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Panto Season II


Another 10ft x 5ft wingcloth completed – this is a quayside inn, and will be stage left, if I remember correctly, for Act 2 Scene 1.  As ever in this group, there have been a couple of setbacks in the run up to this production, and with slightly less than two weeks before opening, there seems like far too much left to do.

As a result, the cloths become less ambitious – my design for this one had weary mariners enjoying the hospitality of the inn behind all that stuff in the window.  As time ticked away, I cut out everything other than the beer barrels and Cedric the parrot.

Someone once said that painting is a process of accepting a series of small defeats – this is doubly true for scenery painting!

Beer Advent Calendars

If, like me, you’ve looked at these Beery Advent Calendars from time to time but never been entirely sure about the idea, there are a couple of places where you can see a day by day report of this year’s calendar contents.

The Beer Hawk Advent Calendar;


Ale Be Seeing You

Home Brew Forum Thread

The Honest Brew Advent Calendar;

Hop Pilot

Not as good as enjoying your own, but it’s been interesting to see what’s included.

Panto Season

It’s time, once again, for put upon scenic artists to gather their Caran d’Ache Blackwoods (excellent for marking cloths) and realise with horror the short time they have to put together five full sets of scenery.

This year, the production is Dick Whittington, and the cloth above is the first to be finished this year, a doorway which will be opposite Fitzwarren’s Store in Act 1 Scene 1.

Just nine more of these, and five backcloths to go.

Cumberland Primex


Cumberland Primex Pencils

I don’t know much about these pencils at all – they belonged to an art teacher, who had evidently bought them in bulk.

They’re a nice size, (10mm or so across the flats) similar to the Rowney Black Beauty, which is one of my favourite art pencils.  They come in the four colours depicted, red, blue, green and yellow, but all have the same “No. 227” imprint, suggesting that only the colour is different.

The short points seem to be the factory point (the red and green pencils are the only ones out of the whole batch with that useful long point).


Cumberland Primex – Imprint Close Up

The imprint reads “perma bonded lead PRIMEX by Cumberland England No. 227”.

I can’t find any information about them from any of the usual sources, however.

Derwent in the Wild


A Derwent Graphic Pencil, on BBC’s “Countryfile”.

Another Derwent Graphic, this time being used in a Dog IQ Test, on 5th June’s “Countryfile” programme, from the BBC.

The Graphic is a familiar pencil in the UK (perhaps not as familiar as the Staedtler Noris) – I remember doing my Art O-level with a mixed grade set of Graphics.

Calligraphy Animals

Another use for all those chisel sharpened carpenter pencils, at last…

Calligraphy Animals, by Andrew Fox (from Colossal).

Pentel Brush Pen on Rob’s Art Supply Reviews

snooty fox

A snooty fox, drawn with the Pentel Pocket Brush.

I was pleased to see one of my favourites reviewed recently on the Rob’s Art Supply Reviews blog.

The Pentel Pocket Brush is inexpensive, and a lot of fun, although I am far from mastering it, as the example above of my work shows.  What I like about the linked review are the tips at the end – if you’ve ever thought of trying a brush pen, there’s plenty of useful hints there.

Noris in the Wild – Cycling Edition

As featured on Sportful’s Instagram feed. This particular Noris (which looks like the Triangular version) is pictured alongside the design for 2015/16 World Road Race champion Peter Sagan’s champion’s jersey.

Tools for Learning


Since being introduced to them by Sola, of Pencils and Other Things, I’ve developed a real fondness for red/blue bicolor pencils. I’ve been using the Mitsubishi 2667, which she kindly sent me, for most of the last fortnight to mark my notes.

Pictured is a new acquisition, from Fred Aldous, the Caran d’Ache “Bicolor”, and an old favourite, the neon Wopex.  They’ll be my companions as I brush up on my Pl/Sql today.

A Blue Sunbeam

General's Cedar Pointe, Eagle Sunbeam, Dux Sharpener

General’s Cedar Pointe, Eagle Sunbeam, Dux Sharpener

A General’s Cedar Pointe (sharpened with a Kum long point) and an Eagle Sunbeam (sharpened with the Dux pictured below).  The Dux sharpens quite unusually, removing the wood around the core to the same degree as a “normal” sharpener, but pointing the graphite like a long point.

General's Cedar Pointe, Eagle Sunbeam, Dux Sharpener

General’s Cedar Pointe, Eagle Sunbeam, Dux Sharpener

A detail shot of the points.
I’ve not written with the Sunbeam yet, so can’t comment too much on it – it’s interesting that this blue, eraserless pencil has the same name as the jauntily yellow Sunbeam school pencil Sola looks at in this post.