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 ❤️
Very pleased to have recently spoken with pedestrianspace.com on the the subject of ‘urbanism’ as part of their Friday Artist series. Read the full article here
We discussed a range of topics..
What is the relationship between the city and your art? How does urbanism influence your work?
Urbanism is pivotal to my inspiration. Architecture and historic structures carry all sorts of stories and tales that can fuel my vivid imagination. I love the fusion of the modern age framed by listed buildings, historic shop fronts, archways and spires. I adore working with visual depth and sharp perspective and spend a lot of time photographing and physically framing views and vanishing points for the perfect scene. The addition of people and daily life is the element that offers the unexpected twists to authentic ‘urban sketching’ – sketching on location.
What mediums do you work with?
The daily sketchbook is full of watercolours and fine liner markings. So much water indeed that my books, when full, have warped in size and carry the battle scars of the urban landscape.
We really love the blurred vehicles in the “Love the city” photo series if you can share more on producing these images.
Photography remains a passion also, having spent many hours in the traditional darkroom as an art student. My ‘city love’ series documents my own development in capturing movement through long exposure – a technique I learnt in the pursuit of capturing the night sky through a telescope. My blurred city shots were quite impromptu and involved just a mini tripod and timing. They all illustrate my craving for sharp perspective and experiments around the rule of thirds. My favourite shot ‘Behold’ was a December capture on Regent street which involved sitting on the kerb (safety advisory!) to capture the angle and to merge the Christmas angel amongst the busy London bus.
We got completely lost (in the best way!) while exploring your urban sketchbook works, can you share about the inspiration from this series?
As an urban landscape artist my work is inspired by the cities and towns we live in. An avid urban sketcher, my dedication to sketching on location. Whilst capturing a scene from everyday life, I always seek to bring an element of intrigue and spontaneity to deliver a more ‘artful’ representation rather than capturing a photo-realistic representation. Be it in the rapid sketching style that demands a simplification of the scene or indeed the fluid and spontaneous use of watercolours, both help to add rhythm – the essential ingredient to make it work as a piece of art.