Cartooning Competition – Deadline Soon!

The Cartooning Competition is nearly coming to a close. The deadline is looming! John Byrne ,the Cartooning Tutor tells us that this is the optimum time for cartoonists to start thinking about the competition and creating their design – as all cartoonists perform better under strict deadlines! So the following has been written by Spencer Hill (professional cartoonist and Digital Illustration tutor) to help our budding cartoonists with some inspiration. Best of luck everyone!

Knock knock jokes have been around for such a long time that most people know this ‘call and response’ format. Let’s over explain it anyway:

The joke teller says “knock knock” to which the willing recipient replies “who’s there?”
The joke teller now delivers the first part of the feed, which could be anything from a name to a made up word or an object.
The recipient repeats this with the word “who” added and the joke teller delivers the punchline. In most knock knock jokes this punchline is a repeat of the last line with a little more added to make it funny. 

Sometimes it is a new line completely, or the funny part is the joke teller interrupting the recipient before they can say “The interrupting cow who?”.

It is much easier to give an example:

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Doris who?
Doris locked! That’s why I’m knocking

Clearly there are two parts to this conversation which suggests two people. However this is a cartoon, so the conversation could be between a person and a door, two alarm clocks, the Earth and the Moon or anything related or not related to the actual joke. You are only limited by your imagination and the bounds of good taste as with the joke itself.

The format for a knock knock cartoon suggests that you need to draw a comic strip, but if you preferred there could just be one scene with multiple speech balloons or bubbles detailing the conversation. Again, how you do this is up to you.

If you don’t have any knock knock jokes in your head don’t worry. All you need is an Internet connection and a search facility and you will be plunged into a sea of possibilities. We are not on a quest for the most original knock knock joke ever, just a cartoon which makes us laugh.


Only one entry per student, in jpeg format – please try to keep file sizes below 10mbs.
All entries sent to
Deadline for the competition is 1st of April – April Fools Day!
Winner receives £50 Amazon Vouchers.

Any questions please email


Written by Spencer Hill
Digital Illustration Course


Introducing Watercolour Tutor – Jem Bowden

We would officially like to introduce our new Watercolour Diploma tutor Jem Bowden. Jem has been with us a few months now and we are delighted to be able to introduce him here, along with some of his beautiful watercolours.

Through his tuition Jem Bowden openly passes on everything he knows about the ways of watercolour.  

He is able to show painters of any level – from absolute beginner upwards – simple and fundamental ways to create great pictures, and inspire students on to develop their own skills, approach and ultimately, style.


As a practicing professional artist, Jem is a ‘pure watercolour’ painter.  In 2014 he received The Society for All Artist’s ‘Artist Of The Year’ award.  Through his love of being out in the natural world, and his great appreciation for watercolour’s power to express it, Jem has developed an impressionistic style of portraying his usual subject – the landscape.  His approach is sincere and utilises mainly traditional methods and techniques, but with a fresh and bold application.


“With regard to my own painting practice, my aim is usually to capture a scene as straightforwardly as possible, in a way which I hope is evocative of my experience. I prefer to paint outdoors whenever possible. I feel these paintings – as an immediate reaction to what is sensed and seen – are authentic to the experience, and each one is also a memento of a small  adventure .“

The Watercolour Diploma course, written by Jem, focuses on the fundamental techniques, so that students acquire a sound foundation in controlling the medium.  But it also includes much more, introducing some less orthodox applications and allowing for highly individual progression in terms of chosen subject or style.


Jem says:

”My approach to tutoring readily acknowledges that there are a number of ways to achieve a result, and I only attempt to speak and teach from my own experience.

Through my lifelong involvement as a practitioner and student of art (including employment in the Contemporary Art sector) I can empathise with the broadest range of views on the subject, and fully appreciate that while much can be learned, much will also remain a matter of taste or opinion.”

Jem Bowden
Watercolour Diploma Tutor

 jem-bowden-3  jem-bowden-5 jem-bowden-6

Coloured Pencil Course – Yvonne Ryves

My name is Yvonne Ryves and I have spent almost two years working my way through the Colour Pencil Course. When I started I had never used the medium before and at first found the slowness of it frustrating especially after watercolours. Once I had let go of this though, I found working with coloured pencils to be almost zen like due to the calming and relaxing effect they had on me, a real bonus.

The method of working is very different to anything else I have done, the mixing of colour on the paper, the way different types of paper influence the way you work, the building up of colour in layers to create depth, all took some getting used to, but now my favourite moment is when the pencil I have laid down stops looking like pencil and becomes vibrant, deep colour. It is a moment of magic.

There was a lot of choice in the final set of work but I chose to do a pet, a portrait, a wild animal in a setting and people in a scene. All of these were things I felt would stretch me and be a challenge, many of them things I had no experience of perviously. For all of the pieces I worked from photographs I had taken myself.

The pencils I have used are a mixture of Derwent Coloursoft and Faber Castell Polychromos and the paper is either Bockingford HP or Fisk Bristol Board with the coloured paper of the pet portrait being Fabriano Ingres.

