Monthly Archives: April 2014

Card Designs

“How do you find the images for your card collection?” I hear you ask.

Well, way back in 2005 I spent a several months finding volunteers to model for me… the hairy, four legged variety that is.  Luckily I have some friends who happened to have some lovely photogenic cats, dogs and horses at the time, so I didn’t have to search too far at first.

The collection was tiny in 2006, when I released the card range to potential trade customers.  Only nine different card designs in total.  Small but sweet, as they say… sweet enough, I’d hoped, to entice trade customers to stock them within their small shops, tea rooms, galleries etc.  Luckily, people were interested in selling them and in return, their customers bought them… the rest is history, as they say!

The more cards I sold, the more designs I could afford to add to the collection.  That being the case though, the trickier it became to find other models to widen the range.

Sometimes I’d be fortunate enough to get commissioned to draw a portrait which happened to suit the collection perfectly.  All the customers who I’ve asked over the years if I could use their portraits for cards have been delighted that their faithful four legged friends have been honoured in such a way… especially as they receive some of their pets cards in return.

The wildlife collection proved a tad harder to source.  Luckily, a couple of years later, I stumbled across a great couple ( who sold their amazing photo’s of British wildlife at a country fair which I also exhibited at.  I’ve licensed their photo’s from them ever since.

Now, finding images for my cards is so much easier…

Greyhound and Lurcher Photo Competition Poster

It took almost two years, but at long last I have found the perfect use for Facebook.  I post photo competitions on there and hundreds of images come to me.  The only tough bit now, is choosing the winners!

Here’s a sneaky peep at one of next years new arrivals.  He’ll be 1 of 8 new characters joining the existing range of 53 card designs. The collection has certainly grown a bit over the years!

From photo to portrait…

Gemma Rogers - Woody and Ted - Winners poster


Winner - Stage 1 of 4 Winner - Stage 2 of4 Winner - Stage 3 of 4 Winner - Stage 4 of 4


Blank Cards

Blank Cards

I started my range of blank cards way back in 2006.  My portraits, by this point, were proving very popular so I thought a collection of cards and prints would compliment the commissions side of my business a treat… and so they did.

Over the years the range of cards have increased a lot.  There are now over 50 different designs from dogs, cats, horses, farm animals, wildlife and even 3 baby designs (you can guess what life changing event happened in my life around about that time!)

At first I exhibited at numerous large Trade Show’s… the “Spring Fair” being one of the most memorable.  Then as my list of trade customers expanded throughout the UK, I then hit the road once again with my “Card Agent” hat on.  This also proved a great success although it was extremely hard to keep up the momentum when demand for portrait commissions increased yet again.

So now I have a helping hand or two in the form of professional card agents… far much easier!

Drawing tips

Donkey Portrait Two - Stage 1  Donkey Portrait Two - Stage 2  Donkey Portrait Two - Stage 3  Donkey Portrait Two - Stage 4

I often get asked to share any hits and tips that I have about drawing.

Well the main one would be…

Draw what you see, not what you think you should see –

Sounds obvious I know, but believe it or not, that’s where most people slip up.  I very rarely look at what I draw as eye’s, nose, mouth etc.  It’s more a case of lines and shading.  It’s only when the portrait is almost finished that I actually look at it as a face if that makes sense?

Look at your drawings reflection in a mirror –

If you’ve made a mistake but you can’t quite put your finger on where it has gone wrong, looking at it through a mirror accentuates the error so it’s easier to put right.

And last but by no means least… Putty rubbers! –

A ‘must have’ for any artist who uses pencils, that’s for sure.  You may find it tricky to get used to at first… to say I wasn’t a big fan at the beginning is an understatement!  But persevere as I wouldn’t be without one now.  Not only can you rub out the smallest of areas but they are great for adding texture to drawings, from fluff on blankets to shine on individual strands of hair.

Horse Portraits

Another subject that I love to draw… horses.

I’ve always been a huge fan of these gorgeous animals so whenever I get commissioned to draw one of them, it’s an absolute pleasure.

Pam Duncan - Buddy 1 The Joker - Stage 2 The Joker - Stage 3 The Joker - Stage 4

The most requested portraits are close-ups, just including the head and neck.  I love being able to capture all of the detail onto a sheet of paper… the glint in their eyes, the course strands of mane, even the tiniest of stitching within a bridle.

Eventing portraits are also a favourite of mine… perfect for getting my teeth into!  So many wonderful textures crammed within one drawing… how could an artist possibly resist!!

Horse and Rider Blog