Work, curse of the drinking classes.

Mines a pint.

Trying to clear my backlog of paid work.

Just thought i would put up what i am doing to show the different requests from clients and the work arounds one has to do. Also the experimenting with rendering and perspective sketches.

Small narrow back garden.

Client request for veg, cottage style, new baby on the way, interest in perennial planting ie has the time to play/enjoy the garden
Basic perspective copied from a photograph on A3, rendered with pro markers until they ran out!. Finished in P/S. lots of little bolt on tricks, in particular using ‘poster edges’ from ‘filter gallery to get some depth and definition to finish. Tree is a bit Naff.

Looking back toward the house. Same again copied photo, straight into P/S and rendered. Struggled a bit with this one, the pergola is to large and heavy and a bit out of perspective. Looking at it it needs more umph on the planting. Very simple design (see earlier plan ‘Darwin or God’).

Front Drive on New Build ( ‘Knot Garden’ plan )

Drive and walls already constructed,so working with what is already there. I would like to take the curved wall down and have the hedge as a barrier, we shall see.
A bit garish on the colour front ,but that is to compensate for the printers printing on the dark side. Graphical. Drawn out of my head, scanned, rendered in P/S. See what i mean about the wall. A twist on the knot garden. Very formal due to the style of the house (mock Georgian) and the position as a semi circle on a two exit drive. Finished off with ‘water colour’ filter.Man in orange tee shirt seems to be a theme

A bolted panoramic picture , traced, scanned and P/S.
Same finish with Water colour.


Still yet to find a routine that i a happy with,though the graphic route seems to be favoured at present. I am just so aware of providing images that communicate, rather than provide atmosphere as limited time and finances means reading the client and fitting the image to their need is important. Plus i still need to ‘practice the atmosphere thing, as well as everything else.

Tomorrow back on ‘Park Life’ 

Dark Satanic Mills

Ozzy the Victorian Man

While i was designing some Victorian/Gothic style fencing, had some music on for a change (tend to work in silence as the old grey matter tends to ‘get in the groove’ alas the wrong groove).
Itunes Genius playlist, What could better than a bit of Black Sabbath playing a delightful tune from their ever popular long player ‘Master of Reality’ called ‘Into the Void’ a real throat slitter, perfect for a Gothic Fence design.
A quick sketch of the front entrance

Gothic Arch theme. The slits and holes for a bit of decoration

A bit more ‘Adams Family’ with diamond shapes.

All out of Oak,it will cost a fortune but last 40+years without any treatment, the beauty of hard wood.
All made at Hever Saw Mills , hopefully.

phew..Pen and Ink!

Pen and Ink

Well had a go, small brush and ink pen, plus natural sponge for tree effect.

Need to practice more. I see the possibilities of this format. Though old habits die hard.

Big week this week for completion of 1;200 section, plus normal work…

Oops lolly pop trees. Though love a Gas works 

Salix and Cypress Oak
Small tree natural sponge.

Don’t Fence me in

Normal Work

Busy week at work, lesson learnt to try and keep on top of everything. Easier said than done.

Had to put idea’s for a victorian fence out of Oak. Looked around and everything was to ornate. As the house was built in the Italian Victorian style its decor is more subtle than the normal Victorian work of the period (1860).

So some simple slightly gothic idea’s for the sawmill to give an estimate on. 10 mins then rushed out for an appointment, which for once i wasn’t late for.

Sketch of the window with its carved detail in sandstone
Rounded to match?

A bit more Gothic, a bit more ‘Adams Family’.

Somewhere in the middle.

On Going Job

A quick picture as a sketch for awkward space in a shared drive.A lot of thinking on this little one to hide everything, keep access for the electric station, very low maintenance, something to look at ie curiosity etc. The friend seemed to like the idea, but then in a pub and a couple of pints anything looks good!

‘To Nail or not to Nail, that is the question’

Slingshots and Arrows 

If the Bard had been on our course i am sure he would of reached this conclusion. Having tried to complete stuff for pin ups i often compromised on annotation, levels, planting, materials, etc,etc. So ended up having to explain myself on the back foot, which is fine (you pay’s your money…..and all that), but non the less annoying. 
So this week i have concentrated on nailing the 1:200 ‘freeze’ plan. In particular levels, planting and materials. Really tried to get the ‘zing’ back. So slingshots and arrows, yes, but at least i feel that i have been thorough (to my ‘student’ standards at least).


