Sunday, December 1, 2013

Watercolour Flamingo

I was recently commissioned to paint a flamingo on the same large scale as this African Grey parrot that I painted 2 years back. 

The first thing I did was grab the opportunity to go to London Zoo and see some flamingos in flesh and feather. They are seriously weird creatures - all pink and showy with spindly toothpick legs, unfeasible necks and big banana beaks. It was really helpful to spend an afternoon watching them walk about, feed, preen. They have a very surreal grace and beauty, and are such a joy to draw!

This piece is in fact 1.5 x 2 metres, watercolour on paper. Trying to manoeuvre a sheet that large is a heck of a challenge especially when it's just come off the roll. I used Dr Ph Martin's liquid watercolours, which are really concentrated pigments. They are light-fast and because they're liquid it's easy to mix large enough quantities to cover this size. The paper is Saunders Waterford watercolour paper from St Cuthberts Mill in 300gsm rough.

For a bit of size-scale-comparison-context, here I am sitting next to the beast.

And finally, after flying all the way from London to Cape Town, here he is framed and in his new home!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sketching at the British Museum

Sketch in progress

I recently had a lovely afternoon sketching at the British Museum. Working from home as I do, I thought it would be good to get out of the house and just draw stuff. After eating my packed lunch in the Great Court I went down to the Africa gallery. I've never actually been in there before and I thought it would be a fitting warm-up for my upcoming trip to Cape Town. I'm travelling there soon for a 2 month working holiday/sabbatical, and I wonder how much of this stuff I will find in the museums there...

Various African masks

I made the decision to sketch with pen only - I used my Preppy 0.3 fountain pen loaded with brown Rotring ink - and just went for it. Admittedly me 'going for it' is everybody else's 'super slow-mo' and I spent my entire time in just one room.

This guy (above) is kind of in the corner of the room i was in, and even though it's massive (you could probably fit 3 people inside it in a very cosy manner) it's very plain and initially looks just like a giant basket. He is in fact an Eland, which is a hefty kind of South African antelope, and as soon as I identified his little head and tail I knew I had to draw him.

I took a few photo pictures while I was there too...

Bronze panel from Benin #junglelife

House pole from British Columbia in the Great Court

Chuck every pattern at a ceiling = British Museum entrance hall

Night night British Museum!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nicki Minaj in colour

This is just an experiment for my sketchbook portrait, using Dr Martens liquid watercolours (because they're hyper bright) and oil based pitt pencil (because it's proper black). I think it worked.

I drew Nicki Minaj from a picture in an old issue of Wonderland. Once I start drawing, it often amazes me how crazy celebrities faces are and Nicki's is just about as nuts as she is. 

I often instagram things-in-progress, so follow if you're interested in seeing that kind of stuff I'm @abihey - FOLLOW!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hey Illustration!

Hello and Happy March! (It's waaay too late to say Happy New Year!)

I have started a new blog - Hey Illustration! It is dedicated to the subject of Illustration (clearly) and the issues that affect professional Illustrators. I have made my first post, which is a short introduction to the blog and a bit about myself. There are great things coming so if you are an Illustrator get involved!

Check out

Follow @HeyIllustration on Twitter

I'm quite excited to have made a Google+ community as well. If you aren't on G+ give it a try and join us! I hope the community will be a great way to engage with other Illustrators, help each other out and have some fun at the same time.

Don't fret! This blog will continue as usual with posts about my work, development and inspiration.

I'll be back to post something more substantial soon, I promise...