Hammond has his own Photoshop heroes, one of whom is Ryan Wood, woodyart.blogspot.com, who specializes in spookily atmospheric caricatures.

“I have always been drawn to portrait painting, as I find the human face so expressive and thought-provoking,” says Hammonds. “I particularly love the exaggerated expressions in Ryan’s work, and what’s more, he’s developed a soft-painting technique and colour range that fits his work perfectly and gives it a quirky charm.”

“This is one of my older pictures, dating back to 2003. What was especially challenging is [the fact that] it was painted entirely with a mouse. Using references and a grid to aid my proportion, I sketched in the basic outline,” Hammonds explains.

From here, he laid down the basic greyscale values, using the Airbrush tool and varying brush sizes and opacity (see the top image). “I encountered problems when I came to shape certain features and paint in more intricate areas,” Hammonds admits.

“When you’re using a mouse, your movements are more restricted than with a pen, so I needed to come up with new ways of painting, which involved laying down spots and using the Smudge tool on a low setting to push and pull them into place and fine them out.”