Happy new year!

Trying out a new toy…’Pencil’ by 53, the makers of a sketchbook like app for the iPad. The app they made (called ‘Paper’) is good for loose scribbles but has no layers or brush size adjustment, so it’s a little old school for some people’s tastes. The Pencil works well with ProCreate too, a brilliant illustration app. They’re cheap enough to buy both if you’re lucky enough to own an iPad.

Here’s what a hangover looks like:

Champagne bottle drawn on an iPad
The remnants of the night before. Drawn on an iPad using (get this) Paper and Pencil, the app and tablet stylus by 53…confusing!

Making Secret Santa gifts

Whilst I was away in Dubai, I went to a Christmas party with about 20 other ex-pats (and my friends Luke and Claire). It was pretty cool to be eating turkey, yorkshire puddings and gravy whilst sitting outside in the warm evening weather! The whole event was great fun and the people were all top drawer…very friendly chaps!

There was a little secret santa event (or whatever you call it in your country) and so I helped Luke out by painting a watercolour picture of his friend’s pride and joy, his old jeep. Now I love doing things like this. If you like to draw, paint or create in anyway, you’ll know what I mean when I say these presents are fun and really well received. It’s such a brilliant way to make someone happy and you get enjoyment out of it too…win win!

It wasn’t too difficult to draw this jeep as it had some distinguishing features (like the face on the side) plus I could make it recognisable with the colour scheme and slightly exaggerated shapes. I’m not a fan of those overly cartooned vehicle drawings but for me this was a ‘draw anything and they’ll love it’ project, so it’s no expectation and no pressure.

Pen sketch of the jeep
I sketched it out in pencil first, then inked over with a waterproof technical pen

We put it in a nice frame and the guy loved it. He sent Luke a photo when he got home showing it in pride of place!

Finished watercolour of the jeep
I carry a little watercolour set with me when I travel, so I just quickly added some colour. We cut it to fit the frame and DONE! It took about an hour in total to create.

If you are stuck for a gift for someone, I’d really recommend trying a drawing or painting of a subject they like (you can even do something abstract based on a favourite photo, using the colours or shapes as a starting point). It doesn’t matter where your ability is at, it’s the thought out process everyone loves and I think we could all do with buying a bit less ‘stuff’ that people end up putting in a cupboard never to use.

Happy holidays!

Dubai city living

I’m currently visiting my friends Luke and Claire in Dubai (have a look at Luke’s ace sunglasses company, wildwoodme.com) so doing a bit of sketch journaling whilst I’m here.

I’ve never been to Dubai or the UAE before, but it’s a pretty interesting place. Past the fact that there’s this futuristic city in the middle of a desert, the whole culture is full of contrasts. The most interesting being the mix of a strict Muslim social bedrock right next to the liberal expat lifestyle.

Dubai high rise living

This is the view from one of the many high rises that have popped up in the past 10 years. Smudges of green in a sandy coloured landscape, with tiny spots of human colour. Going camping in Oman for a few days too, looking forward to that one!