Sketchbooks in Sussex: The Art of Brett Hudson

Artist Brett Hudson is based in Sussex, England, but his art has wowed people from all over the globe. From darling portraits of animals to colorful, dreamy landscapes, his paintings are a wonderful escape from the everyday and bring a slice of joy to any space they’re in. Find out more about Brett Hudson and his craft!

Surround Yourself: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Brett Hudson: I am 44 years old with a gorgeous wife who is a primary school headteacher. We have two wonderful girls, age 4 and 6. I live in a pretty village in Sussex with a duck pond. I enjoy gardening and trying to keep fit. With my family, I love to go for walks and eat out at cafés (probably a bit too often!).

 Tufnells by Brett Hudson


SY: You’ve created everything from greetings cards to medical magazine illustrations to pet portraits. What has creating such a wide variety of things taught you about your craft?
BH: As a young lad I was always drawing – I realised much later that this is the crux to it all. Back then, I mainly copied pictures from my favourite comic, 2000AD. I learned how to use a dip pen to add a style to my work. At secondary school I was taught to paint and mix colours, using two and three paints to begin with and then broadening the colour range as I grew more confident.

I trained to be an illustrator and this has given me a view of how to create a composition by bringing together found images. I have always loved animals and so it has been a natural progression to paint dogs and cows. I have arrived at my current style by trying lots of different techniques and media, however I am open to anything and everything, but essentially my drawing has to be right.


Brett Hudson

SY: What advice would you give budding artists or people looking to feed their creative side?

BH: I have always loved watching people and viewing architecture. To start with, I’d imitate the art you like. Try and work out which part you are drawn to. Is it the colour, texture, composition? Eventually your own style will evolve as you grow more confident and enjoy the process.

Keep lots of sketchbooks and don’t feel precious about everything inside looking perfect as it’s a place to make mistakes in order to learn. I remember struggling to draw hands for my illustration work so I made a point of practising over and over again and then it feels like magic when you work towards a finished painting and it all comes together!

 Blue Ocean Currents by Brett Hudson

SY: Are there particular subjects you especially enjoy painting?
BH: I have two styles to my work. One is humorous watercolours of people, places, houses, villages, pets and hobbies. My other style is the one that I feature on the Imagekind website of animals, such as hares and cows, and also landscapes. The main feature throughout is colour, strong images contrasting with sympathetic backgrounds.

 Standing Bull by Brett Hudson


SY: Describe your style at home. How does it reflect the type of work you do and the art you create?
BH: We have recently had an extension on our house so the back is quite modern and the front is still Victorian. The paintings in the front room are a mixture of impressionist landscapes and portraits. We also have one of my humorous watercolours that I painted a while back of our village pond and local residents. The back of the house has larger walls and there is a blue hare on a gold background above the fireplace and a large landscape of the South Downs above one of the sofas.

We have another large picture, which my children and I created with blobs of ink, coloured pencils and stuck on feathers for my wife’s Christmas present a few years ago. We also dedicate one of the walls in the house as an art gallery for our children’s work!
Brett Hudson


SY: What’s your favourite part about creating art? How does that inspire you to keep going?
BH: When I plan a painting it always starts with a photograph and an idea of the colours I would like to use, then I switch on the radio, I prime the canvas first and then set out a grid to scale up the image onto the surface.

A picture has three parts, so if I was painting an animal, I would: 1) block out the large areas with colour to get the shapes and tones; 2) map in the details, i.e. the eyes, and around the nose and the ears; and 3) pick out the details such as highlights and fur and touch up the background colour.
I love all the stages but the most rewarding and exciting is adding in the finishing touches to see the painting complete, hopefully as I imagined.

 The White Cottage by Brett Hudson


SY: How has your art evolved over time?
BH: In the last 5 years I have consciously set out to produce work to fit into people’s homes. I look through colour swatches for contrasting vibrant colours. I want to produce eye-catching and original art.

At the Stable Door by Brett Hudson

SY: What are some of your creative goals for the future?

BH: I would like to keep a strong identity so that people recognise my paintings at first glance but also keep developing and improving my techniques.

Brett Hudson

SY: What artists do you enjoy drawing inspiration from?

BH: An artist’s work that I have recently enjoyed is David Hockney. I like his use of colour to produce recognisable vibrant landscapes. When I was training we were taught to avoid using black as it could be too dominating. David Hockney chooses to paint the everyday in a new and fresh way, avoiding the standard colours.

 Village Pond by Brett Hudson


SY: Outside of painting, what else do you enjoy? Do you have any hidden talents?

BH: Outside of painting, I enjoy spending time with my family and going on holiday in the UK and abroad. In our village is a great pub called The Stand Up which (every once and a while) I may be found in! Also I enjoy gardening and have reworked our garden after the house extension.

 The Final Jump by Brett Hudson


SY: Anything else we should know about you?

BH: The place I love to paint is a purpose built studio at the bottom of our garden. I take a cup of tea and a jam jar of water to clean my brushes, switch on the radio and then paint for several hours…bliss!

 Costal Colours by Brett Hudson


SY: What do you surround yourself with?

BH: I am constantly taking photos and collecting reference materials for the next painting. Art and painting is always on my mind and is a wonderful constant in my life.

 Bull Terrier by Brett Hudson


Thanks, Brett! Shop Brett Hudson’s collection on Imagekind.