GILL SANS & GOUACHE November 30 2015

While the wild wind and rain is hammering down outside on the windows of my studio, I’m busy working on a new collection of my ‘Vintage Railway’ paintings. As I’m drawing and painting a lot of Gill Sans type and working my way through many tubes of gouache paint, I thought I’d share a few related behind-the-scenes facts in my blog this month.

I use the Gill Sans typeface, which I draw out and paint by hand in Spectrum Red gouache on all my ‘Vintage Railway’ paintings. Gill Sans was designed in 1927 by Sussex- based sculptor, wood engraver, type-designer and letter-cutter Eric Gill. Gill took inspiration from Edward Johnston’s ‘Johnston’ alphabet designed for the London Underground - it was his aim to design a font for use on posters and advertisements that was clean, modern and traditional at the same time. Following its release, Gill Sans was an immediate success and it went on to be selected by British Railways for use on all its posters, timetables and publicity materials. It’s for this reason that Gill Sans was a natural, authentic choice for use on my own ‘Vintage Railway’ paintings. (For those that are interested, a selection of Eric Gill’s works are on display at the wonderful Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft).

I paint all of my original artwork on to stretched cartridge paper using Winsor & Newton gouache paint. Goauche is an opaque watercolour paint that dries smoothly and produces brilliant colour. Gouache has been available since 1935 and has been traditionally used by designers, illustrators and commercial artists to create artwork for reproduction into print - including many of the original railway posters of the 20th century. Due to the combination of high levels of pigment and gum arabic binding agent, gouache dries to a fantastic matt finish - which minimizes levels of reflection when photographing or scanning artwork for print. I scan my finished artwork myself and I’m constantly amazed at how accurately the gouache retains its brilliant colour when reproduced into digital print formats.

…and so it’s back to the drawing board. I’m happy to say my seven new ‘Vintage Railway’ paintings will be available to buy as signed prints and greeting cards in Spring 2016 (from

Lastly, with Christmas approaching fast, I’m delighted that my ‘Pudding & Pies’ signed art print has been featured in the current Guardian Christmas Gift Guide:

That’s all for now until my Christmas blog in December.

Thank you for reading.