I haven’t drawn for several days and how my fingers know it. They’ve been itching, twitching, reminding me that I need to draw a portrait. But I’ve had both computer and printer problems. I can survive without a printer but in these Covid lockdown remote working days I absolutely can’t survive without a computer. And I’m self-employed so I can’t rely on an IT department to help me out, I have to solve the problem myself. Fortunately I’m pretty techie and, with the help of YouTube, I usually can. Three days later I’ve solved my computer problems- but not my printer ones – though I was woken at 2am with a crashing migraine, my body’s reminder that I have chronic illness and I haven’t been pacing.
So this morning I took some time out and drew Joshua from Sktchy. This is my first watercolour in a new Fabriano Venezia sketchbook- I wasn’t sure how it would take the water but it was much better than I expected. And I feel so much better after a couple of hours of art therapy.
I’m starting as I mean to go on this year with drawing therapy when I most need it. This is MyHung from Sktchy and drawing her is helping me deal with my post-Brexshit blues. I try to keep politics away from this blog as much as possible but I’m a very sad Brit today. I know that there’s a lot wrong with the way the European gravy train works, but I for one will miss the freedom of movement and closeness with the continent that being a member of the EU gave us.
This is Ksenia from Sktchy painted with Daniel Smith watercolours and finished with Prismacolor coloured pencils.
My favourite watercolours are Zecchi handmade watercolours that I discovered a few years ago on a trip to Florence. I order them online direct from Italy because I’m in live with the richness of their colours. But most of my painting friends rave about Daniel Smith paints so when I saw some on sale at Jacksons Art last week I decided to try them out. I’ve tried a couple of tubes before but I’ve never painted a whole portrait in them before. I think I like them, but one portrait isn’t really enough to base a judgement on. I’ll decide when I’ve done three or four.
I’m not an American but even here on the other side of the pond many of us, especially women, are deeply grateful for the life, work and inspiration of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the US Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon who died yesterday. I am certainly feeling her loss today and she was the only person I could possibly draw.
I painted this in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with Zecchi Toscana watercolours then warmed on it with Luminance coloured pencils. Then I scanned it in to my iPad Pro and worked on it some more in Procreate using Lisa Bardot’s Pencil Box brushes.
This is Sydney from Sktchy. I’m really happy with this portrait. I think i did a good job of combining watercolour and coloured pencils. I can see mistakes, of course, but I’m enjoying the direction my work is going at the moment.
I drew Sydney in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with a Unipin grey brush fineliner, painted her with Sennelier watercolours and finished the portrait off with Prismacolor coloured pencils.
For me, part of the fun of drawing is choosing the media to use for a portrait. That’s why I use so many different drawing materials rather than just sticking with one favourite. This portrait of Nik from Sktchy is a great example. In the inspiration photo she’s looking a little dishevelled in the middle of clouds of coloured gas and haze and the question for me was how I could best portray that. Watercolour and coloured pencil seemed the best option and I think they’ve worked well here, especially for the gas in the background.
I used Sennelier watercolours and Prismacolor coloured pencils in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.
I decided to switch things up a little by putting my favourite Zecchi watercolours aside for a while and get some of my other watercolour sets out of the drawer. I have several different sets and most of them sit unused for most of the year, especially if I don’t travel at all, as has happened this year. So for this portrait of Daria from Sktchy I used my Sennelier paints.
Sennelier are my favourite of the mass market watercolours – like Zecchi they have a honey binder, and that seems to be what is distinctive about all the paints I like the most. As usual I painted this in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.