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


...is 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.