#222 Quick Watercolour Sketching

I’m teaching a small class at the moment on quick watercolour sketching. Last week the general request was for animals, dogs and cows in particular. I sketched some VERY quick, rough sketches in my junk journal to demonstrate my thoughts on different approaches for the subject. Here I was trying to illustrate the basic shapes. I found out that cows, and dogs too, have a coffin shaped head, with differing proportions for different breeds but the basic shape remains the same.

I also demonstrated a blind contour drawing too. This is a great way to get your eye in, really studying and looking at the shapes, while drawing very slowly.

Using the shape method I lightly sketched the dog with a 2B pencil. I refined the sketch with a Uniball Vision pen and then applied loose watercolour washes. After that was dry added heavier ink line work with a Pentel Brush Pen.

The calf was blocked in with watercolour first, to get the rough shape. When this was dry the brush pen linework was added. And of course I had to include a few French words 😀

You can also see my palette here. Although it has some extra colours we are using only the basic palette – Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue and Pthalo Blue. Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna are useful additions to the primary colours.

Today’s lesson was a fun outdoor painting session. I sketched the rooster wind vane in quickly with a waterbrush and raw sienna, adding a little burnt sienna and ultramarine in the darker areas. The greens are yellow light with a bit of ultramarine and Pthalo blue. After the colour was dry I added semi blind contour ink linework. I did get a little carried away in the foliage with scribbling but it was fun.

This week I also started participating in the Every Day in May Facebook group. I do like to sketch each day but sometimes other things seem to get in the way. Following a daily prompt makes it seem more of a committment, and if I aim at just a quick sketch it seems more doable. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t.

Day 1 – A toy. This was a quick sketch with a bit of colour splashed on. Teddies are very forgiving 🙂


Day 2 -Something with Folds. This one wasn’t quite as quick. I did want it to look like my wee Jock so it took a bit longer. I painted the grey fur with a mixture of Indigo and Cobalt Violet. Unusual mix but it worked.


Day 3 – A hammer. A bit of ink, a bit of watercolour and some watercolour pencil.


Day 4 – A game. This was meant to be a simple sketch but ended up being a puzzle with all the shadows.

So far so good. I’m up to date. Hopefully I’ll get to do the whole month.

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6 thoughts on “#222 Quick Watercolour Sketching

  1. Pick up sticks! I remember them well. My favorite of these sketches is the first, how you show your initial sketching to get those shapes down pat. Thanks for sharing, Ros!

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