RBG

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.

Aleksandra

A short while ago I was posting this image on Sktchy and browsing my feed on the app. Over the past few months of lockdown Sktchy has been hosting a whole series of classes on digital portraiture, something I’ve been doing for years. Just all my artist friends are beginning to embrace the world of digital art, I find myself swimming once more against the stream and retreating from it back towards traditional media.

It’s not that I’m not interested any more in digital art, but I’m more interested in how I can apply the skills it has taught me to my use of watercolour and coloured pencils and pens – I see these skills as so interchangeable and inseparable. But I do sometimes feel as though I’m always destined to be in a very different place to most everyone else when it comes to art making. Do other artists who didn’t get here by traditional routes, who didn’t go to art school, feel the same way?

I painted portrait of Aleksandra with Sennelier watercolours in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and then worked over it with Polychromos and Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Sydney

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.

Zoey

Totally lost the likeness with this portrait of Zoey from Sktchy but I’m enjoying pushing my practice with coloured pencils and learning as I go. They really aren’t in my comfort zone and I’m finding that everything I learn working on these portraits is proving really useful in my mixed media work.

I drew this in a Hannehmühle Nostalgie sketchbook with Polychromos coloured pencils.

Eva

I’ve been taking a new course on Skillshare – Chris Hong’s class on coloured pencil portraiture. This portrait of Eva from Sktchy is my first attempt at a portrait using some of what I learned from Chris’s method. I’m not someone who tries to copy other people’s techniques wholesale but I take some learning from them and incorporate it into my own methods. I enjoyed drawing this more than I usually enjoy using coloured pencils so I will probably try one or two more but I think I’m more likely to use Chris’s amazing colour lessons to inform my own process.

I drew this in a Hannehmühle Nostalgie sketchbook with Polychromos coloured pencils.

Nik

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.

Melek

I can’t resist a good mirror selfie, especially when there’s a little bit of distortion to make it a bit more fun! This is a portrait of Melek drawn from a really fabulous mirror selfie she posted on Sktchy.

I drew this portrait in my Midori cotton sketchbook with Copic markers and Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Agathe

This is Agathe from Sktchy. I was trying so hard here to hold back with my watercolour and not end up with mud. I’m really struggling with the paper in this Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. It’s not taking watercolour as well as the previous ones I’ve used; the paper is becoming soaked after just a few layers and subsequent layers are becoming muddy. So I was trying here to keep my layers lighter and use much less water. I think it’s less loose as a result, but there’s no mud!

I was using Zecchi watercolours and Prismacolor coloured pencils in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.