268 Inktober Sketches Part 3

I managed to keep up with the daily sketch, and even followed the official Inktober prompts. It wasn’t easy doing sketches of things I would never have normally chosen, as I followed the official Inktober prompt for the sketches and most of the reference photos were from Sktchyapp.

#22 Trail – Ink and watercolour

#23 Juicy – Ballpoint pen and watercolour

#24 Blind – Pigma Micron 005 and Pentel brushpen 

#25 Ship – Ink and watercolour

#26 Squeak – Ink and watercolour

#27 Climb – Ink and watercolour pencil used dry.

#28 Fall – Ink  and watercolour pencil. I was loaned a Sailor Fude fountain pen to try out. These are really different but fun to use. The thickness of the line is dependant on the angle you hold the pen so it takes a bit of getting used to. The ink in this was not permanent so I had to use the coloured pencils dry to avoid bleeding, even though I really wanted to watercolour those lovely colourful leaves.

#29 United – Preppy fountain pen with brown ink and watercolour. I’m no sports fan but even I have heard of Manchester United 😄

#30 Found – Ink and watercolour

#31 Mask – Ink, mainly Pentel brushpen and watercolour, plus a little colour pencil.

Most of the images used came from Sktchyapp and all were done in my handmade journal with Daler Rowney 160g drawing paper. It’s not watercolour paper but I quite like using it as it dries fairly quickly and the colours stay nice and bright. I made this journal initially for Liz Steels Online SketchingNow class, then used it for Every Day in May sketches a couple of years ago. This has almost finished this journal as there are only a couple of pages left. So it will be put away on the shelf till I find another way to use up those pages. 

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267 Inktober sketches Part 2

One thing about doing a monthly challenge is that it motivates you to sketch at least once a day, whether you feel like it or not. Some days inspiration just doesn’t come, so its back to the old adage,  “Inspiration finds you working”. So for the Day 12 prompt  “Shattered” I picked up a ballpoint pen and just started scribbling. I like adding an appropriate or amusing quote to each sketch, often simply to make me feel better about a drawing I’m unhappy with.

Day 13 – Teeming. I drew a few strokes with a white chinagraph pencil before applying a watered down ink wash for a rain effect.


#14 – Fierce. Sometimes it’s easier to find a quote first before looking for a reference photo. Ink, watercolour and brushpen. A brushpen is maybe a little heavy for a toddlers face 😄

# 15 – Mysterious – sepia ink with a waterbrush.

# 16 – Fat – ink and watercolour

#17 – Graceful – ink and coloured pencil.

#18 – Filthy – ink and watercolour. 

#19 – Cloud – permanent and water soluble ink. It’s a clouded leopard in case you were wondering at my interpretation. 
#20 – Deep – ink and watercolour

#21 – Furious – ink, brushpen and marker.

All these sketches were done in one of my handmade journals 10 x 7 inch of 160g Daler Rowney cartridge paper, with various inks as per Inktober challenge,  and the lettering with various markers.

Well, I managed to make it to day 21. Not too many to go so I think I can manage to do the whole month. 

260 Sketches from the Portrait Journal

It’s been a while and I apologise for the slowdown in my postings. No excuse! Life gets in the way 😉 I’ll simply do a catch-up of all portrait practise done over the last few weeks.

All photo references are from Sktchyapp. First is a gouache and watercolour pencil sketch of Anita.

I like to mix things up a bit so I used Strathmore toned paper for a graphite sketch, adding a little white pencil in the light areas for this sketch of Ciara. The background was a watercolour wash of Quin Gold with some red dropped in.  I rubbed some yellow and red watercolour pencil onto sandpaper and allowed the particles to drop into the wet wash.

Another toned paper sketch of Pat, with a Pentel brushpen with gouache added for the flesh and background areas.

