Lyme Art Society learns how stamps are created

Nick Watton with some of his stamp designs. Picture: SUBMITTED

Nick Watton with some of his stamp designs. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

Exmouth artist Nick Watton shows how he works from sketches through to the final design

Lyme Regis Art Society started 2018 with a fascinating insight into the world of stamp design.

Nick Watton, from Exmouth, brought along a wide variety of work showing his stamp designs from first sketches through to final image.

He has been lucky- and talented enough - to be able to work as a professional artist since he left art college.

He first started as a commercial artist which involved airbrushing colour on his designs which he did not really enjoy , being a traditional watercolourist at heart.

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Now, working to a given topic, Nick has been designing stamps for the Channel Islands for several years, although legally unable to retain the copyrights of the images for security reasons. When designing stamps, he draws the image onto stretched acrylic paper, using a coloured pencil, never graphite lead as this shows through even oil paint, and submits it to the Philatelic Bureau for approval. It also has to have the approval of The Palace as stamps include the Queen’s head.

This sketch is covered with acrylic gesso before paint is applied and then Nick submits the coloured image, painting the background with acrylics before switching to oils for details, using watercolour brushes with fine points and working with Windsor and Newton paints.

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He showed members a wide range of his stamps including ones based on World War 2, the Lighthouses on Alderney, Kipling’s Just So Stories, Brunel, and The Titanic, and had stories about each of them.

After tea, Nick sat down to continue a painting of Merlin, part of “The Once and Future King” series.

It was fascinating to watch him using different tones of the paint to build up the structure of the face. He painted in one of the eyes early as he feels it is the eyes that set the balance of the picture and certainly Merlin’s vivid blue gaze created an immense feeling of his power.

The Society meets on alternate Tuesdays in The Woodmead Halls from 2pm to 4pm.until the end of March. The next demonstration, “What is a Collograph?” by Jackie Curtiss, will be on Tuesday January 23. Visitors and new members are always welcome. For further details, contact Sheila Stratton on 01297 445464 or go to

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