Tag Archives: pencil

Thunderstorm Dancing


I am balancing on the thinnest of ropes over an abyss of awful drawings.

I must keep going with the indian ink and not look down… or sideways, or upwards. Especially upwards.

I have been struggling with my roughs for Thunderstorm Dancing. The text is wonderful. The possibilities are endless. This is part of the problem. Endless possibilities are hard to deal with.

I’ve been working with pencils. Love those pencils, but when I have to draw eight characters (including Lucy the dog) interacting on the one spread, the pencil is not my friend. It is not broad enough. I tend to get all fiddly and fussy. I need to use loose lines to get those bodies expressing dance and play.

Lucy and Alice climbing on to the porch. Pencil looking great here. Only two characters and simple composition.

Then, today, when I was feeling a little lost and in need of help, I also made the mistake of looking at Alexis Deacon‘s blog. Aaaargh!! Begone Alexis, Thou Obscenely Talented Man! 

Alexis is herewith banned from my studio until I am happy with my roughs. Then I’ll feast my eyes again on his fabulousness.

So what to do? I needed to strike out in a different direction; re-boot the old drawing engine.

I selected a large piece of my most rubbishy paper (ignoring the sticky note at the top of my drawing board), picked up a brush and dipped it into the Noodler’s Ink.

small use the good paper!

One of the notes at the top of my drawing board. Cecily Osborn was my lovely school art teacher.

Big sigh! I could see some life returning to my drawings. Maybe Noodling is the way forward. Maybe it’s the medium to use. Maybe I need to Noodle my way into some happy compositions and then revert back to pencil when the shapes are right. At any rate it’s a lifeline for now (perhaps like one of those pool noodles you can use for flotation).



Here are some of the quick, inky sketches. They’re only rough, but they have a bit of life. So…

A way forward for tomorrow.

alice dancing sml ink mitchell dancing sml ink mitchell dancing2 sml ink poppy dancing sml ink tommy and dad dancing sml ink tommy dancing sml ink

Purple Pencil Period

My husband Scott is going through his Pencil Period. For the last several months he has been researching famous and infamous pencils on the web and buying samples. This is good because I get through a lot of pencils, and it’s nice to have good ones to use.

So far, my favourite has been the Palomino Blackwing although he assures me this particular pencil is not lauded as the greatest of pencils; it’s only a celebrity pencil… courtesy of indirect (and disputed) links with Frank Lloyd Wright, Bob Dylan, John Steinbeck, Steven Sondheim, Chuck Jones (illustrator of Bugs Bunny) and Igor Stravinsky.

The pencils I am supposed to be wowed by are the Mitsubishi Hi-Uni and the Tombow Mono 100. There are several others too that just look pretty darned gorgeous, like the Mitsubishi Hi-uni HB lacquer pencil. If you’re into pencils you might like to go here for a list of those at the ‘pinnacle of pencil making’. (Alliteration in the service of pencils)

Actually, they all just seem good to me. But I try to helpfully doodle with whichever one he puts in my hand. And the thing most commonly to hand for doodling is Dexter, my ageing Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Last night, when I was required to test 4 pencils, Dexter was in the middle of his nightly anxiety attack brought on without fail by the sound of the bathroom tap being turned on and off as the kids brush their teeth… It squeaks. So naturally Dexter the Lion-hearted turns on his instant-whole-body-shiver and lurks near my legs looking very soppy.

His instant-whole-body-shiver can be turned off as rapidly as the devilish tap in question at the emergence of a tennis ball. Amazing stuff.

Hence, my somewhat facetious images of Dexter, each with the name of the appropriate pencil used to render it.


Stage 1: Tombow 8900 2B – a cheap everyday pencil. This comes in a lovely box.


Stage 2: the illustrious Tombow mono 100 2B (introduced in 1967, reportedly favoured by animators)


Stage 3: the illustrious mitsubishi hi-uni


Stage 4: my favourite – the Palomino Blackwing with a handy eraser on the end. Yaay!

If you want to buy any of these pencils you could go here or here or here. There are other retailers in Australia as well.

If you want to buy a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, check first if its sire or dam are afraid of squeaking taps.