A mixed media sketch of Rick, on toned paper again. Pentel brushpen, gouache and watercolour pencil.Dusti provided the next image and I used this for more experimenting. First I applied a random wash of  Ultramarine and Raw Sienna, then drew over that with the brushpen. I added a bit more colour to define the features and shadows.Another experiment but I have no idea what I’m doing with these el cheapo kiddies markers. It’s fun scribbling though. Thanks to Simone for letting me play around with her image.

img_3584This sketch of Ellen is on toned paper again with the Pentel brushpen and watercolour pencils.  I often use a white Posca marker or a Signo Uniball pen for the highlight in the eyes.Lastly is a watercolour sketch of Robin. I do enjoy watercolours but should really use proper watercolour paper instead of this inexpensive journal. It’s not meant for wet media but it seems to work ok and can take limited layers. I

The Quill journal I’ve been using for most of the sketches has 250gsm cartridge paper and is about 15 x 20cm or 6 x 8″.

I initially only intended to use graphite and coloured pencil but I started adding markers, gouache and watercolour.  I find I am much less precious using this cheap book and much more inclined to experiment, and not worry about the outcome. Much less intimidating than using a “good” book with precious paper.

#254 Pencils and paint

More portraits 😁 It seems that I can’t go a day without a portrait now. Each time I go into my art room to think about starting a “proper painting” another portrait calls out to me. This next one is another watercolour pencil sketch with a waterbrush touched here and there. This process is a bit hit and miss, sketching, adding water with the brush, and going over that with pencil. If I need extra depth or colour I draw directly into the wet area and sometimes dip the pencil into water. Most of my watercolour pencils are Faber Castell with a few Staedtler and Caran D’Arche as well. This is a sketch of Joanne from Sktchyapp.

Another portrait of Jane from Sktchyapp painted in gouache with Pentel ink brushpen over.
A quick sketch from real life. I decided it’s about time I tried another selfie, standing in front of the mirror using a brown Pitt artist pen in a crappy sketchbook. I added the watercolour with a waterbrush and watercolour pencils. You can see the different pencil lines, the lighter ones are used dry and the darker are into wet areas.

And finally something different. We had a gorgeous autumn day last week so we went for a picnic at a nearby National Park. I did a little value sketch followed by a quick little gouache. I quite like the scene and hope to get around to doing a “proper painting” of this in the future.

252 One Week 100 People

As this week is all about sketching faces quickly I’d like to share a couple of videos that I found helpful for trying to get proportions right when sketching faces. First is Alphonso Dunn’s YouTube tips to help you sketch here. And David Rankins 5 minute sketching recipe here. I found these quite useful. I’m always looking for ways of improving my sketching so if you know of any others let me know.
This week has all been about doing 100 portraits in a week. The idea being doing so many faces will improve my hand eye coordination and work out shortcuts for faces. Most of the reference photos are from Sktchyapp.

I’m using this week of One Week 100People for experimenting, yes, again, to find what suits me best doing this type of sketching. I have been doing portraits just with a 2B mechanical pencil for a while so I wanted to get out of the rut.  So here’s my attempts so far, the good, the bad and the ugly.

I started the week with watered down ink in a waterbrush, trying for speed rather than a great likeness. As long as they look human I’m happy. 



Then I switched back to graphite and ballpoint pen.


Next I tried watercolour first with watercolour pencil linework over that.


And then back to graphite


Day 2 A different tool for the next one, a Pilot V pen with watersoluble ink. I like this because I can get a variation in tones using a waterbrush.


But I still needed to speed up because trying to fit in 20 sketches a day was taking me much longer than I intended so quick 5 minute graphite again.


Day 3 I used a Preppy Fountain pen with brown ink, trying more of a contour line type approach. Not altogether successful but a good exercise looking for the planes and shadow areas of a face.


Then I felt the need for some colour so I used just 3 colours and my waterbrush and then watercolour pencils to sketch the faces. Fun but a bit time consuming.


After 60 I’m starting to run out of energy with this but I’ve only 2 days to go so I think I’ll make it, especially if I can learn how to speed up. I have already learned quite a bit so far and learned where my weaknesses are. I have one portrait in this lot that I’m happy with. Can you pick it? I’ll share my thoughts on this when I post the final 2 days.

