this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: rotring

August blogfest – day 15

Halfway, almost. Blogging every day is actually tougher than I thought. Thinking up a new subject to blog about every day, tricky.

Today there’s a look at three quick little illustrations I’ve done in one of the lovely orange Field Notes notebooks I received recently. I rarely draw on coloured paper, so it’s a nice change, and also it’s cool to use a similar coloured marker to add a bit of subtle shading. A white Posca marker is great to add a few highlights or stars.

Is there anything you’d like me to blog about? Something about my work, processes, inspiration? Let me know in the comments. And thanks for sticking with me, 16 days to go.

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One-man flyer

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Little droid

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Orange freighter

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Field Notes special edition notebook

His Art Materials

I get asked a lot about what art materials I use for my drawings and illustrations. So here’s a blog post showing exactly what I have laying around on my desk right now. If you aren’t familiar with the kind of stuff I draw, have a browse though the blog, or have a look at my work on Instagram or Facebook.

But first…

A good pencil won’t make you any better at drawing than that rubbish one you have in your pocket from a recent trip to Ikea. An expensive brush won’t instantly turn you in to the worlds best watercolourist. That watercolour pad you splashed out on, you know the one – hand made, 100% cotton, acid-free, cold pressed – isn’t going to make your drawings and paintings any better than if you were drawing on a Post-It note – unless you practice, unless you draw and draw and draw. New art materials are great, but they aren’t a short cut to being great at art, because there isn’t a short cut to being great at art. You just have to draw. Draw the stuff you love, draw the things you find difficult, set yourself some challenges, but most importantly just bloody well draw.

Now to the inky, graphitey stuff…

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Pencils (from top to bottom)

Staedtler Tradition, from 3H to 3B

Staedtler Mars Lumograph, 3H and 3B

Palomino Blackwing 602, not sure of the hardness – maybe a B?

Faber-Castell 9000, HB and 2B

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Technical Pens

Copic Multiliner SP, 0.03 to 0.7 thickness nibs (my favourite technical pens)

Rotring Tikky Graphic, 0.3 to 0.7

Staedtler Pigment Liner, 0.05 to 0.8

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Brush Pens

Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen

Sakura Pigma Brush

Pentel Pocket Brush (my favourite brush pen)

Kuretake No 8 Brush Pen

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Calligraphy / Nib Pens

Rotring Art Pen

Kuretake Nib Holder and Kuretake G Pen nib

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Coloured Pens

Copic Ciao Markers (lots of them, particularly orange ones)

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Miscellaneous Pens

Edding Gold Paint Marker

Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner

Sharpie Twin Tip Marker

Sakura Gelly Roll Glaze Pen (opaque white)

Lamy Scribble Mechanical Pencil

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Bits and Pieces

Swann Morton Scalpel Blades, 10A

Swann Morton Scalpel

Steel Rule, 300mm and 500mm

Faber-Castell Eraser

Faber-Castell Sharpener

Cheap brush for clearing loose graphite or eraser bits

Toothbrush (an old one) for splattering paint or masking fluid

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Bottled Things

Higgins Black Magic Waterproof Ink

Kuretake Sumi Ink

Winsor & Newton Masking Fluid

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Paper

Goldline A3 Layout Pad (the big yellow one)

Daler Rowney A4 Tracing Pad (the grey one)

Daler Rowney A4 Smooth Heavy Weight Cartridge Pad (the pink one)

Daler Rowney A4 Bristol Board (the green one)

Daler Rowney A4 Fine Grain Heavy Weight Cartridge Pad (the brown one)

Caveat

As I said before, nothing on this blog post will make you draw any better, that’s up to you. Now, stop reading, and draw!

 

You can find prints of my work here

I also have a Patreon page

And you can find more of my work online…
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Big Fish, Small Ship

I have a thing about drawing fish. I’m not afraid to admit it. It’s not my fault, it’s all Ian Miller‘s fault. When I was a kid I loved looking at the illustrations he’d done for comics and graphic novels, but it was his work in a book called The Guide To Fantasy Art Techniques that really got my attention.

The book featured eight fantasy or science fiction artists and illustrators, showing some of their work and getting an insight into how they went about producing these amazing images.

The chapter on Ian Miller had a profound effect on my drawings for years to come. His work is described in the book…

Delicacy of line and intricacy of detail typically characterise Ian Miller’s work, though his subject matter and technique often vary greatly. Equally at home with complex machinery or living creatures of various guises, his illustrations range from loose figure sketches in pencil and charcoal to pen and ink drawings of complex artefacts, twisted trees or winged insects.

Detailed line drawing of an imaginary fish

One of Ian Miller’s beautiful illustrations

Armed with an expensive handful of Rotring pens I set about mimicking Ian Miller’s style. I drew insects, fish, even a self portrait for college in his super-detailed and nightmarish style. Eventually my work became more personal, but I was left with a love of drawing fish and deep-sea creatures.

The picture here is from my time at art college in Cumbria. We were told by an illustration tutor that it wasn’t possible to produce a decent illustration using Rotring pens, and that real illustrators used dip or quill pens. Well, that was a challenge right there, so using nothing but a couple of those lovely burgundy Rapidographs I drew the Big Fish, Small Ship. Eighteen years later I’m still happy that it’s a decent bit of work. Although, for some reason I never wrote the title in the box I’d left for it.

A pen and ink drawing of a giant fish about to devour a ship.

Big Fish, Small Ship. My response to a challenge by a college tutor.