Sketching Rebecca and the Boys

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This is a recent commission I finished in pencil. The portrait is of Rebecca and the Boys (her brothers and cousins?) in pencil.

This entire sketch was completed on Goldline Bristol Board paper 220 gsm size A3 16.5 inch x 11.7 inch (420 mm x 297 mm).

Main pencils I used were mainly Pentel mechanical pencils in 3mm, 5mm, 7mm and 9mm leads, the leads being 2B, F, 4H, 5H, 6H and 7H.

I begin my sketch (as I always do) being right handed, from left to right. This stops me messing up any work I’ve just laid down and I find it is a really great way to keep the work clean and crisp. I also like sketching on a slight angle, this makes sure that and dust or lead debris falls away from the work area easily, with usually only a quick blow from myself or I borrow (permanen

Hey Ho, Hey Ho, it's off to Dublin I go - 1st Trip

9.30am. Tuesday morning on the 15th November I arrived at Newcastle Airport to begin the first of eight trips to Dublin to work as a sketch artist at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in the forthcoming Rivane Neuenschwander’s exhibition

As the Museum was paying for the flight and Hotel, all I had to do was check in on-line, sounds easy right? The courier were Ryanair, and as I had already been given my flight check in reference number via email, all I had to do was go onto Ryanair’s site and complete my check-in on-line, this is when the first hiccup appeared, the check-in site didn’t recognise my reference number! OH My God! panic stations! I was due to fly out the very next day! and the Ryanair site had no record of my booking, a quick phone call to Ryanair themselves, quickly rectified

Tutorial - Painting The Cottage - Part II

Tutorial – Painting the Cottage in Acrylic – Part II

Welcome back to the second installment of my tutorial on painting The Cottage, the last time we left it I had painted most of everything except the main subject! Hopefully today I can rectify this. Now where were we? Oh yes, here:

STEP 19 (Starting the cottage gable end)
Here I’m starting to block in the straw heap outside the cottage, no need for detail, this is just the under painting, Yellow Ochre with a small brush works fine here. I also start experiment with the wicker fence using a ting brush to try a few graduated stipple strokes and longer upright strokes on the pieces of wicker behind the cow.

Now I’m just painting some Raw umber coming up from the wicker fence and under the left thatch roof edge.

I carry on from the thatc

Tutorial - Painting The Cottage - Part I

Tutorial – Painting the Cottage in Acrylic

Free iBook download available for iPad, iPad2 and PC

This is a painting I’ve been itching to undertake for absolutely donkeys (well at least since I started painting in ernest), the source reference which I discovered inside a movie, called Ironclad, about a Templar Knight in England who rallies a few supporters to protect a maiden in her keep, a bit on the lines of the Magnificent 7 (but without the mexican villagers). About a third of the way into the movie, the knight and some of his followers seek the aid of a blacksmith, the scene just before they arrive, is of a beautiful white stone thatched blacksmiths cottage nestled amongst a tree line at the edge of a wood, fading off into a dusky misty morning. So with a bit of fiddling on the compute

Soon appearing in the Dublin Museum of Modern Art

Now I know with some certainty, that I’m definitely the last person on the face of the planet to ever think I’d make it as any kind of modern artist, especially in any National Museum of Art….…

…but, I’ve just finished brokering an astonishing deal with the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, who want my services as an sketch artist, two days a week over the next few months beginning the middle of November, flights and hotel accomodation included with a very generous flat fee!

I’ll be taking part in Rivane’s Neuenschwander’s exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, where they want a retired police artist (me) to interview sketch members of the public’s first love, live on stage. The finished sketches will be included in her exhibition. Rivane has been exhibiting all around the globe

Goodbye Tazz

On Thursday the 29th September 2011, we said goodbye to Tazz, one of my two Siberian Huskies today, he joins his sister Kira who past away in January 2011. Tazz was the big brother of the trio, always henpecked by his two sisters, Kira and Szary. Although he was undoubtably the strongest of the pack, he was always more than happy to leave the front running to Szary, the self appointed pack leader. This morning, during our breakfast, we heard Szary gave out a howl which was different to the normal howling we are used to, this was a real slow eerie sort of howl, as if to mark her brothers passing, a howl Huskies only call it would seem, when they lose one of their own.

Tazz’s sight and hearing deteriorated so much towards the end, he was virtually blind and deaf, but he loved it when you w

Happy Birthday Virgos..... x

Well I’m 21 today with 32 years experience, not bad for a crumbling old, decrepit, senile artist who can barely remember to hold the pencil the right way round (sorry, but no, those aren’t freckles, just constant pencil stabs! LOL). At this stage of my decline down the slippery slope of life, my trousers seem to have stuck onto a nail and may be kind enough to grant me a few more years of health, poverty and most of all happiness!… before the tagged belt loop tears and sends me once again tumbling down ever faster to that renowned Welsh Sea Captains old locker.…

As I look back, I see many of you younger rock climbers making travelling up this same slide seem as easy as walking out on a stroll on a sunny day, but be warned, this slope can never, ever be conquered by us young or old, but the

Converting my garage/stables into an Art studio - Part 1

My current art studio, a recently vacated eldest son’s bedroom (yippee! one finally flown the nest, now only five to go…) has been given a notice of intended repossession by my wife for use as a new room for some fortunate child (or siblings) who we hope to add to our fostering manifest in the next few weeks/months.…

So I am now forced to finally (at long last) begin work converting our old garage/stables into my new art studio while the good weather is upon us. I’ve been really busy these past few days clearing out all the mess and debris one naturally accumulates in one’s garage, I even found unopened boxes we stored in there when we first moved in over five year ago! I had hoped to use a wooden shed/cabin as my art studio, but it seems some of my kids had other plans, and had moved thei

Starting One to One Internet Drawing correspondence classes....

As some of you may already know I provide online drawing and painting tutorials and how to’s via the RedBubble Tutorial Library which are free to anyone wishing to view them.

You may also be aware, that I teach a local drawing class here in the UK (once a week every Wednesday in Rothbury, Northumberland). Many of you have expressed their dissapointment in not being able to attend my drawing classes for obvious reasons like, living in another country! for one.

One to One Internet Correspondence Drawing Classes
Well I thought some of you may be interested to hear about my One to One internet drawing tuition correspondence classes/workshops I sometimes run, these are long distance classes similar to the classes Austrailian teachers use to teach pupils hundreds of miles apart

Tutorial - The Slip and Slide Method with an intro to Embossing

THE SLIP AND SLIDE METHOD – with an introduction on Embossing techniques

The source reference is from a photo I took of a dog called “Jed”, who I was commissioned to sketch and decided to create the artwork on June 4th, International Drawing Day.

Weapons of choice:
Pentel Mechanical Pencils (P203, P205, P207 and P209 – Leads (2B, 3H and F)
Pair of scissors (borrowed from our sewing box)
Electric eraser
Kneadable eraser
Derwent Essential Embossing tool set

Copious amounts of tea (Earl Grey?)
Digestive biscuits or Jacobs Cream Crackers (optional)

Paper: Goldline Bristol Board 220 gsm
Size: A3 420mm x 297mm (16.5 inch x 11.7 inch)

This “The Slip and Slide Method* as I like to call it, is something I created for some of my drawing classes I used to teach locally, some

My work has been nominated for Sojie 11


by Jan Szymczuk

Join me at the Juried Invitational Exhibition

I am very excited to have my art selected, from over 67000 works of art, to exhibit in SoJie 11. SoJie 11 takes its name from the Solo Exhibition group’s Juried Invitational Exhibition. This month is only the 11th one, ever, and 73 other artists, besides myself, are represented.

Winners of the invitational will be announced on June 1st, when a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be awarded in three categories: digital art, photography, and traditional art.

Non members, as well as members, ARE welcome to view all of the work nominated. So I hope that you will click the show banner, above, and follow the link to view my fellow exhibitors. The works are shown “gallery size” and are beautiful,

Hello again, guess what? I'm still hungry for more fish....

Hmmmm, OK, OK, I’ll admit, I may have been a bit tweenie weenie hasty, so I’ve decided to not completely give up on my art (and you can all wipe that great big grin of your faces!), I mean you cannot seriously give up something you are sooo addicted too right? Can’t a fellow can change his mind right? Anywhoo, there was an awful lot of pencils and a boat load of brushes and paints all over the place, and they have to live somewhere right? So they are staying right where I left them, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll admit I was a wee bit in too much of a haste to drop EVERYTHING just like that! and like some of my friends said, art is in my blood, art is in my core and I can no longer give that up, than I could breathing, could I? Art, is such a natural part of what makes me, me, right?…

So, I

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish....

When I retired in 2009, I was so happy and looking forward to finally having the time and opportunity to catch up with my dreams of becoming an artist of some recognition, full time, and to be able to spend the rest of my days finally doing what I wanted, art, in the last year, I even began painting for goodness sake!…

Well, I’m sorry and somewhat sad, to announce that I’ve decided to put my paint brushes away, my pencils into storage, and start looking for a more secure form of profession or employment that’ll hopefully put more bread on the table.

