Monday, December 22, 2008

Sketches, pens and mince pie crumbs...

The title of this post refers to the chaos that has been my desk for the last few weeks.

I feel I'm getting somewhere now, as the number of projects to complete has finally been whittled down to ONE. Yippee!!!! This last task being a set of 53 Star Wars cards for Topps to complete for the beginning of January.

It won't be quite the break I'd planned over Christmas(nothing to do but rest, eat too much and watch TV), but maybe it will be good to keep my hand in and keep drawing. It's always hard going back to work after a break.

I did have a day off last Friday. I got the bus into the centre of Manchester and wandered round the Christmas Markets inhaling the tantalising aromas of food and mulled wine, and admiring the crafty, arty goods for sale. I returned home feeling really Christmassy!

So I've been juggling Christmas shopping and artwork for the last few weeks. And it seems to have somehow come together nicely. The new garland on the mantlepiece, lit with fairy lights is a new feature for our new home, and compliments the Christmas tree in the corner nicely. Rosie is so excited about Christmas, now she understands so much more about it. She'll be more of a joy to be with than usual on Thursday. Today, for instance, I took her ice-skating in the morning, then we played in the snow at the Chill Factore(indoor ski centre), followed by ice-cream, naturally! It's got to be done at this time of the year. She has gone to bed happy and exhausted.

The big canvas portrait is finished and as soon as it has been presented to a certain celebrity, will be posted up here. Until then I am sworn to secrecy, so bear with me. The latest batch of sketch cards for Strictly Ink are also finished and posted above. I will be working on some Professionals ones shortly.

To anyone who may stumble across this Blog, and to the kind people who occasionally give it a glance, may I wish you all a happy, joyous, peaceful Christmas and New Year.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Approved! (Part 1 of 6)

After a bit of prodding, unanswered emails and me resorting to ringing Topps' New York offfices, I finally received confirmation that my cards had safely reached them, and have been approved. I can now show them off. I worked especially hard on this project. Even so, my work pales beside other sketch card artists on this set! I recommend the Scoundrel Art Comunity discussion boards, if you'd like to see the amazing talent on show. :)

Approved! (continued. Part 2 of 6)

Approved! (continued. Part 3 of 6)

Approved! (continued. Part 4 of 6)

Approved! (continued. Part 5 of 6)

Approved! (continued. Part 5 of 6)

...and finally, these are the new panoramic double cards, which have already got sketch card collectors stirred up, and divided in opinion! I should receive one of these back.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas is a coming...

I have three new Christmas card designs this year. Would have liked to do more, but time is pressing on.

The "easy" life of a freelance artist...

"Yes, that's me, I work from home".

"Oh aren't you lucky!" people generally say, but what they fail to understand is that while yes, I can work around Rosie's school hours and be there to drop her off and pick her up from school, I have no social life, I don't sit down at the end of a long long day and relax in front of the TV. I work the 6 hours Rosie is in school. Then once she's gone to bed, I work until late and collapse into bed, then wake in the night panicking about all the work I still have to do. I can honestly say I work harder now, and much longer hours than when I worked nine to five. There's no sick pay or holiday pay either! But I'd much rather do this than anything else.

And occasionally on a Saturday evening, when I watch Merlin as a treat, or even more rarely, go out for a meal with John or friends, I really appreciate it!

My current projects to be completed before Christmas are a canvas portrait, three family portraits, some new Christmas card designs and a big pile of sketch cards! I'm fairly sure there are one or two other things too...I usually have two or more projects in the go at once.

Bad management? You might say that, but it does keep the adrenaline going; all this hanging on by the skin of your teeth and when each project is completed... it's a great feeling of achievement. I'm a hard taskmaster and a strict boss, but an appreciative one!

A couple of weeks ago, I completed 116 sketch cards for Topps. I'm still waiting to see if they've received them(fingers crossed). It was a long, hard slog and I put a lot of effort into making the cards some of my best work. I'm praying they have arrived and will be approved by LucasFilm. As soon as I get the nod, I'll post them up here.
Meantime, here's a shot of my messy desk to be going along with.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I've been interviewed! Does that constitute my 15 minutes of fame???

Anyway, the nice guys over at Kasterborous had some spare time and space on their website, and last year hunted me down and thrust a list of questions at me.

Now it's up in all its glory, ahem!

Go and have a look, if only to check out a very informative and entertaining website!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Deviant Artist

I've finally organised myself a page over at Deviant Art.

Still finding my way around. I've only just scratched the surface, but there's some amazing artwork up there!

Bit by bit, I'm putting together a gallery of my favourite artwork, so wander over and take a peek...if you so wish. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Big Screen Doctor Who

70 Big Screen Doctor Who sketch cards completed for Strictly Ink.
100 cards now to do for Topps. I've been included in the Indiana Jones Masterpieces set. Yay!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


30 cards just completed for Strictly Ink's 2000AD series.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Portrait Artist

Here's a portrait just completed of Rosie's best friend Alice, and her little sister Millie.
All the time I'm working small and close, Jon Hall's words are echoing through my mind, "Work big, paint from the shoulder, forget the finer details!"

I will Jon, I promise. Lots of close work to complete first tho. ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Daleks ahoy!

Aah, twas a lovely weekend down in Somerset, at the Yeovilton Fleet Air Arm Museum, and the Dalek Day II event.

Finally met Alistair Pearson, an artist whose work inspired me to start painting Doctor Who portraits, long ago!

Caught up with Colin Baker and snuck lots of hugs!

The stall was a great success, thanks to a wonderful roadie - you know who you are!

Spent time with wonderful friends, had lots of laughs, good food, and relaxing times. Revisited old haunts Glastonbury and Aldbourne on the way home.

Never stop learning...

Last week, I enjoyed an impromptue art lesson with travelling artist Jon Hall, while staying in Runswick Bay. His wonderful canvas is the big colourful one above, which will shortly be auctioned for charity. My little sketch is now at home, where it reminds me every time I look at it, of how much I learnt that day.
Go check out Jon's amazing work at:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

David Tennant immortalised

Alas, Hamlet appears to be sold out, right up until November! Ho hum.

In the meantime, I've completed the above portrait on a small box canvas. It's in the style of the John Barrowman one I did a few months ago.

Friday, July 11, 2008


..and so completes my sample set to submit to Topps. Spent a very enjoyable couple of hours working on these last night.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A new Torchwood piece, just waiting to be coloured in!

Cracking on...

I'm working on a set of sketch cards to submit to Topps later this week. Here are the first three.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I've had a productive weekend! The Doctor's ladies are finished(I'm praying no one asks where Astrid is! Believe me, it wouldn't have worked composition-wise). And since Colin will be guest of honour at the Yeovilton event, I've done a portrait of him too. Still getting used to my new printer/scanner. Not happy with the results just yet. At least I've got my digi-cam to fall back on!

Friday, July 04, 2008

July 4 2008

This is my latest piece of artwork in progress. I'm pulling all the stops out now to get some good artwork ready for the Yeovilton Dalek Day in August. I have lots of ideas, hopefully there'll be time to realise them! I do love working in my new 'studio'!

Sketch card 'New Earth' panoramic set

Here's a sketch card set I produced back in April. It was an interesting and enjoyable commission. I used my new sketchcard blanks.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Artist In Residence

Last week Rosie's school hosted an 'Art's Week', during which they had various artistic and literary projects taking place, culminating in a Dress-as-your-favourite-book-character-Day on the Friday(last day of term). Myself and another mum from Rosie's class answered a call for artists by the school and were asked if we'd like to repaint a Wendy-house in the playground.
We got together and came up with some designs, which we spent a week realising, with much fun, using gloss paint, acrylic paint, stencils and sponges.
The weather stayed perfect all week and the rain managed to stay off until Friday afternoon, just after the varnish had dried - yay!
I got the nursery class involved on Thursday. I cut out some stencils of butterflies, flowers and dragon-flies and took the children out in pairs, gave them a sponge each and some paint and let them paint their very own designs. Every child got a chance to do some painting (the class list came in very useful that day), and it was great to see their excitement at taking part in the project.
It was very rewarding work. I felt privileged to be able to see what Rosie gets up to during her school day, and she loved seeing me popping in and out of class. I was so impressed with how welcoming and helpful the teachers were and how hard they work each day to educate our little tots!

The last day of term had a real holiday feel. The teachers and pupils made a great effort and came up with some wonderful costumes. My Rosie dressed as Stephanie from LazyTown, complete with pink wig! She attached herself to a boy in the class who had come dressed as Sporticus! She enjoyed a picnic on the grass in the morning with her classmates, then lots of playtime for the rest of the day. The headmaster dressed as Dumbledore and I saw at least one Hermione, and a few Harry Potters.
My friend and I finished off by decorating the inside of the Wendy House. I painted a star scape on the ceiling, then with a touch of mischievousness, I added a Tardis, then a Death Star, and the Millennium Falcon, accompanied by two X-wing fighters! Martyne painted a lovely heavenly mural on the walls, complete with angels and stars.
The headmaster presented us both with a bottle of wine, and the Nursery class came out to survey their paintwork. Everybody seemed very happy with the result, not least Martyne and I!

