Reasons for Illustration

As part of my studies and exploration into learning more about Illustration (now that I’m really focusing on the subject and practice full time), I made a little document for some of my brainstorming thinking about the subject “reasons to use illustration”. I have no idea if it is useful to anyone else, but if you have any thoughts, edits or additions please let me know- it’s a work in progress.

reasons to use illustration (PDF)


Digital Watercolour

I’ll start by just admitting that I am a bit of a digital art software geek. I have been doing digital art since a child in the 90’s with pixel art and then after I graduated from university in 2003 I took up digital art again with Corel Painter 8 onwards. I’ve always been fascinated by the re-creation of natural painting media in digital form as well.

However, I’ve never found a really good digital version of watercolours… until now. 😃

I tried a new software called Rebelle which is still in Beta but coming out in May. There is a demo on their website.

This is one of my “brain farts” using Rebelle (what I call random experiments and tests or stuff for fun). The paint runs and drips in such a fun way. When I first tried it I was blown away by it. It is a very simple and user friendly interface as well. It is aimed toward artists who don’t want to have to read a 50 page manual to figure out what to do.

Rebelle Artwork

I did recently get the new version of Adobe Photoshop CC as well just for Alex Dukals and Kyle Websters awesome watercolour brushes. Awesome stuff- the new brush system is really great.


Bee Embroidery Workshop

My mum held a workshop for the British Beekeepers Association at their annual conference Harper Adams University 18th April. They used hand dyed wool fabric from Weeks Dye Works North Carolina.

It was an introduction to hand stitched embroidered techniques on wool felt. They used an original folk art bee themed project designed by me.

Line Art Colour Bee Design Line art bee design

You can see more of my mums work at annies patch


Garden Wildlife Article Illustration Project

Last week I wrapped up another week long self initiated Illustration project to find out about how to attract wildlife into the garden. It was very educational for me. I’ve actually been doing a lot more gardening myself and I have all sorts of birds in my garden now including Sparrows, Robins, Dunnocks, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Long Tailed Tits and Goldfinches.

I haven’t finalized it yet because I’m moving onto a different themed project every week finished or not, but here are some studies from this one so far (from books). It is hard to do life drawing of birds because they move so fast, but I am going to do so while the weather is nice.

Drawings of British Birds


Resource Roundup April

I thought I’d write about a few resources I’ve found lately that might be useful to someone else as well (occasionally I post links to things on my Twitter, but I want to give some context).

I have been an avid listener of the Seanwes podcast for the last few months since I discovered it. I only wish it had been around 7 years ago but what can you do. Learning from your own mistakes is pretty essential anyway, and I’ve learned a lot let me assure you.

I found this awesome video which explains the 12 basic principles of animation. I don’t do animation mind- but I have always been interested in it and I have to get around to learning Toon Boom Studio at some point:

The illusion of life from cento lodigiani on Vimeo.

I’m going to make my Illustration website at some point as a static HTML5 website using Bootstrap because although I could code it from scratch (yawn) I just don’t have the time to be honest and this enables me to focus on the interesting stuff- the content and design. Don’t get me wrong I do still love WordPress but I’m feeling nostalgic for simplicity. Personally I found myself feeling less and less creative after coding themes for WordPress and getting obsessed with php functions and security updates for the last 7 years or so. It sort of killed my enthusiasm because I was never satisfied with what I did and I’m not a dedicated coder- in fact I haven’t done any coding for about 6 months and I feel great.

The only dilemma I was having with that (sort of) is that I needed a contact form to go with it. However I remembered my sister recommending Jem Turner’s contact form script– so problem solved.

Another thing I’ve seen lately is the release of a new digital painting tool called Rebelle which looks similar to ArtRage in that it simulates real medium- in this case Watercolour. This is not so much a recommendation because I have not tried it but it looks interesting. I have enough software for now though and I quite like using the real thing as well. Hopefully there will be some reviews of it at some point.

Yet another piece of art software I came across is called Hexels. This is for isometric art lovers really. Whilst I admire such art I’m not sure about trying it myself just yet.

So that’s that for now. I’m thinking of providing free resources and my learning notes from the years gone by at some point, so stay tuned.