242 Sketches from Bali

It’s been almost a month since I posted. A lot has happened in that time, a wedding, visitors and travel, with not a lot of free time for sketching.

First up is a sketch of the happy couple for the wedding card.

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Next came the boring parts of travel. Trying to capture people at the airport certainly helps while away the waiting time, even if people move too fast, it’s all good practise.

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On the plane and then the the first day at the resort. Hot, tropical weather is conducive to lounging by the pool with a glass of fresh juice. I drank a lot of fresh juices in Bali, guava, watermelon, mango, pineapple and some I’m sure I missed.img_1817

Another day, another beach. What a hard life it was 😊 I also tried to sketch the view from the front steps. Unfortunately taxis kept coming and going, blocking my view and filling the air with petrol fumes. It wasn’t such a good idea so I retreated back to the beach.

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After an idyllic week of luxury resorting, we moved up to the hills of Ubud.

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All of the above sketches were in my 23 x 15 cm journal. I then switched to my mini journal (16 x 11cm) and mini sketch kit on our day trips. I find I’m more inclined to do a quick scribble in the little journal, whereas the larger one I only seemed to use if I had access to a seat and table with room to spread out a little. 

The Campuhan ridge walk was very beautiful, although rather hot and sweaty, it was definetly the main highlight of the Ubud area. I did a quick line sketch while drinking a lassi (yoghurt fruit drink) at a cafe overlooking rice fields. 

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I also managed another quick sketch of one of the many temples we visited. As we weren’t required to hire a guide for this one I had a few minutes to myself to do a line sketch and add the colour later.


Finally,  a couple of sketches done from photos in my mini journal.


Bali is a beautiful, tropical holiday destination with lots of different options. We stayed firstly at a luxury resort which is quite removed from the “real Bali”. The next few days were in Ubud in the mountainous region, which is surrounded by tropical jungle and rice fields. It was an artists colony and retreat in the past but is now very busy with traffic and street markets.  Then much more down market our last few days were spent in Legian which is very close to Kuta, the main shopping, bar and nightclub area. The area is completely congested with taxis, motor bikes, scooters and other vehicles all driving to the road rules that only Balinese seem to understand.

It was a wonderful holiday but it’s always good to be home.

235 A week of portraits

This week has been a week of portraits. Since discovering Sktchyapp I seem to be engrossed in sketching people. In the evening instead of watching a mindless tv program I grab a journal and pencil, pick a photo from Sktchy’s never ending stream and limit myself to a 15 minute sketch. These first 3 were all done in a Moleskine journal with a 7B pencil.


Then as I like to try something different, the next 2 sketches were done on Strathmore toned paper, first buff then grey, with an ink outline, and watercolour pencil and brush pen on top.

Each week a photo is chosen as a challenge on Sktchyapp. A beautiful photo was provided by Nadyia Duff for this week. I decided to do a semi blind contour drawing first. This is done looking at the photo and not the paper you are drawing on, while drawing a single line without lifting the pencil off the paper. I love doing these to loosen up.

After the fun I did a proper attempt, starting with a pencil sketch and using the colour of  Stonehenge paper for the skin tone, then adding a little bit of shading in transparent gouache with thicker paint for the eyes and hair.

It’s all very well working from photos for portraits but when it comes to sketching real people in real time it’s another matter. I tried some cafe sketching one morning, but people keep moving, especially if they think you’re drawing them and get self conscious. Oh well, it’s good practise and fun playing with a magic colour pencil and waterbrush.

I also managed to get out for a quick sketch walk. I wanted to test run my little palette I attached to my towelling wrist band with Velcro to see if it worked. And it does. One hand holds the journal and the other the brush. No trying to juggle palette and book in one hand. And I ocan fit the palette, journal and pen and phone into a bum bag. Super lightweight sketchwalk 


I hope I get to use this on my travels. Wish me luck. This may be my last post before I’m off for a month. If I’m able I’ll post to my Instagram account. That’s if there’s anything worthwhile to post 😄