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My greatest portrait commission info

Graphite on Bristol 8 x 10 inches
This is my greatest creation.

No, not the drawing, but the two little boys - my boys - depicted in it.  It was done as a Christmas gift to my lovely Wife (their Mum) and it got the exact tearful reaction I was hoping for, which is often the best confirmation of a good likeness.  :)

I rarely draw portraits, in fact this is my first one in over eight years, but it was such a satisfying piece to work on that I've decided to start accepting portrait commissions!

So if you, or someone you know, might be interested in an original, one of a kind piece of art featuring a loved one, themselves, or even a pet, meticulously rendered in graphite - I'm your man!

A few extra details;

  • I work from photos, so no need for lengthy sittings in person
  • I'm able to combine elements from different photos (for example, five images were used for the drawing above)
  • Can work to a size of your choice (if you have the perfect frame in mind this is often a good starting point for a quote)
  • Include as many people/animals as you like
  • Can ship internationally
"How much will it cost?" you may ask.  Well, it's always difficult to provide a universal answer to this question as there are so many variables with each commission, so the best thing to do is send a message to listing all of your requirements and we'll take it from there with a free, no obligation, quote.  If you're not a fan of good old email then you can always get hold of me on Facebook at  

When you consider the cost of a professional photography shoot and prints, I like to think that my portraits are very good value when you take into account the time and care that goes into each one.

Get in there quick before the waiting list gets too long!  And even if you're not interested at the moment, a share would be very much appreciated.



P.S. The drawing looks better in real life (my scanner isn't exactly state of the art), but you'll just have to take my word for it!

Tatty Teddy / Me to You card illustrations

I got my start in the industry drawing Tatty Teddy (the Me to You bear) for cards back in 2007.

I believe all of the illustrations are digital now, but back when I was working on the brand everything was done in good old graphite pencil and watercolour.

This guy is surprisingly difficult to get right, and the small size of the originals (a bear would be drawn at about 3 to 4 inches tall) meant you needed a steady hand and eyes like a bloody hawk in order to get all the tiny 'ticks' of hair right.

I'll be honest, it was a painstaking process which I don't miss, but it did teach me a lot about drawing characters for greetings cards.  I still see them in stores occasionally, which is strange considering some of them were drawn nearly seven years ago.

Above is a mega sheet of every Tatty Teddy card image I drew during my time at Carte Blanche Greetings, if you spot one in there you want to see in more detail let me know and I'll add it to this post;

One more CBG post to go!


Dexter's Dinosaurs

When my Son, Dexter, was six months old I started this piece.  It marked the start of my first proper oil painting (shameful I know!) so I was full of enthusiasm for a new project, new medium and it was dinosaurs - what could go wrong?  Well, as it turns out, oil painting is actually pretty bloody difficult which is why my son has just turned two and I've only just finished it!

I could make excuses about house moves, job changes, and wrestling with different techniques, but the truth is that I didn't have a dedicated painting space at the time, and the fact that I'm so accustomed to working digitally meant the mere thought of setting up all my materials, mixing colours, being frustrated for several hours and then clearing up again, every time I wanted to paint, was enough to put me off.

I had messed about with oil colours before but never got much further than a few sketches, the required use of solvents really put me off and is why I didn't touch them again for nearly ten years.

The discovery of Winsor & Newton Artisan water soluble oil paints is what brought me back, the ability to use water for clean up making everything infinitely more convenient and enabling me to paint without worrying about the health of myself or my family.  I would highly recommend them.

But I finally found a technique that I was happy with and fought through to the bitter end, the painting now hanging proudly on my little boy's bedroom wall.

Below are some closeups of the individual letters;


Hello 2013...

Year of the snake and all that...

Hope you have a good one!


Sketch commissions

A few recent sketch commisions.

Want one of your own?  Send me a message and I'll see what I can do.


Woody and Buzz watercolour

I painted this a few months ago for a very poorly little boy who loves Toy Story.  His favourite character is Woody, and his twin brother's is Buzz.  The final version included both of their names side by side on the soles of the character's touching feet.  I didn't think it was appropriate to post that version online but it does add some context to the poses if you visualise it.

As cheesy as it sounds, the original Toy Story means a lot to me.  Along with it's influence on my artistic development (which you can read about here), I used to watch it with my little brother when he was a toddler and the soundtrack as much as the visuals bring back a lot of great memories of time spent with him.  Now thirteen years later I plan on watching it all over again with my own little boy.

I can't imagine how it must feel to watch your child suffer and not be able to do anything to help, and that's what made this so heartbreaking to paint as a new parent myself.  Toy Story also has a pretty emotional soundtrack, unfortunately listening to it while trying to paint wasn't very productive - it was hard to see the details through teary eyes.


Baby Pooh watercolour

Watercolour and coloured pencil illustration for a buddy of mine.  To see baby Eeyore painted in this style check out this postand here for Baby Tigger.

To see some preliminary sketches check out this post.

Shane S

Baby Pooh and friends sketches

A couple of sketches for a buddy of mine that recently became a Daddy (congrats!).  He then chose one of each character to be painted in watercolour for his Daughter's nursery wall.

The designs he chose all painted up;

Which sketches are your favourite?


Creative influence map

Loads more I wanted to include but decided to stick with the grid ‘rules’ on the bottom of the template instead.

I mainly included artists that have influenced my work and technique directly rather than just a bunch that I loved but didn’t consciously take anything from, hence no James Jean, Da Vinci or Watterson.

I'm always interested to find out the creative origins of artists I admire, so have been checking out a whole bunch of these things online lately.  A few highlights are those of Sam Nielson (surprising how similar my own influences are to his, unfortunately I left off Monkey Island but I haven't been able to draw clouds without including a spiral since playing MI3!), and Sebastien gallego.

Download the template file from the creator's DeviantArt page at and create your own.

Shane S

Dust Bunny

Whether you’ve seen your’s or not, everyone has a monster that lives under their bed.  This is mine; He’s pretty quiet most of the time, only causing a fuss if I put too much junk under there.

On a related note, this is the last of the character posts in this style.  It was a great experiment and I have got some exciting projects in the pipeline purely as a result of these sketches.

Shane S

Lilly guy

A sub-species of wood elf with a fondness for jewellery and has the ability to mimic any flower with it’s head. It nestles in flowerbeds waiting for a bejewelled hand to attempt to pick it, then deftly severs the embellished digits with it’s razor sharp forearms.

Shane S

Painting for the Make a Wish Foundation

At the end of 2011 a little girl called Shannon visited our studio.  The visit was organised by the Make a Wish Foundation, a charity that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

Shannon is a huge Blue Nose Friends fan, so I was honoured to be asked to create a picture for her.  I was given total freedom, as long as it included her favourite character, Patch.  So I took the opportunity to dust off the watercolours and this is the result; a one of a kind piece that I hope brings a smile to Shannon's face whenever she looks at it.


Dex and Rex

Dexter loves Dinosaurs, especially the T-Rex that lives in the woods at the bottom of the garden.  Rex will often poke his head in through the nursery window to make sure his snoozing little buddy is ok.

Based on my little boy who loves dinosaurs (not that he has a choice as a baby!)

Shane S

Sock thief

At little over 18 inches tall, this little guy is perfectly adapted to sneak into your home through your catflap and steal your socks.  Unlike their less evolved cousins, Pachysapiens tend to live in cooler climates so need a plentiful supply of wool to make clothing and nests.  Fortunately humans seem to have two of each sock, so the thief is more than happy to take the spare.  The handy coathanger serves as the perfect grappling hook, sock snatching device and zip line handle.

Shane S


Not many people know this, but your wisdom teeth are actually a species of bat. If there isn’t enough calcium in your diet they’ll wait until you’re asleep then extract themselves and fly away on a frenzied milk hunt, returning just before you wake.
Unfortunately the only way they can transfer the much needed calcium to their slumbering host is through the passing of guano… which explains morning breath.

Shane S

Little Dead Riding Hood

For several months in 1459, hunters feared to set foot in the forests of northern France.  After a spate of violent unexplained murders amongst the trees, survivors reported hearing footsteps running lightly through the undergrowth, accompanied by the sounds of whelping wolves just before the onslaught began.
The attacker was never found.

Shane S


The fourth member of Captain Fancypants’ crew, Yonkey just wants an easy life and that’s what he’s got aboard the Captain’s ship.  With all the rope he can swing on and a seemingly endless supply of junk food, all he has to worry about is the occasional bout of seasickness.
With his superior intellect he’s been able to repeatedly delay the revoloution, no point starting a pesky war when life’s so sweet.

Shane S