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Cards – March 2013

Gumbo (blog)

First Up is a picture Lucy asked me to draw as a birthday card for the wonderful Miss Samantha Gumbley AKA Gumbo.

I tried a few new things with this one – not the hair, although it’s not often I go to such detail with a barnet, I have done it before (it’s remarkably soothing to draw/ink all those swirls…) – instead I mean the level of detail on the face. Usually i work under the lines I’ve inked and scanned in, but this time I thought it would be interesting to work on top, to both soften the features and increase the 3D effect, so as to seperate from the hair and the cartoon representations of Lucy, David (her boyfriend – the one in the cap) and Myself. It both worked… and didn’t work – I’m pleased with the result, but perhaps the contrast between her face and her hair is too high… maybe the two don’t look as though they belong together? And the eyes are still kind of cartoonish… oh well, I still like it, and Gumbo did too, whic is the important thing 🙂
The other new thing I tried was the ‘kawaii’ style cartoon doodles of the rest of us – and I think they turned out quite well! ^_^

The Edd the Duck Incident (blog)


This one’s a Mother Day card for my Mum – it refers back to an incident waaaay back in Saunders Lore, when a young Chris innocently threw a rubber Edd the Duck toy (remember him? No? Ask your parents…) and it just happened to strike an unsuspecting Mummy Saunders on the foot… the tirade of swear words that followed has gone down in history, and despite not being very amused at the time, we all laugh about it now 😀 (sorry mum!)



Elephant Ink (blog)

This one was a Mother’s Day card for my Grandma (Grand-mother – see? …yeah i know, it’s a bit of a stretch, and i forget almost every year that we do it, but she loves them, so how can I not?) and to follow with previous cards, i did a more traditional, animal portrait. This time I went straight in with my new best friend, the Brushpen, and tried to stick to just the shadows to maximise the effect – and I think it turned out really well!
I first tweeted this image via Instagram (theponderingchin) and I enjoyed the filter-effect i gave it so much, i tried to replicate it on photoshop for this post (…too hipster?)


Ser Malcolm (blog)


And finally, it was my Dad’s birthday last week, so I drew him this – if the armour or name looks familiar, you might be remembering the Game Of Thrones style family portrait I drew for my Mum for her birthday – well, as well as that went down with everyone, Dad did mention that he wished he looked a little less ‘old and fat’ (his words, not mine) and more heroic – so I remedied this in this new one. Just look at that moustache! Behold those permed curls peeking out from behind that helmet! Not a grey in sight… I’ve taken at least 30 years off him, no Just For Men, just Photoshop.
Dad works as an Ambulance Technician if you were wondering about the horses armour, and any other little things you may have noticed are in reference to his huge Geekiness (probably where i get mine from), but what I’m most pleased about with this one is the lighting – ‘Exposure’ is the key (not IRL though kids)

The ‘Ser Malcolm’ font was pinched off Dafont, but no need to panic, this is only a gift, no profits were made 🙂

“What Time is it…? Valen-Time!”

Valen-Time! (blog)This year’s Valentines Day card for my other half was inspired by Adventure Time, the greatest cartoon to have ever existed – Mathematical!

This is somehow my first ever fan-art for AT – I’d just like to add that as a English fan, it was REALLY hard to not add an ‘S’ to the end of ‘Math’, but I hear it in Finn’s voice, and it just wouldn’t have sounded right… also my real Totoro hat is blue, but it would have clashed too much with the sky, so artistic licence y’all.

There’s a couple of in-jokes in the background you probably won’t get, but don’t worry about it, just enjoy :)

(click to enlarge)


As a romantic/creative type, I always like to go that little bit extra for those I care about, and this year it could be said that I went a little over-board. Lucy’s always been in love with Paris, and her recent trip has done nothing to quash that – unfortunately as a struggling artist, it will be some time before I can afford to take her. To make up for this, I decided to recreate a Parisian Cafe in our living room – the little table, white table cloth, candles wine and food were easy enough, and I found some music on Youtube (literally called French Cafe Music I think), but I wasn’t done there. Out flat has a little balcony, and I thought it would be fun if I created a silhouette of The Eiffel Tower, and hung it outside so it would look like a view onto the real tower… it seemed so simple in my head…

