I am in fact drawing Many Other Things, but most I can’t show yet. So here are some marginal mermaids who appeared on a list of reference needed for another project.

The colours (Koi travel watercolours) are limited to what was already on my palette after another picture.

Since this is a behind-the-scenes post, here is also an example of another merlady, and how illustrations start. This is the very early thinking stage, even before thumbnail sketches.


On this manuscript I’m reading through making these shorthand notations, then passing and repassing – looking for less obvious ideas, or poses more suitable to my developing ideas of the characters’ personalities, or even background stories that aren’t necessarily in the text.

At the same time I’m working up some ideas of my own, and in such cases I often start with art before words.


There I’m getting a feel for possibilities of style and colour. Then I’ll probably switch to a faster style to work out the narrative. 

Here for example are some shorthand notes for another idea.

And last is something I can’t really show much of: the extras on a Usual Suspects-style lineup of characters for another set of illustrations, partly as a model sheet, partly for practice and also for my own amusement and to break in a new pen nib.