Tag Archives: pen and ink

A dotty interlude

Sometimes I doodle just by dotting with a fine tip fiber pen. Usually with inconsequential results, but sometimes it works well. This cormorant was drawn from memory after a visit to a lake. The dotting allows you to correct it as you go along. The red seals just set it off.

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This shark was more considered, based on a couple of photographs. I used a grey pen for the water, which worked better than I had hoped for. This was a birthday card for a fishing son.

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Life class, clothed figure.

Just a sitting, clothed figure this week. I did two full figure drawings and two sketch book portraits. I am really poor at portraits so want to concentrate on them. I’ve just ordered a book on drawing the human head.

These full figures are largely in contè crayon, which I really like. You can get very subtle effects and really dense darks.

These two portraits are in Derwent Graphik pen. I haven’t liked it before, but it really came into its own here. It isn’t waterproof, which is where I have come badly unstuck before, using it as a base for watercolour. A real mess.

Lots of Victorian ladies

I found a lovely book in one of our second hand bookshops. A compendium of images of women from the 19th century. All are wood engravings from the likes of the London Illustrated News. The quality of the images is astounding. I am trying to copy several of them, just to see how they did it.

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It is near impossible to accurately mimic them in pen. They are essentially white lines engraved onto a black background. With pen it is the reverse, black on white. You can reproduce some of the linear work, but crosshatch fails. It goes darker on the pen drawing but lighter on the engraving. I will try to do some copies without trying to follow the linear original later.

Daily drawing 

Today’s sketch on the right, with last night’s on the left. I have been working over the latter. It is very hard to stop. This is the end of this sketch book. It has slightly rough, 50 year old water colour paper in it, which I didn’t like for drawing on at first, but it is lovely for this style of sketching. The fibre tipped fine liner pen starts to run dry after a bit, which actually improves the drawing. The next sketchbook had smooth paper in it, which I will probably now hate.

Last watercolour classes

I’ve been to my last two water colour classes. Next autumn I am going to a printing class at the Gloucestershire Printing Cooperative for a change and a challenge. The last classes produced some interesting work. First a Klimtish landscape of birch trees, painted using tube water colour, straight from the tube with no water. The trunks were done in white gouache, dragged on with a palette knife. The effect is quite convincing and barely looks like water colour at all.

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In the last class, we worked outside behind Cirencester parish church. Pen sketch with quick watercolour washes over. I had taken a folding chair to suit on, but actually found it more comfortable to suit on the ground. Used a light weight sheet of double walled plastic as a drawing board, which worked well.

The result is a bit messy, but not bad overall. I am going on an urban sketching day in Cirencester next week, so this is a preliminary.

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Working on my drawing skills

I’ve decided that I need to improve my basic drawing skills. To that end I am starting to do a lot of small copies of exemplars, starting with Leonardo da Vinci (may as well start high). It is also something I can do in the evening, perched on a sofa. Most painting requires and easel and all the other technology. Drawing just needs paper and pen.

I love drawing in ink. You are stuck with every line, whereas with pencil you can keep fiddling with it. I love charcoal too, but on a larger scale than this. Not suitable to sofas.

Views of Dorset

I managed to get down to my boat in Poole harbour at last a couple of weeks ago, coinciding with hot, sunny weather. A very rare coincidence this year. I also managed to do some simple pen sketches from the boat and whilst out walking over the heathland. I have tried turning a few of these into small acrylic paintings, with varying success.

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This very simple sketch was quite tricky, as the boat was at anchor and swinging around in the breeze. What I wanted to show in the painting is that the sandy peninsula was caught in bright evening sunlight, whilst the background was quite shadowed. Only partly achieved.

wp-1471009380720.jpgA sketch of a chalk stack called Old Harry’s Wife. (Old Harry himself is far bigger and just out of sight around the corner). Very bouncy anchorage, with the Isle of wight on the horizon. The painting is on a very smooth art board, which I didn’t like all that much. The paint tended to drag off too easily.

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The ink sketch was from the same anchorage as Old Harry’s Wife, looking towards Studland village. I coloured the ink sketch in at home, and then produced the acrylic based on that. More an impression rather than an accurate representation.

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A quick sketch on Studland beach, which I worked up a couple of weeks later.I find the sea and sand really hard to paint. Once I had the basic layout laid down, I realised I had my viewpoint far too high, so I added the dune in the foreground to make it look balanced. There were far more people on the beach than I show, and I left off all the little tents and windbreaks as I think they are just ugly. It is a most beautiful beach, especially on a hot sunny day.

Our’s is a nice house, our’s is…

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We painted a cottage scene last week in our watercolour class, which I quite liked, but thought I could have done better. So as it was a sunny weekend I decided to have a go at painting our own house, which is a classic cotswold cottage with roses round the door. It was very pleasant way to spend a couple of sunny hours, even if daughter-in-law’s puppy wanted to help most of the time.

I started with a complete pen drawing, trying to get the textures of various plants. Neither easy nor quick. You get cramp in your fingers from scribbling after a while.

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Then I added the colour over a couple of days up in my studio.

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I think the paint may be a little dense, but that’s better than being thin and wishy-washy, as far too many watercolours are. On the whole, quite pleased with the result, which is back up at the top.