Drawn on the ‘board’, scanned and merged. Photoshop rendering. A lot quicker this time as learnt techniques used and hopefully improved. Tried to make it a bit lighter in feel, but still atmospheric.
A lot of updates, but in particular the cafe to the right of the waterfall, set back into the hill, more space to accommodate seating. Thought a lot about the hills of grass to sit on, there aspect to the views in particular.

The annotation will be improved once i have completed the planting and material plans. Again a case of nailing them then updating this plan. I think the scale bar needs improvement, i know Andy had a good template. I feel some plagiarism or is that inspiration, m’Lord.
Sketch Book

Spent quite sometime drawing idea’s that were suggested as well as developing new ones. Scribbling seems to help me think, even if it turns out to be rubbish, also to check if whats in my head would look ok spatially and other problems that may be thrown up.

Had a go at rendering with water colour pencils, a hint is better than total fill i think.
My usual scratchy ink (fountain pen). I have come to the conclusion that this is the way that works for me, quick and effective (to my eye at least)

If i want to draw steady lines then i can trace over, but i think i have drawn this way for sooooooo long that the old dog ain’t gonna learn this time.

The zigzag of the planted path with axil steps cutting across, seems ok, Put a hoody in with some swag who is distracted by the lovely planting, later nabbed by the ‘Fuzz’ ,society to blame and all that

Brass railings an inspiration from the new bridge at Kew (with a nudge from Paula ,cheers ). Playing with a gold/brown glass or plates of textured brass, copper /zinc alloy (Admirality Brass higher Zinc ratio for reduced corrosion or maybe bronze copper/tin alloy)

Youth on bridge

Timber high walk way through the south bank. Resin in lay in the timber (aka Bluewater though black rather than yellow…yuk)

More balustrades, Central meeting point on the North bank under a large pergola. My version of the ‘Green Business Man’.

Cafe by the waterfall, out of scale and to near the front, rectified on the little sketch below.

A thought about enclosing the axil stair’s in a metal pergola with a climber. Plus a tunnel effect and shade, minus reduces the view across the park, mmmmm a conundrum as Sue would say. 

A cross section of granite by the water. Plus some anti skate board idea’s (grumpy gene coming into operation i am afraid)

Axil steps lined with trees? 

Something Borrowed..

Had an attempt at Paul’s technique on tree’s, After working on levels and re-designing the planted area. Still trying to bring some ‘sparkle’ back into the design that has definatly got lost somewere along the way.


Fagus spp

Hedge/planting from above

Have a look at Pauls Blog, he has put an instructional video, worth a look.
The trees literally took 2 minutes


Water colour and natural sponges.

Conceptual Drawing

Had a go, tried to keep it as simple as possible. A fave medium of charcoal, why? Because its messy and expressive.

Le Crunch

Lille 2011


Arrived late so no change there, NetworkSouth East connections/cancellations blah blah.

Hotel room just south of Paris, a couple next door banging for France and finally the Kettle was broken.(though repaired as many know life without Chai for me is impossible)

so a good start.


Introduced to the site by the town planners walked around in our team, impression, windy, cold, exposed, industrial, dusty, brewery odours.

Big site 55 hectares.

Started to scratch out a proposal for Tuesday presentation.


Our theme was escape from the urban, but we really got bogged down in the intellectual process. All very , but fun.


We all worked hard to resolve and combine the two drawings from the two groups. Yes we argued,but in a very good natured way. Win some, lose some.

The God of Context and the saints of the straight line seemed to be our main stumbling block. The main idea in the end was radical so hats off to every one for going along with Simons idea. Pondering further a very good one.

Personally i felt we conformed on other areas such as housing, but its a case of looking past the rendering/model and thinking about the over all long term vision of 100 years. which was a good proposal, ie water recycling from an old dock, and as technology improves thus efficiency increases.


Pin up. Worked late and up early to get it all done. We didn’t but 90% on the wall missed annotation of master plan.

