From a moving vehicle

A collection of fast drive-by sketches; trees seen from a train, and vehicles from a car. The trees were glimpsed for a few seconds as we shot past, so a brush-pen was ideal for quickly capturing their individual shapes and key lines, with extra shade added as the train sped on and the trees vanished. The cars were a bit easier as the traffic was slow… And coloured paper seems to help, less daunting than a white page, and less temptation to overwork a quick sketch with colour!

lots04lots01Lexington grey ink in fountain pen and water-brush, white gouache, A6 – a couple of minutes per tree/car

Posted in urban, monochrome, trains, journeys, collections, sketching, inks, from life, travel, vehicles, coloured paper, technique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2 hands, 2 keys, 2 watches, and some scribbles

My 201st post is more sketches of things found on the table before going to bed. I’ve done a sketch every day for the last 3 years, and it’s these late night ones that are often the hardest to start, but also the most rewarding. They’re done fairly fast, and as I’m too tired to interfere in the process they tend to be simpler and less fussy; line, shade, colour, and off to bed… (The scribbles are a regular feature in my sketchbooks, testing inks, getting pens to work, trying out colours etc.)

sept09lots15 lots10All three Lexington grey in fountain pen and water-brush, black Carbon and sepia Pigment ink in fountain pen, water-colour, and some white Gelly Roll for the watch jewels, A6 – about 15 minutes

Posted in coloured paper, every day matters, from life, hands, home, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Steam Fair

The wonderful Carters Steam Fair was in Bath over the summer, with steam-powered bumper cars, dodgems, dive bombers, chair-o-planes, giant octopus and much more. I sketched some of the logos on the vintage slot machines in the penny arcade (just doing the lines on location), and then tried to draw one of their many Scammel lorries (the angle was a bit dull and I managed to go off the page…). Next time they’re in town I’ll sketch the huge and magnificent 1921 Excelsior Steam Yachts in action, steam puffing, boats swinging, punters screaming!

lots051mm Pigma pen, Lexington grey water-brush, gouache, white Gelly Roll pen, A5 – 50 minutes

lots071mm Pigma pen, Lexington grey water-brush, white Gelly Roll pen, and gouache, A6 – 30 minutes


Posted in Bath, collections, from life, gouache, nostalgia, park, sketching, urban, vehicles, white pen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feather and tea

A couple of sketches done using found/improvised resources during a trip to Grinda, the Stockholm island where I drew the 38 boats. The first was drawn using a dip-nib cut into the tip of a swan’s feather that I found (a bottle lid with Lexington grey from my water-brush was the ink-pot). I’ve never used a real quill pen before, but the nib was surprisingly smooth, and the unpredictable ink-flow created some happy accidents (the shadow in the centre of the rocks where the lines ran together).

quill 4Lexington grey in water-brush and swan’s feather, watercolour, A7 – 10 minutes

photoThen I used strong black tea, left at the bottom of a cup, to add a wash to three scenes I drew from the top deck of the island ferry. It was very pale and went well with the light pencil lines but needed several layers to build up the tone, so it then took a long time to dry… Could work well as a complementary wash  with the sepia ink I’ve started using?

quill 1Pencil, black tea, Lexington grey in water-brush, A6 – 30 minutes

Posted in dip pen, from life, holiday, inks, kit, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, pencil, technique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mostly painting

I’ve been reading ‘Urban Watercolor Sketching’ by Felix Scheinberger (here’s Tina’s review). It’s not very ‘urban’, but I recommend it as an enthusiastic, conversational and practical guide to water-colour sketching, with a strong focus on the power of colour. So I’m trying to be a bit bolder with the paint, letting colour do more of the work, with the drawn lines playing a supporting role. Here’s a collection of strange fruit, oranges, bananas, apples and a lemon, all drawn very fast, hence the oddly shaped bananas and wonky cake stand!

tests08fruit1fruit2Platinum sepia pigment ink and Lexington grey in fountain pen, watercolour, A6 – about 15 minutes each

Posted in colour, from life, fruit, kit, line drawing, technique, watercolour sketch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Swedish birds

A collection of birds seen in Stockholm. First there are two sketches from the Biologiska Museet, a beautiful wooden Victorian museum full of dioramas populated by stuffed animals who’ll hold a pose for as long as you need (the first picture looks like a scene from Peter and the Wolf). Then there are some quick brush impressions of the geese that strut around Skansen, the large outdoor museum. Then some ducks and pigeons, alive this time, seen when out sketching with Nina (the tiny figure sat on the stool). And finally a family of swans and something flying, seen from a ferry out to the islands.


birds2birds3birds4birds5All the usual media (Lexington grey ink, pencil, water-colour) and a variety of times and sizes. I’m also using a new paper, Saunders and Waterford ‘High White’, which gives much truer colour reproduction, more on this in another post…

Posted in animals, Birds, from life, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, museum, Stockholm, Uncategorized, watercolour sketch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

38 boats

While in Stockholm we caught a ferry to Grinda, one of 30,000 (!) islands in the surrounding archipelago. We swam in the warm Baltic and I tried to sketch the many pleasure craft that passed. As most were going fairly fast I ended up with a collection of tiny one minute drawings, I added the shade and colour later. Some of the speed boats managed to tick every box on my list of general irritants: noisy, hurried, expensive, ostentatious, wasteful, and driven by yahoos imposing their idea of a good time on everyone else, harrumph. Which meant the silent, slow, cheap, modest and resourceful kayakers were all Good People, probably.

boats1Pencil, Lexington grey water-brush, watercolour, A6 – 20 minutes

boats2White Gelly Roll pen, Lexington grey water-brush, watercolour, A6 – 20 minutes

The sketches have ended up looking like 1950’s wallpaper for boys (examples from the internet below, not my work!), I think the colour’s to blame….wallpaper4wallpaper5wallpaper3wallpaper1

Posted in boats, coloured paper, holiday, Lexington grey, line drawing, monochrome, pencil, Stockholm | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments