Ink and style

I lucky enough to stumble across an original ink drawing in an antique shop recently. The image was in a tatty old frame with no artist listed on the work(image below). On closer inspection, I could just make out the faint remains of the pencil sketch work in places and see the ink nib marks, it had all of the hall marks of an image in the created around the same time and a using similar techniques to that of Sir John Tenniel (19820 – 1914).

So $50 and some research later, I found out the artist was Frank Reyonlds, (1876 – 1953) and the etching created from this drawing appeared in the January 1920 edition of Punch magazine.

Reynolds Frank Slightly Deaf FootmanThe slightly deaf footman (Reynolds, 1920)


I love this style of illustration and the work of Reynolds more famous contemporaries, such as E.H. Shepard (1879 – 1976)

Shepard drawn from life

Drawn from life (Shepard, 1962)

And Sir John Tenniel (1820 – 1914)

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 10.18.06 am

John Tenniel  – self-portrait.

The discovery of Reynolds illustration reminded me of a number of images that I have created using a similar style of line work in recent years. Inspired I set about creating a range of new images both for the pure pleasure of using such a rich illustration style and also to understand the style more deeply.

Here are some of the results;


Legends concept sample 1Miffy the Samurai (ink, watercolour and pencil on paper), 2019

Legends concept sample 5Shinobi Pug (ink, watercolour and pencil on paper), 2019


Legends concept sample 4bCooking with an octopus (ink, watercolour and pencil on paper), 2019

Just in case your interested and have managed to read this far, here is the print version (as appeared in Punch, Jan 1920) of the illustration that I purchased.


See if you can spot the differences between the original drawing and the finished work.


Reynolds, F. (1920). Slightly Deaf Footman (pp. Ink drawing). London, UK: Punch magazine.

Shepard, E. H. (1962). Drawn from life. Michigan, USA: Dutton.

Little Pig Dress Up

With Book Week almost here, 21st to 26th of August, kids around Australia are starting to gear up for the all-important ‘come to school dressed as your favorite book character”’ day. My niece Eleanor has asked her mum help her make a Little Pig costume this year. So this is for you Eleanor I hope that it helps. I would love to see a photo of you all Ninjaed up. Little Pig dress up smf

If anybody else wants to try and dress up as Little Pig or one of the other Ninjas from my books, Samurai vs Ninja. I would love it if you could post your photos here as well.