68 feet

Commenting on my recent cafe sketches Chris said “How about a focus on feet and shoes for your next post? They drive me mad, and can make or break a quick sketch.” Be careful what you wish for…

Here are all the feet I could sketch in 20 minutes (just the lines, I added the ink wash later) while sat in a cafe near the counter. These are the customers waiting to place their orders, fidgeting impatiently, but holding still just long enough for some serious shoe  gazingshoes8

These are different views of a plaster copy of (Michelangelo’s) David’s left foot. weir5 Here’s a clay sculpture of a sinewy foot by Sherry.


And finally a selection of feet in Hokusai’s manga; lots of sandals and strong calf muscles! weir4

Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, watercolour, A5 – a few minutes for each foot/shoe?

Posted in brush pen, cafe, coloured paper, Feet, from life, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, objects, sculpture, sketching, urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Japanese shrines

Four shrines in Japan, where many of the statues wear red bibs (‘yodarekake‘), placed on them as a sign of devotion and usually faded to a soft pink in the sun and the rain. The second sketch is looking down one section of the many miles of vermillion ‘torii’ avenues at Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto. The third is at a shrine next to the huge fish market in Tokyo, soon to be relocated; I love the fox spirits’  mischievous and slightly sinister expressions. The 2 figures next to the statue in the final sketch were done as a challenge while riding the Bullet Train; they’re passengers waiting on the platform, and the train only stops for 90 seconds in any station so sketches had to be very fast!

car141lots209toriicar121car124Lexington grey, Brown 41 and Bad Blue Heron in fountain pen and water-brush, watercolour, various sizes – various times…

Posted in animals, coloured ink, figures, Japan, journeys, sculpture, urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

In the kitchen

More late night monochrome sketches, this time corners of the kitchen. In the first sketch I was drawn to the way that strong overhead light made shadows wrap around the apples. In the second one it was the tilted ellipses in the collection of bottles and jars. Working without colour I take more care over line, tone and shade; it’s all there is!

apples1 apples3Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, white gouache, A5 – 25 minutes

Posted in coloured paper, from life, fruit, grisaille, kitchen, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cafe life

People watching in cafes, mostly this year in Bath, but the last one’s from Istanbul a couple of years ago when I was using a marker pen. If you can get a good table a cafe’s a great winter sketching location; strong light sources, sheltered, fairly still subjects, and good coffee. I’ve been finding shoes tricky to get right; there’s something very odd about the angles of the sides of the soles…

cloud15jan204cloud111Lots of media, including the inevitable Lexington grey, mostly A5 – various times

Posted in Bath, cafe, clothing, coloured ink, coloured paper, figures, from life, Istanbul, Lexington grey, line drawing, marker pen, monochrome, people, urban, waiting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Street parking

More cars parked up on Bath streets. I didn’t use the acetate grid for these, but did have to work hard to get the relative size of the receding cars correct, to see what was there and not what I thought I could see. In the first picture I’m looking down the hill, but the cars still rise up the page! Here’s a short article about ways of seeing.

cloud11cloud12Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, watercolour, A5 – 30 minutes each

Posted in Bath, cars, from life, Lexington grey, line drawing, sketching, street scene, urban, vehicles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Camden Road

Chimney pots and windows at the back of Camden Road in Bath, sketched from the road above, while leaning on a high wall (in the foreground bottom left). It’s another view of Bath where the chaotic backs of the buildings are more interesting than the neater fronts. As in a previous post I’ve included the original fountain pen drawing (which I had to stop when rain started) with the initial pencil grid guidelines established using an acetate grid. Then the intermediate grisaille version where I added a Lexington grey ink wash for the main shading. The acetate grid was useful in getting the complicated perspective and proportions right, establishing a sound skeleton for the rest of the sketch.




camden01Pencil, Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, water-colour, A5 – 1 hour 

And here’s a lovely loose water-colour sketch by Rowena, who emailed me about ways to get composition right in a landscape sketch. I suggested using some kind of acetate grid, she made one out of the top of Christmas cracker box, and this is her excellent first attempt at an outdoor scene! The eye is drawn down the path, but also out into the sunlit grass.


Posted in Bath, buildings, cars, from life, grisaille, Lexington grey, line drawing, street scene, technique, urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Waiting in town

A bus queue lined up alongside Bath Abbey, and more tourists sat on benches (previously, and here). Drawing directly with ink means ‘mistakes’ are visible, recording the process of feeling out where the lines need to go. Usually I just restate the line, adding a more accurate or expressive one, but this doesn’t work on faces, and sometimes it’s better to start again. Which is why there’s a ghost sat to the left of the first bench. I had another go, and failed better.

cloud14 cloud13cloud16Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, watercolour, A5 – various times

Posted in Bath, body, buildings, figures, from life, inks, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, people, street scene, technique, urban, waiting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments