How it all started: My speckled wood Butterfly Drawing…

I have been drawing since I was tiny, special presents were always pencils, pens crayons and colouring books when I was younger, painting in number oil sets, pastels, inks and water colour as I got older. But I was a generalist in terms of the mediums I used, although my subjects have always been the natural world and landscapes.

Having spent a little time in my early 20’s traveling in India to explore all of the fabulous temple architecture that I had studied during my degree, I unfortunately picked up a rather nasty gut infection and had to return home earlier than planned. Struggling to over come the illness I had contracted I started volunteering for a local countryside center on the outskirts of Shrewsbury.

Along with managing footpaths, and clearing woodland areas, looking after the onsite wetland area, entertaining visiting school groups and generally helping out, I was asked, once my love for art was discovered, if I would mind doing some illustrations for the bi monthly magazine the group produced. The first one they wanted was for an article on the Specked Wood Butterfly.

I was happy to, but because the magazine was two tone the drawing had to be in black and white and because of  printing and digitising restrictions, had to be drawn to scale just about.

My frustration with not being able to achieve enough detail was solved when I discovered Rotring pens, and instantly bonded with the 0.1 mm nibbed pen  (about the size of a human hair) that gave me all the precision and detail I needed.


Speckled Wood Butterfly

So it was that I came to draw my first ever pen and ink wildlife pictures, nearly 20 years ago! I love my Speckled Wood Butterfly drawing for many reasons but mainly because it started me on a journey I may never otherwise have begun. I have continued to draw with my trusty roting pens, but have gone on to explore different kinds of inks, introducing colour, washes, and brush work over the years.

I am still exploring and pushing the boundaries of what I can achieve both in detail, composition and colour but the simplicity of the black and white drawing process, the clarity and the honesty of it, I will always treasure.

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