At the fair

fair 21Pencil, white Gelly Roll pen, water-brush with dilute Lexington grey ink, gouache, A5 – 20 minutes pencil drawing at the fair, 20 minutes at home with the ink and gouache

We’ve been away for the week (I’ll post some seaside sketches soon) and in the meantime a fair’s arrived in Victoria Park for the Easter bank holiday weekend. Here’s the helter skelter, with trees in the background just about to burst into leaf. To get a good view of the full structure I had to sit outside the main fairground, and it’s early evening so not many customers around. Pencil was perfect for this sketch as the curves on the slide were tricky, and much steeper than my first attempts.

Posted in Bath, coloured paper, from life, gouache, park, pencil, trees, urban, vehicles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment



 Fountain pen and water-brush with dilute Lexington grey, watercolour, white Gelly Roll pen, A6 – 25 minutes

More condimentia and product placement with another late night sketch of the sauce shelf; spot the old classics (Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce, Heinz ketchup, Tabasco, Kikkoman soy sauce etc) and my new favourite Cholula chilli sauce. This time the pen ink was more dilute, and the bottles and caps got shiny highlights thanks to the Gelly Roll pen. I also added a light colour wash to the wall to help the clear glass of the bottles stand out more.

Here’s the previous faster and looser attempt. Less accurate, but stronger?



Posted in collections, food, from life, home, kitchen, Lexington grey, objects, sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring has sprung


Pencil, Lexington grey water-brush and fountain pen, watercolour, white Gelly Roll pen, blue Uni Posca brush pen,  A5 – various times

A double page spread from last weekend, when the weather was fine, the clocks went forward and everyone was out and about. The street scene is a view down North Parade Buildings near Sally Lunn’s (“the oldest house in Bath, 1482″), using coloured paper for the buildings and a handy light-blue opaque brush-pen for the sky. The other page was sketched in the Botanical Gardens, with a magnolia flower in full bloom, my daughter sketching plants, an elderly couple resting with their walking sticks, and a man waiting for his mum to wake up so they can finish their walk (it was Mothering Sunday).

It’s lovely to have the longer, lighter, drier, warmer days at last, happy Spring!

Posted in Bath, botany, buildings, coloured paper, flowers, from life, park, people, seasonal, sketching, Spring, urban, waiting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mostly absent


Lexington grey in fountain pen and  water-brush, white gelly Roll pen, and white Uni Posca brush pen , A6 – 5 minutes

A very quick sketch in a Bath cafe of someone who seemed to be mostly somewhere else, focussed on looking at photos on a lap-top and listening to music. I was partly somewhere else, absorbed in translating the 3D scene in front of me into line and shade on blue paper. At the moment I’m almost entirely somewhere else, writing about a 2D representation of a brief moment that happened several weeks ago in a different place.

I’m fairly sure that sketching has made me more aware of the places I am in, when I’m actually sketching; but blogging about it is a different matter…

Posted in Bath, cafe, coloured paper, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, people, sketching, urban, white marker pen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hyacinth’s decline

big hya2

Bamboo dip-pen pen with dilute Lexington grey ink, water-brush with acrylic ink, A4 - two hours

This is probably the last drawing there’ll be of the hyacinth that I’ve been documenting since Christmas. Although the leaves have now collapsed under their own weight and the flowers have shrivelled, this has been the most satisfying phase of its life to draw; lots of long curves, twists and folds, and sinuous shadows.

(I can’t really call this a sketch as it took about two hours, with an initial pencil drawing for the overall shape, then bamboo dip-pen for all the line work, and finally the shading in brown acrylic ink…)

Posted in botany, death, dip pen, flowers, from life, inks, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black and white



Both done with white Gelly Roll pen, white Uni Posca brush pen, and water-brush with dilute Lexington grey ink,  A6 – 25 minutes each

A life-cast of William Blake’s head (bought many years ago from the National Portrait Gallery when they were much cheaper and painted black), and a plaster-cast of my right hand. Sketching in white on black paper is a challenge, all the usual tonal decisions are reversed and shadows are created by omission. But it’s fun to slowly build the volume of the object through the steady accumulation of contour lines, like constructing a wire frame model.

(I’ve tried several white gel pens and the Sakura Gelly Roll ones work best for me, with less clogging, a smoother tip and the most opaque ink. Always handy for adding highlights to a quick sketch, and correcting the occasional wayward line…)

Posted in body, coloured paper, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, objects, sculpture, white marker pen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving picture


Bamboo dip pen and water-brush with dilute Lexington grey ink, watercolour, A5  - 20 minutes per stage

More evidence of Jim’s cleverness. He’s combined scans showing three stages of a sketch into one animated Gif image, creating a clear way to see the different qualities that line, shading and colour bring to a picture. Please let me know if you think it’s a useful way to look at a sketch, or if it just induces a migraine. I find it slightly hypnotic…

The subject is the same Hyacinth bulb that I’ve been drawing since Christmas, now in decline with leaves drooping and the shrivelled flowers losing colour.

Update: Filipe commented “Hello Ed. Although the idea is somehow visually appealing, I’d rather see the 3 stages individually. I wanted to observe more of each stage, but found it very difficult as it kept changing and I had to wait for the return of the wanted stage, take a fast peek, and then wait again for its return. It is very distracting.”

So here they are…

hya sep1hya sep2hya sep3

Posted in botany, flowers, from life, grisaille, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, sequential, sketching | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments