Pronunciation: /ˈblɒtə/

  1. a sheet or pad of blotting paper in a frame, kept on a desk.
  2. North American – a temporary recording book, especially a police charge sheet: the boys ended up on police blotters for property crimes

This page functions as a sketchbook of sorts where I'll be posting details on new projects, tips and tricks and anything else I find of particular interest.

Storm bottle

A little while back I watched "Song of the Sea", and I've been meaning to do something based on it since. Digital painting in Photoshop.

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The Art Test

Generally I'm very much against the idea of working for free, or "Spec" work. My portfolio is right there, available for all to see, and hopefully gives a good indication of the type of illustration work I do. I recently saw a post from another illustrator, Phil Corbett, on the subject of a recent art test he'd done, and this just so happened to coincide with an art test request I'd been dealing with the week previous, so I thought I'd write something about my experience as well.

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The Lost World

A quick sketch made with pencil crayons.

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Wedding invitations


I've recently been trying out some new illustration software, and one I found was Manga Studio 5, which was also on sale at the time. This is my first test piece from using it, based on an old sketch of my middleist child.

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Project test

Some test pieces I made for a project I'm currently working on.

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Pinch Punch Post

There are a few daily/weekly/monthly illustration challenges on Twitter, generally I miss them because of deadlines or whatever. I've done a few Daily Doodles and I'm going to try and keep an eye on that account and do more, I'm also going to try and contribute to Pinch Punch Post and Colour Collective on at least a semi-regular basis going forward. This is where I'll collect my Pinch Punch Posts for now.

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Blackformat Blob

Blackformat's a new design, illustration and animation community I've recently joined. Anyone joining's invited to make their own version of the 'B' logo, and this is mine – the B-movie blob, in the original 50's grainy black and white, and shiny, full-colour hi-def modern-day remake.

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Goat Boy

Ideas for a new comic/superhero character, inspired by my middlest son.

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Random sprout generation

For my Nana Loves Sprouts card I wanted to have the Nana presenting a huge bowl of sprouts. In order to make that bowl of sprouts there are a couple of ways I could go about it. Draw out hundreds of individual sprouts by hand. Draw out a couple of sprouts and then duplicate, rotate, resize, them etc to add a bit of variety. In the end I decided to go with option 2, but with a twist. Instead of duplicating, rotating, etc myself, I'd make a generative art program to do it for me. I've posted previously about the Joshua Davis Skillshare class I took about just this kind of thing. I'm not sure generating random sprouts is quite what he had in mind when he set up the class mind.

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Illustration workshops

In October 2014 I was asked to run two illustration workshops at Beverley Literature Festival, one for children around 7–10 and one for 11-14ish, talking about designing characters and comics. The same weekend I was also asked if I'd take part in a storytelling and illustration session at the Artwaves Festival in Bridlington (a lady called Frances Kelly would handle the storytelling side of things and I'd sketch and draw things from the stories she told with the kids). Luckily I was able to squeeze them both in to what amounted to be a very busy weekend.

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Daily doodle

Daily Doodle is a Twitter account that sets a new theme everyday and invites people from all over the world to doodle or sketch their own interpretation and tweet in the results. Quite often the topics in a week are themed, eg Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, etc. As part of a concerted effort to get away from the computer screen and to dig out my pencils more often I try to join in whenever I can. My contributions thus far are collected here.

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Generative Art

For a long time I've been interested in Generative Art and have dabbled with programs like Processing and Nodebox, and frameworks like the Hype Framework (when it was still based on ActionScript), but never in a committed, sustained way. So when I saw that Joshua Davis was running a class called "Programming Graphics I: Introduction to Generative Art" on Skillshare I jumped at the chance to get a peek into his work process and the code behind it.

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The House Points System

Last year my children got heavily into the Harry Potter books/films which heavily features four school houses that are used for competitions and as a source of pride, reward and punishment – something they also have experience of from their own school house system. Following on from all this and seeing how much of an impression it had made we decided to implement our own house points system at home.

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Realistic clouds in Illustrator

For a recent project I found I needed to create some realistic looking clouds in the background of an illustration, but I had to keep the whole thing in Illustrator. Moving to Photoshop wasn't an option as the image could potentially be used at any size, from 10cm wide to two-feet wide or more, so vector format was the order of the day. A quick search online for "realistic clouds in Illustrator" threw up plenty of results, but none that would give the effect I was looking for. Most seemed to rely on using gradient meshes or symbols, custom brushes and the like. After a little experimentation I found a solution that worked well, and I've since used for a couple of other projects, so I thought I'd document it in case anyone else might find it useful.

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I was looking for a logo for a future project and contacted Simon as I'd been impressed with the illustrations on his website. From the vague brief that he was given, Simon produced multiple options, all of which were beyond my expectations. Once I'd chosen the most suitable, he added further embellishments that added real quality to the design. The design was turned round well within the timescale Simon was given and at a really reasonable price. Gordon Tennent, Sneakytrick

Get in touch!

I'd love to work with you on your next creative project, so get in touch today.