Midnight with Parkinson’s – a self portrait by Mike Tatum

Midnight with Parkinson’s – a self portrait
The aura represents the build up of energy I cannot dissipate
The string represents the emergency dopamine independent communication path The barbs represent the sharp pains and the dull aches
The brain is the symbol of life but the golden segment has failed
The haunted look represents the loss of sleep over a number of nights

Mike Tatum
Drawing and Painting Diploma

Ana Mariela Gutierrez – Cartooning

My name is Ana Mariela Gutierrez and I am taking the Cartooning Diploma with John Byrne. I was in slight depression after my cat died. She had been with me for 14 years, from the time I came to UK. She was my muse and in my solitude I write poetry to fend off homesickness.  At that point, my mind was blank and I needed an outlet. I found London Art College online and decided to enrol. Although it took awhile for me to finish the course due to work commitments, I made time out from work one or two days so I can concentrate on my homework/exercises/assignments.  I still use my cat as my muse. That’s why most of my drawings are cat inspired.  I drew birds mainly because I see them at the back garden where our neighbour often leave food and water. I see them from my kitchen window… they can be funny creatures.

I could not thank you enough how the course have brought me back to writing again. Tutor John Byrne have pushed me to keep going with his encouragement, guidance and appreciation of my progress. I used to think that I have to draw a perfect image but John said, I don’t need to because my drawings have personality that makes it stand out. From then, I started to enjoy every “drawing time”. Completed my course in February with Merit and up until now I’m still over the moon. But I don’t want to stop, I want to learn more. I am hoping to incorporate my poems with drawings, and London Art College have suggested (attached information when I received my Diploma) for me to do Illustrations.  I can’t wait and hopefully it will be soon.  One day, I want to fulfil a dream of illustrating my poems and publish a book…maybe a fantasy story of a cat!

Ana Mariela Gutierrez
Cartooning Diploma Student

Alison Hadavizadeh – Botanical Painting

The final post of the week showcases a wonderful painting by Alison Hadavizadeh from the Botanical Painting Course. If you have always wanted to draw and paint flowers, fruit and vegetables, hop on over to our website to read more about the course and what it entails. If you are a students studying on the course, why not email us your artwork for inclusion here on our blog – we would love to add them for you!

Learn how to observe, draw and paint the complex and captivating structures of all plants: flowers, leaves, fruits or vegetables. Learn at your own pace and discover skills you never knew you had.


Aisha Mussawa – Diploma in Drawing and Painting

Aisha Mussawa has created this drawing from life for an assignment on our Drawing and Painting Diploma Course. The course teaches you the fundamentals of drawing and painting and it give you the opportunity to experiment with lots of different mediums giving you time to practice with your materials. It also covers lots of subjects and allows you to discover what you really like to draw and paint. It is a wonderful course for beginners too. We hope you like the charcoal drawing below and it inspires you to pick up your pencil!


Come and join our new Facebook group!

We are thrilled to announce we have a new official Facebook group for all of our London Art college students. If you have a Facebook account visit our page – London Art College Facebook Group – and ask to join. It is a closed group and so you are welcome to post your artwork in the knowledge only other students will be able to view and comment. You can also ask questions and advice too!

We hope to see you there!


Helen Gibson

Tutor Maggy Roberts has emailed us this wonderful illustration by student Helen Gibson, how is currently taking our Illustrating Children’s Book Diploma Course. Helen has used a number of different techniques within her illustration to shade using her pen and ink from cross hatching, horizontal lines and small dots and lines. This not only adds texture to her work but also interest and movement too. A wonderfully designed and thought out piece.

Dawn Teacher – Mouse Pirate

I studied with Maggie Roberts for the Children’s Book Illustration Diploma and was awarded a distinction. I went on to do the follow course and wrote the picture book, Mouse Pirate. Through the follow on course I worked on the characterisation of Mouse Pirate and completed the dummy book. At the end of the course I submitted three double page spreads to Maggie and was very happy with her comments. I was pleased because I had found the follow on course tough, and it took me the full two years to complete it and I even had to abandon my first picture book idea and start again writing a new story as I struggled with the story boarding part of the course.

