This week’s art is a pencil sketch of the wonderful Patrick Stewart in his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Starship, Enterprise.  (Oooo, I just got goosebumps from using that full title!)  I didn’t intend this drawing to go onto the web – it was just something I was doing while watching a few episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation in preparation for the new series Picard which has just come out.  After playing around with a couple of sketches I pulled up this rather dashing portrait photo from the web (All rights to Paramount / Viacom)…



…and made a proper sketch of it.  Apologies about the lack of process photos – I just got really involved with the drawing.

There is an odd intimacy which comes with painting anything.  Usually I really like it – especially with animals and plants.  It seems to strengthen my bond with other living things.  But when I do a portrait of a person I find I’m quite mixed about this “close” feeling.  Although I know, and very much value, Patrick Stewart’s excellent work, I don’t know him, the real person behind the actor, and so the intimacy feels odd and out of place.

Anyway, here’s to a smashing new series from a superb actor, Picard




It was done with graphite HB and B mechanical pencils on watercolour paper.  (Looking back it would have been better on Bristol Board but I used what was to hand.)  I do love drawing more mature faces – the beauty of the person seems to come through more.

Ten Minute Video Observation Practice #4

This set of sketches was also done really quickly while watching Netflix and YouTube. I’m working towards being able to draw fast and clearly enough to be able to draw and write a comic book one day. Each sketch takes about ten minutes. I think when working on a real project, rather than just doing some sketching practice, I would definitely take more time. The question is, how fast would I need to go to be at a professional level in terms of time?

Professional Comic Artists

Well, in the comic industry the gold standard is that the penciller would be expected to draw 20 pages a month, which, if you take account of the weekends is one page a day for four weeks straight working only weekdays. But that is just the pencils, no ink, no colour or tone and no lettering. The person who inks the drawing will take less time to ink each page than the penciller did to do the drawing. Colour and tones take even less time and lettering, when done well apparently, takes a day for a whole book! (all 20 pages).

I know that some artists find this pace way too fast and feel forced by the timeline into producing work that isn’t their best which sounds miserable. Many work at a slower pace.  Conversely, comic artist legend Jack Kirby famously drew at an even faster rate  – producing an average of 3 pages a day and sometimes did up to 6!!!  If I were to produce a comic book, with the constraints of my health and a job (which has to come first), I would have to work fast to be able to get it done in a reasonable time frame.  If I stopped all other art I think I could get a page done in a week, working just in the evenings although it would depend on my health remaining OK.

Neria the Thanatologist

Jerry Hardin as Neria in Star Trek Voyager (Paramount)

This is a sketch from Star Trek Voyager of an alien male.  He was called Neria and was a Thanatologist from the planet Vhnori.  He was played by Jerry Hardin.  I like the sculpting of his head shape and enjoyed trying to capture that in a quick sketch.  (The still (left) is not the same pose and camera angle as the one I drew when pausing Netflix.)

Here’s the sketch…


The Seashore

The next exercise was to draw a screenshot of a nature programme I was watching about coastal ecology.  The camera man in this series captured a really stunning shot of the coastline and I had a go at sketching it…

This one took a full ten minutes to complete and I really felt pushed for time.

Stylised Hand

The final drawing was of a man’s hand.  I was watching someone scrubbing up for surgery in a documentary.  It seemed to me that a surgeon’s hands are incredibly important precision tools.  Watching him scrub, I saw the care he took to do things properly and became really fascinated by his hands.  I made the drawing of this really quickly (less than 5 minutes) but blew another full 5 on the shading with my brush pens.  Here’s the final result…