How To

How To? What's this all about? well; as you can imagine I want to produce the best possible drawings for you and to do that I want to explain a couple of guidelines.


Photo. Well I can take these for you if you're not too far away. But a good iPhone/Galaxy-type shot these days should suffice. Just make sure the picture is steady and more importantly the subject (dog, cat, gerbil, horse etc) are still as well. It's not always easy but a little practice will make perfect


Aim for as much detail as possible. If I can't see the direction of fur or hair I can guess but it may not be a good representation of your pet. It's all about resolution! Don't worry, it just a posh way of saying detail! If your picture has a dozen pixels I won't be able to tell if it's a dog or a dinosaur!


Decide what you want to see in the drawing. In this case Hershall (the pug pup) looked better without the owner's hands and teeshirt. If you want the pet in a field of grass and not the car park at Sainsbury's say so please.


I have some software that can bring out more detail and lighten shadows so don't worry too much if you think you've not got everything perfect. The camera normally records all the detail, it's just that sometimes it's not obvious until software has cleaned it up.


Artistic license is a wonderful thing and I may decide that a cuter pose in the drawing is created by tipping the pet slightly. Hershall has a nice look by turning him slightly. (Well I think so anyway! And so did the owner - luckily!). Oh and note the left paw. I did draw it all. The scanner cut it off, not me!


If you have two or three pets in separate photo's it may be possible to build them into one complete drawing - and I say "may be" because it might not work well. Possible is the word to note!


All my drawings are done with things called pencils on stuff called paper. So they are real drawings and not Photoshop conversions from the photo's. It may be hard to believe these days but it's true. I love drawing. I only use a computer to adjust the original photograph to give me more information if I can


The tone of the colour and light and shade of the original are created using drawing techniques like cross-hatching and the like. Some parts of a drawing are very detailed others may be more sketchy.  


At times i'll send you a partially finished sketch by e-mail so you can see what's happening so far. The drawing of the King Charles and the rabbit was a case in point. I was concerned that the dog didn't look like it was eating the rabbit and with a little e-mail swap I adjusted the "angle of attack" of the dog to suit the composition.


A word about mounts and frames. A mount is a card window around the drawing. A frame may include a mount (or may not) and may have a glass finish. Picture framers sometimes add several mounts cut in sequence and these can be beautiful. But, be wary. Complex mounts can mean an expensive frame because it needs to be deep to take the layers of card. You could pay a lot of money.


The picture on the right shows Ellie flat on the table in a mount and Tilly and Hershall "in repose" with a mount and frame (and glass, reflective in this case).


Non-reflective or reflective (normal) glass...? Well it's pretty clear from the picture of a beautiful German Shepherd, Molly, that the reflective glass detracts from the drawing. You can buy traditional 'non-reflective' glass but it gives a feint stipple effect to the drawing which just knocks back detail. Go for more recent non-reflective glass which has a coating on it like "Clarity" glass - - much nicer, but of course a little more expensive. Clarity gives you an almost invisible finish while stopping harmful Uitra Violet light which would degrade the paper (and pencil) over time. It effectively stops "yellowing" the draftsmans curse! I wish this was around when I was a young man. All my old drawings are yellowing now. Why didn't I put them in a vault where there was no sunlight and nobody could see them! My local suppliers are The Framing Centre in Wellingborough Road Northampton. If you want a great job done cost effectively with the very best materials have a chat with Sue on 01604 633833. If you mention me she'll give you a special discount!

If you want me to mount and frame a drawing I'm pretty limited on what I offer. Silver and black basically. The shot of the stall at Castle Ashby Art and Craft fair over the May 2016 Bank Holiday shows the frames... if I remember I'll show some close-ups one day! Average cost is from £25 to £40 depending on size. Of course the German Shepherd above is sitting in the black frame. I go for simple so the drawing is shown off to the full.



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