when you’ve absolutely positively gotta draw every single person in the room

Art Materials March 2016 sm
I’m often asked what materials I use to draw with. Here are some of them, although they are weighted very heavily towards the brown-black Uni-ball signo UM-151 pen, which I use the most. Also I use Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolour paint to colour things in. The rest is really a bonus. you can find out more on my ‘materials‘ page. I drew all of these using that brown-black pen in a Stillman and Birn ‘Zeta’ sketchbook, the one with the very smooth white pages. Each individual tool took 5-10 minutes at most to sketch.

this is ink land

pens sept 2015 sm
These are my pens. These are not all of my pens. These are some of my pens. I like the Uni-Ball Signo UM-151 pen, and I order them from Jetpens. The one I use the most is on the left, the brown-black version. I go through a lot of these. They don’t run with a watercolour wash (unlike the black one, which does). The coloured ones are fun to have too. For thsoe who don’t know I colour in using watercolour paints. There are a couple of other pens in this picture, one is the Pigma Graphic (a thick-lined version of the Pigma Micron), the white gel Uni-ball Signo (this has a very prominent white gel that shows up on even very dark surfaces, unlike a lot of white gel pens), and the black one is the Pentel 04 which is not quite as nice as the Uni-Ball Signo UM-151 but is still pretty good. Oh, and there’s my trusty H2 pencil. Tools of the trade. Hey if you are interested in what materials I generally use when sketching, I have recently updated my long-in-need-of-updating Materials page. Hope you like it!

another one over…

last page of moleskine 7

The inside back cover of watercolour moleskine #7, these are just some of the materials used in this sketchbook.

So, Moleskine 7 started in December in London, with the first page being drawn in a blizzard. With the last page being at the end of May in Davis you might think it went from a blizzard to a heatwave, and in any other year it may have, but right now Davis is unseasonably cold, wet and windy.

You can see the whole sketchbook, from Dec 2010 to May 2011, on the Moleskine 7 flickr set.

snowy norwich walk (from the window)the varsity, 2nd stuc davis bike barn rialto bridgesketchcrawl31 raygun gothic rocketshipi st bridge, sacramentoSS Pampanitofroggy's and aggies'

god only nose

18, crayon up nose

Number 18 of 30. What was I thinking? Well, can you remember how rational your thoughts were at age six? It was pretty silly, even for me.  I don’t recall exactly but I think I told me friend Hartman, or it might have been Mark, that I could put the crayon in my nose, but then it got stuck. The crayon was fairly small, and yes it was green. I remember that I tried to get it out, but ended up pushing it further in. I didn’t want to tell the teacher at first, Miss Welsh I think it was. When I did, they took me to the little medical room, which consisted of a hammock type bed and a strong smell of Dettol, where Mrs Lyons I think it was said I’d need to go to the hospital, so the headmaster himself, Mr Grist, drove me there. The doctors got it out with tweezers; I think about this incident every time I see a pair of tweezers now. Mr Grist drove me back to school in time for hometime, and my worried looking older brother was there to collect me from the main office. Silly boy. But I never did it again.

medieval on your ass

17, medieval english

I enjoyed doing my MA. It was at King’s College London, so I got to spend hours every day in the incredible Maughan library in Chancery Lane, as well as the indispensable Senate House. Among other things (such as an excellent course in the literature of Medieval London), I studied Germanic Philology: specifically Old Saxon, Old High German and Gothic, as well as Old English. I travelled to Switzerland, where I actually held in my hands the oldest surviving text in the German language, the twelve-hundred year old ‘Abrogans‘ manuscript. In terms of ‘which medieval’ I studied – Anglo-Saxon or Middle English, early medieval or late, I preferred to look at the middle ground, at the supposed boundary areas where one period becomes another. How language was affected by the way its speakers chose to convert to Christianity, in Germany at least, and in England, the way French imposed itself upon English in its transition to what we call Middle English. I argued against the supposition that cross-Channel antagonism in the Hundred Year’s War led to the downfall of spoken French in England. It was all very interesting, and I learnt a massive amount, mostly about how to conduct academic research; however, I have not done quite as much research since, just bits here and there. I moved to America a week after handing in my dissertation and have lived here ever since.

i think i know, but i don’t know why


My illustration friday entry for this week, theme: SEED

and so, a load of pens, what’s that got to do with seed? Geoffrey of Monmouth and Baugh & cable; seed? I tell you it has, and you know the answer. It’s quite a lame connection, to be honest.

This was, incidentally (for pen fetishists) drawn in copic multiliner 0.05.

By the way, I like the difference between ‘A History’ and ‘The History’. I think you should always trust ‘A’ over ‘The’ (especially a Galfridian ‘The’).

(yes, Galfridian is one of my favourite words – actually, it is my favourite word – and I always look for an excuse to use it).