The Greater Spiked Snow Slug

It’s a rare thing in the UK that we get a whole bunch of snow.  I awoke last Friday to freezing cold and blinding white – indicating the arrival of that scarce and precious day ‘Snow Day’.  Some rejoiced as they were given a day off their usual commitments, as others found it a hideous nuisance – seemingly everything packs up for a day.

I tried to be sensible;  I tried to ignore The Call Of The Snow but its wintery sculptural qualities wistfully reminded me of my favourite holiday of the year – Halloween.  Trussed up and ready for snow-fun, I burst into the garden to gauge my canvas.  I was going to make the best snow jack-o-lantern ever!

Quite soon I came across my first difficulty – my hands were very numb very quickly and without an appropriate amount of dexterity, my sculpture would never realise its full potential.  Cue moment of **absolute blinding genius**.  For those snow sculptors amongst you, please feel free to use and share this idea for prolonged snow-playing.  First, apply the glove (must be fairly thin).  Then apply a larger washing up glove.  Hey presto – warm dry hands!  The gloves tend to have raised bits on the palm side for better grip – I found this was great for getting a good smooth finish to my snow.  Bonus!

How To Make A Greater Spiked Snow SlugSetting back to work, my hollow pumpkin shape kept collapsing into itself.  I decided it was a bit optimistic to expect a hollow ball to be successful.  Turning to my favourite snow guru for inspiration, I wondered – ‘What would Calvin do?’.  If you’re not already a fan of the comic ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ by Bill Watterson, I suggest you check it out!  Calvin is a 6-year-old boy, who in some skits, shows an interesting take on snow creations.  Feeling inspired I created a large round ball and sculpted a squinting face with a gaping mouth.  I later stuck in a tongue for extra effect.

It didn’t seem enough so I stuck a tail on the end.  It was a fairly short tail but I did worry that it was starting to look a little too sperm-like.  Other opinions told me that it looked more like a ‘Boo’ from Super Mario so I figured I could get away with it if I wanted.  In the end, I decided it would look better with spikes down its back.

Snow creations are better with accessories so I washed off some stones and dug them into the mouth for teeth.  I broke off some dead twigs from a nearby tree and gave my critter some arms.  To give my artwork a setting, I cleared out the snow behind him so it looked like he’d slithered his way along.  This did mean that I had to put down more snow in front of him, having used all the neighbouring snow on his body mass.  If you’d like to make your own Snow Slug, I have included illustrated instructions!

After lots of hard work, I am proud to present my Greater Spiked Snow Slug:

Snow creature creation I sculpted inspired by Bill Watterson character, Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes

Bristol Community Plant Collection

For all you that read ‘Zooray‘ and thought it was just a jolly, think again!  The wonderful people at Bristol Zoo Gardens wanted me to create some imagery to go towards their exciting new project – Bristol Community Plant Collection – creating a national plant collection of calendula (marigolds to you and me) with the contribution of several groups within the local community.


The groups involved were from a varied demographic so had to work with imagery that would be very inclusive.  The type of figures I used for the Midsummer Skinny Dip logo would suit something like this.


Find below the body of work produced for this; including imagery of calendula, a banner for the project and a stamp design.  I must admit, I particularly enjoyed drawing all the little characters for the banner!


image for bristol zoo gardens, figures carrying flowers





marigolds (calendula) image produced for Bristol Community Plant Collection project





stamp design for the Bristol Community Plant Collection project


I hope you appreciate my mashing of ‘zoo’ and ‘hooray’ together for the title of this here entry – I felt it summed up the entry well as  I was able to spend the afternoon at the wonderful Bristol Zoo Gardens last week; like a kid in a candy store, stuffing my sketchbook with visual goodies.  Unleashed into the zoo I didn’t know where to start first!  A couple twists and turns found me some birds, the only one that sat still enough for me to vaguely capture it was a special magpie thing that I forget the name of…

azure-winged magpie

pencil sketch of black cheeked lovebird













I think it was an Azure-winged Magpie, at least that’s what oh-mighty-google informs me it might be.  There was also a  delightful collection of black cheeked lovebirds too.

Daffodils are always good fun to draw with their wiggly trumpets –

pencil sketch daffodils and lavender













I found feeding-time at the meerkat enclosure.  There were little babies scuffling around, they were so cute!  I bet they’d look cuter in my pocket…  As it was feeding time and they were twitching scampering meerkats, my sketches of them didn’t turn out so hot.


meerkat pencil sketch











Apes and monkeys seemed better at holding still for a wee bit longer –

pencil sketch gorilla







pencil sketch of a howler monkey

pencil sketch of howler monkey staring out a window











pencil sketch of ring tailed lemur












I had a go at some mark-making with the different types of trees I could see, as well as playing with blending, getting the right colour, for the tulip tree flower I drew.  Some other plants featured too:



collection of trees at Bristol Zoo Gardens

various flowers at Bristol Zoo Gardens














As the zoo was emptying out and the zoo was within minutes of closing, I couldn’t not get some lion action!  Although considering the image I got, I don’t think action was much on his mind…



pencil sketch of lion sleeping in the sun at Bristol Zoo Gardens