Friday, 19 December 2008


From this self portrait you'd be forgiven for thinking I'm just a highfaluting fashion model, the sort you read about in the papers. But you'd be mistaken- I only do that part time. The rest of the time, as you know, is spent drawing. I've just finished a book where I've been asked to supply a picture of myself and a sort of mini-biography. Not much of any interest has happened in my life so even a mini biography sounds like a big ask.

I've been putting all this off for weeks as I'd assumed they'd want a photograph but my agent says that if I don't have a photo of myself that doesn't show me to be too short or tubby or unkempt (I honestly don't have the time to be kempt) or without oddly shaped, elfin ears, I can supply a drawing instead! Erm, thanks Duncan, good man...I think.

So this is my self portrait and it's as flattering as my vanity would allow after it had a big scrap with my integrity. I've left out the really bad parts so you can imagine (though please don't try, you'll wake up screaming) what the photo would have looked like.

Sadly, I've been told the biography ought to be grounded in some kind of reality.

Friday, 12 December 2008


Oh will the puns ever stop? Not on my watch, mister!

This was a messy picture to do and I reckon drawings like this which involve water benefit by using water as much as possible. It's a bit rough and raw and there were times I worried for my safety. The loss of control and the uneasy feeling of making it up as I go along always makes the victory sweeter and I'm very happy with the way this drawing turned out.

Saturday, 29 November 2008


What's that I can hear? Shh, there is is again. Oh hang on, I know what it's my brand new blog calling out for a little bit of attention. I've decided that in order to help art historians archive my work more easily, I'd create a new blog to keep my children's book work separate from my other stuff. I'm so charitable, it's silly. So in effect, the picture that comes with this post shouldn't really be here at all- it belongs on the other blog. I've just put it here to highlight the fact that there is another blog and if you'd like to see more drawings like this then my other blog is where you ought to be.

My new blog goes by the clever title of Drawings and Paintings and can be found by clicking on the link. Thanks chums.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


'Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a lonely Hallelujah.'
Leonard Cohen

Last week I went with both my brothers to see Leonard Cohen at the O2 Arena in London. I ain't ashamed to admit that when this brilliant man of seventy-something years dropped to his knees and sang Hallelujah, I blubbed like a baby. And my older brother blubbed. Everybody blubbed except my little brother who saved his tears for Famous Blue Raincoat.

It's not often I nick off to a concert but when Leonard's in town you have to put work to one side and sit in opened-mouthed awe at his genius.

The above pic was done at rapid speed (probably took 30 minutes) in pen and ink and got a bit messy but is a welcome distraction from all the black and white book illustrations I've been doing so much of lately. If you'd like to see an earlier post relating to more Leonard Cohen goodness by way of a charcoal portrait I've done, you can do so by clicking here.

There's a new Leonard Cohen drawing on my Drawing and Painting blog here.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


When I'm up late at night and working away on my drawings, I usually listen to a bit of Monkey News to keep me going. Monkey News is a brilliant piece of nonsense from Karl Pilkington (above centre, head like an orange) as he tells Ricky Gervais (above left) and Stephen Merchant (above right) what monkeys have been up to an' that. The above three people are responsible for forcing me to start more drawings from scratch than anyone else as it's hard to draw whilst laughing so much.

The reason I'm mentioning all this is because I've generous permission from Rory Binks to show his brilliantly animated Monkey News on this blog (right hand side of the screen, very near the bottom). The animations add a clever new dimension to Karl's stories and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Rory can be contacted via his email address,

Thursday, 6 November 2008


Woah, slow down Leighton, what are you some sort of maniac or something? What are you doing rattling off yet another book cover when surely you're busy enough doing tons of other books and stuff?
'Slow down' isn't in my vocab, not when there's a cover needing doing for my friends over at Tamarind.
Oh you're so brilliant, you are- selfless even.
Well that's not for me to say but thanks.
Always a pleasure. I'm going to pop over to read your fantastic blog with your fantastic thoughts more often. You're a genius.
Stop it, you're making me blush.
And you're beautiful.
Well yeah, goes without saying but cheers anyway. Almost unnaturally handsome some might say.
Can I see you later?
Really, just stop it started out as a nice little comment about the latest book cover I'm doing and how brilliant I am an' all but you've taken it too far as usual and now you've overstepped the mark as...Hello?
Are you still there? Hello?
I didn't mean it, come back.

Please come back.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


Well it's the 5th of November and the Thief of November has struck again. I half expected him to. Some guy's sneaked into my garden in the dead of night and had it away with my bonfire. I'd built it up all nice an' that, ready for tonight but it's gone and this is the third year in a row it's happened.

I haven't even got any fireworks because I'd planned to surreptitiously watch next door's display from behind my rhododendron with my daughter. All I've got is three jacket potatoes and two of those are on the turn, which means I'll be ok but Elodie and her mum are bound to whinge about theirs.

So I've thought things through carefully and next year I've decided to have the last laugh by drenching my bonfire wood with water, rendering it unlightable.
Stay safe and follow the firework code, kids.

Sunday, 2 November 2008


I can't stop for long as there's still much to be done and I'm flying by the seat of my pants as it is.

Regular readers of this blog may remember a post revealing Toby, one of the new Gargoylz from the new book series I'm doing by the same name. This past fortnight I've been losing sleep and working 23% harder than usual getting cover and first chapter artwork completed and I've not slept for the past 35 hours. Of course I'm joking- this blog doesn't have any regular readers.

Well time's beaten us again, my friends. I've still got several pictures to finish for tomorrow so I'd better ink me pen up and get started...

Saturday, 1 November 2008


If there's one thing I enjoy when I'm not drawing, it's juggling my fire clubs and knives. I've just started to learn after I got taken to a circus and was dazzled by a man doing it in a spangly suit and as he made it look easy, I thought I'd give it a whirl. I've also found that I quite enjoy doing it in a spangly suit myself. But anyway, that's all by the by.

I don't know where this guy in the picture thinks he's going with his birdcage but wherever it is, the bird ain't too chuffed about it although this time of year of course he might be out 'trick or treating'. The thing I like best about this drawing is that it's a teeny bit macabre. When I was at college I had a tutor (hello Vicki Morley) who reckoned my drawings of picnics looked more like funerals and I think she probably had a point. But that's by the by too as I passed that phase, although it's good to revisit on occasion.

As for trick or treating this year, I won't be doing that because...
  1. I'm 37.
  2. I don't believe in asking strangers for sweets.
  3. I need time to recover from some horrific cuts and burns to my hands.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


My little nephew will be taking a couple of days break from being naughty round his own house next week to come and be naughty round mine. Elliot takes a little too much pleasure in playing tricks and winding me up and with Elodie's help he always gets the better of me. He's six years old, he's brighter than me (top of his class at reading and writing etc) and it'll take all my cunning and guile to avenge myself in a chess-like tactical battle of wits from which there can be only one winner.
Anyway, my chums at b small publishing kindly sent me Korean versions of four Science Around You books through the post today. I illustrated these books last year for them and although my Korean's a bit rusty, I reckon Elliot probably hasn't even seen the Korean alphabet before.
So when he's round I'm going to ask how he's getting on at school, to which he'll tell me he's top of his class. I'll then give him one of the Korean Science Around You books to look at and when he tells me he can't read it because the writing's 'funny', I'm going to convince him he's dyslexic!
Check...and mate.

Friday, 17 October 2008


These cute kittens were drawn by my wonderful daughter, Elodie. She was five when she did them and they were used to illustrate Diary Days by Ghillian Potts, published by Random House. I really enjoyed that job because of Elodie's involvement and she still helps her old dad out from time to time by adding illustrations to other books or colouring-in or just coming up with fantastic ideas.

Entirely due to Elodie's influence I should think, Diary Days was voted amongst the Jabberwocky Top Ten children's books (3-4 years) for October 2005.

Thursday, 16 October 2008


When I was at school (Chatham Grammar School for Boys, fact fans) I had a mate called Stuart Rowland who was great but completely off his chump. He blew his eyebrows off in a chemistry misadventure when he was 15 and they grew back very thinly and made his eyes look bigger than they really were. They were big and round like burger baps and in certain lights he looked like Sebastian, the crab from The Little Mermaid.

The reason I'm sharing this with you is because I occasionally like to sneak people I knew (I don't know anyone anymore) into my work to keep me amused. This drawing is one I did for The Grandson Boy by W J Corbett some years ago and published by Scholastic.

Look at his bewildered little face in the picture. Now that's the same look Stuart used to give whenever Mr Bronson caught him sneaking out to buy a cheeky pie at break. And it's the same look Stuart used to give whenever 'Bullet' Baxter caught him sneaking back in again.

Stu was a good friend and the sort of fella that would do anything for anyone. Like Frank Spencer would. With similar results.

Monday, 13 October 2008


Here's a market stall belonging to Mr Rummage from a book series I did a couple years ago. This is no ordinary stall though and all the objects on it belong to famous historical figures. There's a piece of moon rock brought back by Neil Armstrong for instance but what other hidden treasures were sneaked in?

Well, at the front of the stall in the big picture frame is my grandad Ted and just to the right of that is a teddy bear belonging to my daughter. To the right of the bear is a blue/white pot holding my old hockey stick and my uncle Ian's old tennis racket and behind the racket is a Dalek plunger. There's also a Dalek eye poking out from the white bag to the right of the steps. At the base of the steps in the the little blue pot is Dr Who's classic sonic screwdriver. His scarf can be seen hanging from the hat stand on the left of the picture next to an antique standing lamp which used to be in my bedroom when I was growing up. Behind the stall is one of Elvis Presley's jumpsuits.

It's quite a regular thing with me that I shove a Dr Who reference into my books when I can. I like to see if it gets spotted and if I'm told to take it out. Some are obvious but some are more subtle and I'll put up a little post later along the line revealing more cheeky secrets of where to find others...oh, you lucky people.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


Look at this cheeky little fella up to some high jinx on my washing line this morning. Look at him, six feet up in the air without a net. It's ridiculous.

I adopted this snail when I stopped a child from kicking him into the road yesterday. He's missing part of his shell and was tugging on old Leighton's heart strings when I decided to raise him as my own and teach him in the ways of the circus. And look, he's really taken to it bless him- he may even be my best ever student but it's early days.

When he's not performing, I allow him to live on my canna which is like a five star hotel to a snail. He's got a leaf on the top floor.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


When I was five Tom Baker was Doctor Who on the telly and he was my hero. His companion was Sarah and she was played by Elisabeth Sladen, my first crush. I loved Sarah and although my adoration was deep and true, I was pleased it was her facing monsters every Saturday teatime instead of me. I used to have the odd nightmare but found their adventures too irresistable not to watch.

But Sarah left the series and I grew up (sort of) and my feelings remained hidden until 1992 when the twenty one year old me found out Elisabeth Sladen would be doing an autograph signing session in London. So the portrait above is one of two exact portraits I did of her (taken from a photo in the second Doctor Who Monster Book, fact fans). I kept one which she signed and I gave her the other and she was lovely about it. She accepted the drawing, put her arm round me and kissed me on the cheek in front of a load of other Doctor Who anoraks. And in that moment I was five years old again.

Now, quite rightly, Elisabeth's back on telly and fighting the monsters once more in the brilliant Sarah Jane Adventures and, quite rightly, my little girl's a fan too. Our Sarah Jane x.

Monday, 6 October 2008


Aye, aye...this little girl's in a hurry. She's probably off to the shops to buy Fifty French Phrases, a new language book written by Susan Martineau and published by b small . Only she's wasting her time as I've only just finished illustrating it and it's not out yet.

Thursday, 2 October 2008


I've a conker that's been in my family for generations. It's been handed down from father to son since 1862 and I'm the present custodian. Withered by age and cracked by battle when passed to me as a proud 2,379er, I took it upon myself to retire the conker from active service.
The conker (Mortal Konker we named it) was on its last string when I performed necessary surgery which was vital if I was to keep the family tradition of 'pass the conker' going. I took a frail and weak conker and entombed it in an impregnable protective casing. This is the Dalek of all conkers but how did I pimp my conker? Well...
  • Delicately, the rotting inners were ripped out of it and replaced with industrial strength modelling clay.
  • 9 feet of sellotape was wound tightly round it's new buffed up body.
  • Within the sellotape layers of foam were placed to cushion mighty blows from challenging conkers.
  • A metal cap that keeps my toilet seat in place was removed, washed and bleached and washed again and placed on the topside surface of Mortal Konker to protect it from mighty blows from challenging conkers. My toilet seat was now rendered useless.
  • But it ain't all defence, Chester! Five small protrudencies have been strategically placed around Mortal Konker's circumference to rain mighty blows down on challenging conkers.
  • And all this is secured in place by a red rubber band kindly donated by Steve, my postman and 2 more feet of sellotape.
So the family tradition of 'pass the conker' will continue for several more generations yet, but the other family tradition of 'pass the toilet seat' ends with me.

