A Dodo in Shrewsbury

Painting Process

I am taking you to the backstage of my painting of “A Dodo in Shrewsbury”; a fantastic initiative of Shrewsbury BID, who has commissioned local artists – I am one of them – to paint BT & Openreach boxes to brighten up the town. The topic is animals, to link with Charles Darwin, who was born and bred in Shrewsbury.

I was allocated a box just outside the Wakeman College -Shrewsbury College English Bridge campus – next to the entrance to the Abbey Gardens by the English Bridge. Trying to relate to Darwin and the area, my inspiration came from retro science books. Derek the Dodo represents extinction, an essential part of evolution, which connects with Shrewsbury’s Charles Darwin and the academic world.

After sending sketches and getting them approved, it was just the matter of having some days of dry weather to be able to work. The project took me three days to complete, plus quick visits some days later, to varnish it.

DAY 1:

Preparing the box: This part is the dirtiest, but very important to be able to achieve a good finish and the best end result. The box was in a good nick, but cleaning took longer that I expected, as some of the old stickers on the box had left a sticky glue which was reluctant to go!

Once it was done, I sanded it with a fine sandpaper and then, after a quick clean and dry, I applied the primer and went for lunch, to give it time to dry.

After lunch I drew my little dodo friend and started with the first coat of the background.

I have to say that I was absolutely touched by the kindness of the passers-by who have been commenting on the painting and encouraging me. I was even offered a cup of tea by a neighbour!

DAY 2:

In the morning of this new day, I managed to give a second coat to the background and it seemed to be taking shape. I started painting the dodo and build up the colours on it.

One of the passer-by was a Shropshire Star photographer who took some pictures of the dodo and I. This pics ended up in the newspaper the next day!


I was again touched by everybody stopping to say hello, and I also got a delicious cake from the sweetest couple. A light rain, which wasn’t predicted in the forecast, surprised me; so I ended the afternoon early. I left looking forward to the next sunny day!

DAY 3:

Today I focussed on the details. In the morning I gave another coat to everything and after lunch I returned to work on the lights, shadows and the nature around the dodo. Once again, I was thrilled by the kindness of passers-by: Salopians and tourists who stopped to chat. What a lovely place Shrewsbury is!!!

The weather was glorious, so I could stay late – giving it a push to finish the painting.

It has been an amazing experience!

I came back the following week to varnish, but it only took me a few minutes. Thank you Shrewsbury BID, BT Openreach and all of you for all the kind words.

I know that dodos are extinct, but do you know what? There is now one in Shrewsbury! If you happen to walk past the Abbey Gardens, please say hello to Derek the Dodo. And if you feel like it, take a selfie with him and post it on instagram, tagging me @giselarobinsonart with the hashtag #adodoinshrewsbury . Look forward to seeing your pictures!!!


Illustrating a Short Story

 I will braid my sadness:  A Short Story of Paola Klug

I have been working in an Illustration of a short story of Paola Klug, a fantastic Mexican writer and poet.  “Trenzaré mi Tristeza” (I will braid my sadness) is a story about women, tradition, family, customs and – over all – love.  The kind of maternal love from a grandma, completely incondicional.  As soon as I read the story I fell in love with every word and it inspired me right away.

I worked in a double page, having the story in the odd page, most of the main illustration in the even page, but passing into the odd page and framing the story.

2018-10-22 AF Trenzaré mi Tristeza 72 - Maquetada

The illustration is painted with watercolours in a neutral colour, adding a tiny touch of bright red in specific places to add temperature and bring it to life.

2018-10-22 AF Trenzaré mi Tristeza - only Portrait72

I believe that it complements the story nicely with an air of melancholy and sweetness.  What do you think?

2018 Trenzaré mi tristeza en escritorio

What I love about Paola is the simplicity and warmth of her words. If you read her – I promise – it will touch your soul.  Gracias Paola for transporting me to my childhood and the stories of my own grandmother, and for filling me with inspiration.

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If you feel like reading more stories of Paola or purchasing her latest book, see below her social media links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PincheCanela
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/paolaklug/
Blog: https://paolak.wordpress.com/

Monochromatic`s Beauty


Ink is a classic which has been on for a long time and it is still used in modern work nowadays. Here goes some ink work I have been working on recently.  I have used stylographic pen, dip pen and brush to get different textures and create a particular atmosphere.  For me, ink has a nostalgic feeling.   So I have mixed some retro subjects of movies and actors together with a more modern line work.  Hope you enjoy it.

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Ink – Line work

Ink – Rendering and Solid Ink

Ink – Rendering


Halloween Card

From Someone Special

I have received a card from a friend of mine, who is a bit shy but particularly enjoys this time of the year.  I would like to share it with you.   Have a scary and good fun Halloween!!!

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Another week in the Illustration Challenge.  This week is a catch up with the “Collector” theme.  I am so looking forward to the summer and a walk in the beach at sunset to collect the precious souvenirs of the sea.Collection_150 dpi


A new week, a new challenge for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge


This week the theme was MIRROR.  What a better mirror in life than looking at our own parents or our own children.  I would like to share my submission of this week, inspired in my childhood, my fantastic parents and my own children.

Have a nice week.


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Portrails on The Wall

Step by Step


Exercise 6 - Geometric Faces MAIN

As part of my work for the  course of Illustrating Children´s Books in London Art College, I had to do an exercise on geometric faces using different medias.  Here is the step by step process to arrive to my final work.

The objetive of this exercise was to explore geometric shapes to make faces.  So I started as usual, working on my sketch book.

I draw different shapes and tried to adapt them to faces – sometimes with a good result and others not so lucky…

geometric faces sketches


After rejecting some (the majority) and choosing the ones I liked, I was left with six faces I was happy with.  Then I refined the drawing in white paper and started painting them.

DSC_3896 with cp 72 dpi


As the exercise was to explore, in shape and techniques, I worked with different medias, and try the same portrait with different media until I chose the one that adapted better to the age / time and mood of my portrait.

DSC_3892 with cr 72 dpi_edited-1


Once all this was done, and I had chosen the six portraits I was going to present, I started to think on how to present this project.  I had the idea of a wall with portraits.  So started working with the frames for my portraits.

DSC_3904 edited with copyright 72 dpi_edited-1


I have to admit loved this project and I went into a lot of detail. I wanted the wall to look like an old house, with wallpapers where my family portraits would be displayed.  That´s how I started working on designing a wallpaper to go with my ideal wall.

DSC_3900 edited-2 with cr 72 dpi_edited-1


With all my work done by hand, I moved now to photoshop to assemble all together.  With a repetition pattern I made my wallpaper.  Explored for different colours and chose an egg duck which would be neutral enough.  After that I accommodated each picture inside their frame and

voilà!  My “Portraits on the Wall” project finished.


Exercise 6 - Geometric Faces

I hope you enjoyed this project and hopefully it has inspired you to do some artwork today. See you soon.

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