So next comes the tougher bit, sending your manuscript and sample images out to agents and independent publishers. Rejection is hard and it knocks you back, I have to admit that. I had given up hope of finding someone to believe in my project when I attended a local event at last years Writers festival in Malton. Aspiring authors were invited to attend a networking event to meet local established authors and chat and this event was attended by Stairwell Books, a small independent book press from York. I got chatting to Rose and Alan who run this book press and discovered they were looking to branch out into children’s books, and were looking for their first picture book. I plugged my book and said I could send them some images which I did. They loved the artwork, the three double spreads I had done on the course and they invited me along for a chat.

Mouse Pirate will be published by Stairwell Books this September, hopefully to coincide with International talk like a pirate day on the 19th. I have already written the sequel, Space Pirate, which is plugged on the back cover. My publishers aim to have several launch events to promote the book, one being in Waterstones in York.

I have created a soft sculpture of my main character and we are looking at merchandise to go with the book, something I am currently working in. I have included some images for you from the book along with my character doll.

Without the London Art College I would not have achieved this and I hope by sharing my journey I can give fellow students hope that if you keep trying and get out there you too could have your picture book published.

Dawn Treacher


Mel Newing – Derwent Review no 2

So the last time I wrote about the Derwent Graphic pencil range was after completing my Lion drawing.  You can find my website and blog about it here – melnewingart.co.uk. This time I have two pictures which I would like to talk about,  “Thomas” the cat and “Boxer with Toy“.

Thomas is a commissioned pet portrait drawn on Daler Rowney Mixed Media paper.  Boxer with Toy is a piece for London Art College and I decided to use Arches Hot Pressed Paper for the first time.

Both of these pieces are much darker in tone in comparison to the Lion so I used a wider range of the B pencils.  I found the best pencil for the initial outline was 4H, slightly darker in tone to the 8H for the lion and a little easier to see in my opinion.  Still as easy to lay down and pick up again with my putty eraser though.

The pencils laid down really well onto both of these papers.  The mixed media paper has a rougher texture which for some pencils, I have found, means they don’t blend out too easily.  What I like about these pencils is they are really good for blending, especially as you move up the B range.  I use a bamboo clothe to smudge it and they blend great.  I prefer this for larger areas and the tortillions for more specific areas.

The only downside to something that blends easy – you have to be careful about accidentally smudging!  Keep that drawing hand on a clean piece of paper placed over your drawing and make sure it doesn’t move about too much.  Any residue it picks up will spread over the rest of the drawing paper.  However, because they are so easy to rub off it’s not a major issue, just a little annoying.

This time I had a breakage with the 8B pencil whilst sharpening it. Damn! I may have mentioned before that I purchased a Swordfish sharpener which has made a massive difference to the point I can get on all my pencils. With the graphites there is an automatic “stop” so it shouldn’t over-do it and break the point, with the pastels it will just keep going!!  I think I must have dropped the 8B at some point as it was the only one to keep breaking.  Not sure, but will have to keep this in mind for the next piece.

With both these pieces I made quite a number of changes from the first step all the way until the end.  It’s been awkward in the past to be able to undo mistakes at the end of a picture.  Now I’m not saying you can delete major changes – I couldn’t delete half the face or a whole eye! – but I could certainly do more than with previous pencils.  For example, Thomas’s tail wasn’t quite right.  I’d made it a little too bushy.  Not a problem – I could take it back and easily update it without too many issues.

The ball in the boxer picture was too dark also, which meant I was losing the spikes against the background.  Not a problem!  Putty eraser to the rescue and small dabs brought the graphite out just enough to show a little more detail.  As I’ve mentioned, not major changes but little bits that I found more difficult with previous graphite pencils.

For the finer fur detail, even on the darker sections, the 4H/2H were what I found worked to give the definition.  When a darker undertone is laid down, the harder pencil seems to do a lovely job of defining it and kind of smudging it out a little.  It’s hard to explain but the harder pencil over the softer works really nicely in getting that detail.

• Easy to blend/smudge
• Easy to erase
• Soft, so great to draw with a light hand and still get good tone
• Nice range between each pencil in terms of tones and very easy to change the tone of an individual pencil with a little more pressure
• Easy to use on rougher surfaces as well as smooth.
• Although I had one pencil break it’s been the first so far which, compared to the previous Derwents, is very good going!

• Easy to smudge – watch that drawing hand!  Make sure too to keep an eye on the material you use to lay over the drawing as this will pick up more graphite and work onto the rest of the paper.
• Sharp points can break far more easily on the higher numbered B pencils as they are soft.

And I am finding it hard to find more con’s!  That’s got to be a good thing no?!

Mel Newing
Pet Portraits Diploma Course