Friday, 8 August 2008

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, the tough sketch Cohen

'There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.'
Leonard Cohen

Well my friend's have gone and my hair is grey, I ache in the places where I used to play- I'm crazy for love but I'm not coming on. I'm just doing my drawings everyday on the patio, excuse the mess.

This drawing is of Leonard Cohen and I'm doing it for my smashing little brother who's a big fan of his and we're off to see him in November with our smashing big brother. The drawing's far from finished and I'm leaving his lips 'til last as I find lips a bit fiddly but I'm taking my time anyway and maybe only spend 20/30 minutes on it a day. So long as it's not raining. However, if the sky does become overcast I just sit it out, baby...I just sit it out and wait for the sunshine.

Sometimes a man needs a well earned break from his desk and taking to the easel with a lump of charcoal and a putty rubber is something I always very much look forward to.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

SLOWER THAN I WAS BEFORE, slower, fatter, thicker...

There really are only two instances where the government permit me to use my bionic legs in public. The first is to catch criminals; I've a licence to run 'em down and run 'em in. The other time I can use them is for school sports days. That's allowed too.

So the other week at my daughter's school sports day when I lined up barefoot against other dads/grandads for the 100 metres, I naturally fancied my chances. One competing old timer in his seventies had a hip replaced a few years ago and uses a stick to get about. But sports day is no time for sentiment- you beat whoever they put in front of you.

As you know my legs can run up to speeds of mach 4 but unfortunately my upper half travels at speeds of up to mach 6 so by the time we were up to the 50 metre mark my legs were trying in vain to keep up with my stomach. I lost my footing and was flying through the air and thinking how best to land with some dignity in tact. Unfortunately my brain only works at .1 of a mach and I was on my arse and off the pace of the grandads in front. I grazed my knees, one was bleeding a bit and I remember thinking how I might need major reconstructive surgery.

Hang on, what's that? You reckon I had no chance of catching them? Is that what you think? Is that what you really think? The race is over for me?

I don't know the word 'defeat' (although I must do as I've just written it) but I don't know the meaning of the word 'defeat' (although I do) and as soon as the gasps from the crowd had died down I was back up and bombing along again, the wind burning my face as I cut through the G-Forces. I overtook one grandad and then another and another (whipping his stick away from him as I left him trailing in my wake) and then I lost my footing again and flew through the air again and landed on my arse again as the crowd gasped again and I came last again and I'm not ever taking part again. I had to roll over the finishing line, clutching at the grass, pulling my sorry self along.

Then, just when I thought my humiliation was complete I looked up to see a little boy looking down at me shaking his head. "You should have worn trainers, fat boy!" he said.

Monday, 7 July 2008


We've all done it, we've all gone to the circus and ended up accidentally getting shot out of a cannon. Erm...with a dog. And so it happens to the little girl in this story too, who luckily escapes the need for major reconstructive surgery by getting caught by the circus strongman.

Where's Toto? will be published by b small publications later in the year.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


In a recent family poll I swept all aside and came top as 'busiest illustrator in my house'.

This little boy in the picture above is trying to cheer his mum up by giving her breakfast in bed. In the touching poem by Natalia Perry, the boy's mum suffers from severe depression.

When I was first asked to provide a couple of drawings for it I was worried that a poem about depression might get a bit Sylvia Plath, ending in a sad death, but it doesn't and all works out well in an uplifting finish.

Sunday, 22 June 2008


...that he's alive, all coloured in and about to feature in his own book for the Kent Fire and Rescue Service once I've finished drawing it today or tomorrow. Or Wednesday.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


Woah! Who's this slick guy wiping the latte froth from his chops? I'd like to say that it's just some poor sap embarrassing himself over a drink he couldn't handle. I'd like to say that but I can't.

