I’ve just recently dug out my recent collection of moleskine watercolour books to see if I can pinpoint where whether my style has changed. As an avid sketcher I follow many artists on social media and I often wonder whether theres a limit to development once a style has been truly cemented. My own development seems to have passed in fast and slow moments. Whether thats due to discipline, lack on experimentation or a comfort zone that’s too comfortable, I’m not sure. What I can see personally is a growing confidence in expressive use of paints and a distinct shift towards a more artful representation of an urban scene. I have begun reworking pieces at home as framed art rather than pure on-location mark making, brought about possible by the flurry of commissions in 2021.
Recently I had the opportunity to work with Derwent Art, which was very exciting but tested my own filming and editing skills as well as my art! I I took the line and wash paint and pan set for a test drive. It’s a very portable set of half pans and 2 fine liners built for the the urban sketcher and fans of intense and bold watercolours.
They allow for reworking once dried and really pack a punch in terms of vibrance. Standard water colours always dry darker and the reds and yellows can sometimes dull over time. What a delight to see the Derwent pigments remain prominent once dry.
The kit came supplied with a brush pen, not something i’ve used a great deal before. Given my heavy use of water I did fear the pen would need some regular refilling however I was pleasantly surprised. I did find that a mixture of the supplied brush pen and a smaller detail paint brush helped me capture the details required.
It’s become a kit I now take on most sketching trips, very portable, a great range of colours that will last a long time. The supplied fine liners are quality, still going strong after a dozen or so sketches and ultimately for me, great with water.
This compact, curated collection contains versatile greys and blacks along with highly pigmented colours including six of Derwent’s most loved Inktense colours. These paints can be dissolved for subtle washes or unlike traditional watercolour, washes of vivid Inktense paint can be applied without dissolving previously dried layers. Four Graphitint colours provide muted tones and the set is completed with two neutral lighter shades. The black Line Maker pens featuring the finest quality 0.3mm and 0.8mm Japanese nibs, are perfect for versatile linework. This pocket-sized set contains two Line Makers, 12 paint pans, five mixing palettes and a sponge to clean the waterbrush and is ideal for urban sketching and on location art.
This July I was incredibly fortunate to be invited to participate in the The Baltic Sketching Festival, an annual event usually delivered face to face but inevitably changed to an online format in 2021.
The festival always attracts a wide range of artists and urban sketchers and this was my first opportunity to run both an online demonstration and a more in depth workshop.
My planned session, ‘Fast and fluid city sketching’, covered of a range of topics to help beginners and the more experienced get to grips with quick mark making and capturing scenes with continuous line sketching for free and expressive line work.
The demo consisted of the following exercises.
The equipment I use
My preferred sketchbook and paper
Finding the right scene to sketch
Importance of perspective and depth
Continuous line sketching exercise
The use of negative space
Splashing watercolour with expression!
Tips and tricks
I have condensed down my hour long demo into a 13 minute version that offers some insight in to how the first session went. As expected I was pretty nervous and spoke too fast sometimes but overall, so chuffed to have been able take a leap out of my comfort zone - that’s where the good stuff happens!
The source photography was supplied by the brilliant team running the event. Sadly not a time that we could ‘urban sketch’ in the true sense of the movement, on location, but the next best option. Despite this I developed a fondness of the beautiful city of Cesis ❤️