Tag Archives: illustration

Little bird warm-up sketches

Hello again!  I’ve started doing warm up sketches of little British birdies.  Im planning at the moment to do 8 drawings to sell the originals on Folksy before Christmas.  I’m really excited about this as I haven’t sold the originals before.  I just hope they actually sell!

The sketches are to help me decide what sort of style I want to do them all in.  I’ll post a few more once completed, Im doing one a day at the moment and posting on Instagram.  Please let me know which ones you like or aren’t so keen on, plus if you have any favourite little birds you’d like to see.  It all helps with final decision making!

Coal tit illustration by Sarah Papworth

This was my first sketch, a Coal Tit, I used watercolour for the colours, then a bit of acrylic white for the highlights, then fine line pen on top.  I do really like him but am wondering if he’s a bit too traditional for my liking? – maybe I should go more stylised…

Tiny goldcrest illustration by Sarah Papworth

This chap is a Tiny Goldcrest, as you can see from my scribbly notes he is also created in watercolour, fine line pen then white acrylic on top.  I went a bit more scribbly on him, again Im not sure, but I do like his character/facial expression.

Bullfinch illustration Sarah Papworth

This grumpy chap is a Bullfinch, I drew him with brush pens (if you haven’t used brush pens, you must – they are so fun).  Then I added the white acrylic on top for detail.  I actually preferred him without the acrylic, he was a bit more graphic looking and simple – but he needs to cheer up a bit!

Robin sketch illustration by Sarah Papworth

We have a little robin that has been tapping at our window for a 2 days now (which is getting slightly annoying on this, the 3rd day), I think he wants to be included, so here he is ;).  I like the simplicity of him, I used a brush pen for the red breast and a black fine liner for the sketchy drawing.  I like the leaves added, perhaps I’ll use leaves in all of them…hmmm, decisions decisions.

When I’ve created the final drawings, I’ll upload them all at the same time to Folksy and go live with the shop, so it will be a first come first serve basis. I’ll let you know in plenty of time when that will be.

I’m usually a bit slower at updating the blog, so find the most recent updates on Instagram, also on Facebook and hashtag #bpbirdies.  But I promise to let you know when they are uploaded to Folksy 🙂


Illustration challenge: Part 2.

Hi everyone,

I’ve now completed the sketch challenge!  This post is a little delayed, as I actually finished on Sunday evening.

If you haven’t been keeping up to date with it on Facebook, then here’s the pictures from the second week of the sketch challenge.

DAY 8. Monday 14th: Octopus


Following on with a bit of a sea theme from last week (mermaid, ship), I decided to draw an Octopus with her baby, as an idea for mothers day card or new baby card/illustration.


Here’s the first pencil sketch of octopus and baby.


Pen has started to be added here.


And here’s the pen part finished.  The text doesnt always make sense as I usually change that around on the iMac computer in Adobe Illustrator.


And here’s a snap of it finished on the computer screen.

DAY 9.  Tuesday 15th: Cactus botanical


I love cacti, and at the moment it is on trend.  So I decided to create a botanical style illustration of one.  I like the shapes the plants form and the fact that they are quite hard to kill (I don’t do well with house plants).


Here’s the first stage pencil sketch of the cactus plant.


Here, the pen is all finished, ready to scan in.


Here I have added the pen drawing to the light box, and on a separate sheet of watercolour paper, placed on top of the pen drawing, (so I can see through), I have painted ‘fill-in’ sections, using the pen drawing as a guide as to where to paint.


Here’s the final photo of the design coloured and completed on the computer.  I like this as a modern botanical style drawing.

DAY 10.  Wednesday 16th: Bird


Day 10’s illustration is of a birdy.  I love birdies and cant believe one wasnt on my list, so I added one in here.  I cant decide if he’s in his nest or flying past a cloud – could be either?


Here’s the first stage pencil sketch.


And the sketch moved on a bit and ready for pen stage.


Ive finished most of the pen, but wondering what to do with the wing and the head.


Extra eyes, in case the one added doesn’t quite work and pen completed on the bird’s body.


And here’s it finished on the computer screen.

DAY 11.  Thursday 17th: Gloucester old spot


I wanted to create something similar to the dalmatian last week, but for rare breed British farm animals.  I decided upon the characterful Gloucester old spot pig.  I also filmed myself drawing the pig from scratch with pencil, the first stage of the drawing/illustration.  Here’s the link to the YouTube sketch video


Here’s the first stage pencil sketch


And here’s the  final stage pencil before I add the pen.


I sometimes just draw images from the computer, but as it was a nice day, I printed a photos out and drew outside.


Here’s the finished drawing, completed on my computer.

DAY 12. Friday 18th: Vintage caravan


This Vintage caravan illustration was also created as a bit of a friend for the Vintage car last week.




Here’s the very first three stages of the pencil sketch.



And here’s the pen added to the caravan drawing.


And here’s a bit of a wonky snap of the design on my iMac when I had just finished it.

