Monthly Archives: April 2014

Association of Animal Artists Annual Competition Winner !

Mick Burton.  PANTHER (continuous line drawing).

I joined the Association of Animal Artists in November 2013 and have entered two of their exhibitions so far – at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire from December to February, which was for British animals and birds, and now their Annual Exhibition at Castle Park Arts Centre in Frodsham, Cheshire which runs from 11 April to 18 May 2014, for world wide species.

Julie Cross, the AAA Secretary and Exhibitions Co-ordinator has just informed me that my ‘Panther’ drawing has been awarded winner of the ‘Creative Creatures’ category in the annual competition.  She said that the judge, Andrew Beckett, liked all my work, particularly ‘Mayer’ the lion, but plumped for ‘Panther’ because of the apparent simplicity and pared-down nature of the image.

Joan and myself are delighted with the news.  Also my daughter Kate Burton, who is a professional artist and short film maker, has said that the ‘Panther’ is her favourite of my pictures. 

Here is ‘Mayer’ the Lion which I coloured in reds and browns 18 months ago, plus the poster for the current exhibition.

Lion in Continuous Line and Colour Sequence.  Mick Burton, 2012

Lion in Continuous Line and Colour Sequence. Mick Burton, 2012

AAA annual exhib Apr to May 2014.

Animals in My Art – How I Started.

My first Animal drawn with a continuous line was the Horse, which was based upon a painting by George Stubbs, where a horse is savaged by a lion. I used the general image of the horse, but with a calm and flowing style (rather than it appearing to be scared witless).003. 1966-5. Horse. Cont line.The Cat was drawn quickly, in about 15 minutes, without reference to any picture. My main memories of cats in my childhood were at my Dad’s work, a market garden in Ripon where he was the foreman. There were always several cats around, which were kept to control the mice and rats in the gardens. Dad called every one “Tib”. The downside was the periodic drowning of kittens to keep the numbers in check. I particularly liked one cat which always appeared to have been in a fight, and so I drew a dislocated tail on my cat. This sort of tail became a trademark in some later animals.
Cat, continuous line.

Following our April Fools Day party on 1 April 1966 (the day after the General Election) when I did my Harold Wilson continuous line, our next venture was a Pink Elephant party.  So I was asked to do another picture.  This elephant was based upon a drawing in a book of animals.  I added a dislocated tail and appropriate colour.012. 1967-3. Pink Elephant. Alternate shading.People said that the flowing lines on the Horse and the Elephant gave an appearance of elegance, whereas some animals were a bit more aggressive.  So I decided that I would draw a Lion in a seated position, with the lower part of its body at ease and relaxed, but with the head suddenly giving out a great roar.  The roar was based upon the opening sequence of Metro Goldwyn Mayer films, where the lion roars through a gap in the logo.

I have a strong memory of sitting with a blank piece of paper in front of me and thinking that I had done the Horse, Cat and Elephant and they had all turned out well.  I had not yet failed to create a picture better than I had anticipated.  Would the Lion work out ?  You just have to start and see what happens.             015. 1967-8. Lion, or Mayer. Cont line.

On the Internet, a couple of years ago, I saw a feature which allowed you to put your own face in the Metro Goldwyn Mayer logo.  Of course I chose to put my Lion’s head in there. Their Lion was called Leo, but I prefer Mayer.pixiz_4f02e0881fb14[1]








My sort of Continuous Line Drawing

Welcome to my Website and Blog.

My style has generated all sorts of reactions, often surprise and delight, and there have been many questions as to how I do my pictures.

There are many definitions of Continuous Line Drawing, and I will look at several of these in future blogs, but I will start with my own basic style.  I developed this style between 1965 and 1974 and then had a break for nearly 40 years.

Here is a sketch I did in 2012 when first attending Stainbeck Arts Club in Leeds.  It was one of several 10 minute sketches that we did, taking it in turn to be the “model”.  This sitter, Barrie, did all the composition for me and I was fortunate with the viewpoint.  I did very little shading and no shadow, but was not considering a continuous line follow up at the time. 

Stainbeck Artist. One of several 10 minute sketches from one afternoon. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist. One of several 10 minute sketches from one afternoon. Mick Burton, 2012.

At home later, Joan particularly liked this sketch out of the several I had done. She suggested that I do a Continuous Line of it as she had not seen a new one since we had met. In fact I had not done a Continuous line portrait of a person since 1966 when I drew Harold Wilson.

So, on a copy of the sketch, I have penned in Red the marks which I used as a start point for developing the key features and overall structure.

Marks for single line on Artist sketch.

Then the key identifying features were done with groups of continuous lines.

Connecting up the initial feature areas was by using lines matching the structure and texture of the subject where possible. Some changes had to be made to make it work.

A general “tuning up” completed the whole Continuous Line Drawing effect.

Stainbeck Artist, a Continuous Line Drawing from a 10 minute sketch. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist, a Continuous Line Drawing from a 10 minute sketch. Mick Burton, 2012.

I have always enjoyed the final stage, which includes the flowing decorative effect of the line, which has entranced me since I first saw Art Nouveau pictures when I was 9 years old.

I also show the picture after I have applied colours. My style of colours will be explained later, but this picture helps to demonstrate why I prefer to do a complete continuous line rather than starting at one place and finishing at another. The colours only work naturally if there is a complete continuous line where each crossing of lines is a clear junction.

Stainbeck Artist in continuous line and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist, single continuous line drawing and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2012.

This is my basic style. I have many related styles which have grown out of this, mostly related to my observations of how nature operates.

I hope that you found this first post to be useful and are looking forward to more from me.  Any comments, observations, questions or requests will be very welcome.