Saturday 28 February 2015

Avebury in February

A busy day today, including a visit to the framer's, a conciliatory hot chocolate for my children who were obliged to accompany me, and a jaunt to Avebury to meet friends. It mostly didn't rain while we were in Avebury itself - or at least, I don't think it did. We did spend quite a bit of time in the pub over our lunch.

The sketches were all made before lunch, and were all done in indigo ink with the Japanese calligraphy pen that I mentioned (and illustrated) in "Little Extras".

Friday 27 February 2015

What Makes a Sketch? - Part Two - Little Extras

There are many little extras that can be added to my minimal small sketchbook and pen or pencil. Some of the stuff I frequently take out with me on "spec" includes:
  • An alternative pen or pencil, either to use with the main drawing tool or simply to ring the changes. It's remarkable how effective soft graphite is in combination with black ink.

An alternative pen.
This is a drawing - using Molotow paint markers - of my Japanese Calligraphy pen.
I have converted it to a fountain pen, which allows me to run any suitable ink though it;
here, it contains Indigo. The bent nib allows for an effect that mimics a brush

  • A small collection of  coloured pens or pencils.There are a few "collections" that I have prepacked into small pencil cases - the Inktense pencils, with a waterbrush, are shown in the illustration above.
Other collections include:
Six earth-toned Derwent Drawing pencils, two graphite sticks (4B, 6B), an HB pencil and a black pen.
A small tin with six watercolour pencils in it. They are rather nice watercolour pencils - Caran D'Ache Museum Auarelle - and consist of two sets of primaries - a cool red/blue/yellow, and a warm one.
The remnants of a prepacked Sketching Set from WHSmith's. It still contains a graphite stick, a carbon pencil, a sketching white pencil, a sanguine oil pencil, a very short sepia pastel pencil, a sanguine pastel stick, and a richly dark carbon stick.
("Carbon" refers to an amorphous form of the element, also known as "lamp black". It is, effectively, soot - nice soot. It is the same sort of thing used to make Indian Ink.)
A selection of rollerball pens, in as many different colours as possible.
A pencil case full of Molotow paint markers.

  • A small watercolour set. This is a bit more ambitious and would normally require the further addition of a more appropriate sketchpad (with heavier paper) and a small bottle of clean water.

There will be more on watercolour as a sketching medium in a future post.

Thursday 26 February 2015

St. Mark and St. Luke, Avington

Church vertebrae? - 6B Graphite stick
A sketching expedition in the rain; an intriguing little 12th century Norman church. Made for each other

Sunday 15 February 2015

Over the Hills to the Pub (and back)

This is the first sketch in my new pocket-sized sketchbook (approximately A5). It was done without pausing - we were on our way to the pub for lunch, and we didn't want to be late!

 I did get to pause briefly for this one as we waited for our bicycling children to, er, push their bikes up the steep bit...

And there was leisure a-plenty at the pub.

But we had to walk home, and the sun was setting, so I was still drawing on the hoof...

These three people were not the best subject for a walk-and-draw, but they looked interesting silhouetted against the sky.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

St. Mary's, Kingsclere - some detail sketches

Two rather quick sketches of parts of the splendid church of St. Mary's in Kingsclere. Both executed with the Japanese calligraphy pen.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Mallard Drake

A quick sketch, in pastel, by the duck pond today. Black paper can be so dramatic.

Monday 9 February 2015

What Makes a Sketch? Part one - Minimal

Minimal sketch kit

Sketches can be done in pretty much any medium that you can think of. (And possibly some that you can't.)

It's largely down to what's available. But if you are reasonably well organised, you can make a point of carrying a few items around with you, and so making your favoured implements available when required...

I usually carry a small sketchbook and a few stick-like implements (pens and pencils) around with me, but planned sketching expeditions can be more expansively catered for by packing sketching stuff into a nice, big bag (a satchel is a good choice).

Minimal sketching kit 

illustrated above (in Uniball gel pens on black paper)
This consists of a small (usually hardback) book and a pen.

Sometimes I take a pencil instead; sometimes I expand it slightly with another pen or a small pouch/case/tin of other stuff. I like to vary the other stuff, but there are a few standby collections, usually involving colour.

