My drawing therapy is working. I’m finding easier each day to get lost in the process of just drawing, of finding the lines and playing with colour and gradually I’m making my peace with the world again. I know it will be some time before I’m back where I was a year ago, but that’s OK. I’m going in the right direction and I know what I need to do. And this portrait of Janet from Sktchy was today’s step in that direction.

I drew Janet on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app. I’ve uploaded a Procreate timelapse video to YouTube. If you’d like to see it you can watch it here.


Sometimes a portrait just works and almost seems to draw itself and this was one of those times. This is drawn from a photo posted by Giang on Sktchy. Once I started drawing I realised that both the hair and the jacket were quite complex but I found ways of simplifying them both that added to the portrait rather than taking anything away. I should also say that she really does have hands and fingers that long – they’re beautiful!

I drew this portrait on my iPad Pro using the Procreate app.


I’ve abandoned the Emilio Braga notebook that I was using for my ballpoint pen drawings. After just five drawings it started to fall apart and there was no way it was going to cope with many more of these sketches. To be fair, it’s a notebook, not a sketchbook, and ballpoint pen drawing requires a lot of moving a lot of the page around and some layering of pen work so it does need a book that will take some rough treatment. The Emilio Braga notebook is a beautiful notebook, it’s just not made for this kind of work.

So for this portrait of Nadia from Sktchy I started a new sketchbook that I bought recently, a Life Noble Notebook with plain paper. This is another Japanese notebook that I saw in an online shop that was relatively inexpensive and irresistible to a Japanese paper addict like me. And the paper is beautiful for ballpoints! It’s a dream for drawing and would be great for writing or calligraphy too.

I used my usual Bic Cristal and Bic 4-way multicolour ballpoints for this portrait in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook.


This is Agathe from Sktchy. I was trying so hard here to hold back with my watercolour and not end up with mud. I’m really struggling with the paper in this Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. It’s not taking watercolour as well as the previous ones I’ve used; the paper is becoming soaked after just a few layers and subsequent layers are becoming muddy. So I was trying here to keep my layers lighter and use much less water. I think it’s less loose as a result, but there’s no mud!

I was using Zecchi watercolours and Prismacolor coloured pencils in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.


I slowed right down for this portrait of Sktchy muse Rocio and I think it shows. I feel this is a return to my traditional Copic style and I’m so pleased I’ve found my way back.

I drew this in a Midori cotton sketchbook with Copic markers and Prismacolor coloured pencils.



I haven’t drawn on my iPad so much recently, I’m not sure why. Maybe because I do most of my iPad drawing in the evening and evenings are when I’ve been finding it hardest to focus during lockdown. But it was good to sit and really try to focus on this portrait, and especially to try to experiment with some techniques and brushes rather than going for the ones I usually use. I really like the sheen I got on Daria’s cheek and nose, though there are other parts of the portrait I’m less happy with, especially that hand. But all in all it was a good exercise.

I drew this on an iPad Pro with a 2nd Gen Apple Pencil using the Procreate app.



Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading books (both fiction and non-fiction) written by black women in an attempt to educate myself more and become a better ally to the BLM movement. Although I’ve had many black friends throughout my life I never realised until I read these books how fundamentally different black hair is to care for from my very thick curly Caucasian hair. And hair is a big theme in every book I’ve read so far! So when I saw Joy’s beautiful photo on Sktchy I really wanted to draw her hair. I spent longer on it than I have on any hair I think I’ve ever drawn and I still don’t think I’ve really captured its beauty, but it’s a start.

I drew Joy in my Midori Cotton sketchbook with Copic markers and Prismacolor coloured pencils.



I spent a lot of time on this portrait of Monika but eventually ran out of steam and really didn’t want to work on it any more. This is my problem with both ballpoint pen and coloured pencil drawings – they take a lot of work to finish well. Sometimes they look good at a half done stage but you really have judge well when to stop. I worked on this one too long, past that stage so it really needs a lot more work to look much more finished to look good again. But that is a useful lesson for me in itself.

I drew this in an Emilio Braga notebook with Bic 4-way multicolour ballpoint pens.

Big Al

Big Al

Day 2 of my drawing therapy and I’ve drawn Big Al, Sktchy artist and muse. I used a new dip pen I bought recently and India ink – hence the blob of ink on Al’s ear. I forgot that pen and ink can be messy! But it’s also fun.

I made this portrait in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with pen and ink, Zecchi watercolours , Prismacolor coloured pencils and a white gel pen.