I had a few hours spare this afternoon so thought I’d play around with mixing brush pen and oil pastels to create this deer skull illustration, and I’m really pleased with the result.

I embarked on my Master’s in Illustration in order to improve my illustration style – I wanted to learn how I could impart more depth and feeling into my drawings.

I’ve been playing around with very quick drawings using oil pastels and other fairly crude media (by crude, I mean that which is difficult to work fine detail – the shadows and colours you can get with pastels are sublime). I’ve never really bothered with oil pastels before, but I’m using this part-time degree to experiment as much as I can and I’m loving it.

I’m particularly excited about this deer skull illustration because it uses the brush pen – a medium I use for commercial illustration all the time – for detail, and then over this I work in the pastel and it gives a kind of subtle viscerality (if that is a word). There’s a body to it, a meaty-ness, and the background has as much life as the subject.

I’m going to work this style with other pieces and see where it gets me.

Here’s another painting I did of the same skull about a year ago: