Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus).
‘Suddenly, the sea swelled and a giant whale broke its surface…’
Illustration for The Three Sisters, from Oxford Treetops Greatest Stories: Grimm, retold by Jan Davidson, published by Oxford University Press, 2016.
Ink on Strathmore Bristol, vellum surface, approx. 160 x 235 mm.
I originally wanted to draw a sperm whale for this, simply as a change from humpback whales which I love and which I tend to default towards (see my illustrations for How the Whale got his Throat from Just So Stories, for instance). But once I’d sketched the rough, I found that a sperm whale from this perspective was decidedly visually dull. With little more than its head visible, it was essentially a slightly rounded off, rectangular block, with precious few details of interest. A humpback, with its tapering head, undulating contours, throat grooves, and long pectoral fins, was far and away the better candidate. It needed to be another humpback, and I was only too glad to draw it.
I have been given a very kind feature in this month’s newsletter from Children’s Book Illustration as part of my launch on their website. All of the original artwork I did for The Nutcracker are now available for sale and can be found via the newsletter link or by visiting their website directly.
As you can see in the newsletter, Linda Owen-Lloyd and Harriet Potter were inspired by my numerous crane self-portraits and portraits of friends as animals in my sketchbook that they very kindly asked me to draw their portraits, too, to coincide with the launch.
Linda — who as I’ve learned is a ‘fanatical cyclist’ — is the cycling springer spaniel; and Harriet, who enjoys choral singing, is a blackbird.
‘Se equivocó la paloma,
This was inspired by a song by Carlos Guastavino, which in turn is a setting of the poem, The Dove, by Rafael Alberti, to music. I particularly like this choral performance of it. The drawing isn’t meant to illustrate the poem/song as such, but was more a reflection of my own thoughts which took the opening lines and refrain as inspiration.
One of a few recent drawings I didn’t quite get a chance to post. I’ll try to intersperse them along with work from The Nutcracker in the coming weeks. This drawing has now found a new home with the brilliant and much-beloved illustrator, Cory Godbey, who shared a picture of it on his Instagram.
You’l notice that my signature appears in the bottom left corner of the original but not in the scan. That was simply because I’d forgotten to sign it prior to scanning, then promptly forgot to re-scan the piece again before posting it off to Cory.
Pudgy Unicorn is available as a print from my Redbubble store.
Inspired by Ohara Koson. This piece was actually created back in October as part of the Inktober challenge, but which I neglected to post at the time. The original now belongs in the collection of a very kind friend, supporter, and fellow artist (illuminator, sculptor, and jeweler extraordinaire), Sophie Klesen.
Happy New Year!