How (not) to write a booklet

SBS_Logo-d64fdf287862cc613549ad733415f057At this very moment … my Sketchbook Skool videos are live and I’m checking in every so often to respond to the students’ questions and some of their amazing responses to my ‘draw your food’ challenge.

When I was first asked if I’d like to take part I thought it would be pretty cool if students could buy a little booklet with some of my foodie drawings in – but I couldn’t figure out how to present it. Sketching chum Andrea Joseph has presented a few in the still of sketching manuals and other sketchers who concentrate on urban sketching can get away with presenting drawings showing a particular area.

How could I present food drawings?

At first I thought about presenting it in the form of a menu; with different dishes from starter, main course and pudding. That seemed like a logical choice – nice and organised. But then, where would an ice-cream, or hot-dog, picked up in the park, fit in? (Can I hasten to add that I didn’t pick it up off the floor, but rather from a hot-dog stand!)

I started jotting down some sketches that I particularly liked and realised that I always seem to be playing around with where my drawings are located on the page.

So … I started to jot down all the different ways I could think of.

And that’s where my problems began.

(This was only about five or six weeks ago)

I realised that I could broadly divide these different ways of drawing food into three areas;

Position – So where the drawing is located on the page, or which direction the drawing is going in.

Focus – Which I thought of as how I’m approaching a drawing; such as a close-up, or a side-view

and finally

Location – Because sometimes there are elements at the restaurant that you can include in your drawing

… and then …

IMG_3310I realised that it would be possible to mix and match elements from these three areas; so why not include a set of cards to play with – to truly randomise things.

So I eventually came up with

24 Position cards

14 Focus cards

9 Location cards

Then I realised that they needed a box to live in too – but I couldn’t design that until the cards had all been designed and printed; so that they would fit inside the box properly.

– There are a variety of ways that these can be used;

Take a card from each pile to influence all three elements.

Take one card only as a guide.

Take out the cards with elements that you usually use before you draw cards.

Sketchbook Skool were interested in offering the cards as a free gift to the students of my klass – so I PDF’d a few of the cards from each set for them.

The set of cards on Etsy contains the full set of cards + 15 blank cards to add your own mischief; all printed on lovely, thick 350gsm card and with a handy-dandy cut out and keep box to hold them all in.

If you’d like a copy of the card set (plus box) then head on over to my Etsy page

Meanwhile I was feverishly trying to complete the three booklets I’d hit upon.

IMG_3736The Focus booklet was the one I started out doing first – it seemed the most interesting and practical and also had the most pages.

or … how are you going to draw this? Not technique, but approach.

Okay – so it’s made up of 14 sections – most of which are double spreads – discussing each of my Focus ideas. Offering some further twists and turns.

So, for example the pages about boxes, suggests other ways you can stretch and bend the definition of boxes to suit your needs.

If you’d like to check out the Etsy page for this


IMG_3737The Location booklet was the next most useful one.

or … Things to do with your drawing whilst you’re there.

Again, this contains sections covering the 9 Location cards in the card pack; varying between 1 to 3 pages.

If you’d like to check out the Etsy page for this


I’m still working on the Position booklet – mainly because the subject doesn’t really lend itself all that well to me having to explain what the different positions might mean; for example ‘Drawing in the middle of the page’ is pretty self-explanatory, really.

I’m thinking maybe in terms of this booklet showing off drawings in these different positions, but the text focussing on my own personal positions on various aspects of drawing (Y’see what I did there!)


All-in-all the past few weeks have been pretty crazy! After coming up with my initial idea to having got two booklets and a set of accompanying cards has been about five weeks – baring in mind I have a full-time day-job that keeps me busy during the daylight hours. And all those pages are handwritten (Slowly handwritten!)

But it’s been an absolute blast!

Proof That I’m Reading

IMG_3469Sorry, Proof-Reading a few pages.

I’m nearly on the home-stretch now (thank goodness!)

It was only after I’d been filmed for Sketchbook Skool that I hit upon an idea for a little booklet of my drawings.

Well, not just a booklet with my drawings in, but a booklet about some of the different ways I’ve approached drawing my food out.

Once I started jotting down my ideas I quickly realised that the various approaches could be categorised into three broad groups.

Where on the page are you going to draw, how are you going to approach the drawing and are there any environmental elements that you can include.

So I’d gone from one booklet to three.

Then, of course, I thought it’d be fun to be able to mix things up a bit and randomise these different elements.

So I added a pack of cards into the mix, too!

So, over the past four or five weeks I’ve been feverishly working on these – the cards are all done and dusted. Sketchbook Students will be able to download them for free during my week’s course. I’ll also be posting a deluxe version up on Etsy that week. By deluxe I mean thick card, er, cards and a foldable box to keep them all in.

Hopefully all three booklets should be up on Etsy by then too.

The booklets of the cards; explaining my thoughts a little more and offering some further variations.


Draw your Food cards

IMG_3423The homework for my Sketchbook Skool week is to draw a meal out and I’ve just about finished making a set of cards for my students to play with – to inspire them to try some different ways of approaching food drawing.

Sketchbook Skool students will be able to download a set of cards to print out for themselves.

I’m shortly about post the cards onto Etsy; where you will be able to send off for the full set of cards, with some extra blank cards to add your ideas and a box to fold and glue together to keep your cards nice and safe.

No more waiting for Sketchbook Skool

A little bit of fun for Sketchbook Skool

IMG_3310I’m just about finished tinkering with the giveaway thingy for my Sketchbook Skool week. I really feel it ought to be called Phun with Phood, or something.

It’s a set of cards to mix things up a bit when you’re drawing a meal out; so you can vary where on the page you’re going to work, What twist you’re going to focus on and whether the location is going to have an impact on your drawing.

During my week on Sketchbook Skool, they’ll be available to download as a PDF document.


Alternatively I’ll make them available to buy on my Etsy site; not just yet, though – I don’t want any Sketchbook Skoolers accidentally ordering a set of pre-printed luxury cards before term starts!

I’m also working on a series of booklets to accompany each set of cards; with some hints and tips and random thoughts based around each idea; I’m currently finishing off the Focus book and am about to start work on the Location book. They’ve been immense fun (sorry, phun) to put together and I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you.

Join me and Sketchbook Skool and sign up for Polishing now!




Pull up a chair

SBS_Logo-d64fdf287862cc613549ad733415f057Well sign-ups are GO at Sketchbook Skool!

Just $99 for six weeks of exploration and investigation into the styles and ideas of a range of artists and illustrators.

Including little old me!

I’m busily working on one or two surprises that I’m going to be sharing in the next week or so – linked in with my Sketchbook Skool week and brimming with tasty pictures of my food (Of course!)

Untitled-2(and wishing that my handwriting/drawing was available as a font – but then, I’d lose the spontaneity and quirkiness)

I’m super-excited about it all – getting to meet and greet my klass. Sharing my quirky food drawings with y’all.

So, pick up a doughnut (donut) and a cup of tea and sign up for tasty drawing fun.

Glazed raspberry sm2