DAY 13. Saturday 19th: Biggest strawberry


Some of you may of clocked the link between this illustration and a photo I added a couple of weeks ago of an absolutely massive strawberry I ate on the way home from our local shop on a nice sunny day.  SInce then this idea for an illustration kept popping in my head, so I had to include it to get it out of my brain and down on paper.




So here are the pencil sketches, it took me a bit of time swapping the ribbons and text around until I liked the layout.



And here’s the pen added (the dots are the flower centres which I’ll add on the computer).



And here’s a couple of photos on the computer screen once I’d finished.

DAY 14.  Sunday 20th:  Bearded Scottish man

IMG_0833I guess this is the most random illustration, but he’s also the biggest.  It’s just a bit bigger than A3, but once i’ve scanned it in, I think it’ll fit OK onto A3.  Unfortunately my scanner is A4 size, so there will be a bit of pasting together on Adobe Photoshop before I can start.

It’s an idea I had for a screen printed tea towel, with the focus on breakfast.  I eat porridge almost every morning, and so that was the first inspiration.  I had to do a bit of research for the bird, finding out which birds are found in Scotland.  The Kestrel, even though not an obvious Scottish bird choice, is found there, and I liked the size and look of the bird.


Here the sketch is already quite far along.  Sometimes it’s hard to see how it is actually going to turn out, especially when drawing people.


Here’s the pencil sketch almost complete, I had a bit of trouble getting the arm right which is holding the spoon.



Compared to the pencil layer, I wanted to go a bit looser with the pen, so I didn’t follow the lines exactly, especially on the beard.

Because this one took a long time (over a day really to complete, I decided not to scan it in as it is supposed to be all one colour anyway.  If it is to be a silk screen design, then I will need to thicken all the lines more before scanning it in.  I think this could be my favourite though!  A good note to end on.

And that is the end of the challenge!  I now have a lot of new work and things to build on, for example, I could do more breeds of dogs in the same style as the dalmatian.  I still need to re-work the ship from last week, but overall very happy with my efforts.

As mentioned on Facebook I will be selling all of these prints completed in the sketch challenge for half my normal price for two weeks, starting now and finishing Sunday 3rd August.  A4 prints will be £9.00 instead of £18, and A3 prints will be £14 instead of £28, with postage added £3.50.  The only A3 ones are the Bearded Scottish Man, and The first one of the Bicycles.

They wont be in the Beetroot Press Folksy or Etsy shops so please just drop me an email with which one you want and I can send a pay-pal invoice, or you can pay direct into my account.

Email address: hello@beetrootpress.co.uk

I hope you’ve enjoyed the sketch series!  Thanks for following and for your support.

July week 2 – Illustration challenge

Hello friends!

This week I’ve been very busy with the new Sketch challenge I’ve set myself.  I don’t think I had quite realised exactly what I’d let myself in for, but I’m powering through!  Saturday almost had me beat, but I did get there, even if it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

Each illustration takes at the very least 4-5 hours to do and at the most; a full day for an A4 sized drawing, anything bigger, with as much detail can take 2-3 days total.  So I’ve tried to keep to ideas that wont take longer than a day at the very most.  Plus, most of the time, I need to do a bit of research for each drawing, whether it is just looking up animal or plant photos to get the details correct, or to find out a bit of info on what they eat, how they live etc, which can be very interesting!

If you haven’t been following on facebook, tumblr, instagram or pinterest, then here’s the drawings so far, plus a bit of info on how I create the illustrations.

DAY 1.  Monday 7th: Bicycles

BICYCLES wkpg8 green

In honour of the Tour De France I decided the first illustration would be bicycles!


The first pencil sketch is one of the longest parts of the illustrations.  Making sure the shapes, dimensions and overall look is what I want.


Next I add the fine line pen to the sketch, which usually doesn’t take as long depending on how much detail I added previously.


I wasnt 100% sure about all three bikes being so finely detailed, so I then painted them all to achieve a different look so I could choose which ones I prefer.


Next stage is scanning all the paintings and drawings into my iMac and adapting on Adobe Illustrator.  I couldn’t decide for a while what to add in the background, and then decided on geometric textures to add some colour.


Here it is finished on my iMac, recoloured.

DAY 2.  Tuesday 8th: Mermaid



Day two is a new children’s print, a beautiful mermaid!  I was inspired to draw a mermaid from seeing a few pop up here and there while researching trends, plus I loved The little mermaid film as a child, and apparently there is a new one coming out!  We also had some friends and my God daughters to stay and they told me how much their little girl loves mermaids at the moment…and so how could I not?


Here’s the first pencil sketch of the mermaid.  This took quite a while due to all the detail.


Here’s the first stage of the pen being added


And here’s the fine line pen completed, with pencil rubbed away.


Next she was scanned in and adapted on Adobe Illustrator.  Choosing colours can be tricky, but I usually just go with what I like to start with, then I may change at a later date, or colours may need to be tweaked once actually printed out.  I have colour charts for my printer, so I most often pick from them so as to get the colours printing out how I like.

DAY 3.  Wednesday 9th: Apatosaurus.

Apatosaurus wkpg3

I thought I should finally do something that is more geared towards boys.  But, now it’s finished, I would still say it is a unisex print (but that’s just me maybe).


Here’s the pencil sketch


I then painted with quink ink over the top to achieve some more textured marks.


Then I added the pen on top of the ink so there is a mix of the 2 types of mark-making.


After scanning the sketch in, I then add colour and reposition the elements a little.

I have already mentioned this on facebook….. but I learnt something new; did you know Apatosaurus is actually the proper name for a Brontosaurus?  Brontosaurus didn’t actually ever exist.  To find out more, see this link to the site I used for research.

DAY 4.  Thursday 10th: Austin Ten car


This one was inspired by my Dad’s little old cars.  He has always had Austin Ten cars as long as I can remember.



Here you can see my very intial pencil sketch and then the more worked into pencil sketch underneath.


Here’s where i’ve added the pen and rubbed out the pencil



I then wanted to add some texture/pattern so I painted the car from scratch, plus some stripes to go in the background.


I added all the different elements together on the iMac and re-coloured, then I erased some of the black lines to allow some more of the colours and texture to show through.  For those ‘techies’ out there, I usually use the ‘trace’ tool on Illustrator.

DAY 5.  Friday 11th: Dalmatian dog


Day 5 was a dog day, I couldn’t decide which type of breed to go for, then settled on a dalmatian as they are one of my favourites.



I sketched out the shape and dots in pencil, I kept it quite detailed at this stage because I wanted to get the shape right before I started with the pen on top.


Pen added, and here’s a little video of me adding the pen (speeded up).


I purposely added a tennis ball as I really wanted to use a bright yellow as the highlight.

DAY 6.  Saturday 12th: Ship


I think it’s fair to say I struggled day 6 with the time to complete it.  I managed to get the pencil bit done, then when it came to adding the pen, it was very rushed as we were trying to frantically get ready for a birthday party, fancy dress, where we had to find last minute costumes!  But anyway, I did get it done for the challenge, but I’m not happy with it, so I think I’ll need to revisit it.

Ship pencil sketch by Beetroot Press

Here’s the pencil sketch and my vintage book of ships for inspiration!

Day 7: Sunday 13th. Seasonal vegetables.

Winter allotment vegetable gift fr gardeners illustration by Beetroot Press

I took a different approach to this December vegetable harvest illustration.



Instead of pencilling out the shapes, I went straight onto water-colour paper with inks and painted the winter veggies.  Here’s the first stages.


I would say you normally have to paint in layers, especially with water colour or inks.  I’ll create the pale base first, and then add the darker layers once it’s dry, I usually add about 3 to 4 layers depending on the amount of detail I want.


When this one was scanned in, as it is painted, after converting it to illustrator program, to achieve a limited palette, it then looses some detail but I like the end effect.

That’s it for week 1 of the challenge.  I’ll update this week’s drawings after weekend, once the challenge is over (last day is Sunday), or if you can’t wait until then, come over to Facebook to say hello and see some of the illustrations I’ve already posted on there.

I’ll also be selling these prints at half the normal prices for a couple of weeks after the challenge is finished.  A4 prints are normally £18.00, and so will be £9.00 and A3 are normally £28, so they will be £14.  All printed onto high quality archival paper.  Prints can also be cut to size – ie A4 to 8 x 10″ if you already have a frame you’d like to use.

Anyway, that’s it for now, see you soon!

July goings on

Hello lovelies,

This week has been good, I’ve managed to adapt all of the photos taken so far on Photoshop. Unfortunately because I left the next photo session too late, it had started raining (note to self – plan my week around the weather)!  So I will be taking some today and hopefully next week too.  It takes time, but once I get into it, I really enjoy taking them.  I’ve added a few sneak peeks below.

fashionable baby gifts by Beetroot Presshedgehog illustration nursery baby gift by Beetroot Pressorange prints british garden birds modern wall art by Beetroot Press

I have also been doing a lot of reading up on marketing, I will confess, I still have much to learn here and so I have made use of a slightly quieter week by reading in-between doing some freelance work.

Sketch by Beetroot Press

Sketch challenge:  I have set myself a challenge!  From tomorrow onwards (7th July) I will be creating an illustration each day for the next 14 days.  I have no idea how this will work as the designs can usually take a while to complete, even the ones that look quite simple.  I normally like to do a bit of sketching, then take a break and come back with fresh eyes and re-work it, then take another break…and so it goes…..  I’ll be posting my sketches on the Beetroot Press Facebook page every day, so pop over to say hi and tell me which ones you like.  Im sure there will be some I don’t like, but I will promise to post them all, and I’ll add them on here every so often when I get a chance. I’m a little behind on designs, so I’m hoping I will be able to use at least a few in the range, as I need to have my finished designs by the end of this month.

Yesterday we went to Bristol, to a friends wedding party, they got married in Australia (and live there) so was amazing to see her, meet her new husband, and see some old friends from university.


And I’m sure you’ll be please to know I have more or less planted everything that I can at the allotment, just need to dig up the weeds now!  That’s my allotment neighbour’s dog, Spike, in the photo.

Hope you have a happy week and I’ll be back soon with the sketch challenge!