Thursday, August 11, 2022

Raymond Briggs - from 'London Portraits' by Carl Randall

Yesterday Carl Randall posted his portrait of Raymond Briggs on Facebook to mark the news of his death age 88 on Tuesday.

Last night I watched two programmes about Raymond Briggs on BBC (links below are to the programmes on iPlayer) - both of which I highly recommend

  • The first was Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen and Milkmen - which was a portrait of his life involving interviews with Raymond Briggs and contributions from both friends and admirers (and there's a lot of those)
  • The second was Ethel and Ernest - which was a hand drawn animated film based on his award winning book by author and illustrator Raymond Briggs.
This was the point when the background to Carl Randall's portrait of Raymond suddenly made sense. It's the house at 65 Ashen Grove, Wimbledon Park where he was born and where he lived for the first 23 years of his life - apart from when he was called up.

Below are stills from the video of Carl painting Raymond and Raymond talking about the house. Carl made back the video in 2016 when he was creating the London Portrait series.
Plus the video about the series - set up to start at the Raymond Briggs section.

You can see the completed painting on Carl's website copyright Making A Mark Publications

Carl Randall painting Raymond Briggs

Carl Randall painting Raymond Briggs
Author/Illustrator Raymond Briggs chose 65 Ashen Grove as the backdrop of his portrait because he was born and brought up in the house, and it also features in his book ‘Ethel and Ernest’.

For more about Raymond Briggs see:

For more about Carl Randall's 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

RIP Raymond Briggs (1934 - 2022)

There's not many people who went to the Slade School of Art who have achieved critical and popular success - among adults and children - for their illustrations and text and best selling cartoons and picture books.

Raymond Briggs CBE (18 January 1934 – 9 August 2022) was a British illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist and author. He was also a Patron of the Association of Illustrators. He died on Tuesday age 88 years old.

“Raymond liked to act the professional curmudgeon, but we will remember him for his stories of love and of loss. I know from the many letters he received how his books and animations touched people’s hearts. He kept his curiosity and sense of wonder right up to the last.” Hilary Delamere, Briggs’s literary agent.

[UPDATE: There's a wonderful film about Raymond Briggs and his book on iPlayer - Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen and Milkmen - BBC - I highly recommend it.]


  • 18 January 1934  -  born in Wimbledon. His Dad was a milkman and his Mum was a former Lady's Maid.
  • 1949 to 1953  -  studied painting at Wimbledon School of Art and typogrea[hy at Central School of Art
  • 1953 to 1955 - National Service conscript
  • 1955 - 1957 - studied painting at Slade School of Art
  • 1961 - 1986 - Briggs began teaching illustration part-time at Brighton School of Art
  • 1958 onwards - Illustrating books
Raymond Briggs - banner from his official Facebook Page


  • 1966  -  Won the Kate Greenaway Medal for The Mother Goose Treasury
  • 1973 - Won the Kate Greenaway Medal, for Father Christmas
  • 1977 - Francis Williams Award for Illustration (Victoria and Albert Museum), for Father Christmas
  • 1979 - Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (U.S.), for The Snowman
  • 1979 - Silver Pen Award (Netherlands)
  • 1982 - Children's Rights Workshop Other Award
  • 1982 - Francis Williams Award for Illustration, for The Snowman
  • 1992 - Kurt Maschler Award, for The Man
  • 1992 - Children's Author of the Year, British Book Awards
  • 1998 - Illustrated Book of the Year, British Book Awards, for Ethel & Ernest
  • 2012 - British Comic Awards Hall of Fame
  • 2014 - Phoenix Picture Book Award for The Bear

His own publications

He switched to writing as well as illustrating and producing his own picture books because it was much better paid. He explains how it took 10 years for this to dawn on him in the video below. Plus provides a few very pertinent tips for those interested in illustrating picture books for children. It's a fascinating listen!

The illustrated book is around for a long time and has much more permanence.

He initially produced his own work in comic book format. 

His own illustrated publications included:

Monday, August 08, 2022

FINAL Call for Entries: Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition 2022

You have until 12 noon on Friday 19th August to get your entries in for the Open Annual Exhibition 2022 of the Society of Wildlife Artists.

The Society of Wildlife Artists seeks to generate appreciation and delight in the natural world through all forms of fine art inspired by the world’s wildlife.
This is a very popular exhibition with a lot of art collectors who visit every year. It regularly achieves good sales from the display of c.350 original artworks from both members and non-members including paintings, drawings, original prints and sculptures.

The Natural Eye Exhibition 2021- part of the East Gallery

The Annual Exhibition is called The Natural Eye and I've always thought this neatly encapsulates two important aspects of the exhibition
  • firstly it's about very best of fine art inspired by the natural world
  • secondly, it's also about artwork which has been drawn, painted, printed or sculpted only after encounters with wildlife i.e. it's NEVER ever copied from another artist's photograph of a wild animal - and the members of the Selection Panel can tell!
The latter reason is why you won't see a lot of endangered animals or big cats which are much photographed and omnipresent in other wildlife art exhibitions.

