This is the digital painting that gained me a 2nd Prize in the 2017 Betley Show. It’s called Jungle Island and it’s based on a work called ‘Island of Hidden Animals’ by visionary artist John Mason. I copied the broad scheme of his painting and added details of my own.

I created the picture using a stylus and my Wacom tablet connected by USB cable to my laptop. I used the PhotoShop-like software Affinity Photo to do free-hand painting of the central theme – sea, mountains and jungle forest – and cut flowers and animals and birds from tropical jungle photos which I found on the internet to create a huge number of layers which I placed strategically in the picture.

I free-hand painted over the photos of 13 of the 16 animals and birds you could find in the picture. I painted on a huge virtual canvas, the equivalent of about 4′ x 3′, so that I could achieve the fine detail I needed.

I had no idea how good the painting would be judged by an experienced artist, so I entered a framed picture of it in the Adult Art section at the Betley Show in August 2017. I was delighted to be awarded a 2nd Prize. I was even delighted not to win a 1st Prize so that I had something to judge my picture against – otherwise I still wouldn’t have known how good it was!

It had taken me 6 weeks of pretty much full-time work to make the painting, much of which involved learning how to do it. I doubt that I’ll be doing another one any time soon, unless another window of opportunity of so many weeks comes along!