The illustration of Caroline Parkinson

Illustration, caricatures, sketches, and comics

August 27, 2016
by Caroline

The end of the Pedders Way

The end of the Pedder’s Way, the start of the Norfolk Coast path and my first glimpse of the sea after about 50 miles of walking. The landscape format of the sketchbook is great for capturing those big Norfolk skies. A really nice easy day of walking and sketching. I was too exhausted to do anything for the first two evenings.



August 26, 2016
by Caroline

I’m baaack!

I’ve had a busy month… bought a house (I have a studio for the first time ever!), walked 100 miles and attended the urban sketchers conference in Manchester . So I’ve got a folder full or drawings to share. Let’s see if I can update every day for two weeks one week, who am I kidding…we’ll see how it goes

The first picture is a farewell sketch to my old house. These fields are on my running route and I’ve been meaning to draw them for a long time. Even though the sunlight was hazy, the shadows under the oak trees were very dark. Tried to get this across in my drawing.


June 29, 2016
by Caroline

Sagrada Familia

sagfams sagfamtops

A couple of sketches of the Sagrada Familia which I drew on a work trip. The second picture was a fragment I drew on the first day, overwhelmed  and looking for a different angle on a very famous and familiar building. The first picture was an attempt to convey the size and detail of the building- I think that it worked a lot better. The sky is painted in synthetic ultramarine, the traditional colour of Mary’s robe, a detail that the very Catholic Gaudi would probably appreciate.


June 15, 2016
by Caroline

Making a comic page: The Emperor’s Exorcists

I’m in Barcelona this week, so have a process post!

Here’s how I make a comic page.

I don’t script pages formally. I use storyboards and thumbnails instead.  I write a basic outline and notes on theme. Here’s  what I wrote for these first two pages:

Chapter One: The Exorcism .

  1. Establishing shot of temple.(it’s in Japan…a historical setting…traditional Heian spring)

I thumbnail the entire chapter- working out how many panels go into each page, compositions, and layout. I may make some changes if I decide the pacing’s not right.

The maximum amount of panels I use on one page is 5.  I read an interview with Fiona Staples about her work on Saga, and she has a theory that keeping pages as simple as possible makes comics more accessible for readers. What a great idea! More room for art!

You can see a sample from the first chapter below:










I break each thumbnail down into A5 sized pages in a sketchbook, add more detail, and add text on the computer, because my writing is hideously messy.

This lets me read the whole chapter through and see if it works.It also means I don’t spend hours putting details into part of the panel that will be covered by speech bubbles.  At this stage, I’ll send it to my beta reader, who checks it to see if it makes sense to people who don’t regularly read comics, and/or a whole load of Heian era history.








I draw the pages out in pencil first and then use a lightbox for inking on the reverse side of the paper with a Pentel brush pen. This keeps the line quality nice and fluid and stops me from adding too much detail. I use cheap A3 printer paper so I can use as much of it as I like without worrying about cost. Drawing on the reverse side of the paper means that any mistakes are easier to spot and I don’t have to worry about erasing pencil lines from finished artwork.  Sometimes pages just work, other times it’s like pulling teeth, and I have to redraw a page or a panel five or six times.


Below are the finished pages, coloured in Photoshop. The restricted colour scheme is borrowed from The Hokusai Manga– light brown, dark brown, beige and pink. It’s pretty versatile, and there’s no way I could manage to keep a regular update schedule if I was using full colour.


This is obviously not the only way to make a webcomic!  Below are some links to other webcomics which inspire me.

Kill Six Billion DemonsThe Phoenix RequiemHark! A Vgrant

Suihira, City of WaterPhobos and DeimosDelilah Dirk



June 8, 2016
by Caroline

Kenilworth Castle bank holiday weekend

hawkingscastles  kenilhorsess queenbesss warwicks

Sketch dump from Kenilworth Castle bank holiday weekend. The weather wasn’t great, so spent most of the morning nursing a cup of coffee or freezing. Thankfully the weather picked up later. There was an Elizabethan event, so lots of people in costume, including Robert Dudley (on horse with large hat),  Queen Elizabeth (on horse in ruff) and a falconry display (first picture)