I’m struggling with my mental health again but now I find that, instead of not drawing at all, I’m drawing often. I need to keep my hands moving so when I’m not working my fingers are constantly hatching away, or crocheting or clicking on my Nintendo Switch.

I’m also finding that it helps to have several portraits on the go at any one time, so I can switch between them. With portraits built up through hatching I’m not always sure when they’re finished so it helps to step away from them, move on to another one, and then come back to them to the next day and take another look. That little break allows me to look at them afresh and I can see where they need more work – as they almost always do.

The hatching on this portrait of Emitis from Sktchy helped me through 2 evenings when I was struggling to focus on the television or anything at all. I drew it on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app and the ballpointy brush by Georg.


This is drawn from an inspiration photo on Sktchy of Catherine posing as Frida Kahlo. Since Frida is one of my favourite artists and inspirations it should be no surprise that the photo found its way to the top of my Sktchy queue as soon as I saw it. I used Copic markers and Prismacolor coloured pencils to draw it in my Midori cotton sketchbook.


I decided while drawing this portrait of Hugo from Sktchy that ballpoint pens are now my favourite drawing medium. My skills have been improving gradually since I took Robin Hilthouse’s Sktchy course many months ago and I now feel very comfortable drawing with them. I’ve developed a style that I’m happy with and I love the meditative quality of just hatching slowly away, interpreting the planes of a face through the limited palette of my small collection of Bics.

I drew this portrait with 4-way multicolour Bics plus a couple of Bic Cristal pens in brown and Neon orange in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook.


This is a portrait drawn from a photo posted by D on Sktchy so I’m afraid I don’t know the model’s name. i usually name my portraits after the model so in this case I’ve named it after the person who posted the inspiration image.

I drew it in my Midori cotton sketchbook with Copic markers and Prismacolor coloured pencils but I wasn’t happy with the hair so I uploaded it to my iPad Pro and then worked on the hair a little bit using the Procreate app to soften the edges and make it look a little less like a wig. I’m still not very happy with it but this is a huge improvement on how it looked before!


I’ve been taking a new course on Skillshare – Chris Hong’s class on coloured pencil portraiture. This portrait of Eva from Sktchy is my first attempt at a portrait using some of what I learned from Chris’s method. I’m not someone who tries to copy other people’s techniques wholesale but I take some learning from them and incorporate it into my own methods. I enjoyed drawing this more than I usually enjoy using coloured pencils so I will probably try one or two more but I think I’m more likely to use Chris’s amazing colour lessons to inform my own process.

I drew this in a Hannehmühle Nostalgie sketchbook with Polychromos coloured pencils.


This portrait of Atlas from Sktchy needs more work but I’ve run out of steam. Hatching takes time and effort and right now I’m having a pain and fatigue flare and I don’t have the energy to keep going on it. So I’m leaving it here. Maybe I’ll come back to it another day. Or maybe I won’t…

Drawn on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app.


For me, part of the fun of drawing is choosing the media to use for a portrait. That’s why I use so many different drawing materials rather than just sticking with one favourite. This portrait of Nik from Sktchy is a great example. In the inspiration photo she’s looking a little dishevelled in the middle of clouds of coloured gas and haze and the question for me was how I could best portray that. Watercolour and coloured pencil seemed the best option and I think they’ve worked well here, especially for the gas in the background.

I used Sennelier watercolours and Prismacolor coloured pencils in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.