phone sketch to Photoshop painting

Last November I bought my first smart phone and discovered Sketcher, an app which allows you to create drawings using the phones touch screen. So if I don't have a sketchbook with me, I can whip out my phone and start drawing the first thing that falls into my head - fantastic!
What's really exciting to me though is how simple it is to bring the sketch onto my computer and start painting over it in Photoshop.
So, to get myself over the blue feelings the last university modules had put me under I decided to have a good Photoshop painting session last night. I love the result :)

Photoshop painting
Sketcher sketch

illus 210

For my main project at uni this last term, I decided to make pages for a wordless graphic novel made from collaged photos and rough sketches. I was disappointed with the overall final outcome of the spreads. It was time consuming and tedious work and after many long hours still looked pretty naff I felt. At least I know I don't want to do it ever again -ha.

Here are some of the best panels from it - there's no chance of me posting the whole thing.

click the image to see properly

Clouds are crumpled up bits of scrap paper

again, click the image to enlarge

The buildings are photographed keys, the sky is ripped paper which I scanned in

The Bay

This picture was part of my ILLUS 130 'drawing out' module at uni which finished in spring this year. I drew it from life at a little bay in Plymouth, with my trusty 2H, HB and 2B pencils.

An earlier, unfinished version of this picture was previously shown on this blog here.

Pencil Sketches

I drew this last Tuesday night, it's just a few pencil sketches for my uni project (ILLUS 240). For the next few weeks for uni I'm going to be drawing crumpled up fashion magazine pages, with all the folds and scratches, to show the invalidity of obsessing over self-image etc. - or something like that :P

EDIT: Forgot to say, the figures are from this guy's fantastic style and people watching blog:

Roland Livinski Window Display (BRITISH ART SHOW 7: in the days of the comet)

Hey peeps
At the start of the year I was working with others in my class redesigning the front window of our university building for the new academic year. The theme was BRITISH ART SHOW 7: in the days of the comet. We were to create birds to be hung in the shape of a comet to mark the occasion.

finding a simple, easy, visually
legible style for the window

my finished birds hanging in the window

The colour scheme was chosen by Coco Carter:
"...bright, fun, and bare resemblance to actual
comet colours :)".

The finished display

Photo by Jo Larsen Brunett of the window at

Life Drawing Class 13.10.2011

Work drawn in charcoal on A1 size paper.

10 mins
half an hour
~ 15 mins
Drawn in crayon
This last one was a collaborative piece. Our tutor gave us the task of drawing on the same paper as someone else in the class at the same time, correcting each other's work intuitively and communicating together - great fun! I like to draw faint foundation lines initially then build the drawing up with more confident lines once I think I've reached something satisfactory, while Sophia prefers to dive straight in and make bold expressive strokes then afterwards fix up any inaccuracies with finishing touches. The final image works pretty well though I think, considering we didn't have very much time and it was the first time we'd drawn together like that.

Caricaturing at the America's Cup in Plymouth - After

I didn't take many photos (rather a shame), and all the caricatures I did they got to keep of course, so not much to show.
At one point there was a massive group of 13~14 year old high school kids crowded around us, all wanting a caricature, so I did several two-person caricatures - crazy. I actually found it quite useful though, having another face next to the one you're drawing to help compare features when you're drawing quickly.
I'm really glad I pushed myself into doing it though. You've got to take risks. Being an artist means taking risks, feeling like an idiot, learning on your feet and blagging your way through it all while smiling and exuding a pencil-thin illusion of professionalism.

The iconic lighthouse at The Hoe
Josh's balloons

enchanted(?) participants

Caricaturing at the America's Cup in Plymouth - Before

Hey there peeps

This is a quick update to say I've been commissioned as a caricaturist at the Plymouth University's marquee at The Hoe during the America's Cup world sailing celebrations in Plymouth.
  It's a bloody terrifying thought that I'll be drawing people live in front of them, and then giving them what I've drawn. I've never done it before, but hopefully I'll learn quick.
  I've no idea about times or pricing yet, I'm being paid but I don't know by whom (I think the Uni is paying me rather than people paying me for their caricature) or how much, for how long, which days I'm supposed to be there etc. it's all a bit last-minute I think. The America's Cup is all this week though so I presume I could be working there tomorrow maybe (I mean today, it's 0:35am). 

Here's a sketch of Brad Pitt I did for practice.

...and here's a really really cheesy one of me.

I'm going for the disproportioned style. If I tried drawing people realistically under that sort of stress I think I'd probably just end up making them look ridiculous anyway. 

Wish me luck.

new blog name

I've decided I'm going to change the name of this blog - yes, again - to Nimmostration. I think it has more of a ring to it and sounds less crude then Ante Up, although some people may find the play on words a bit crass, I suppose. The url will stay the same.
  Before Ante Up it was called Alistair Nimmo Illustration, which I thought sounded boring and too literal. When I first created this blog I named it Heylister Blog. That was dumb.

Robbie the Rightious Rebel Rouser (WIP)

This is a Bday pic I made for my friend Robs. I'm calling it a WIP because it needs reworking (the shading on the armour is horrible, and why is it so foggy? :P ) and some colour on it before I can put it in my portfolio, which I have yet to put online. bah

The Big Draw

Members of our illustration class were asked if we could provide drawings of items from the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery anthropomorphised into treasure hunters from another world for their The Big Draw event. These were to be used on worksheets for children to search through the museum and find the items on their sheet.
 For the benefit of those of us who weren't in Plymouth at the time, Claire ( went round the museum taking photos of viable objects for us to draw. We then tagged ourselves in them on facebook so we could all easily see who was drawings what.

Big thanks to Claire and Jo ( for helping organise the rest of us. =)  

Below are my pustular discharges illustrious contributions to the event, done with India ink and a dip pen, except the top one which I used a small brush for (I need to buy a good quality sable brush at some point).


relief print
intaglio print

These are my humble efforts for the collography part of our first year life drawing module at uni. Working from a sketch, I attached bits of material to a piece of card ~ 8'' x 6''. The first image is an intaglio print, in which the ink is gently painted on then rubbed off of the top surfaces. I did another print like that one before switching to relief printing, first gently rolling the yellow ink on to the top surface before rolling the darker and more opaque red very lightly over the top.
  There are some parts of the intaglio print still visible on the relief print. I think it would have looked even better if more of the ink from the intaglio method had stayed on, to produce a nice hybrid of the two - the intaglio method for body and depth, the relief method for highlights.

life drawing class

Rather than drawing the shape of the body I tried drawing the basic shapes of the shadows cast over it.