Small world…

A great afternoon in Bath with Susan from Salt Spring Island, BC Canada, sharing approaches and observations on urban figure sketching. Her island’s 7,500km/4,700miles from Bath, but coincidentally she lives 5 minutes away from my mother’s second cousin (whose daughter coincidentally married someone who went to my brother-in-law’s school…). A small world, made smaller, and also bigger, through sketching.

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Nineteen musicians and two train-spotters

A jazz band in Oswestry (my sister’s playing saxophone) sketched from the balcony of the old chapel they rehearse in…P1270606

…Nik Jovcic-Sas busking in front of the queue for the Roman Baths…arnos vale_0011

…an acapella group singing Bulgarian and Romanian folk songs in Bath while waiting on a bench, reading the music off their smartphones (they were happy to be sketched, and even carried on as it started to rain, making my ink lines looser and freer than intended) …arnos vale

…and two trainspotters in the cafe at Newport station; I hadn’t realised that they use laptops these days.arnos vale_0008

(All done in bamboo dip-pen, using either Noodlers Lexington grey or blended De Atramentis inks)

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A rural interlude…

Here is a Welsh valley sketched twice in different media (Sally says it looks like a Geography textbook…), four views from a train in four different media (felt-tip, pencil, ink-brush, watercolour), some sheep and lambs (topical!), and a different Welsh valley (out-take from Postman Pat?).

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A cast of thousands…

…,well, at least a hundred. Too late for the ‘one hundred people sketched in five days’ challenge (I was still bed-bound) but still good practise for quick gesture drawing skills. They’re done in a wide range of media as I seem to be jumping between pens/pencils/bamboo/brushes etc at the moment. And they’re all in Bath, which is a busy and popular place, but not as madly crowded as these sketches might suggest. My daughter said the second one made her feel stressed!

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Sketching while walking

I recommend drawing while walking as one way to encourage looser, simpler ‘right side of the brain’ sketching. You’re so busy not falling over/wandering into people, while balancing sketchbook/pencil etc, and trying not to be too conspicuous/creepy that the drawing becomes almost automatic! You have to be fast, and make every line count. Pencil seems easiest to use, and having a double ended one gives you a couple of colours to play with (see photo at end for my current favourite kit modification). I can’t manage the watercolour wash while walking, yet, so add this when I get home. Walking’s a fairly receptive action so if you don’t catch the angle of the foot-fall first time, just wait a moment and catch it the next. From the top here’s Jim holding his daughter Anna’s hand, two strangers with dog, late night winter shoppers, three old friends, my mum and dad, and extended family. The only problem (?) is that you’re limited to rear views, unless you can watch them approaching from a fair distance…

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Domestic dip-pen

Indoor bamboo dip-pen sketches of Sally reading and Jim having a go with another dip-pen, both in glorious multi-coloured De Atramentis ink, with a light watercolour wash.

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Bath time!

Some recent sketches of the Roman Baths in bamboo dip-pen and pencil, with watercolour washes. The Baths are a great winter sketching location; outdoors but warmed by the thermal springs, and with lots of passing people to add interest and life. The hot water that’s bubbling up fell as rain on the nearby Mendip hills around 10,000 years ago; since then it’s filtered down through rock to a depth of two miles (hence the heat) and travelled fifteen miles cross-country!

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