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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Are you doing Inktober? Sketching with ink each day for 31 days?
I knew it was coming up and had already decided I would give it a miss this year. But after going through a very non productive stage I felt I needed some sort of motivation to get back to regular sketching again.
I looked at Sktchyapp few days ago and saw they also have new challenges posted regularly now. One was to draw inspiration from the masters. I took inspiration from Egon Schiele for this sketch, done on Strathmore tan toned paper with Pentel brushpen and gouache. Thanks to Teri for the reference image.
That felt good to do a figure sketch again, so I decided I would go ahead and attempt Inktober. There is a daily prompt, some I may follow depending how the mood strikes. I’m not good at prompts, it’s just something that takes a bit more effort.
Whether I will manage all 31 days is yet to be seen but I’ll try. I didn’t follow the prompt for day 1. Instead I picked a quick and easy one using Matisse’s simple line drawings as the inspiration for this sketch. Photo reference from Lisa on Sktchyapp.
I was pleased that I managed to come up with this interpretation for the day 2 prompt – Division. Once again the reference photo is from Sktchyapp with thanks to Arshia for the photo.
Inktober #3 Poison. I have to use google sometimes for ideas and found this image there. I just needed to add some watercolour to this as I’m a colour girl.
So far so good. But I’m only up to day 3!
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.
I haven’t done a journal page for ages. In fact I haven’t done much in the way of sketching or painting for ages.
But we are heading off on a road trip shortly and I’m getting my sketching supplies ready in anticipation. Art supplies are usually the first things I pack. I thought I’d share my favourite super lightweight sketch kit. I like to take this when I’m hiking or out strolling, not knowing whether I’ll actually get around to sketching, but have the supplies on hand if the mood strikes. That way I’m not lugging heavier and bulkier items then feeling peeved if I don’t get to do some sketching.
I will also be taking along other supplies, gouache and an easel in the hope that I might get to do a painting or two. Wish me luck.
The tiny palette is fashioned from a credit card holder. You can see how I made it here. The mini journal is stitched with a sewing machine. The assembly and sewing instructions can be seen here.
The only other sketch I managed to do over the last few weeks is an experimental portrait done with a BIC 4 colour ballpoint pen. Thanks to M Elizabeth and Sktchyapp for the reference photo.
The inspiration for trying ballpoint pens came from seeing the awe inspiring work of Nicholas V Sanchez. You can see his incredible sketches here.