‘Things to make and do’

As a sort of late Spring-clean I’ve updated various bits of the blog for your perusal and enjoyment. Most of it’s kit related, but this seems to be the most popular content!


‘Daily sketch-kit’ – now includes a couple of my bent-nib fude pens. I’ll do a full post on these soon; there’s much fun to be had with variable line width, and many types/brands/nib-angles to navigate. Here’s Parka Blogs comparison of some of the more popular models to whet your appetite.


‘Current inspiration’ – looks at A Chinese Life, full of wonderful high contrast black and white ink-brush drawings.


‘Paint’ – includes the opaque watercolours I’ve added to my palette (instead of gouache, which I never warmed to) for sketches on toned paper.


Palettes – now has instructions on how I made the latest of many models; it’s lighter than ever, with more and deeper mixing wells and extra opaque colours and won’t be coming to a shop near you soon, so have a go at making one and bespoke it to your hearts content!

Sketchbooks and paper – has instructions for the plywood-covered completely fold-backable sketchbooks, and concertina books. And I’ve removed a couple of book-binding links that had died.

Bamboo dip-pen has links to nib-improvement and multi-coloured ink-pots.

I’ll probably update the ‘Useful Books’ section next, but let me know if there are other bits that seem a bit dated or if there’s any useful information that you’d like me to add to the blog. Thanks

Posted in bamboo dip pen, concertina sketchbooks, kit, opaque watercolour, sketchbooks, urban sketching | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

A country walk…

Some Springtime rural sketching, mostly colour, with an intense black and white interlude. I’d set off across the fields to sketch Shotwick graveyard with its toppling stones and collapsing tombs, but ended up getting distracted en route, drawing pylons and a shady farmyard… This left only forty minutes to sketch at the church but I think this reduced time helped the final sketches; less is more for sketching?

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Posted in buildings, cemetery, church, farm, journeys, rural, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

More tea vicar?

Sketches from recent visits to the consistently lovely Comins Tea House in Bath. First my multi-tasking daughter; pouring tea, drinking tea, checking her phone, and reading, after delicious matcha ice-cream (apologies to her for the odd shaped hand holding the tea cup…).arnos vale (15)

Then the view loking back towards the entrance on a sunny Sunday near closing time….

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And the debris at the end of afternoon of Ruby Brandy tea and gyoza with sriricha sauce…
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Finally a couple of sketches from previous visits.


Posted in Bath, cafe, family, urban, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rear windows

The back of an old terrace of canal-side houses seen from Chester city walls, and a sketch looking right through a house on Camden terrace in Bath. Usually older buildings are more interesting to draw than new (lots of accretions, additions, alterations, patina…), and almost inevitably the best view is the rear view. (Further below others from my growing collection of Bath rear views)

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Posted in Bath, buildings, drawing buildings, urban, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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Posted in bamboo dip pen, Bath, people watching, street scene, urban, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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)

Posted in bamboo dip pen, Bath, buskers, coloured ink, Lexington grey, musicians, urban, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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Posted in animals, bamboo dip pen, clouds, farm, opaque watercolour, rural, Wales | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments