293 More Portraits

My favourite type of sketching for relaxation is sketching faces. I never get tired of trying to capture a likeness, and I find every new face is a new challenge. Here are some I’ve done over the last few months, all photo references were from Sktchyapp.

These first two are playing around in an A5 journal with plain drawing paper. I know it’s not suitable for watercolour, and I didn’t intend to use it, but I sometimes get carried away and can’t help myself.

The paper wrinkles when wet and can only take very limited washes but that stops me messing around too much.

This one I sketched in the basic shapes with a red coloured pencil before defining the features lightly with ink, then adding watercolour. This would have worked better if I was able to mix the colours on the paper in the initial wash instead of trying to do a second.

This next sketch was approached the same way but I used a Pentel brush pen to indicate the textures of the hat and scarf. A little watercolour pencil was added in the shadow areas, as I learnt from the previous painting that this paper doesn’t like repeated layers.

Then I switched to Strathmore toned paper as it’s great to use for ink and gouache, and the tan colour provides a warm background.

I prepainted this page with red earth acrylic paint before using a white chalk pencil for the initial sketch. Black and white gouache were the only colours used to create the drama.

Gouache can be used on a great variety of surfaces, so I used it here on the thin plain paper in my journal. I kept the initial ink line sketch light and almost covered by the paint. Even on this thin paper several layers of paint can be applied, but once again too much water in the mix will cause the paper to wrinkle as you can see in the background wash.

Same approach here but I wanted used a heavier application of ink brush pen over the paint.

And for something rather different this final image is acrylic on heavy weight watercolour paper.

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285 Win a Portrait

This week I reached an Instagram milestone. What started there was merely a fun daily posting in my little diary, with a sketch and quote, experimenting with different media, styles and calligraphy.

It has since evolved a mixture of urban sketches, Plein air painting and my very favourite portrait and pet paintings.

I now have over 1000 followers which is huge for me, and as a thank you I’m offering my followers a chance to win a personalised portrait sketch. Since I’ve been blogging much longer than instagramming I’m extending this offer to my loyal blog followers too.

I’d love one of you to win, so if you would like a portrait of yourself, or a loved one or pet, all you need to do is leave a comment below to go into the draw.

284 Fun Portraits

I’m still around in case you were wondering, but my blog posts are becoming an infrequent occurrence. It seems I don’t have anything interesting to post these days but when I go through my photos I can find a whole bunch of stuff, whether it’s interesting or not remains to be seen 😄

Spring weather can be a bit iffy in my area, so quite often our regular Plein air outing ends up not Plein air, and we end up at the local library or a cafe. On this occasion I was bored with the idea of yet another sketch of the town hall, so I sketched one of my painting buddies instead. This was a semi blind contour sketch in ink on crummy paper, which was a lot of fun but my friend turned out looking like a 90 year old bag lady.

But, gouache to the rescue. Later at home I fixed it to resemble her, and her beautiful Opera pink scarf. She even offered to buy it, but I was happy to give it to her seeing she liked it so much.

After this session I decided I needed a bit more portrait practise. The Inktober challenge appeared on social media and even though I was a few days late starting I thought I would do a series of portraits depicting the daily theme, using different media.

Day 1 started out ok, using a Pentel brush pen for a direct sketch with a bit of colour for the prompt of Poison.

Day 2 – Tranquil. A BIC ballpoint pen sketch. Ballpoint pen is rather nice to sketch with as you can achieve linework varying from very faint with light pressure to quite dark with heavier pressure.

But it’s often the case that I’m not good at following daily prompts when it gets too hard to find a suitable subject for that prompt. So I drifted away.

However last week I found myself with a lot of time to waste in waiting rooms and I just happen to have a cheap IKEA notebook and a pencil with me, so I grabbed a few images from Sktchyapp to while away the time. Sketching really makes time fly.

These were all about 30 minute sketches. I think I improved as I went along.

This little session has reminded me how much I love doing portraits. I’ll keep doing them for fun in between my Plein air sessions and trying to master landscapes.

279 Portraits and Boats

A couple of my most recent portraits. I haven’t been doing so many lately. I must get back into the habit as it’s something I really enjoy.

I have long admired Pat Southern Pierce’s drawings of buildings and urban scenes combining ink and crayons on toned paper. I decided to try a portrait using that combination of materials, an ink brush pen plus a little watercolour pencil and crayon. The tan Kraft paper works well in this case providing the mid tone of the sketch.