Say hello to my agent Duncan who kindly bought me lunch today in just about the butchest restaurant in Rochester. Duncan was awoken too early this morning by his new baby, had to travel two hours by train from Brighton to meet me (arriving 20 minutes late) and was clearly in no position to take on a latte in such a ridiculous glass.

And I just bet he left that v. important contract we were discussing on the train when he got back to Brighton.

Monday, 2 June 2008


Above my head, on the ceiling in the room where I work, a curious red stain has mysteriously appeared. And if I lean back in my chair and squint at it I can clearly make out the face of Dudley Moore. I've no idea why cuddly Dudley should suddenly appear to me like this but he's not causing any real offence. In the wee small hours I sometimes talk to it for company and sometimes it answers, often it doesn't; it's a bit surly for a stain.

But luckily enough I've a rubber plant in the hall that looks like Peter Cook and I just can't shut that up at all. So what I'm going to do is move my drawing stuff to the hall and carry the rubber plant upstairs to the room with the Dudley stain, close the door and leave them to it.

I know the Arthur Lowe pattern in the hall carpet's just itching to bother me though.

Saturday, 31 May 2008


In February 1997 I attempted to trek across the Himalayas with Michael Palin strapped to my back for an aborted BBC documentary. All I could hear for the entire duration of the piggy back was, "Watch the ledge, watch the the ledge, Leighton...the ledge...careful now...ooh that was close...aaaarrgghh!"

The expedition was thankfully brought to an abrupt end after 9 minutes by a 800ft drop.

Monday, 26 May 2008


You know I've danced in the courts of European royalty and you know I've sung at the wakes of Mafioso types in New York (although I couldn't refuse the offer of that), well I also do school visits where I draw pictures! I was in a local school last Friday for their Creative Arts Week where I went from class to class (20 minutes in each) showing them how to draw a Gargoyle and letting the children have a go at drawing their own Gargoyle too. Needless to say their versions were better. Needless to say I looked like a proper chump.

Children are usually very receptive to this sort of thing and it's good to see their positive reactions to the drawings I do as the majority of my work is intended for them. It's also great to see their confidence in drawing grow as they have a go themselves.

Saturday, 17 May 2008


These are the first of the Toto colour finals I've done and here they are for you to have a cheeky peep at before they get sent off to be published. Only another 30 odd drawings to go and never enough hours in the day...

Friday, 16 May 2008


I've often been told that people can't say the word gargoyle without thinking of me so that must of stood me in good stead when I provided some roughs for my pals at Random House. Sometimes, before a publisher offers a job they might need to see how you would handle the various characters and this is one of my provisional roughs for a new book series called Gargoylz. I was offered the commission this morning and couldn't be happier.

Monday, 12 May 2008


Here he is! These are my first roughs for a new bilingual book for bsmall publishing called Where's Toto? Toto's a Jack Russell Terrier who gets lost at a circus but will he ruin the show?

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


...wear these stickers, kids! When I'm not out solving mind boggling crimes with my police buddies I'm drawing the pictures for my Kent Fire and Rescue Service buddies.

When the Kent Fire and Rescue Service make their primary school visits and talk to the children about fire safety, my drawings are used to illustrate certain points. At the moment I'm illustrating a book for them based on the above Firefighter Fred character where he warns children not to play with matches and cause fires.

So if you're reading this kids, don't play with matches and cause fires!

Obsessive Compulsive Drawing

You know me. You know what I'm all about. I draw pictures and when I'm not drawing pictures I solve complicated murders that have the beat cops baffled. They call me up and and I tell them I'll be along as soon as Monk's finished. I then I turn up, knock out a cracking pic, solve the mystery and nick off home leaving them to do the paperwork. Sweet.

Monday, 14 April 2008


Here they are, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden just as they fall into temptation. This is a double page spread from the same Bible storybook which Noah's Ark (see earlier post) came from.
The drawing, roughly A3 in size, got complicated in places and the odd mistake needed to be covered up by digitally overlaying animals/rocks/foilage etc on top. I often have to digitally correct mistakes with my work because, I'm ashamed to say, I make so many but having the use of Paint Shop Pro prevents me from having to start the picture from scratch. I also like to digitally add things to some of my pictures to make the composition more interesting.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


The book covers for the Stewie Scraps books have been released and here they are. Now all I need to do is finish the inside illustrations for them. Stewie Scraps is written by Sheila Blackburn and published by Brilliant Publications.

Saturday, 12 April 2008


I was quite lucky with this drawing of Audrey Hepburn because I just sloshed the ink on the paper and it more or less went in all the right places. I used Quink, which is a writing ink, and my special ingredient (which must still remain a secret, sorry kids) to do this drawing which was made for no particular reason other than I like Audrey Hepburn. There are certain shades of ink that can ruin a girl's complexion (I'm misqouting Breakfast at Tiffany's there) but the good thing about Quink is that it dilutes brilliantly with water and subtle tones can be applied.

If you'd like to see more of my portraits, you can do by visiting my Drawing and Painting blog here.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


This is a close-up of a pencil drawing of the greenest of all Jedi, Yoda. Usually when I start a pencil portrait I begin with a light covering of 2H and then move though to H, HB and all the way up to 9B for the juicy, dark areas. The pencil strokes have been kept fairly loose here and overall I suppose the drawing took a couple of hours to do. The good thing about drawing Yoda, or anybody else of an aged appearance, is that the face is full of lines the pencil can easily latch on to. With portraits, I find the elderly more enjoyable to draw than the young.

You can follow this link to my new Drawing and Painting blog where I have lots more portraits.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


Now we're back to messy and and here's a drawing of a man outside when he'd be better off indoors. I drew the man reasonably quickly and semi-carefully but because the weather is wet and violent I made sure to draw that quickly and let neatness take a back seat. I kept the paper wet and sloshed the ink on with a big brush. The lines representing wind, drawn with a non-waterproof pen, unintentionally break up here and there but I think this helps the drawing.

Monday, 7 April 2008


Showing the last picture of the child walking through the woods reminded me of this drawing I did of a snowman. Again, as with that drawing there are strong contrasts between light and dark but this time there are no ink splatters or anything else that would make the drawing too messy. Although I reigned myself in a bit I did get carried away for a few minutes and lose the snowman's left arm.

The mid-tones around the base of the snowman were created with fingerprints. It's important to learn how to create as many different marks as you can with all the materials you use because it will broaden your drawing and make your work more interesting.


This is a picture from my sketchbook of a child walking through some scary woods. Creepy, eh? Better have a quick glance behind and hope that snapping twig wasn't caused by a monster in the dark, lumbering through the bushes to get you.

I like working in black and white because I can get some good contrasts between light and dark and when the ink is still wet I enjoy drawing over it and spreading it around. And when I'm done spreading it around I like splattering more ink over that and getting it even more messy. And once I've got it even more messy I flick a little white paint over it for added texture. Then I wait for it to dry. And I wait a little more and go off and do something else for a while, usually somewhere around the fridge. When I get back and see the pic is dry, I splatter and flick more ink/paint over it and give it a good squirt of water or spray it with ****** (my secret ingredient which must remain a secret, sorry kids). I then let it dry and give it a bit of peace. Finally, I scan it and hide it away from International Art Thieves.

Sunday, 6 April 2008


I copied this drawing from the 1881 painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It's called Luncheon of the Boating Party and I've always liked it because if you look carefully you'll notice that
there's some funny business going on with this group of friends. None of them can hold the attention of the people they're talking to because the people they're talking to are preoccupied by other members of the group.
It might just be possible that children are reading this so let's just say there's a bit of 'friend' swapping going on and leave it at that. Quite how the little black dog is involved I have no idea but he's better off out of it.

Saturday, 5 April 2008


This is a slide show created to show some of my portfolio off. These pictures and more can of course be found via my Six Million Dollar Illustrator site.

Friday, 4 April 2008


Stewie Scraps is on his way. Brilliant Publications have asked me to illustrate a new six part book series about a little boy and his mad adventures of derring-do written by Sheila Blackburn. Stewie doesn't enjoy school and is prone to being bullied because he's a bit scruffy and small but Stewie's really a clever little fella. When Saturday comes he gathers together junk and bits and bobs and creates fantastic inventions. And then his adventures begin...


