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?

Sneaky Reads

Sometimes in the Summer Holidays I long to sneak off and hide with a book. 

And sometimes I fall asleep after reading the kids a bedtime story; then they get a sneaky extra read before Lights Out.

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…

Grey Day

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This little paper box was for today’s Lilac Grey #colour_collective on twitter.

It pushed me out of my colour comfort zone – I don’t often use purply colours, but I loved using this grey today.

Book Corner

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This was going to be 3 dogs walking in a park, until a scribbly pink tree I’d done for something else fluttered out of a bag I was emptying…and I put the 3 dogs aside and used this one.
And thought I’d quite like to be sitting reading under pink blossom.

A Nonchalant Fox

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The other day I was spending the morning drawing wolves in my studio. As I stood by the door washing my paintbrushes a beautiful fox walked past right in front of the studio.
I opened the door quietly so as not to disturb it and then suddenly wanted it to look at me – I wondered what it’s reaction would be.
The only thing I could think of to say, rather foolishly, was ‘Fox! Fox!’ as if I was calling a pet cat.
It carried on walking up my sloping garden, then turned and looked back at me.
Then it did a wee in the grass and sauntered off.