Tuesday, 1 November 2016


October 2016 has been my first experience of ‘Inktober’, a Facebook challenge set up to appeal to subscribing artists interested in using ink for producing a total of no less than 31 images – one for every day in the month!

While thoroughly enjoying the process and following the page, I have noticed that many artists use the opportunity to challenge themselves in particular ways. …for me it was just a case of achieving the daily target, as with so many demands on my time at present this has been quite difficult!

Some of my results have been decidedly mixed, when measured by my personal feelings of success, but any artist needs to be his or her own harshest critic in order to progress, so I’m not dismayed by my total achievement during the month!

I haven’t always used the same sketchbook, as any attempt on my part at daily sketching often needs to be a case of sometimes just ensuring that a minimum kit is hurredly thrust into a bag or pockets in order to dash out and make the most of the weather! I don't drive, and this is a decided handicap for a Plein Air painter!
Other times I’ve been able to plan more efficiently and include perhaps a tinted sketchbook, inspired by the lovely work regularly produced by UrbanSketcher Pat Southern-Pearce.

Anyway, here is a small selection from one of my sketchbooks, taken at random, but from samples I happen to be quite pleased with!

   I have found that my Moleskine A6 Watercolour Sketchbook has become a new sketching favourite, and will be most welcome to accompany me whenever I’m able to choose my sketching location armed with a little more than just the contents of my pockets!
Not only is the size a useful one, but the paper is excellent quality, and I found that I really enjoyed using it for some of my inkdrawings, supplemented occasionally with a little colour!

The first one I found was a simple Japanese Anemone drawing, done 'straight in' with my lovely Carbon Platinum fountain pen, in the Watercolour sketchbook mentioned above...no pencil lines, no erasing, no white-painted amendments!  These are the very last blooms of the year, rescued from plants which have considerably brightened a dark north-facing frontage all season!

I just let my pen wander across the page - great fun! 

The next sketch was carried out in Berwick, just after taking some photos of a wonderful sunset.  I'd love to try painting this properly some day, so the next job was to do a careful drawing, and here's the result!
As you can see, renovations are in progress, so lack of curtains probably made my task easier.
This time a few light pencil guidelines were necessary, to ensure I included at least most of the chimney pots, so I now always carry a disposable Papermate mechanical pencil, which I find includes a really nice useful soft eraser on the end, although I always 'clean up' with a battery eraser these days - excellent for achieving a good result without damaging the surface of the paper!
Then I attempted a prolonged sketch from 'Cafe Nero' in Berwick - at present managed by a couple of voluble Italians - a great improvement!

Really quite pleased with this one - lots of pencil drafting necessary, but now I could add black ink and watercolour more confidently...I even managed to indicated some of the High Street shoppers and the Merry Go Round proprietor, although these seem not quite in scale, perhaps?
 Finally, I discovered that rare phenomenon, a comfortable seat in a sunny spot in an ideal sketching location, combined with time to draw - great!!! No matter that the foremost vehicle in Hide Hill, Berwick, became somewhat hybrid, since it changed for a different one as I drew, but such are the hazards of Urban Sketching!

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