52 weeks of hand lettering

Sometimes I feel like there are so many different things I want to try and work on and have trouble focussing on just one thing to get better at it. While I have goals for all the different areas of illustration that interest me (children’s book, scientific, lettering, animation) it seems there just isn’t enough time to devote to all the areas consistently to get better at any of them. I think my major focus for this year will be to keep working on improving my basic drawing skills and developing more of a natural history + scientific illustration portfolio, but with a focus on communicating scientific concepts + research to children. Of course, I really want to keep all the other areas going as well! With that in mind, I thought it would also be fun to have a lettering goal for the year. It had to be relatively easy to achieve ( why I chose 1 per week instead of every day!) and low-pressure (ie it doesn’t matter if its not perfect- just to have fun!).

Here are my first two of the year- both took about 30mins, using tombow brush pens.




Continue reading “52 weeks of hand lettering”


2014- a year in review

well, its the end of another year! 2014 was the first year where I decided to really try to focus on illustration- I did the scientific illustration course, created a stop-motion animation that was science based, and developed a portfolio-which I submitted to a publisher. In the last month I also did my first market (selling cards and prints that I printed myself- a learning curve as well). Its been busy but I feel like the busier it got, the easier it was to create work and I feel like I started to definitely get into a stride of creating art consistently and regularly in the last few months of this year- something I have previously struggled with.

I also discovered a technique that I really like for doing picture book-style illustrations, and am excited to play around with that some more in 2015.



I saw this around tumblr in the past week and thought it would be a fun thing to do- you can find the original template here, and make one for yourself!

Continue reading “2014- a year in review”

october calendar- free download

How is your October going so far? This calendar download is a few days late but I hope it is still of use in helping you organise your projects and making October a productive month!


Don’t forget to make some goals for the month and break them down into individual tasks that you can plan into your calendar!

Click on the image below to download the free A3 October calendar. 


I hope you have a great month and get a chance to get involved with this months awesome Inktober challenge.

What creative projects or goals have you set for yourself for this month? Let everyone know in the comments below!


Sketch a day September 15-21- CHARACTER challenge

If you remember, I mentioned I was going to attempt to do a sketch daily challenge for a week during September. Well, the week is here, and so I am going to be posting a little random character that I came up with, one for every day this week. The idea is to come up with a character from your imagination (not drawing from life here) which is supposed to be a useful creative exercise.

Please join along if you would like to (send me an email with your sketch and I’ll post them on the blog too). Remember, these are sketches, not beautiful final art works!! I purposely use my very cheap recycled paper sketchbook that I made myself as this helps me to be less worried about what I am drawing and if its going to be perfect or not. (Notice that the eraser even took away some of the paper on the first page!). They don’t need to take long, quickly doodle something down while you’re waiting for the train, or watching tv etc.

I will be posting all the weeks sketches on this page, and at the end of the week, I’ll post a tutorial on how I made my little hand-bound sketchbook (which has been a huge help in getting me to sketch more often) so you can try it out yourself at home.

Without further ado, here is



 a little rabbit frolicking in the sun



inspired by the red-footed tortoise in this story



saw my first puriri moth of the new season this morning!

DAY FOUR- oops been a bit slack with uploading the last few days sketches….


a little kitten after our own kitten Lily- she has a very subtle striped tail in some lights

and runs like a little squirrel whenever she escapes outside (which I wasn’t really able to get in this sketch…)



a little dog I saw waiting outside a cafe on my way to work. every time the door opened he tried to get in to find his owner.



its freezing here so i drew a woolly mammoth for today….



Last day! I drew a rhino because September 22nd is world rhino day #worldrhinoday

That was fun- good practice for Inktober, which is coming up in a couple of weeks! Stay tuned for my next post which will be a tutorial on binding your own mini sketch book!


september goal review + free calendar download

I can’t believe its already September- here in New Zealand we are heading towards Spring and with a third of the year left- it felt like a time to do a review of some of the goals I am hoping to achieve this year. Its easy to get stuck in day to day routines and avoid pushing through to get things done-especially if you are working on  your own projects to develop skills and improve technique (rather than being commissioned to do work!!).


so true for so many things…. ad campaign for Frucor designed by Automatic (Dan Wright)

Anyway- as one of my major goals this year was to develop my portfolio, and lately I feel like I’ve been going a bit off track SO here are some of the things I am going to set myself to do this month:

  • Week long character challenge– sketch out a random character every day for one week. It doesn’t have to be amazing- just a sketch, but hopefully it will generate some ideas and things for other drawings. I’m aiming for 15th to 21st September– is anyone else keen to join along? See Brad Woodards character series for inspiration!
  • Sketchy sketchy sketch! Fill up my tiny sketchbook that I made (will do a post on this little sketchbook I made+ how I made it at a later date)
  • Do a digital painting of a native whale/dolphin (scientific style). I really wanted to try this out and saw this quick tutorial. It will be a good project to practice my digital painting technique so I can apply it to more scientific illustration projects
  • From ZoologicalApt
  • And the BIG ONE- complete 5 finished illustrations that I could use in my portfolio (don’t all need to be from different projects). I’m not actually sure this is achievable but I will do my best ;0

I have seen some great info online regarding generating your own projects and practice- the most recent one I found useful was Drawing Drills by Meg Hunt. I am finding it useful to set myself projects + assignments with a timeline to get things done. Hopefully I can make it to my portfolio deadline in October!!!

Until then- what are your goals to make it an amazing+productive September? Think about the goals you want to achieve by the end of the year and break them up into little chunks you can get working on now….


To help you out- here is a handy little calendar planner I made for you to get started:
(click on the image above to download the full size image- I recommend printing on A3 so you have lots of space to write in your plans!! Make your goals achievable and tick off the things you achieve as you go)

Have a great weekend!



new year- new post

Dear readers,

This is the first post of the new year- and its already the start of February! How did that happen?


I have a lot of plans for this little blog for the next year, so I just thought I’d let you know about some of them.

Its been almost a year since I started up Drawing Escape, and I feel like while I’ve learnt a lot, I still have a fair way to go in getting this blog-thing running right- especially in getting regular (interesting) posts out. This means that I am going to decrease the wordy-ness of a lot of the posts I write- and post more visuals of work I (hopefully) do with all that saved time ;). I have also started an instagram account that I am going to try and post on as much as possible. The wordy posts will be limited to once a fortnight or so and will include a few new things:

  • interviews with inspiring professional illustrators, and people who have combined professional science careers with art
  • tutorials and product reviews
  • giveaways (I am hoping to do a least a few this year)
  • focussed articles– next week I’ll be starting a series of articles on ‘finding motivation to get work done’ which is something I personally struggle with sometimes (um, pinterest obsession?), and is my personal goal to get more work done this year! Hopefully something in there might be helpful to someone.

In addition, I am hoping to get more of a focus on scientific and natural history illustration, because that is why I initially started this site. I’m currently doing a graduate course in scientific illustration and will be showing more of my work from there on here.

My personal goal for this year:

written with my new Kuretake no.8 fountain brush pen!

As Goethe said- “Until one is committed there is the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth – the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too.”

To not feel bad about spending time doing what I love- drawing and art, and getting more work done as a result!

Here’s to an exciting year ahead!

Q: do you have any favourite quotes or goals for the coming year? Share them for everyone below.