Sketchbooks IV: Sticks

Recently at Art Club with The Good Ship Illustration we were drawing with sticks dipped in ink, and I found that I loved it! It creates a very spiky line, but it was quite liberating to embrace that line …

The drawings were still timed, but stopping to dip the sticks meant that I couldn’t work quite as quickly as usual, and it was good slow down.

I found that if a stick is quite blunt and slightly splintery at the end, it can give a lovely ‘dry brush’ effect.
I wanted to remember which sticks made the best marks, so I named them (after ’80s pop stars).

Sketchbooks III: Colour play

Red and blue

This Summer I’ve been playing around with red and blue together.

When I got home I started working on a red and blue character.

She’s (loosely) based on a character from a Picture Book idea I’m working on…

…and this is how she ended up!

Sketchbooks I: Surroundings

Trying out pencil and pen together on a morning walk

Throughout this long period of Lockdown we’ve been lucky to be able to work from home and homeschool.

More experiments – pen for trees and pencil for houses, or vice versa?

When we were only allowed out to exercise, I really missed being able to stop and draw. I used to love drawing people in streets, supermarkets and cafes.

Drawing the view from my window with sticks dipped in ink.

Homeschooling meant that instead of having whole mornings in my studio, I was only picking up my sketchbook for the odd half hour, which felt frustrating. Eventually I worked out more of a balance, but it took time.

I found that I keep coming back to drawing tiny faraway houses nestling in the hills where I live!

I began to draw everyday objects, my garden, my family and the views from my windows, and realised that there was so much I could learn from what was around me.

A quick warm up drawing in my studio – I like the accidental splodge of red in the middle.

I also did a lovely online illustration course by The Good Ship Illustration (more about that later!) which helped me to experiment with how and what I draw.

An old tractor, roped off – to the dismay of passing kids.

When we could spend a bit more time outside, I found I was drawing in a different way – really looking at my surroundings. By limiting myself to only 2 or 3 materials when I’m out and about, I don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to get everything in.

Drawing by the sea after being at home for so long was exhilarating …

Has anyone else used sketchbooks more, or in a different way, during Lockdown? Or even started drawing for the first time?

Daily Drawings

February drawings

Some time ago I was inspired to try filling a whole page with doodles after reading Michael Richard’s lovely blog A Certain Line (I couldn’t find the exact post…)

I found it a really enjoyable way of starting (or ending) the day – a mixture of drawing what’s around me and drawing characters from my imagination.

This February I decided to do it every day (though I missed a couple through tiredness/forgetfulness). It acted as a bit of a warm-up before starting work on something more focused.

It felt less pressured than doing ‘A drawing a day’ because it was looser; I unashamedly scribbled to fill spaces on the page. Now it’s becoming something that I’ll just do when I get to my desk without having to remind myself.

(And, as the top picture makes it look as if I work in a white and uncluttered space, I’m adding this unedited snap of what my studio looked like yesterday morning.)

February studio mess

Girls Who Draw Grasses

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Today I found 7 different grasses just walking through the garden to my studio (we don’t mow the grass very often).

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I used them to experiment with making very quick drawings, looking closely at the grasses but trying not to look at the page. I didn’t worry about accuracy or detail.

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Then I tried drawing in the same way with colours I wouldn’t normally combine…

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…and ended up with green paint and a pencil/pastel line.

I really enjoyed focusing on the process instead of the end result, and just seeing what happened. I think I could have repeated this experiment with different subject matter all day…