Saturday, 17 July 2010


Although I did loads of drawings at home when I was schoolboy age, I can't find any yet from that era in my stash. The earliest sketch I have found so far in my collection is the top one of Jimi Hendrix which I did in 1974, aged 16, and drew it in-between the idle months of leaving school and finding work later that year. I just used one pencil that I kept as sharp as a hypodermic needle, and spent many hours doing all the microscopic detail. As you can see, I never got around to finishing it off, with his guitar still waiting to be done. I think it was a case of, enough is enough, time to move onto the next one! The image is taken from the cover photo of an album I had - Jimi live at Isle Of Wight.
The other 2 sketches were done around 1978/79.
The middle one is dub poet & political activist, Linton Kwesi Johnson. Deciding not to splash out on an expensive airbrush, I resorted to a tried & tested school trick for this one - dipping an old toothbrush into some watery paint and spraying it on by flicking back the bristles. You can still see the warped paper from it having been wet. This image was taken from a black & white photo that was probably in the NME or Echoes, so I had to invent the colours. Once again though, I didn't complete it. I got as far as doing 2 layers, but never did the 3rd and final layer which would have been the shadows & highlights, so it is missing a bit of detail.
The last one is Peter Tosh, reggae singer & musician. It too was taken from a b&w picture that cropped up in a music paper. I used 3 coloured pencils for this one - blue, red and white. His head seems complete but it looks like I got a bit bored when it came to his smock!
Anyone interested in zooming in on the drawings, click onto the images to enlarge.


  1. All three are fantastic, but in my opinion, the Hendrix one is outstanding. If you were that good at 16 how good are you now? (4 or 5 years on :o))

  2. I haven't done any portrait sketches since the 80's, so I've no idea how good or bad they'd be now!
    I do recall considering these type of drawings at the time as me just "piddlin' aboot".
    I then went through a phase doing abstract stuff, then landscapes, until I eventually made the big decision to settle for cartooning so I could concentrate on being a funny bastard. I got there in the long run!!

  3. Brilliant work, such a talent and something I wished I had. The Hendrix sketch is superb.

  4. you could have made a tattooist and did the saint on abodys erms :) only joking, superb stuff there, i prefered your SAHB ane tho ;)

  5. One painting I remember doing at Craigie High School when I was about 14/15 (1972/73), was a big gang fight, complete with jerseys, Mertins etc.
    CHS was a Toddy school, so it was Toddy v Shams or Mid (can't recall). Anyway, in amongst the battle detail, there was a Toddy guy booting the head of one of the opposition, and when it was my turn to go out in front of the class to show off the picture, the teacher pointed to the guy putting the boot in and asked "Why is the boy in blue smiling?". I was about to explain that it was supposed to be a grimace expression, when someone from the back of the class shouted out "Because we're winning!".

  6. Ah the wit of Craigie High.

  7. I remember a history class at Craigie High when the teacher was discussing the battle of Trafalgar and asked who defeated the French Fleet. A voice from the back shouted "Douglas Toddy!"