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

Pan, pancake, lemons and sand-paper

A week late, but here’s a kitchen scene from Shrove Tuesday. The fresh pancakes were too delicious to sketch mid-cooking, so I saved one after we’d eaten our fill and drew it once the pan had cooled. It was the scorched patterns on the pancake surface that had caught my eye, but the brown lines I drew to describe them were too strong; very fine sand-paper helped knock them back but it still looks over-cooked! A small piece of wet/dry paper is handy tucked in the back of a sketchbook…

pancake1Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, Brown 41 in fountain pen, watercolour, A5 – 30 minutes

Posted in coloured ink, food, from life, home, inks, kitchen, Lexington grey, seasonal, technique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


A fine pair of portrait busts from the upper floor of Bath’s Victoria Gallery (you can see both of them in the linked photo). First there’s Sir Cloudesley Shovell (honestly), a famous C17th admiral and guitarist. Then George 3rd, king of Britain for 59 years, sculpted by Turnerelli. Both were drawn in situ, with fountain pen for the lines, and dilute ink in water-brush for the shading; I added the blue water-colour to George to help the white marble stand out.

cloud1 fire231Noodlers Brown 41 and Platinum Blue Pigment inks in fountain pen and water-brush, Lexington grey in water-brush, water-colour, A5 – 20 minutes each

Posted in Bath, coloured ink, coloured paper, exhibitions, faces, figures, inks, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, museum, objects, sculpture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cars, at rest

Parked cars on the road approaching Lansdown Crescent (where the sheep were). Below is the picture without the water-colour glaze, then without the Lexington grey ink washes, revealing the ink drawing that I did on site.  The pencil grid helped with the basic placing of the cars on the page and is useful with complicated views. I’ve got a piece of acetate cut to the same size as the page and marked with the same grid; by holding it in front of the scene I can avoid major errors of scale and proportion. Which doesn’t explain how the lamp-post ended up as a column…

crescent cars4Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, clear wax crayon (as resist for the white lines), water-colour, A5 – 40 minutes 

crescent cars3crescent cars1

Posted in Bath, buildings, cars, from life, grisaille, Lexington grey, line drawing, street scene, technique, urban, vehicles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Some more of a favourite subject. This time the skulls are from a sheep (I think), and a fox (possibly). Whatever animals they used to be they offer beautiful mini-landscapes to sketch, with lots of hills, cliffs, valleys and caves. Their natural curves, single plane of symmetry and complex shadows combine to make a  lovely tabletop challenge.

teeth06Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, dilute Brown 41 in water-brush, water-colour, A5 – 30 minutes

teeth07Noodlers Brown 41 in fountain pen and water-brush, dilute Lexington grey and Platinum Blue Pigment ink in water-brush, watercolour, A5 – 30 minutes

fire21White Gelly roll pen, dilute Lexington grey in water-brush, water-colour, A7 – 10 minutes

Posted in animals, coloured ink, coloured paper, death, from life, Lexington grey, monochrome, sketching, skulls, white pen | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


My trusty boots drawn last month after the first (very light) snowfall of the year. Below is an earlier sketch of them, showing the change in my approach over the last two years; moving from black felt-tip lines and watercolour, to fountain pen and dilute ink washes. The new way’s faster, but here I think I prefer the older slower bolder one! Maybe it’s just the more dramatic composition and higher contrast? Back to the drawing board…

teeth04Noodlers Brown 41 in fountain pen, dilute Noodlers Brown 41, Bad Blue Heron and Platinum Blue Pigment ink in water brushes, A5 – 20 minssherry_00021mm Pigma black pen, water-colour, A6 – 30 mins

Posted in boots, coloured ink, coloured paper, comparisons, from life, inks, kit, sketching, watercolour sketch | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Monochrome flames

A couple of mid-winter sketches, trying to capture the dancing shapes of a log fire. I drew ‘blind’, watching the flames to catch their individual fluid shapes, feeling out the lines with a pencil, and occasionally looking down at the page to get their location about right. They reminded me most of very fine cloth being blown in a breeze, barely there. I added  dilute ink and very dilute white gouache later. We’ve always enjoyed staring into fires, entranced by the evanescent but unchanging patterns, like watching waves on a seashore, clouds in the sky, but cosier.

fire22fire11Pencil, Lexington grey in water-brush, white gouache, 20 minutes each – A5

Posted in blind drawing, coloured paper, fire, from life, inks, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, night, pencil, sketching, watching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments