Deirdre Kellett – Botanical Coloured Pencil

This is the work of Deirdre Kellett, who is doing the Botanical Coloured Pencil Course. Assignment 5 is to draw and paint fruit or vegetables, so she chose a Dragonfruit and some tomatoes. What I really like about the tomatoes in particular, is the level of detail in the sepals and stalk. She really has captured the hairiness of the stalk, which make a nice contrast to the glossy smoothness of the skin.
Shevaun Doherty
Botanical Painting Course


Mel Newing – Dog Portrait

My name is Mel Newing and I am completing the Pet Portrait Diploma Course with Gayle Mason. I’ve completed the 1st piece for exercise 4 which asks for a dog with basic background. This is actually an attempt at a commissioned piece I did early last year that I have been itching to re-do! I thought it would be great to see if I could improve on things from last year with things I ahve learnt form the course. The original photo is of very poor quality but having had a little more experience now drawing dogs I felt far more comfortable doing this. I am taking reference from other clearer photos for detail such as fur direction and basic nose shape, whilst still being able to keep as true as possible to the original photo.

This is drawn using pastels on pastel mat paper, size approx A4, and I feel very happy with this piece. For the under tones I used quite a lot of blues and purples to get the dark tone of the fur without over-doing it with the black. I was aware of ending up with a black blob if I was too heavy handed, so used black for only the darkest areas by the ears/eyes and the finer fur detail.

It was interesting doing the background. I needed to add more pastel than I expected to be able to get a smooth shading/blend. I chose to use a darker colour on the left to accentuate the light tones in the fur, and a lighter background on the right to try and make those darker areas appear darker. I’m hoping go got there with it?!

Mel Newing
Pet Portraits Course

Jane Tivey – Coloured Pencil Course

My name is Jane Tivey. After breaking my wrist a couple of years ago I couldn’t seem to get going again with my drawing and painting – particularly as it doesn’t seem to be quite the same as before! Especially my little finger which was my pastel ‘blending’ finger! Then I spied an advert for a Coloured Pencil workshop at my local library and thought it might get back in the flow! I really enjoyed it and after a few decided I wanted to learn more!

So – when a friend mentioned that she had done the Drawing and Painting Diploma at the London Art College I had a look and enrolled in the Coloured Pencil Certificate course! It has really stretched me from the beginning; I was becoming a bit complacent sticking mainly to animals (normally in pastel) and right from my first ‘mug and spoon’ piece I have been challenged!!

I’m on my last four pieces for my final assignment but I’ve selected a few of my favourite pieces from my assignments.

One – I call it My Memory Bowl – was to meet the requirement to ‘find some odds and ends that can be piled up together to create an interesting and unusual composition’. I struggled with this concept until a friend suggested using objects that meant something to me and this was the result.

The boat and the car were from London Art College pictures and the Lion Cub was from my own reference picture! Looking back at images to select for this blog clearly show how my work has improved since my first mug and spoon piece!

Jane Tivey
Coloured Pencil Course

Rachel Duffield – Fears and Tears

Fears and tears – but highly recommended!

I’ve recently submitted my first two pieces for the Children’s Book Illustration course with Maggy Roberts. The last time I submitted artwork for judging was when I did my a-levels over twenty years ago, so I was pretty nervous about it. It took three pages of terrible scribblings, which made me start to think I’d made a dreadful mistake in signing up to the course, before my hand suddenly remembered it could draw! Then I really enjoyed trying out a brand new technique ‘wet on wet’ for my cactus collage. Working to a specific brief for the ‘Row, row, row your boat’ illustration was an exciting challenge too.

So much for the fears – this return to art has been wonderful, like meeting an old and very dear friend after a long absence. As for the tears, they came later. To be honest, I got a bit misty eyed at Maggy’s lovely feedback about my first submission. By coincidence, Maggy was the illustrator for a series of books my son adored when he was little, and her positive words meant a great deal to me.

It’s a big thing, this art malarkey, for me. I’m so grateful to have the time and headspace to draw again. Thank you. To anyone who’s wondering whether or not to sign up, I’d say “just DO IT”!

Rachel Duffield
Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma

Julie Hollinshead

My name is Julie Hollinshead and I am taking the Coloured Pencil Course with the London Art College. I picked up coloured pencils a few years ago to do pet portraits after purely doing them in acrylics. I am doing this course to go back to scratch, improve my drawing skills and learn how to use coloured pencils properly. I am sure as im self taught there are many skills I need to learn.

I use Prismacolour pencils on Bristol smooth paper. I use either a prisma blending pencil or Derwent when a softer effect is needed. My still life below, probably took 7 or 8 hours. I felt the Bristol smooth paper probably didn’t allow me to use as many layers in some places as id have liked. I found I loved the details and small things like the grapes and bottle. I love drawing animals, detailed fur and also formula one cars, so I guess I love small picky details!

Julie Hollinshead
Coloured Pencil Course


Michelle Caitens – Illustration

Tutor Maggy Roberts has sent us another lovely illustration from one of her students. Michelle has created a superb watercolour illustration of an elephant doing a hand stand with a bird. We know that children would absolutely love this image and we are really looking forward to seeing more of Michelle’s work soon. If you would like to learn how to become a children’s illustrator, pop over to our website to find out how we can help you…..


Mel Mollum – Horse portraits

My name is Mel Mollum and I am taking the Pet Portrait Diploma Course. The final piece for set 3 is now complete and I did struggle with it!  I’ve never used oils for a more realistic picture and I certainly felt like I had taken some steps backwards with the art.  I seem to be creating works with a “cartoony” overtone.  I think my style might be coming through but I am struggling in my head with this as I am desperate to create realism pieces!  This is where I need to stop comparing my work to other people and start enjoying what I do…..

Mel Mollum
Pet Portrait Diploma

Rebecca Davidson – Children’s book Illustration

My name is Rebecca Davidson and I am currently taking the Children’s book illustration course with tutor Maggy Roberts. I started the course a while ago, but due to having my long awaited daughter, I have extended the course a couple of times. I now have time to dedicate to the course each day which is great.

Continually drawing, sketching, doodling and thinking about each submission has really helped me focus and develop my ideas. Maggie has been really helpful in her feedback with pointers on what I should think about for the next submission. I have started to spend more time looking at other artists and illustrators work and find reading articles written by artists about how they manage to work commercially really inspiring. I am really hoping I can move on to the Children’s Book Illustration extension course after completing this course as I would love to work commercially as an illustrator.

I do find each submission a challenge as some of the techniques used are outside my comfort zone. I like to think of ideas for interpreting the brief that meet the criteria, but have an original twist to them. I love looking at other students work both on the Children’s Book Illustration course and other London Art College courses so have included some of my images below.

Rebecca Davidson
Children’s Book Illustration Course

Set One Assignments – Wet on Wet Exercise

Set One Assignments – Row, Row, Row Brief

Set Two Assignments – Sebastian’s Sink City Brief

Set Two Assignments – Drawing Exercise

Elisa Orchard – Pet Portrait Course

Elisa Orchard is currently working through our Pet Portrait Diploma Course tutored by gale Mason. Elisa has sent us her pastel portrait of a horse for us to add on the blog. We are delighted to add it here for our students to view.

Elisa said…

I really want to be able to use pastel as I love the intensity of the colours but I do find it tricky. In the horse picture I used pastel for the overall horse’s head then fixed it with spray. I then added the reins after with white pastel predominantly and really sharp pencil to add detail. I tried to concentrate on the reins. I think I am becoming more disciplined with making the image more precise to reflect the original.

We are really looking forward to seeing Elisa’s next set of work and posting it for every one see!