The first thing was to cut out the actual tower. I went begging at my local Tesco for a large sheet of cardboard, but apparently they don’t DO stuff in big boxes these days (hmm) and after a brief panic, I found a stash of A4 black card and got to work. The tower would need to be about 130cm tall to fit between the railing of our balcony, and the floor of the one above it, so I found a vector of the Eiffel Tower (thanks google) and set it out like this:

effielEach coloured block is the same dimensions as an A4 piece of paper, so this not only shows how many pieces you’ll need, but what you should be cutting out on each piece – simple right? Well… not exactly. The theory worked fine, and aside from the fact that I was working too quickly to bother with rulers and actual measurements, the tower ended up being pretty straight. The problem was that even though it’s got quite an iconic outline, it doesn’t really LOOK like the Eiffel Tower until you can see all the frame work, so I had to cut out MANY a little triangle…
Sometime later, I ended up with this:

eiffel photo

See? Not bad eh? Of course, foreshortening does it no favours here (it was pretty long), and there’s a lot of tape on it – but that didn’t matter, because phase two involved using yet more tape to stick our Christmas Tree lights behind it to make it light up… and it worked pretty well too! Getting it to hang of the balcony by myself was a bit of a mission, but in the end it looked like this:

eiffel glow

(photo taken by Lucy Benson via Instagram)

…and I was very pleased with the results – and more importantly, Lucy loved it 🙂 Now, a cynic might say “pffft, this guy’s just showing off” and frankly, you’d be right.

The King Of The North! (Pole)

Ok, so in the last few years my hand-drawn Christmas cards for my immediate family have always been a bit late for some reason or other – over the last few years it’s been due to University work, and this year it was because I had an abundance of commission work. In fact last year, because of dissertation-writing madness, my parents didn’t get one AT ALL… so this year I decided to put extra effort in and bosh out one I’m really proud of. My mum’s birthday is shortly after Christmas, so it’s a joint Birthday card too…


GoT Birthday card



As you can see, it’s still 2 cards really, so it’s not as if I’ve cheated, they’re just joined by a common, Game Of Thrones inspired theme. Click on the image to enlarge, I’ve left it quite big, so it should be easy to read/spot all the little bits I’ve put in. If it isn’t, I’ll be changing that sharpish. I should add that the characters of my family are based on no House in particular, and the only reason I chose the form of a dwarf for myself is because Tyrion is the best damn character in the TV series (only got through one book so far) and if I could be half as cool as him, I’d be a happy (half) man.

The King Of The North Pole v3 (blog)


House Saunders (blog)

Pictures For Lucy 03 – Eastenders Special

Almost caught up on my freebie backlog now – here’s the latest completion, an Eastenders themed birthday/anniversary card for the missus – the lovely miss Lucy Benson 🙂 x (she’s the one in the middle… on the top image – I’m not dating Ian Beale… although his tramp beard was hot as hell…)


Having a bit of a catch-up session on birthday cards and the like that were missed during the craziness of the final year of University. Luckily for me I have family and a girlfriend that are not only a pleasure to draw freebies for, but are understanding enough to realise that their pictures may have to take a SLIGHT backseat while more pressing matters are taken care of – love you guys 🙂

First up is a piece for Fathers Day 2012, inspired by a lengthy co-op sesh on Halo ODST with my Pa – Dad loves Halo, and has been known on many occasion to say “Right, I should have time to shoot some aliens AND do the hoovering before your mother gets back” followed shortly by an adventure in ear-ache with Mum and The Unhoovered Floor 😛

One of the useful features on Halo ODST are the little smiley markers that show you where your teammates should be (or what’s left of them at any rate) but I discovered pretty quickly that Dad liked to carve his own path of destruction – markers be damned – and usually ended up right in the thick of it, while I was far too far away to lend a hand. This reckless ‘F**k Yeah, Explosions!’ attitude reminded me of internet legend Leeroy Jenkins, so I thought I’d do a piece as tribute to them both…

Pictures for Lucy 02

Ok, as it’s been a while since I’ve uploaded anything, and I’m currently in the middle of *counts* 5 projects (how the EFF did that happen…?) I thought I would post up some more art drawn for the lady in my life, the lovely Miss Lucy Benson (@rainbowluce) – starting from the most recent (this valentines) to the er, least recent (LAST valentines) – anyway, they do a good job of showing the things I can accomplish given complete freedom and a variety of media.

Valentines Day ’12

Brief Description: Now that we live together, Lucy has the UNIQUE ‘pleasure’ of being the only one to witness me at all stages of my day – from mumbling proto-human in a dressing gown to fully functioned drawing/cooking machine… in a dressing gown (pictured here in the rare, or shiny, ‘clothed forme’). She also has a tendency to call me a variety of cute little names, such  ‘Plappy’ or ‘Plapsie’ (no, I don’t know why, and yes, I AM admitting this on the internet…) so together it gave me the idea to draw this pokemon-evolution inspired design. I’m really pleased with how the text came out…

Moving Day!

Brief Description:  As I’ve already mentioned, Lucy and I moved in together last July, so to mark the occassion I bought one of those horrible cheap photo albums from Wilkinsons and spruced it up a bit – I carved intricate little designs all over the front and back cover, and used some attractive craft paper for the lettering on the front, the spine, and the house on the back (pictured above). On the inside I did a little cartoon of us; Lucy looking all glam, me in my dressing gown (notice a recurring theme here?) with the Girls Of The Playboy Mansion theme song lyrics in the background – this joke was two fold: Fold 1) For some reason Lucy and her housemate Hannah were obsessed with the show at the time and Fold 2) The parallel of a beautiful girl moving in with a grumpy old git in his dressing gown was too much to pass up. The idea was for us to use the album to put all the pictures of our lovely new place we were going to take inside of it… we haven’t got around to it yet 😛

The Anniversary

Brief Description: We have a tradition of making more of a fuss on the ‘halves’ of our time together as an official couple (ie: half a year, a year and a half etc) just because it’s nice to be different. It also seems to coincide with my work schedule better, but because normal anniversaries are important too, I knocked up this piece last year – it’s blue and white chalks on blue mounting board. Chalk is a very unforgiving medium – once you’ve committed to a hard line, it’s VERY difficult to correct it afterwards. As a result, I hate this now – Lucy’s head is not that shape, and my face is all manner of wrong – but I’m still pleased skin tones and the hair especially – it’s a technique I’ve not given up on yet…


Brief Description: Pretty sentimental one this time around! I have long said that adding hand-claps to any song instantly makes it much better, and it occurred to me that as hand-claps are my favourite part of any song that features them, if my life were to have a theme song, Lucy would be the hand-claps, as she’s my favourite part… (awww! *bleuurrgh*) AHEM – anyway, pictured here are Lucy and myself, dressed up in our finest Geek-Attire for a geek party we had at her old, old house a while back – The music notes in the background are from Dig by Incubus, a song loved by us both, that ironically, doesn’t contain any hand-claps as far as I’m aware… why didn’t I think of THAT at the time…

Valentines Day ’11

Brief Description: The idea behind this one was that at the time of conception, Lucy and Hannah had decided to join Slimming World – the diet plan where calories are the enemy, and as long as you use natural ingredients to cook your food, you can eat as much as you like. Naturally I was all about the ‘I don’t think you need to change anything about your appearance, you’re perfect as you are’ type statements which while true, was also about me trying to protect my weekly need for pizza (luckily for me, she wasn’t making me do it with her, although looking down at my gut, I kind of wish she had…).
Anyway, on Slimming World you have what is the equivalent of Weight Watcher points in the form of things called ‘Syns‘ (short for synergy maybe?) and bad food is something that contains a lot of these syns (there are little books that list almost everything for syn-value) – needless to say I couldn’t pass up the joke, so I drew Lucy as Jesus spouting one of his more memorable, and in this case, more appropriate quotes, with me as her loyal disciple. This picture features little froggy sandals, and a no-prize to the person who spots the not-so-deliberate mistake…

Well that’s it for now, you can find the previous entry here to see the other Lucy drawings I’ve done. Interestingly, the previous post has two images, and I’ve numbered this last one above as ‘Lucy 4’ in my folder… does this mean there’s a missing drawing out there somewhere…?

Mum’s Birthday

(reasonably) Quick cartoon for my Mum as a birthday card (I had a play around with different effects for a while longer than could be considered sensible…) – It’s a bit late now, but I hope she likes it 🙂

Note: No Chris’ were harmed in the making of this card