Complicated Illustration & Brush Work

My recent illustrations have been for a ‘Wind in the Willows’ community drama event, applying the story to locations in Knaresborough, Yorkshire, my home town.

The images were used for promotion and fundraising. Figure 1 has all the characters on the river, with its famous viaduct.

For books, my illustrations are always done the same size as they will appear on the page. I draw with a marker pen with lightfast pigmented ink or use black acrylic ink, very diluted, in a fountain pen. A line drawing cleanly coloured gives a crisp printed image.

I have used Rosemary’s brushes forever, for their consistent, reliable quality and excellent value. I always use the same make of paint, the same 14 watercolours, the same paper and brushes (this is good practice for any artist). Because I work to very tight deadlines I must absolutely know how my materials behave. I cannot afford to have a disaster during a complicated illustration and have to start again. My illustrations start off as a composition idea. A rough drawing is made, then a final one, on layout paper placed on top. This pencil drawing goes on a light box and is then inked in on watercolour paper. See Figure 2.

Once the hard work is over, the painting part is a joy. I use a number 4 & 6 pointed Red Sable, Rosemary’s series 99 and Golden Synthetic, Rosemary’s series 301. The firmer synthetic works well with fine detail while the sable holds more paint for larger areas. I now never buy expensive sables, because like expensive papers, I save them for the perfect picture, the one I will always do tomorrow, which never comes!

Images courtesy of Ray Mutimer.
Please visit Ray’s website at:

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