the eyes last but recently I have taken to drawing the eyes in first when tackling the centre of the subject’s head, it seems to make it easier to curve the fur around the eye, as if the eye is the very centre of the fur and everything spirals out from there. It does make it more natural when starting that big body of fur in the centre.






IMG_2775I added some blue into to white fur as Cuillin’s reference photo was quite shadowed on one side of the face. It’s a brighter and more pleasing shadow than just greys.

And so the finished piece, which oddly, leans best to be seen from the side, it must be Cuillin’s beagle tilt –


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