Less than a week now and I board that aircraft for Italy. I have wanted to do some sketching from my photos ever since I came back last time. On the whole I don’t enjoy sketching from photos any more, but I must be in the mood for it at the moment. This is Santa Maria della Pieve in the Piazza Grande in Arezzo. Spending a week not far from here.
Another reason for this sketch is that I wanted to give the magic pencils a workout. I haven’t used them for a long time , maybe since this sketch in 2010. I have a project in mind to do in Sicily and it may well be with the magic pencils, perhaps aided by a few watercolour shadows. But it might not happen, and it might very well turn out to be a dog’s breakfast, in which case I won’t show you.
Strangely, magic pencils are suddenly in the news, with Laurelines also using them very recently.
Sketching yesterday around Newtown. A little park with some lovely old houses around it. One row of very elaborate large houses had so much architectural detail that you could sketch there for a month and still do something different every time. The first sketch I was trying out the three-media technique (with a variation). I used a red Copic Multiliner to sketch it initially, then put my mid-tones on with pink and peach Tombow pens – a bit too similar to each other. I needed to do that before the light moved around. Then a purple Tombow to reinforce the main lines and the darks. A waterbrush to just wash some of the purple over the windows. Very quick, and even better…nothing to finish afterwards.
The second one was from a row of small simple, but still old houses on another side of the park. This is the two-media technique. Green Copic Multiliner and watercolour mix of Antwerp Blue and Paynes Grey.
I did enjoy doing the pink and purple one. I have been wanting to do something in completely unrealistic colours and now I have. It is the monster technique of course. Such fun to do, but perhaps I should get back to some serious stuff. I do enjoy trying new techniques though. Any suggestions?
Last week we went sketching at the Powerhouse Museum. I took watercolour pencils and used those inside the Museum. Also Copic Multiliner. It is quite dark everywhere in the museum so it was tricky trying to catch the different shades of grey from the shadows and the water in the tank and in the pump area.
We tucked ourselves away in a corner because there were some school groups visitng the museum, and we didn’t want to be in the way. However this water pump is able to be used, and most of the children who came by wanted to try. we had to reassure the parents that they weren’t blocking our view (well, not for long). Some little boys said it was really difficult to pump, but then two little girls came along and they really thumped at it and made it go fast. We didn’t try, ourselves.
An Urban Sketchers ‘event’ at the National Maritime Museum today. Perfect weather …23 degrees….for what is still the middle of winter. I was prepared with scarf and gloves for being cold down by the water. Not at all! I had to take my coat off.
I love to draw this ship. It is the brightest vermilion when the sun is on it. I have sketched it before. I turned one of those sketches into a solar plate and have printed only two from it so far. Both of them have gone into the collection of the State Library of NSW.
The Carpentaria was used as a beacon on rocks where it was not possible to construct a lighthouse, and it operated out of Cairns in Queensland. One of the Urban Sketchers there today had actually seen it in situ. I commented on its strange shape, and he said it had to be tough to be out there. There is something about it that reminds me of a bobbing barrel, though it wasn’t bobbing today on the calm waters of Darling Harbour.
Finally back to my sketchbook to do another sketch from my Bali photos. Ever since I did the earlier drawing of the gate at Kalibukbuk I have wanted to do another in pencil. I decided to use the Derwent Light Wash and Derwent Dark Wash. I do love these pencils. Once I had completed the drawing I scanned it before I put the wash on. I wasn’t sure how successful it would be. I have used these pencils before but mostly to sketch the cats. I hadn’t used them for something where tone would be so important. The top one is the one with the wash.
It is amazing to think that someone designed this carving, and executed it from a two dimensional drawing. At least, I assume that’s how it would have been done. There are carvings everywhere in Bali, and I have seen them doing the bas-relief ones into concrete. I will pay more attention next time. At one hotel years ago, we had a huge verandah with the Ramayana carved around two sides. So many things to love about Bali.
Derivan Dave and I had a play with this technique…oh, I don’t know…. over a year ago. At the time we were looking for new techniques suitable for Liquid Pencil. I found this idea in Moira Handly’s book “The Artist’s Drawing Book”. It’s an oldie but goodie, and if you are happy with a second-hand one, the price is certainly good!
I have had one of these left hanging on the fridge with a magnet since that day. I decided that this technique would work just as well with inks, so I had another practice at home before the demo.
The first step is very simple. You need a limited palette, a blue, a green and a brown. I usually add a bit of red to the green to make it more of an olive green. The aim is for it to look like the forest floor. You drip a few drops of ink ( or watered down Liquid Pencil works just as well) onto the area that will be ‘the ground’. Then tip the paper so that the inks runs in various directions, then take an ordinary drinking straw and blow little tendrils and branches out from the main lines of ink. When you are happy with your composition, allow to dry. One alternative is to paint on a little colour before you start, as I have done with the olive green colour in the second one.
The first one pictured is the Liquid Pencil one from a long time ago. I drew into that one with ink and a ‘post office pen’. I used actual plants and drew them from life (weeds actually).
The second one is a new one with the inks, and I do wish I had toned that blue down with some orange.This one I used watercolour pencils as Moira Handly does, but for my preference they don’t stand out enough. I prefer the pen.
The third one is also with the inks. It is the one I like best. I loved the Liquid Pencil one before I drew on it, and wanted to think of a way to simplify. So I just started doodling some diagonal lines and I found that they looked like the veins of leaves, so I carried on in that theme. Easy as anything. You can do it with children.