Sunday, 18 August 2019

Claas Lexion 750

This illustration took a while to think through and create. I drew the combine first then added the landscape, not being quite sure how the elements would blend together. On the whole I think it works. Affinity Designer on iPad Pro.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Yorkshire Sketches

Sketches made on my iPad in Yorkshire during the past week: rooftops in Filey, Goathland railway station tea room on the North Yorkshire Moor Railway, two sketches of the Shambles Market in York and finally the main street at Robin Hood's Bay.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Garden in August

Hop: My dwarf variety is one of the fastest growing plants in the garden and had already grown over 6ft by early summer.
Leeks: I usually grow a few to flower the following year. The ones flowering now seem to attract more insects than any other flowers in the garden.
Mint: This refuses to grow where I want it to and is much happier growing through the patio.
Raspberries: These refuse to grow when I want them to and are happier in a flower bed.
Climbing beans: poor crop this year after last years bonanza
Cucumbers, courgettes, lettuces, herbs: doing ok.
Dwarf beans: Ok, but not a heavy crop.
Sweetcorn: a late addition to fill some space, doing ok.
Purple sprouting: doing well under netting. Plants nearest the fence where warmer and drier almost four times as big as those towards the centre of the garden. Which seems a little odd. Sweetcorn is growing the other way: shorter close to the fence and taller inwardly.
Tomatoes: bought plants are not brilliant, sown plants not yet ripe but look better.
Radishes and lettuces: can't grow fast enough from seed in the spring. Once summer arrives they almost refuse to grow.
Compost: I buy a variety of bags in the spring as and when I need them. I have a suspicion that some are designed to kill seedlings rather than encourage them to grow - cannot remember which ones to avoid. Or perhaps seedling growth coincided with unfavourable weather conditions....
Carrots: grow well in compost in a planter high off the ground and good crop this year.
Strawberries: did well this year. Dug then up and replanted them in buckets where they seem much happier.
Garlic: each year I say I will never grow garlic again. This year was no exception. Useless crop.
Onions: surprisingly poor crop too. Too dry in early spring?
New potatoes: small crop, only a few meals.
Spinach and chard: mainly grown for visual bulkiness.
Celery: always small and very slow growing
Weeds: Once plants are established I tend to leave weeds in. They add ground cover and so shade the soil thus, I hope, reducing water loss. They add biodiversity and extra flowers for insects etc. They contribute to a wild aesthetic and a sense that each plant has as much right to exist there as its neighbour.
Volume crop production: this is not my aim, I just enjoy the challenge of growing something to eat.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Marbled White Butterfly

Marbled white butterfly on knapweed with scabious and bedstraw. Procreate Illustration on iPad: a blend of photo-realism illustration and looser paint effects (no, it is not a photo).

Wednesday, 17 July 2019


After a year and a half or so I have completed the first third on my novel. I have had many ideas and pages of writing that needed putting together into a coherent order. Now, I have done that and decided to mark the occasion with a small treat. The first draft will need much editing but I am excited by what I have and there is much work to do. It is a long process for me, mainly because I divide my creativity between writing and illustrating. This week I have been concentrating on consolidating the first part of my book and getting a continuous flow of text in place at last. Now I can move further on with the plot and hope to go back to the little part of Worcestershire I know so well later in the summer around apple/hop picking time.

Sunday, 14 July 2019


Cardinal beetle on hogweed growing beside a field of beans.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Goat's Beard

After a few repairs to my bike I have been out exploring the countryside. The hedgerows are a full of colour and luscious growth and in the above picture I have tried to capture some of the plants I saw growing alongside a field of wheat. I particularly like the goat's beard whose seed heads are far more spectacular than those of a dandelion. Using Affinity Designer on the iPad is quite fiddly but the results are worth the effort. There are a few things I could have done to add more accuracy to the plants if I gave myself more time and had more confidence the iPad could cope with the complex image. It was beginning to struggle just a little bit.