Outside in

It’s been a blustery, rainy start here to Autumn – a time for nipping out and gathering in for drawing in the kitchen.

A stem blown down by a squally shower, the red amaranth looks like a flower designed by an upholsterer. The flower head grows tufts and twirls, tiny seeds adding a tweedy texture. Perhaps it was the flat, grey light of the day, the usefulness of a mid-tone for texture or both but I grabbed a piece of cardboard for this sketch, packing board for who-knows-what, squirrelled away in my bag of offcuts. I threw all sorts at this – line, watercolour, watercolour pencil, fineliner and Posca marker.

I like the rakishness of the roses when they’re going over and these, a quick pruning, have bowl-like petals showing a palette of pinks as they curl. Cardboard again for these, to give me a mid-tone to pick up the prickly stems in white.

Two tomatoes that didn’t get blight, my last, will find their way into soup but I've honoured them first in a drawing, on the back of an illustration from my first exhibition (never let it be said that I'm precious about my work). Looked-at this way, I’m always interested in the complexity, translucency and stripe of tomatoes’ colours. There’s a nice nod to the stripe in the grain of the wooden table, made by my late dad from reclaimed timber.

I’ve been illustrating some bigger habitats for 26 Habitats, a project by writers’ organisation 26 with The Wildlife Trusts. The next part of the project, 26 Pledges, begins on 4 October. There's a Q&A on my work here.

New in my Teemill shop, some line sketches from gathered-in seeds are available printed to order on cosy long-sleeved garments and delivered in plastic-free packaging.