For those of you who have seen this blog's companion website, The Six Million Dollar Illustrator, and marvelled at the fantastic intro and wondered what genius put it together then here he is! This is my mate Lee Boardman from LabCreative who I used to go to school with before we served in 'Nam together. He's a slick, cunning, techno-whizz of a geek with a fine eye for web design. Lee went way above and far beyond the call of duty when I asked him to design my site.
So thanks Sarge, it was a pleasure to serve with you. Except when you made me jump on that grenade. That wasn't a pleasure at all. But on the whole it was a pleasure. Except that time when you used me as a decoy so you could get the hell out of Da Nang. But it was generally a pleasure. Except that time when...


Out now are four, brand new science books by bsmall publishing written by Susan Martineau and illustrated by me. The series is called Science Around You and encourages children to discover where the science is hidden around the home. Each book contains simple experiments for the children to perform with clear explanations for the results and the explanations are given by cats and mice. Now, if cats and mice can understand the science then everybody can!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

THE TROUBLE WITH A HORSE OF COURSE... that the legs are all wrong for a start; they bend in all the wrong places. I've always had a problem with horses and it's because I just can't get used to their legs. The actor who played the back end of Dobbin (the pantomime horse) in BBC's Rentaghost actually refused to have his legs surgically removed and put on backwards to make the horse look more realistic. Consequently the introduction of that character marked the beginning of the end for the series. I also have issues with horses teeth which seem to be unnecessarily big.
Anyway, a few years ago I did this pen and ink pic of a stagecoach being pulled by some horses. The horses were hard, the people were easy.


Since I've just blogged on a bit about Noah's Ark I thought it only right to show some sketchbook pictures of various animals drawn at Howletts Wild Animal Park (or zoo as it used to be called when I was a boy). Again, the sketches are quite quickly done since animals tend to move so you need to be quick or wait for them to get back into position. Fortunately my bionics come in handy here.


This is one of my favourite pictures which took a couple of days to complete. I did it to impress a publisher who wanted to do a Bible storybook and they were so impressed by it that they asked someone else to do the book instead. About a month afterwards though, another publisher got in touch with my agent and asked me to illustrate their Bible storybook so that's where this picture finally ended up.

A much larger version of this picture can be found on my website via the following this link.


...I always used to draw Doctor Who pictures. I think it's a good idea to draw the things you really like when you're learning to draw and I love Doctor Who, partly because it reminds me of when I used to travel through time and space myself growing up in Kamchatka. When I got a bit older and went to art college, I did a cartoon called Doctor Oho for Doctor Who Magazine (issues 208-223) and very few people liked it. And because so very few people liked it I was banished from that universe forever. Well, nearly forever, I did a one off cartoon in issue 350 for them in 2004.
Doctor Who returns on Saturday 5th April at 18:20 on BBC1 with David Tennant as The Doctor and Catherine Tate as Donna with Freema Agyeman and Billie Piper appearing later in the series. Fantastic.


By day I draw the illustrations for children's books but by night I draw anything else! It's good to take a break from one particular style of drawing and this picture is a charcoal portrait of Elvis Presley from his '68 Comeback Special (in which I played the trumpet). I did it for no other reason but to 'keep my hand in' and see if I could still turn out a tasty portrait. It also helps if you like your subject. Which I do.
And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking (probably out loud), " Blimey, Leighton- that's a pretty juicy portrait of the King of Rock and Roll!"
To which my response would be to nod sagely and say (probably out loud), "Correct."

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


And this is the picture which resulted from the two previous sketchbook drawings. This took a couple of hours to do and I took a few liberties with the amount of sunshine we really had to make it much brighter.

A much larger version of this illustration can be found on my website via the following link...


It's tricky to paint whilst being bitten by mosquitos and this colour sketch took around fifteen minutes or so. Again, as with the pencil sketch, I reckon it's fine to be messy. The colour was slapped on and it probably helped having an early morning chill in the air because the cold can speed you up. As can mosquitos of course.


This is a very quick, rough sketch of my daughter and her cousin fishing in France last Summer. Sketchbooks are great because the drawing doesn't have to be clean or tidy and I can just concentrate on getting the marks down on the paper. This drawing probably took around six or seven minutes to do. I'm widely regarded as the father of the modern sketchbook after I reinvented it in 1923.