Scrolling sketch

My clever friend Jim (who has an excellent art blog) showed me how to display photos of a concertina sketchbook as a continuous image. I haven’t quite got the colour/lightness matching correct across the photos, but the overall effect is close to the actual book, which I filled during a three day walk in the Mendips. It should be ‘read’ from left to right, and includes: the car journey to the drop-off point, leafy lanes, crows in a field, fellow walkers, the view from the top of the Cheddar Gorge, my daughter deep in her book, a Thai meal, the steps up the other side of the Gorge, wild goats, cows in a field, wild horses, fresh tea in the woods, fellow diners at the B+B (human and spider), more wild horses, more cows, views across the Somerset Levels, a fellow at lunch, and the train home. The concertina format suits sketching on journeys, increasing the  sense of narrative flow between separate images, but I need to work on smoothing the transitions from panel to panel… Further below is the full book. (NOTE: iPad/iPhone etc users might have to ‘drag’ the image for it to scroll)


Mostly pencil and watercolour


Posted in concertina sketchbooks, farm, journeys, landscape, Mendips, rural, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Busy busy

Sitting on the lawn in front of the Royal Crescent trying to sketch everyone that passes by during a sunny 20 minutes, sometimes just catching their feet, sometimes seeing them in the distance. It’s a sort of survey/sampling exercise, a bit messy, but closer to the busy life of a tourist honey-pot than I’ve managed before! Drawn in brown and blue inks with my new favourite mark-maker, a bamboo dip-pen. Spot the tour guide holding up his umbrella for his group to follow, and someone taking a Crescent selfie… Followed by another recent sketch of people in Bath, this time in pencil, and rain.


Posted in bamboo dip pen, Bath, dip pen, figures, people watching, street scene, urban, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

In transit

Travelling to Stockholm and back; the view from 38,000 feet (both ways), and fellow passengers at Heathrow and Arlanda (so many free models…). I’d never noticed the plane’s fuselage reflected on the engine before, a good example of the way sketching sharpens powers of observation! The second window sketch was done using a small set of highly opaque water-colours, my replacement for gouache, which always felt gritty or muddy. gcghdgh4gcghdgh1gcghdgh2gcghdgh3gcghdgh5

Posted in airplane, airport, clouds, figures, journeys, kit, people watching, travel, urban, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Stockholm hot rods

We were surprised and delighted to find a massive unofficial hot-rod rally taking place on Sveavägen, the main drag where we were staying in Stockholm. It was the annual city gathering of ‘raggare’, fans of old American cars and 50’s ‘greaser’ culture, something I’d never heard of before but apparently HUGE in Sweden… It looked a bit intimidating at first, very loud, very beery, and with lots of echoes of hells-angels in the clothing, but it was a friendly crowd who either ignored my sketching or enjoyed my appreciation of their extravagant cars and bikes.

I started drawing the vehicles, but became much more interested in the people; the way they draped themselves over bonnets, poured out of car windows, peered into engines, and generally hung out in their outfits. Bamboo dip-pen wasn’t really going to work here, and I ended up using a marker pen as the light faded and the crowd got increasingly busy and ‘relaxed’! The sketches can’t convey the sheer volume of the engines being revved and over-revved as they slowly cruised up and down the boulevard. They’d all gone home by 2am, lightweights…


Posted in cars, marker pen, night, parades, Stockholm, street scene, urban, urban sketching, vehicles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Island life

Sketches from a recent trip to Grinda Island in the Stockholm archipelago; a couple of attempts to describe the ferry’s energetic wake; the view of nearby islands from our rocky peninsula with my daughter reading on a sunny ledge, drawn in  bamboo dip-pen and ink-brush; and then a view of dramatic clouds scudding over the bay. I also had a go at some site-specific ‘art abandonment’, sketching the view on a piece of driftwood, and leaving it there; later we saw a boy on the ferry back holding the piece! Finally a collection of sketches from the same location done two years ago, including some first attempts at using a dip-pen, made out of  a swan feather I found there.


Posted in art abandonment, bamboo dip pen, brush pen, clouds, dip pen, sea, Stockholm, waves | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

En Route

imageimageTwo wide-angle train carriage views, one heading North to Manchester for the Symposium, and the other heading home. Both were done in a concertina sketchbook, and stretched across the table while I sketched. I asked the passengers if they were OK with me drawing them, and they were fine, mildly interested to see the results but otherwise indifferent; must remember to ask more often! I just managed to capture the man putting his luggage on the rack, but spot the ghostly ticket inspector in the second one, she moved too fast… The first was done with a bamboo dip-pen, and the second with coloured pencil; both finished with watercolour. I’ll post more about the dip-pen soon, and the vital non-spill ink bottle. And much to post from the wonderful Symposium too. About 40 minutes each.

(No musical hyperlink in this post, I’m working on an iPad, which is painful enough already…)

Posted in concertina sketchbooks, dip pen, figures, journeys, Manchester Symposium, panorama, trains, travel, urban, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Heading North…

All packed for four days of sketching indulgence at the USk Manchester Symposium, which starts tomorrow. I’ve done a few final brush-pen sketches about town (thumbnails of street-scenes and quick portraits of passers-by) in rehearsal for my demonstration, and have finished sourcing quotes and images for my lecture on books about sketching. I’ve never been to a Symposium before and am looking forward to being with five hundred fellow sketchers, sharing approaches and ideas, and happily sketching anything we please, whenever the fancy strikes! Maybe see you there?


Kuretake water-brush filled with dilute Lexington grey ink, watercolour, A5 – 5-10 mins each

Posted in Bath, brush pen, figures, ink brush, Manchester Symposium, people watching, street scene, urban, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments