Local Sketches

The weekend often provides more opportunities to go out and do some urban sketching, here is a quick 10 minute sketch I did from the bus stop in town.

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Finally got the nerve to start sketching in my Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook.  Oh this paper is simply wonderful, it works with watercolour beautifully and the colours stay so bright and fresh.  My first page is a sketch of my current travel palette.

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Then in the evening we took a walk in our village and I sketched one of the cottages from a sunny bench.

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Two Local Landscapes

Yesterday I worked on doing a couple of local landscapes.  What we lack in urban architecture around here we make up for in sheer natural beauty.

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Pen and Daniel Smith watercolours in HandBook Journal

This is the view of the hills from our bedroom window, it’s hard to get sick of this view which is always changing throughout the year.  The heather and bracken can go from purple, brown, yellow and green depending on the season.

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Pen and St. Petersberg Watercolours in Derwent Cachet

At the childrens’ request we went to the nearby beach which is hidden gem for these parts, at the bottom of some interesting cliffs which the twisted strata is clearly visible.  This was an amazing sketching experience as I was knee deep in sea water, drawing while the children splashed.  The sea gets so warm in this particular spot, like a bath.  I added colour after we got home.

Though neither of these are perfect I feel like I’ve made a bit of progress with my landscapes, despite not working on them for a while.  I did do little value sketches before working on the bigger sketch which I think helped a lot.  Looking forward to doing more of these in the future.

Urban Sketching Pirate Ships

Yesterday I took the children to a very small local zoo.  It doesn’t have much to boast in terms of animals but it does have a fantastic full sized pirate ship to play on surrounded by sand.  This gave me the rare opportunity to do some urban sketching while my children happily played.

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The pirate ship was a huge challenge in perspective.  I was sitting fairly close to it from two different angles and it was hard to make it look convincingly three dimensional.  There were a lot of decorative details on the ship that I didn’t have time to include.  I used my Lamy Safari F nib and Pentel brush pen for the shadows.

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This morning I sketched this old bike near the village shop.  I don’t often draw mechanical things but this was a pleasant challenge.  And my husband even could recognise the model so I consider it a success.

Dandelion Three Ways

Today I had a bit of time to do some sketching in a playing field while my children were at the playground.  Of course this time of year it is filled with dandelions, they might be a menace but I still find them charming.

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Here is the spread of dandelions I did in different ways.  As I gain confidence with this art thing I like to play around with the style of a single subject.

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I always love pen and ink, something about the bold line of the pen always seems to feel right to me.  I also get to splash on the colour very loosely this way.

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This was done directly to watercolour, no pencil or anything underneath.  I tried to use the strokes and values to indicate the shadows and petals.  While I like it, it seems to lack a bit of impact for me.

The final one (seen in my original shot of the spread) is where I used a darker watercolour outline in a similar way to my penwork.  I was looking for a more graphic look without the pen.  I did end up muddying it up a little, but maybe I’m getting somewhere with that idea.  I was using a waterbrush so the marks ended up pretty thick.  I also did some very loose watercolour dandelions but they just don’t read like the flower to me.

In the end I’m still not sure which one I like best, pen and ink or the one with watercoloured outlines?  I’ll keep experimenting.  Do you have a particular “style” that you tend to stick to?  Or do you like to play around?

Back to Pencil

It’s been a while since I’ve sketched with a pencil, I did some very early in my daily art project but then started inking over my drawings with pen and then progressed straight to pen drawings.  I love the boldness of pen but decided to do some more pencil drawings to see how I felt about it.

tulips

A few tulips in my garden have just started to open and it was fun sketching them in pencil.  I started out with very light lines making the basic shapes and then went progressively darker.  I forgot how nice it is to have softer shadows.

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In the evening I did this one of some spoons my husband carved a few years ago.  The pencil works better for the texture of the wood than pen.  The only things I didn’t enjoy was smudging the graphite with my hand.  I worry that these probably won’t last long-term in the sketchbook.

Do you use pencils for sketching?  Or are you devoted to ink?