So it is with a heavy heart and eyes with a bit of dust in them, I’m saying goodbye to all and everyone who ever viewed, commented or favourite’d my doodles and paint splashes.

Redbubble is a wonderful community, and for some artists and photog

Tutorial - Painting the sailing ship Traveller

Painting the Traveller

The source is from a 3D Bryce stock model by the artist Andy Simmons who has kindly given me permission to use his rendered model of the Traveller as my reference for this painting in acrylics (thank you kindly Andy).

Acrylic colours:
Winsor and Newton & Basic Acrylic paint:
Phthalocyanine Blue
Primary Blue
Dioxazine Purple
Cobalt Blue Hue
Light Green Permanent
Hooker’s Green
Raw Umber
Yellow Ochre
Cadmium Red Medium
Titanium White

Round No.4
Rigger No.1
Point No.6
Filbert No.8
Flat No.4
Hog Hair No’s 2, 6 and 10

Water de-mister spray bottle
An old wet rag

16” x 20” stretched canvas, on a standard wooden easel. I have found that my easel is slightly too small at about 5 foot 6 inches against my height of 6 foot. So my unique solution I

WIP - Traveller

Medium: Acrylic
Paper: stretched canvas
Size: 16 in x 20 in
Duration so far: 5 hours

This is something I’m currently working on, an old sailing ship in rough seas
The source is from a 3D Bryce model by the artist Andy Simmons who has kindly given me permission to use his stock model of the Traveller as my reference in acrylics.

I’ll add the tutorial text of each process when I’m finished, this is just something to show you what I’m working in.

Excuse the mess of my studio.


*Tutorial - Painting the Welsh Cob Stallion*

Reference stock photo supplied by Chroa2427851 (thank you Chroma)

Winsor and Newton & Basic Acrylic paint

Burnt Sienna (sorry not shown in the photo), Ultramarine, Permanent Magenta, Permanent Green Middle, Hooker’s Green, Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre, Pale Umber, Red Ochre, Quinacridone Magenta and Titanium White.

Assorted flat no.10, Filbert no.8, Round Hog Hair no.4, Rigger no.1, 2” Wash brush and a 1” flat rough brush.

16” x 20” stretched canvas

White plastic big well palette and an (very essential) Chocolate American tin with a pre cut canvas sheet on top of thin wet sponge.

Here is a the step by step process of how I painted my latest painting of this beautiful horse in 10 hours over two days.

Step 1
I previous prepared my canvas

Me nearly famous now! - sort of.....

Well I finally made it into the newstands! and for the right reasons too. I’m in the February issue of The Nothumbrian magazine and not only mentioned (which I knew in advance) but I’m the very first story in a three and a half page spread, three and a half pages!!!

I cannot believe anyone could find more than than one or two sentences to write about me, never mind a whole three and a half pages! that is sooo amazing, it’s the best publicity any artist could ask for!

Gotta go now, the phone is ringing, might even be David Letterman or Jonathan Ross wanting to invite me on the telly!

Goodbye Kira

On the Tuesday the 18th January 2011, the day before I buried my father, I said my final farewell to one of my Huskies, Kira. I held her as the vet put her to sleep, maybe it was a combination of losing my father a few days earlier, but I cried like a child. The last time time we ran together was only a about a week earlier, when I took her and her two other siblings for their daily run, this time along the coast. I recall she had a great time chasing local wildlife up and down the dunes. Of the three Huskies I own, I never expected her to be the first to leave us, she was the gazelle of the trio, always running further, staying away longer than the other two, but always, returning on my whistle. This time she didn’t, she is already missed by the other two, Tazz and Szary. We now take ea

My Dad

Edward Szymczuk (22.03.1919 – 12.01.2011)

My dad was not famous.
My dad was no-one special.
My dad had not lived as a movie or rock star.
My dad was not even academic or well read.
My dad was was so much more than any of these, he was after all MY DAD.
My dad as a boy grew up in a Poland, who then became a teacher.
My dad was captured by the Russians in his homeland and carried off into a cold and bitter Siberian camp for no apparent reason other than being a Polish soldier at the outbreak of war.
My dad was released by these very same captors when Russia joined the allies, and then along with hundreds of fellow countrymen, walked that epic journey from Siberia to Palestine, mile after thousand mile, all on foot.
My dad made it to Palestine and fought with a some of his countrymen in an army in

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