Thanks to Madison from Sktchyapp.

The next double portrait was a special commission for my big brother. He celebrated a milestone birthday recently, so I painted a soft and pretty watercolour of his granddaughters as a surprise. I think he was pretty happy with it.

Another recent commission followed on from a recent painting I posted on Instagram. The original sketch was from a Plein air outing to a local tourist site and I was subsequently asked to do the same boat from a different angle.

The original sketch done on site – Ink and watercolour on 300g paper.

The commissioned sketch from a photograph. It was a challenge getting all the masts, rigging and ropes to look right, as it was going to someone very familiar with this boat and needed to be fairly accurate. Doing a previous Plein Air sketch certainly helped as I found it was so much easier to work with what was in front of me rather than trying to interpret a photograph.

275 Portraits Again

While I love painting all manner of things, landscapes, Plein Air, still life, I’ve decided my very favourite thing to sketch and paint is portraits. It’s my relaxation and it’s fun to curl up in the lounge chair in the evening with my little journal in my lap and my iPad to scroll through a never ending stream of portraits from Sktchyapp. If I decide to paint the portrait I map out the sketch in the evening and paint it with better light next day.

This is my most recent one – gouache, ink and pencil – Jon from Sktchyapp.

Here are some older ones from a few weeks ago.

This is Elizabeth. Here I’m trying new materials – Conte carbon pencil and white Pitt pencil on A4 Strathmore tan paper.

Happy dance! This was my first commission through Sktchy. Painted on A4 watercolour paper with gouache and watercolour pencil. I couldn’t show this for a while as it was to be a surprise.

Back to my little journal A5 size. This is Jane – gouache, ink and coloured pencil.

And a lazy, late night lounge chair sketch on Kraft paper with Conte carbon pencil and white pencil.

And for a change of faces a lovely German Shepherd called Dutch. Ink and watercolour on A4 drawing paper.

That’s it for portraits for a while. Next post will probably be Plein Air or landscapes, depending how the mood strikes.

271 Sktchyapp Portraits

Most of my portraits at the present time are from photos available on Sktchyapp. This is a fun app, available sadly only for iPhone and iPad at this stage. One of the fun aspects of this app is the ability to swipe sideways to see the inspiration photo and the artwork, and to see each artist’s interpretation, their methods and materials. It’s always inspiring to see and learn from others. This is a screenshot of the swipe in action.

And here is the complete portrait, painted in my small Quill journal with gouache, pencil and a touch of white Posca pen. Thanks to Nariman for the reference image.

I love painting portraits as you probably know by now, and recently became aware of the option to offer commissions through the shop at Sketchy. This is a trial run for Sktchy I believe, before adding the feature more widely through the app. You can see my listings here and if you like what you see feel free to commission one of your own. Id love to paint one for you or of your pet 😉

Another experiment, this time with a patterned background – once again, gouache with pencil. Thanks to PixelPrincess for her inspiring photo.

Thee month of November is #noshavenovember and #movember in support of cancer awareness I chose a lovely moustachioed subject for the following portrait. Thanks Stuart for your great image.

All of my images up until now have been iPad photos, which I think have been perfectly ok for my purpose. But now that I’m offering commission portraits the images need to be a bit better, and a higher resolution, so I will be going back to the more laborious process of scanning, saving, photoshopping and colour matching. It is probably worth the effort as it is sometimes very hard to tweak the colours in the photo.

The photos of Stuart and PixelPrincess are both iPad photos but the top one of Nariman is a scan. Can you tell the difference?

263 Mini Canvases

I’ve been experimenting with gouache over gesso on these little canvases. It’s not as receptive as paper, as I like to begin with thinned paint to block in the shapes, progressively adding thicker paint strokes on top. The gesso is a bit resistant to the initial layer of paint and it takes a little extra work to cover the white spots that show in the weave. When finished I give the canvas a couple of light coats of Matt varnish spray.  Ready to hang on the wall without having to frame behind glass.

Why bother with gouache instead of acrylic? No particular reason, I just love gouache!

And at last, my first selfie sketch without glasses! I have had follow up eye surgery after 5 months following complications with the first surgery. Now all is good and I am just using cheapie x2 glasses for reading. 

Watercolour with watercolour pencil in 6 x 8 Quill cartridge paper journal.