From a sketch...

I've been busy working up one of my Portsmouth sketches over the last week, with additional support from photographs that I took at the time. 


Sunday 8 February 2015

The Bunkers, Greenham Common

These are the Cruise missile bunkers, as seen from the other side of Greenham Common, near Newbury in Bershire. If you remember the 80s, you may remember the highly charged scenes of protest against the presence of the American Cruise missiles here.

The missiles are gone. The bunkers remain. Behind double razor wire fences... (which recently served to keep the public out of the Star Wars film set that appeared there).

My sketch-as-I-walk (it was a family walk on the common; time was limited) was done using a Japanese calligraphy pen with added graphite. The writing was done while, ahem, stationary. (There's a pun in there somewhere).

Saturday 7 February 2015

St. Peter's, Headley

St Peter's is a pretty little church, surrounded by dense woodland o two sides, that I drive past fairly often. I've stopped to sketch it once before - albeit with less than satisfactory results. But that was a few years ago, and I think I may have got better at quick sketching.

I had to be quite quick - it was cold out there!

As well as the three sketches of the church, I also turned to the woods and a fabulous yew within the churchyard with stonework leaing up against it, and ivy-covered crosses... perhaps some people like their churchyards neat and tidy, but I do rather like to see evidence of nature and the passage of time.
Although I'm not laying claim to any churchyards, of course.

All sketches done using the Japanese calligraphy pen, with graphite added to the churchyard.

Friday 6 February 2015

Thatcham... from a couple of car parks

From Waitrose's car park
(Japanese calligraphy pen and blue gel pen)

From The Swan's car park
(Derwent Graphik Line Painters)
I had cause to be in Thatcham for just over an hour this afternoon. Not long, but long enough to buy some oddments from Waitrose, grab a free coffee and sketch the backs of some of the premises on the town's markeplace from the corner of the supermarket car park. (The view from my car was less than inspiring, so I stood outside and ignored the other shoppers almost as much as they ignored me).

And I had some time left over, so I drove to the outskirts and parked in a pub car park for ten minutes. I didn't dare go further out of town in case I got caught the wrong side of the level crossing; I had to be somewhere in Thatcham promptly! The canal was invisible, the hills nearly so; but there were plenty of trees and the footbridge over the railway mad an interesting focal point.

Thursday 5 February 2015

Masking Fluid

A small study of a pretty, sunlit wave at Praa Sands
From a photoraphic reference
Watercolour (with masking fluid)
Watercolour is a transparent medium and has a very delicate effect, which is both attractive and frustrating. I have an ambivalent relationship with the medium - I want to be able to use it well, but I am very wary of tweeness.

There is probably several posts worth of thinking to come up with related to that, though.

In the meantime, meet masking fluid:
This particular bottle contains blue masking fluid. It's a rubber-based liquid that dries in contact with the air (one of the reasons that I have a dedicated, synthetic brush for it, too, although silicon colour shapers can also be used, apparently). It's used to mask bits of paper from a watercolour wash.

You can, of course, just leave the area untouched - but that isn't always easy to do if your watercolour is wet and washy, or even if you just forget in the splashiness of the moment. Masked areas have hard edges, which may or may not be required (they can be softened with water), but which can be hard to achieve without masking.

Anyway, this is my first ever bottle of masking fluid. So far, it's proving to be really rather effective. Good for foam on waves and highlights on bottles...

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Wave studies - Praa Sands,Cornwall

Rotring Artpen
6B Graphite Stick


There are more sketches from Cornwall, but this is now - this is Hampshire - this is snow!

Digital sketch on Android tablet using Serious Paint app. Made outdoors.

Monday 2 February 2015

Cornwall, Inktense...

Praa Sands

St. Michael's Mount (again)
Two Inktense sketches from Cornwall. There was no warm restaurant on Sunday when we were at Praa Sands, but I was still able to make a few quick sketches.

St. Michael's Mount - ink and graphite

The Mount is always worth a quick sketch. On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to be indoors - at the Godolphin Arms - and warm.

Rotring Artpen and graphite