Although art is submitted by members and artists who live all over the world, most of the artwork is typically much more focused on the wildlife in their own localities - whether on the land, in the sky or in the water - or in places they've travelled to in order to see the birds or animals.

Birds is another aspect you need to know about. This exhibition is BIG ON BIRDS!  Those who enter open wildlife art competitions will know there is a very large subset of fanatical birders who create art - and this exhibition is no exception.

View of part of the The Natural Eye 2021 in the West Gallery

Call for Entries 

Below is the "what you need to know" to send in an entry. 

ARTISTS: Who can enter

  • Any artist over 18 may submit.
  • It's is NOT restricted to artists who live/work in the UK. 
  • If you're an international artist you can submit artwork to this exhibition - but first make sure you understand that involves.

ARTWORK: What can you enter

  • Work should be 
    • based on representing the world’s wildlife and 
    • should have beencompleted within the last three years.
  • A maximum of six artworks - and if you are successful, all six will be hung!
  • All artwork must be for sale.
  • Acceptable media
    • Work may be in any medium including drawing, painting, sculpture and original prints (if prints, please detail edition and how many are available). 
    • The SWLA is keen to embrace new and innovative mediums and will accept computer-generated images as ‘original prints’. However, a digital print is only considered an original print if it was created by the artist to be realised specifically as a print. 
  • Ineligible media
    • Reproductions of paintings or photographs will not be accepted. 
    • Photographic reproductions or mechanical prints, giclĂ©e prints, etc., that are often promoted as ‘limited edition prints’ are not acceptable.
  • Inadmissible artwork
    • Work exhibited previously at Mall Galleries is not admissible.
    • Artwork which is about botanical subjects, pets and domestic animals, or decorative wares (such as vessels or tiles).
  • Artwork which will NOT be hung
    • Artworks that are poorly presented 
    • or differ significantly from the photograph entered will not be exhibited.
Some of the fine art prints in the 2021 Natural Eye Exhibition - North Gallery

ENTRIES: Deadline

  • The deadline for all online entries is 12 noon on Friday 19th August 2022
  • you need to
    • complete the online form
    • pay your submission fee
    • upload your digital image(s)

MONEY: How much does it cost to submit an entry and how should I price my art?

Sunday, August 07, 2022

21st UKCPS Annual Open Exhibition 2022

The 21st Annual Open International Exhibition (2022) of the UK Coloured Pencil Society is now online. 

It's particularly interesting for me as I was one of the Judges this year in terms of reducing 250 images from coloured pencil artists from aropund the world to the 83 images in the exhibition which can now be viewed online. All we get as Judges was the digital image (online), the unframed dimensions and a spreadsheet to include our marked for each work. The other Judges were

  • Richard Rees PPS - President of the Pastel Society
  • Nuala Henry - UK Marketing Manager, Hahnemuehle
Alyssa Tidwell - Editor of International Artist magazine was the Judge making the awards

YOU too can be a Judge and VOTE for the image you think deserves the People's Choice Award. All you need to do is:
  • click the images to see a larger version of each image
  • complete the form on The People's Choice Award Page - and then click the submit button

The 21st UKCPS Annual Open Exhibition Award Winners

Links in the artists' names below go to their websites where you can see more of their art.

Best Picture in Show 

Best Picture in Show - Black Sea by Megan Seiter (Pic No. 241)

Megan Seiter is an American artist specializing in colored pencil still life drawings. Originally from Rhode Island, she received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, and in 2009 moved to California. Megan has shown her work internationally, in galleries and juried exhibitions hosted by the International Guild of Realism, American Women Artists, the Colored Pencil Society of America, and the UK Colored Pencil Society, among others.

This for me was the standout drawing in the show in terms of its HUGE impact and technical proficiency. I remember looking at it very, very closely to check it wasn't a photograph!

Reserve Best in Show

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Melissa Scott Miller paints from Tower Bridge Walkway

Melissa Scott Miller has been painting from the Walkway at the top of Tower Bridge. This summer she's been its official Artist in Residence

Melissa is a portrait and urban landscape artist who has been commissioned by the Trust which runs Tower Bridge (which is owned by the City of London) to create a panoramic painting of the views from the West Walkway at the top of Tower Bridge - from City Hall and the Shard on the South Bank, across the Thames, to the views of the various buildings old and new in the City of London on the North Bank of the Thames

You can find out more about #ABridgewithaView and Melissa on this page
To immortalise the very same views in 2022, we have commissioned English artist Melissa Scott-Miller to paint what she sees from the West Walkway. A Bridge with A View is a celebration of London and an ode to this vibrant city. The project takes place throughout the summer, and will include public workshops and family activities. Visitors to the attraction will be able to observe Melissa painting during their visit and see how the artwork progresses.
The intention is that the painting will be 150cm x 100cm - or maybe a triptych - and that the City of London will sell the painting at a charity auction later this year.

This is a video of Melissa painting her second painting in response to the views of Tower Bridge’s West Walkway - which covers the Upper Decks of HMS belfast to the Dome of St Paul's Cathedral.