Chloe McCardel, mermaid

Sirène: Chloe McCardel

A digital drawing I did of a lady who must be at least part-mermaid. This is a fanciful portrait of Australian long distance swimmer extraordinaire, Chloë McCardel. This week, she swam the English Channel for the 21st time, Her 20th swim broke the Australian record, and she now holds the record for the number of solo crossings in one year with 8 done in 2016! She also coached 5 successful Australian solo swimmers and three successful relay teams in 2016. One of those relay swimmers was Dory Johns, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago, and…

Design for Chillswim coniston end-to-end swim t-shirt

Coniston End-to-end 2016: the t-shirt

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, quietly pleased with myself: I was asked to do the back of the t-shirt design for Chillswim’s Coniston end-to-end swim – a lovely swim of about 5.25 miles, the full length of lake Coniston in Cumbria. I swam it last year and I’m swimming it again this year, only the difference is this time I don’t intend to wear a wetsuit. And so you can imagine I was a just a bit excited to be asked to create the design for the back of the t-shirt. The blue-background / orange tow-floats…

Clare & Friends, swimming in Portugal

Commissioned swimming portrait: Clara & friends

My swimming drawings – over on my Cat-of-the-day website – have led to a number of ‘swimming portraits that I’ve been asked to do – here is another one, Clara & Friends, in Portugal – a reminder of many happy swims together. This is a digital drawing, like (so far) all the swimming drawings. This was an entertaining drawing to do, but tricky: involving a certain amount of cheating with perspective. Fortunately, unlike the camera, the pencil, or stylus, can lie quite effectively. I have a little collection of swimming commissions here: And meanwhile, my solo exhibition continues –…

The finished picture

The Cumbria Flood Appeal drawing

Back at the end of last year Cumbria was suddenly rather underwater. I live in Somerset, where we know a bit about flooding, but this is also a place where I have spent a lot of time over the years. I know people there and I know some of the roads and landmarks that got washed away, so I decided I would hold a little charity auction in aid of the flood appeal fund. The winner of the auction would get a drawing of a subject of their choosing that I would create from photographs and imagination – but I…

'Waterbabies' - digital drawing


I have been slacking, I admit, in updating my website lately, but this is because I have been actually getting on with some artwork. So it’s about time I showed you a picture or two. Here is a commission I did recently – one of a growing number of digital drawings I have done for people because they have seen my swimming drawings and asked me to draw them, or in this case, their daughters. Sometimes these commemorate certain events, in this casethe youngest daughter’s first experience of open water.

Spelling Animals: Christina in Cats

The Spelling Animals in Action

A couple of fairly recent Spelling Cat names that I have never got round to posting on this blog. If you’d like your own name or somebody else’s spelt in cats, dogs, lizards, octopi etc, do have a look at the Spelling Animals section in my Etsy shop (note: dogs aren’t listed there yet, but I can do dogs too!) It is important to have a good imagination to do this job, because this is what my models usually look like. Here is Freyja, helping:

Pudding Bridesmaids

A last-minute riot of Bridesmaids

All other work went on hold from Wednesday to Saturday this week as I did a rather last minute commission for a friend. Not that it had been last-minute from the outset, but I hadn’t been the artist commissioned to do it to begin with, the other one ran away, reasons unknown! This is the blushing bride, surrounded by her hen party all as imaginary bridesmaids, all in fantastically awful pudding bridesmaids dresses (there was a back story here but I think the idea stands on its own without it). I had a photo of each of the girls, and…

Pauline Squire, swimming coach

A digital departure

I am busily painting knickerless witches, but it is time-consuming, so in the meantime I wanted to show you my first actual commissioned digital drawing – so far all the digital ones have been done to please myself, and have generally appeared on  Cat-of-the-Day (not daily; not all cats). This is Pauline Squire​. Based on a photograph, but I think the trick with drawing from a photograph is to use it only as a guide, not to slavishly try to reproduce it. Rather like my drawings that are done as an image of how I think a scene might have…

Hard as Hell, but Cooler: spelling for Carbodeon

How to Spell with… Pistons.

If you’ve met the Spelling Animals before you will not be surprised to find me occasionally spelling words with slightly inappropriate objects: cats, chickens, octopi and so on. But this may be my most unusual spelling commission to date. Done for my brother as a gift to give to the people from Carbodeon Ltd Oy, a Finnish company specializing in nanomaterials, specifically very, very tiny diamonds. I shan’t go on about the thermal conductivity and functional groups of these things: I spent a day at Birmingham NEC at a trade fair for Advanced Materials and can talk quite convincingly on…

The Pilkington Shield

Mock Heraldry

The Spelling Animals have been popping up with a nice frequency for commissions, but here’s a new idea. I was asked to do this by a friend: a mock heraldic shield as the image on a Kindle cover, as a present for the man who has everything (except for his own family crest!). Suddenly the phone I have been using for the Cat-of-the-Day sketches came into its own, because all that was needed was a .jpg file, not an original painting on actual paper. So I had a go. This had to be done almost instantly, so it has a…