Wednesday, 4 December 2013

ARTISTS OF THE WEEK: Anne and Janet Grahame Johnstone

Janet Grahame Johnstone (1 June 1928 - 1979) and Anne Grahame Johnstone (1 Jun 1928 - 25 May 1998)[1] were twin sisters and British children's book illustrators best known for their delicate, detailed prolific artwork and for illustrating Dodie Smith's classic book The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
Their most collectible book to date is Enid Blyton's 1979 Dean book, called, The Enchanted Wood.

When I was about 10 or 12 years old  I was given a book , Tales Of Ancient Greece, written by Mae Broadley and  illustrated byAnne and Janet Grahame Johnstone.
The illustrations were quite magical and actually encouraged me to read the stories. It was a book written for children and the stories were adapted from classic Greek Mythology  for a younger audience but it was the images contained within that made this a cut above  most children's books. I had not seen illustrations quite like these before and the impact stays with me even today. I later becam aware of the Johnstone's celebrated work for Enid Blyton's The Enchanted Wood, but it was their work on Greek mythology that remains my personal favourite of all their work.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

SEPT-DEC 2013:WEEK 7&8

Ok, another crazy week of deadlines means that this will be a work in progress.Just for now, I throwing up the images. I will post some words soon (possibly the weekend). Those of you who were there will probably remember my rambilings.

The Graveyard

Release The Kraken


Monday, 4 November 2013


Since most of you are working in monchrome I think it is important that you spend some time thinking about light and shade contrasts and negative space. I see so many really nice drawings rendered flat due to the artist  either not understanding or failing to apply the basic priciples of light .
Frank Miller is a master of working in black and white and  Sin City is ample proof of this
Frank Miller - Sin City

I highly recommend you spend some time studying the work of....
Mike Mignola - Creepy. Just a simple cloud of mist in the background frames the trio and makes them clearly visible and the main point of interest.

Alex Toth - The Shadow

Frank Frazetta - The Lioness
Notice how  just a small use of light on the back of the lioness gives the viewer enough information to know which way she is sat . The tree frames the cat and the cabin in the background. So simple.

Bernie Wrightson - Frankenstein
You will learn a lot from studying the work of these artists. Wrightson's work above may look more complex , with its fine line work but it it's layout  and application of light is the same as Mignola's.
Frazetta's , The Lioness, pictured above and Miller's Sin City work was definately being chanelled into my observational sketches during a recent trip to France.

All you have to remember is is. If you want something in the foreground to stand out from the back ground make sure you leave enough contrast  surrounding the subject in the forground. If your foreground is dark, make your background light and vise versa. It's not rocket science. Notic ethe car in the pic above. The car in in shadow  and stood against a black background but I have left enough highlight on the car to make it visible. What is the first thing you see when you look at the sketch?

Thursday, 31 October 2013


Ok, REALLY sorry for the delay in getting this  post sorted. The  deadline for my new book is a bit punishing.
First off, I will recap on the figure drawing stuff some of you were requesting.
 I  generally approach figure drawing like this...

... loose and  sketchy.
I know that some of you find the braek down shapes more helpful so I wil recap on those right now.
When I used to use this method of putting together  a figure drawing, I would use an oval shape for the head, a kind of egg shape for the body, cylinders for te arms and legs and spheres for themajor joints, such as the shoulders ,elbows and knees etc.
You could also try the even more simplified version of  this by creating what is generally refered to as a skelton frame

The important thing to remember when creating any figure drawing is how the body  works and how each movement will have an effect on the rest of the body, whether it be a bent knee, a tilted head or shoulder etc.
Study the arrows indicating the direction of the tilt due to the  body weight  being placed on the right leg.

By the way, if you are wondering  what  the three vertical lines are for, I put them there  in case they helped those of you  who have a tendency to  lean your figure work slightly. If you find that this is still the case, just draw some feint vertical lines one central and two either side. So if this helps.

The drawing below may look a bit complex at first ...
...but once you realise it's just a collection of shapes... can position them to create all kinds of  poses. Ok, easily said than done, I imagine some of you are saying,  but just remeber, I had to put lots of practice in to figure this out. Just keep drawing, and looking, and seeing, and drawing.

Here are the breakdowns of the fairy sketch we started in class.
If it helps, just go for capturing the shape created by the legs and body first and then add the arms

Play around with the position of the wings to see which works best. Try to make them compliment the body of the fairy.

This pose could suggest a number of scenes...

Hands are easy to draw once you realise that they break down into  managable components. The palm is usually pretty much square, the fingers can be constructed using  cylindrical shapes and spheres for the knuckles. Study your own hand. Draw your own hand. Keep drawing your hand . You've prbably heard the saying, " I know it like the back of my hand", well, don't just know the back, know all sides, insideand out. This is what will enable you to draw hands really well. 
If you are going to use these construction shapes to  draw a hand, DO NOT get too wrapped up in drawing perfect shapes. Figure drawing is as much about feeling your way around the frame . The diagrames presented here are just for clarity. Loosely sketch your groundwork as in the examples shown above.


Boris Vallejo.
 A Peruvian born, American artist