Cottage Commission

Things always happen in threes and over the past few weeks I’ve been asked by three people if I could show off the processes involved in putting together a piece. So I’m going to use a recent commission to detail the steps involved.

This cottage was cobbled together using a variety of photographs and because each one was shot from a different angle, the perspective of the piece was tricky. With any drawing, this initial stage witnesses a great deal of correcting, sometimes accompanied by a bit of cursing but every rework takes it a step closer to something I can work with.

Cottage Drawing

Next is inking the outline. This is the stage I love the most as things transform almost instantly from a scruffy sketch to something a great deal cleaner.

Stage Three’s moto is “Why put off tomorrow, what can be done today” and this is why after the outline has been inked, the largest (and the most time consuming) area that needs to be covered is worked on.

It is always the same approach, whether it’s a person’s body or in this case a thatched roof. The dark areas are worked on first, applying a higher concentration of dots. Once the initial layer has been completed, another lighter layer is added. This keeps going until the lightest layer has been applied.

Cottage Drawing Commission

When all the layers were applied to the cottage roof it resembled what looked like tree rings, so in order to get a smooth gradient like you’re seeing in the photograph I had to do quite a bit of blending.

I mostly always work to music and it’s funny looking back at completed sections and recalling what was being listened to at the time, like it’s ingrained in my memory.

Stage Four sees me taking a break for a day or two. I find that working so intensely on a drawing only makes me focus in on the troublesome parts. Viewing it through fresh eyes allows me to see it in a different light giving me the opportunity to accurately continue with the work.

Cottage Drawing Commission


Here the cottage is nearing completion which at this stage makes me very nervous, especially when I have a five year old spreading chaos and mess everywhere. I remember writing a piece off due to chocolate smudges, never again. Work now is always kept in a very high place under lock and key.

Stage Five sees a high five as the finishing touches are added and the paper is cut down to size.

Cottage Drawing Commission


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