I’ve been trying to access NHS talking therapy during the lockdown and it’s such hard work trying to navigate a system that makes no sense and I’m getting nowhere. The only other way I have of processing my emotions is to draw them out.

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



This is Julie. I think it’s the first portrait I’ve ever drawn on black paper. I saw the photo of the plague mask and it made me think of the UK as the plague country of Europe, with the highest number of coronavirus deaths. So it seemed only right to draw on black paper and I changed the scarf to a Union Jack. The black mood, lightened by my drawing marks, seems appropriate.

I drew this on black Strathmore artist zentangle paper with Polychromos and Prismacolor coloured pencils.


Cody didn’t look sad in the Sktchy inspiration photo for this portrait but somehow all my portraits end up looking sad at the moment. It’s not deliberate, they just end up that way. They’re being affected/infected by coronavirus.

I used Zecchi watercolours and Prismacolor coloured pencils in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook for this portrait.

Drawing Caroline’s feet and raising some CRPS awareness

Caroline’s feet

These are the very lovely feet and hands of Sktchy muse Caroline. My feet used to look like this. I was once happy to have what I thought were “pretty” feet. And then in 2016 I had a neurectomy to remove a small tumour from a nerve in my right foot and developed CRPS (which stands for Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome), a rare disease, as a consequence of the surgery.

CRPS can be cured if it’s rapidly but if it isn’t treated successfully in the first 6 months the prognosis is poor. NHS waiting lists in pain services meant that I didn’t get seen for 6 months, by which time it was too late. My CRPS had spread from my foot up my leg.

It’s a neurological condition which affects the way nervous system responds to stimuli – basically it over responds to any and all stimuli. So a light touch or slight breeze can feel excruciatingly painful. As you’ve probably guessed it also causes change in the appearance of affected limbs. My foot is misshapen now and changes colour when I’m having a freezing or burning pain flare. The freezing pain flare isn’t so obvious, but when I have a burning flare my entire foot can turn red, then purple and even black. It’s not a pretty sight.

CRPS can also mirror in the opposite limb and I have some mirroring in my left foot too now, though thankfully not in the whole foot. But part of that will also burn and change colour to match my right foot – I call it “coming out in sympathy” for my other foot. So I never, ever draw my feet any more. I used to when they were pretty, but no these days. But I hope I’ve raised a little bit of CRPS awareness by talking about it here – probably worth saying you can also get it in your hands.

I painted this in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with Zecchi watercolours.

Mr Bandit: Life through a Zoom screen

Mr Bandit

This is a portrait of one of my Sktchy artist heroes Mr Bandit. It captures my life so perfectly right now, since I mostly live it through a Zoom screen. I spend several hours each day remote working, having virtual coffees (with colleagues, family and/or friends) and participating in online classes. And then I spend an hour or two drawing and playing Animal Crossing on my Switch (yes, another screen) to keep me off Twitter.

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