I'm looking forward to doing more work in schools. It's great to be able to give something back.

I'm back, and it's about Time...

Where does the time go???
Since the last entry, We've moved house(yay!) , and my daughter got a permanent place at the fantastic school she's attending(even bigger yay!). I've spent hours of 'unpaid leave' unpacking boxes, decorating, battling with Talk Talk to get my phone-line and Broadband reconnected, taking stock on my artistic career, and last week, I was a resident artist at my daughter's school(more on that later).
Firstly, I need to mention the Darwen event from the last entry. It was a very interesting day. Not good for sales, it was only a small event, but it was great for meeting people and connecting with kindred spirits, which I always enjoy doing, particularly if it means I learn a bit more about my path through life, and where it might take me. So, Jennie Linden and Anneke Wills, thank you for your friendship and kind words. I'll treasure them always!
Above are some sketch cards I drew specially for the event. I sold one of them - Anna Hope as Novice Hame. Anna was one of the guests, and she gave a very good interview on stage. She also brought one of her cat masks with her for us to see close up.
Paul Cornell put in a brief appearance in the morning, then dashed off home (he had a long drive) so he could watch the Doctor Who episode. I was going to watch it with the guests and fans, at a special screening at a pub that evening, but my car had been in an argument with a Co-op lorry during the day, so I thought I'd best get home and ring a couple of Insurance Companies to get it fixed as soon as possible. As a result, I was able to see the episode at home - very enjoyable silliness!
Our car was soon fixed up again, with a new door and a new wing. In the meantime we had a lovely new Renault Cleo to drive, complete with CD player! Oh we were so spoilt, tee hee! So it all worked out fine in the end.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Darwen ahoy!

This week I'm getting all set to head off to Darwen, a little northern town 40 mins drive from Manchester. Fitting, I think that I attend my first Doctor Who event this year, the day the new series returns to our TV screens!
This is the new piece of artwork I'll be unveiling there. It replaces the last 10 Doctors composite drawing which unfortunately had the 2nd and 3rd Doctors the wrong way round! So many people didn't seem to notice, or were too polite to mention my deliberate mistake! ;)

Friday, March 07, 2008


Here are some of the special edition Supernatural cards.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Commissioning sketch cards

I am currently accepting private commissions for sketch cards.
Here are a few of my recent ones.
I am also preparing for the Supernatural event in Birmingham. This will include some special edition sketch cards.
Watch this space. :)

I'll try and pop along to Collectormania in Manchester this coming weekend, primarily to support my fellow artist Steve. I won't have a stall this time. Unfortunately there's been no time to prepare work while we've been trying to move house. It's NOT been a fun few months, and no end in sight just yet.

Hammer Horror Final Set

Just completed the remainder of my Hammer Horror blanks. Phew. That brings the total Hammer Horror cards up to 105. Here's the first lot...

Hammer Horror final set (cont)

...and the rest.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Calling David Philips...

This is a message for David Philips('The Doctor Dances' commission).
If you read this, can you email me please.
I've been trying to reply to your last email,
but keep getting permanent error messages.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Trilogy Cards

I've just been asked to complete a few more cards for the Strictly Ink Trilogy Series.
This is a rare monster set! It was fun tackling subjects I've not done before, and drawing characters I've not seen on other sketch cards in the Trilogy series.

I also tried a different technique on most of them... freehand drawing!

To save time, I often trace onto my sketch cards (I've heard that other sketch card artists do this too). It gives me a solid foundation to work with, particularly for faces.

It doesn't mean any less work, in fact I find it often means more, once you've fiddled around with tracing paper, and reduced reference pictures to just the right size...

I enjoyed the freedom of drawing these little monsters freehand this time round!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ten Doctors

My latest set of sketch cards have just been approved.
If you are interested in purchasing the set,
please contact Mark Hogan at:

Or follow this link to see the listing on eBay:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Commissioned sketch cards

I have been working on a set of ten privately commissioned sketch cards this last week. Here is number three. I thought it might be fun to show the various stages each sketch goes through from start to finish, from pencil through to coloured ink.
Once the whole set has been approved, I'll post it here.

Portrait approved.

Just found out that John Barrowman was shown the original painting of his portrait last week, and liked it very much. Yay! That's nice to know.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year, new horizons...

Managed to complete and deliver to its owner the above family portrait before the end of the year - phew!

Will be taking a few weeks off work now to move house and get settled. Living out of boxes, and tripping over them. Can't wait to get sorted in our new house, and back painting again!