ILLUSTRATOR IN ACTION Hunterian Museum Glasgow


This week we can read about myself & our fabulous Tita Berredo hosting a Sketch&Crawl for 19 people at the Hunterian Museum Glasgow - a free in-person event, on 21st May 2023. Tita is the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and the Art Director of Words & Pictures. She has a Master's degree in Children's Literature and Illustration from Goldsmiths UOL and a background in marketing and publicity. She has amazing insight when it comes to illustration as we can see by some of her tips!


We met at the entrance and waited 15 minutes before we went inside. Tita introduced herself and spoke briefly of her experience being an illustrator and how being part of SCBWI & AOI helped her find a place in the illustrator’s community and that she felt more protected as a professional. There was a bit of a chat about imposter syndrome because the first few attendees did not feel very confident about ticking the statement "I am an Illustrator" when registering. Tita and I did our best to make everyone welcome and confident in their passions instead of titles and professional level.


Free sketch warm-up — We had 15 minutes of sketching the front room, which has a variety of Roman runes, inscriptions, tools, weapons, and small objects. There was also a selection of preserved mammals, organs, and medical tools. So, a wide range of visual references that people could choose from.

The focus of the warm-up sketch

Drawing from Observation — Displayed in the main hall there is a massive skeleton fossil of a Plesiosaur - a prehistoric marine reptile that many people believe to have inspired Nessie. Tita gathered everyone around the beast in a circle and gave 20 minutes for them to draw it from observation. Because the next step would require showing some depth in this sketch, She used three different shades of grey Tombow brush pen to quickly demonstrate how to create depth through shading.

Most people were very confident and comfortable with this exercise - having reference always helps. There were a few people who felt like they needed some help with making their drawings more accurate to what they were seeing. Tita advised them to try and focus on smaller sections of the skeleton at a time, which helped them almost instantaneously. This happens because most of the time it comes down to overcoming the overwhelming feeling of drawing outside of their comfort zone, instead of having any skill issues.

Tita and I made sure to walk around checking if anyone needed any assistance. It's quite surprising how many people are keen to ask for help and tips, and it's rewarding to see how grateful they are that we simply ask. This time, Tita mostly gave tips on timekeeping, step management, decision-making, and perspective, and I gave tips on who to look to for inspiration when it came to certain styles and prompts.

Drawing from observation task

Drawing from imagination —  After finishing the plesiosaur sketch, We distributed tracing paper sheets around and gave a new task: place it on top of their sketched skeleton and draw from imagination the top layer of the beast. Tita gave them the freedom to try realistic skin with scientifically accurate texture, as much as a completely creative look using lively colours, giving it feathers, horns, fur, and even fire. There were many interesting results like a steampunk plesiosaur, a couple of Pokemon, and even a fully tattooed plesiosaur. Tita also gave this exercise about 20 minutes, but people were so excited about creating their own versions of plesiosaurs that we both went around and handed more tracing paper and added an extra 20 minutes.

For those who felt like they finished early, Tita gave out little private challenges and personalised illustration prompts. For example, a comic illustrator, was given the challenge of a frame composition that showed the plesiosaur in a more dynamic pose, as if it were attacking a character. Another person wanted to improve their sketching skills with people's faces, so Tita asked me to sit in front of them and gave them three different variations of quick sketching style based on time - one with just a silhouette, one with just a few features, and one that added character.

Tita gave each artist their own personal challenge

Compose a Scene— The last exercise combined reference and imagination within a composition. By choosing any three pieces on display, they had to create an illustration - a drawing composition that told a story. Since there was a variety of fossils, minerals, and man-made tools Tita suggested that they pick one of each for their composition. A couple of people did not feel confident enough to create a scene, so they were advised to try and combine the three elements in one instead - like incorporating coral-textured daggers into a warthog's tusk. 

This last activity organically ran until the end of the event. Tita then warned people that time was over but that they were most welcome to stay and finish their drawings in their own time. Everyone decided to stay longer, with the last leaving half an hour later. As people slowly decided to leave, they came to thank us for the event. I felt really grateful to be part of Tita’s Event and look forward to co-hosting the next one.

Tita’s Top Tips:

  1. The way that you draw usually reflects your drawing routine; Instead of focusing on one area of the illustration, try to map things out more, then you can layer & detail. This means you can continue to illustrate without a reference.

  2. Instead of starting off with lines we can do shading, concentrating on the folds of the object (in this case imagining what the skin of the Plesiosaur may have looked like on top of the skeleton. Do this quickly i.e. 10 seconds. This helps you map things out quickly and loosely. 

See Tita's useful tips above to help with observational drawing

*Header image & photos: in-house collaboration by Ell Rose & Tita Berredo;

If you have an illustration video that you would like to see featured here please let us know! Contact Illustration Features Editor Ell Rose at


Ell Rose
 is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures. Find their work at Follow them on Instagram and Twitter. Contact them at 


Tita Berredo is the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and the Art Director of Words & Pictures. She has a Master's degree in Children's Literature and Illustration from Goldsmiths UOL and a background in marketing and publicity.   

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