Mandrill – Pencil Drawing


One of my favourite books of all time is a Dorling Kindersley book called “Animal  A Definitive Visual Guide”.

I’ve got an older edition…


I find it endlessly fascinating to look through and actually keep it on the floor next to my bed (it’s too big for the bed-side table) so I can dip into it on a daily basis.

The picture on the front of this edition is of a Mandrill.  I find it really startling.  So one night I sketched it in pencil and then coloured it also in pencil (using Prisma Color).  The only issue I had was that I was working in my watercolour sketchbook so the paper was too bumpy for the smooth fine detail finish I wanted.

When I get some time and energy I’d like to redo this picture on bristol board.  I think it would really make it work.

Here’s the sketch with the beginning of of the colour…

Because the picture I was using as reference was only a partial shot of the face of the Mandrill I also used other reference material to make this sketch.

Here’s the final coloured drawing.  You can see how the grain of the paper interferes with the detail of the picture.  It was very enjoyable to draw though!



Working with pencils instead of paint gave me a lot more control of each stroke as even my finest brush won’t make a mark as thin as a pencil can.  That said my control of colour was limited to the colours I had in my set and my ability to blend them.  I think I still prefer paint overall but maybe mixed media might be something I could try with some paint and some pencil.

The Silent Space Between the Stars


I have sometimes heard people say that they are “going to their happy place”.  Recently I wondered what my imaginary happy place might be.

I think I would choose to be inside a huge self-supporting space ship out in the deep black between the stars.   The kind of ship which you could live a lifetime on with big bio-domes and loads of fuel.  Perhaps something like the ships in the old Sci Fi film “Silent Running”


[From the Film “Silent Running” 1972.]

I imagine I would be lying in  a narrow navy-style bunk and listening to the gentle hum of the air recyclers and the imperceptable low vibration from the engines.  I love the idea of the light years of silent empty space which would be all around me.  Even thinking about it feels peaceful.

So this was the inspiration for an ink drawing I did a day or so ago…


It’s called

The Silent Space Between the Stars.


Later I scanned it into Manga Studio and coloured it how it seems in my dreams…