I had never attempted a pet portrait before and having lost our last pet some years ago needed to work from a photograph with no chance to look at the real thing. I began with the eyes and believe it is important for these to be right whether it be an animal or human portrait. It is the eyes that help me to capture some of the essence of the individual and if they are not right this will never happen. I spent a lot of time asking my husband if it looked like her. I found the white fur great fun to do, looking for all the colours that make up the white and then making it look realistic, but getting the markings right involved layering colour both within and outside of the markings and was much harder. The finished painting now hangs in pride of place in our home.


The portrait was only my second one in any medium but I have, through the use of coloured pencils discovered a love of portraiture that I might not have found otherwise as it was not a subject I had ever considered. This portrait is of a woman I came across telling fortunes in Havana, Cuba. I was drawn to her energy, the way she held herself and of course her clothes. I understand from my tutor how deeper, darker darks and lighter lights would have made the face more rounded though. I still have much to learn. The lace blouse was much easier to do than I had expected and getting the right greys actually involved lilacs, blues, pinks, yellows, cream and reds and no greys at all.


I chose a Lilac Breasted Roller for my wild animal in a setting because of its colours and this was the first time I had attempted a bird of any kind. I found the feathers hard to get right in places, to make them lay properly and look realistic and from my tutors feedback can now see how some darker areas would have given the feathers more shape making the bird more 3D. The need to have more tonal value is something my tutor has pointed out and that I need to be mindful of. The really dark areas, without resorting to black which can be very flat, do take many layers and some surprising colour mixing.


The final piece of the final set, people in a scene, is probably the one that I spent the most time on, somewhere around 60+ hrs. It was certainly the most complex piece. The reference photo was taken in Amritsar, India. The part of it I enjoyed doing the most was the Banyan Tree and one day I spent around 3hrs working on a section about 2 inches by 1 inch! I found myself avoiding the faces for a while but they were surprisingly fun to do, the cloth of the robes less so although I am pleased with the end result.


Having finished the course and looking back I can see how much it has improved my drawing skills and how differently I am now looking at the colours that make up the overall colour of something. It has challenged me and stretched me in so many ways both in terms of how I work and the subject matter.

I am now looking forward to doing some mixed media work so I can combine coloured pencils and watercolours to see where it takes me. My next piece though is currently a work in progress. I have almost finished the coloured pencil part and am planning on working with watercolour pencils for the background which will give me a little more control than actual watercolours. Although at a workshop the other week I saw the effect that sanding watercolour pencil onto damp paper can have so that technique will undoubtably find its way into the background too.

By Yvonne Ryves
Course Completed – Colour Pencil Course
Facebook page is –
blog –


Oil Painting Course – Lynda Dearden

Lynda Dearden is currently studying our popular Oil Painting Course and has produced the fantastic portrait below in oils on canvas.

The oil painting course is perfect for students who need a little guidance using oils on canvas or board and would like help in general with all aspects of oil painting. The course introduces students to a number of subjects including still life, landscape, portraits and the figure. Students explore different painting techniques including impasto, glazing, creating texture and not forgetting looking into colour theory.

Tutor Alan Dedman is a professional oil painter, exhibits his work regularly and undertakes commissions in a variety of subjects in oils on canvas. Using his experiences in the medium he helps and guides the students through the course helping them develop their skills and style of painting.

If you are interested in reading more about our online Oil Painting course, why not pop over to the colleges website to read about the syllabus. Students can start at any time and all of the study materials are online, so you can be painting and following the course right away.

Oil Painting Course >>
Tutor Alan Dedman >>


Portrait Painting Course – Deimante Bruzguliene

This is an absolute superb study created by a student who is currently studying with the London Art College tutor and professional artist Alan Dedman. Deimante Bruzguliene is currently working through the distance learning course  Portrait Painting Certificate Course and has been practicing features of the face – eyes, nose and mouth.

Deimante has an excellent style of drawing and we really like the way she has developed her style, being able to describe the undulations of the skins shape and form. She has achieved three dimensional form and superb depth of tone within the eye and enabled the eye to shine using the highlight.

Our Portrait Painting Course is open to all who would like to study painting and drawing portraits from life and from photos. The course will guide you through the different mediums and give a good introduction to them so students can experiment and practice and develop their techniques.  Visit our website today for more information – Online Art Courses >> 


Huda Pearn

Huda Pearn is studying with tutor Monika Cilmi on the  Beginners Painting Course and is learning how to use colour. The painting that Huda has created below is excellent. Huda is experimenting with watercolour washes, colour and texture here – and creating depth and perspective too. The Beginners painting curse is suitable for those who have never painted before or those who would like a little guidance in using watercolour, acrylic and oils . Monika is an excellent tutor and will guide you all the way!


Sandhya Sharma

A fabulous painting today from Life Drawing Course student Sandhya Sharma. The painting that Sandhya has created is absolutely superb and well drawn and rendered. We love the cool colours of the background along with the cloth the model is sitting on, in comparison to the warmth of the skin tones. The lighting on the model has been noted extremely well creating excellent three dimensional form to the model. Wonderful painting, congratulations Sandhya!