New website

Pink 70s phone

I painted this bright pink/red 1970s style phone in ArtRage 4 which has an excellent new painting mode called ‘workbench’. Workbench puts all the tools you need into a strip at the top of the screen. I took the idea for this piece from my sketch book, traced the outline and have been painting it up using the ink and oil brush.

I love last centuries old landline phones, each design speaks volumes about it’s time. This is a ‘futuristic’ 1970’s style phone. So expect more in the coming weeks.

This is to be the last post at after some years I’ve decided to shift my blog and create a portfolio illustration site at…

I’ve owned this URL for a while and decided it was time to push forward make a better promotional platform and outlet for my illustration work.

It uses a custom self hosted setup of WordPress which means I can more easily update the main web site and manage the blog in a familiar environment. Which should mean more time for image making. It also means that the website and blog are configured for viewing on phones, tablets and laptops without lots of extra shenanigans and publicising new work is a breeze.


Catcher In The Rye for the Forbidden Planet competition

Catcher In The Rye cover illustration for the Forbidden planet competition.

Forbidden Planet have now put up all the entries and I love the diversity of the work presented. There really is some very different and interesting approaches to the challenge.

So for those who’ve missed the discussion Forbidden Planet has been running a competition in the last couple of months to showcase what London illustrators can create in terms of book covers after some less than complimentary comments in Melanie McDonagh article in the Independent earlier this year.

The discussion about modern illustration went something like this.

Starting with the original article by Melanie McDonagh back in January.

Personally I just think some individuals are living in a bubble, don’t look beyond there own network of connections and frankly a lot of very lazy journalism is churned out. Sadly this is one such example.

Sarah McIntyre then responded.

She had some very salient points, especially for me, the idea that good illustration is not about drawing accurate portrayals it’s about visually encompassing the idea of a text in a way that makes it enticing to a potential reader.

Finally Forbidden Planet weighed into the debate and set a competition to show the diversity and ability of London’s illustrators.

Perhaps we as readers and artists need to challenge publishers the world over to commission more illustration from the amazing pool of talent instead of using stock photography as the default. Just a thought.

That essential studio space

Sketches to inspire me to find that perfect studio space…

Steaming rocket launch

This one I started to work into a proper Photoshop painted image as I just love the bulky steaminess of it.

Unlike many of my fellow illustrators I find it almost impossible to work at home and not just because I’ve no space.

Bricks, water and sky

Making drawings and paintings with a mixture of digital and traditional methods means I need somewhere I can sprawl and leave it set up.

Stacked spires and brick

These are just a few of the recent roughs I’ve been sketching up – mostly in cafes, on the bus or anywhere other than in the house.


They are a joy but I find the distractions of home too much so here’s to finding an affordable work space for my art.

Emily Barker and Jo at Guildhall June 2011

Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo sketched at Guildhall as part of the City of London Festival  last week, more brilliant Australians.

Sketching people is great and but it was quite a challenge as they swayed and played so it took a lot longer than other public sketchyness does.

Wednesday Knit


This banner is part of a set of illustration and design work that I did for Crafty Foxes new blog.

We are still adding more elements so it’s just the general look and feel with more to come in the new year.


This is the poster that I designed and illustrated to set the mood for the rest of the work.

I decided it would interesting to try and limit the colour palette and use screen printed style colour blocks.



Another classic theme from Illustration Friday. Sadly missed the deadline but thought it needed posting.

This one is straight pen and ink with only a minor correction to some of the blacks which didn’t scan up correctly in Photoshop.

So straight onto the next challenge.

I think the rawness works in some ways but I’m not sure that I don’t prefer the more worked over style.

I wanted to do more here but was trying to have it finished in time. I think I have enough of a process going now to start working again on my own pieces and my MA project in particular!

Cyberman final and comments


Seems like I’ve been working on this forever but finally it’s finished.

The concept is Matthew Savage’s vision of the Cyberman as presented in his tutorial for ImagineFX magazine. The video tute did seem to miss out some details and ended before the image was finalised but it was enough to get a decent result from.

I now feel like I have much better control of Photoshop as a means of digital painting and some new ideas on how to intergrate found and photographed textures.

I especially like the techniques Matt presented for distressing the metal and quickly adding points of details with the screws, grooves and scratches.

Although I’d prefer to be working on my own images I felt I had reached an impasse as far as the methods for creating the type of images I wanted to produce.

This seemed like a good way to break the impasse and I feel much more confident digital image making. I now have a better grasp of the language of digital art and can’t wait to get started on my next project!

Cyberman finished art