Master plan hand rendered pencil and pro marker
By Batiste, Soziem and Elise

Paula and Amile worked on the document and putting drawings together. 5 star hard workers!! As usual Sue pumped out some excellent perspectives , love the happy chicken. Susan for her work on planting and placement

Edith and I, the cross sections, i drew and partially rendered she finished rendering and sky, which i love, swoosh. Jamie said it was very good before realising that it was mostly my work, hilarious seeing him backtrack!!!
Found out today(14th Feb) Paula did a bit of PS to lighten the sky and make them brighter…Nice

Photo’s of Lukes awsome model. Edith and i for pics then i done the usual photoshop thing for atmosphere. Annotation in a matter of minutes.
One drawing to come with Simons analysis and proposals, very technical,but full of well thought out process. Sue and I also bodged out a time line of 15 years for initial completion. Edith some conceptual, drawings really deep, and more research work from Susan.

Simon And Edith spoke ,very well with Luke and myself jumping in at the end to clarify a couple of points, managed to insult the main man, but hey ho, he won’t forget us!

Over all great team work, no slackers every one gave it their all.

Hurrah for the Water People!

Back to the Coalface

Well had to get back to work and actually earn some filthy money.

Bit of a shock physically, slept like a dead man.

Sketch blow up

Good exercise in thinking about what you have to resolve. My main points to resolve before thinking about anything were spot levels, gradients and differentials as in water height to island height for example.

A lot going on in the chosen area. I can visualise in my head what is going on, which is no help to the viewer so more perspective sketches needed, even the two minute cross section type.

Then i can start to nail down materials and planting styles along with irrigation, lighting, etc.

Reading an interesting book called, ‘The Dynamic Landscape’. the outline of the book is about bio diverse planting in parks as the education of the public to understand and appreciate the beauty of naturalistic planting rather than the municipal planting of the 19th century that is still the core of most local authorities , ‘we have always done it this way’ philosophy.

If the park can demonstrate the example of the naturalistic style with the slightly more formal prairie style then this can help the local authority to use this style as the public will have seen this in the park. Complaints can be referred to the park as an example. A case of re education. Use this style for roadside verges and cut down on the present high maintenance amenity grass that is the norm

A company providing flowering grasses specifically for local authorities…Nice

If you hit a medium he won’t be happy

And so it continues…..

Rock solution, first find a rock, this is a good one from High Rocks. Then cut various shapes from it. Looking at the Contour lines. Some small, others large, mix em up.

Then duplicate loads of the images, and start building, making note of keeping contour lines parell to what ever angle you started at, also look at shadows and add if necessary.

All my rocks came from this one pic

Done some more little perspective sketches for the Doc. Slowly getting better, but never satisfied, and yet i see 30 sec doodles by my class mates and love the looseness. Anyway, still a bit lolly pop and not entirely accurate but each one took app 15mins
The hill up Mount pleasant, with my new bridge inc tree’s!
The walk across said bridge, seating, planting and a glass lift.
Lunch time snack cafe in top park serving only the freshest food
(apart from road kill)
The Restaurant with movable seating outside, and viewing tower to look at the distant views of the Ashdown Forest.

Why do i feel ‘Miffed’

Well crit over/marking. Not really sure what to make of it all. yeah, yeah, fancy rendering, but i agree with Paula (Romania) the previous one has more life as did the the very first sketch. This one is to dull, to refined. I prefer something with some more soul.

Its about being expressive for me and although there is a place for straight informative drawings, it just doesn’t get the feeling across. And thus the feeling of disappointment.

Perspective Ahhh need to do sketch up model for depth of field, over all a bit miffed. I think on the marking front i got away with it and it was generous. As the seduction of rendering helped the lack of skill on the perspectives, another day another attempt.

I think earlier in the Degree i felt more confidant about taking risks, as i get nearer the finally i find myself getting more conservative, its a case of letting go of the reins and then thinking too much about the consequences. Really quite annoyed.

What to do?

Well its a case of not trying to ‘please the panel’, but to concentrate on the design.
The difference of designing for a client, either they get it and love it or they don’t the story ends, whereas this situation its the added chasing marks regime which we all do as they are there as a standard, and there has to be bench mark. So i am going to try and stop thinking will they or won’t they and go for what feels right as that is the point otherwise we would all be Jamie/Julia/Paula clones and bad ones at that.

The presented drawing had cross section annotation, forgot to put the update on my stick and thus lost is when shutting down Uni computer.
Like this one, but the extension to repetive. trees have not been thought through, rather what i could find. Though there is some atmosphere.
Again trees’s 

Tree’s etc


Just don’t and have never liked these, just can’t get excited.
So the remedy, bring back the excitement/noise of experimenting and taking risks. Lesson over, now the document.