Sketchbook #4: Single Contour Drawing

Coloured drawing of pepper mill, spoon and cockerel

This week in Sketchbook Skool the ‘Seeing’ klass is all about nature. Cathy Johnson‘s been encouraging us to draw the birds in our gardens and to really see the different colour and tonal values in what we draw.

This drawing though, is from last week’s klass with Brenda Swenson. I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this homework but I was really pleased with what I drew in the end.

The idea was to use a water soluble pen and draw an object with a single contour, so without lifting your pen from start to finish. My first attempts at a teapot were a bit disappointing so I changed  to a pepper mill. With each drawing we added another object to the scene until we had drawn 3 objects without lifting the pen until the whole picture was complete.

It was hard and it also reminded me that spoons are difficult to draw, with all their curves and angles so that’s something else to practice.

You may have seen this on my Twitter feed last week but if not, I highly recommend watching this video of my teacher from last week, Brenda. It’s beautifully shot and very inspiring.

Today #2: Stop, Start

Morning glory leave on trellis

Nib and lid of Copic multiliner pen

Page from urban Watercolour Sketching book


Watercolour palette, brushes and sketchbook

DSLR battery charger

I probably should call this one ‘Yesterday and Today’. I started taking photographs of my day yesterday morning and my camera battery went flat so I ended up leaving it to charge for the rest of the day and took some more photos this morning. So after a bit of a stop-start, this is from the past 24 hours.

My Morning Glory seedlings are no longer seedlings and are going a bit crazy climbing the trellis and railings on our balcony.

I realised that the nib on my favourite drawing pen was getting a bit ‘tired’. This was when I discovered that my pens are the disposable ones, not the ones with replaceable nibs and ink so I ordered a couple of new pens.

I spent some time yesterday reading my new copy of Urban Watercolor Sketching, which isn’t really about urban sketching at all but is a very useful guide to watercolour painting.

This morning, as on most days I checked on the plants outside and gave them some water, noticing that the wildflower seeds I’d scattered a few weeks ago have not only grown but at least one is flowering.

Last night I spent a bit of time practising a bit more with watercolour glazes.

I had a bad night’s sleep last night so like my camera yesterday, I’m spending the rest of the day recharging.

Sketchbook #3: Sketchbook Skool Selfies

Photograph of pencil self portrait drawing

Another Sketchbook Skool homework, and this week’s teacher was Koosje Koene. The homework was to draw a minimum of 7 self portraits (1 a day) in different styles.

Some by looking in a mirror, some (like this one) from a photo and some from imagination. I drew this one in HB pencil on 135gsm cartridge paper, which has a much smoother texture than my watercolour sketchbook.

I’d not drawn in pencil for ages. I generally prefer to use a pen these days but it was interesting to notice how familiar it still feels to sketch with a pencil.

Sketchbook #2: Fast, Slow

Photograph of a pen and ink sketch of a bag

I started the 2nd semester of Sketchbook Skool last Friday and have done a couple of homework assignments already. The second homework involved using 2 different media (in my case watercolour and black pen) to draw one object from observation.

The paint is used to record what you see at first glance, really quickly and then you take much more time with the pen to record things more accurately as you really see them.

This is my second go at this fast-slow method and I decided to draw my rucksack, which is fairly complex (although I’ve just realised that I’ve missed a little detail – I wonder why I didn’t see that before?) I really like this way of drawing. It’s interesting to see the differences between the 2 layers and how that kind of highlights the different ways we can look at and see the things around us.

This one was done using Windsor and Newton watercolour paint and Copic Multiliner pens in 0.3 and 0.5.