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.
This is a portrait of Lois for Lesson 2 of the Sktchy course Ink Naturally with Dylan Sara. Dylan showed us how to draw a portrait with 2 contrasting home-made inks and a hand made calligraphy pen. He used ink made with turmeric and walnuts.
I didn’t have any turmeric or walnuts so I made ink from paprika (I just added hot water and that’s the yellow ink) and tea – that’s the brown ink. I added a drop of India ink to my brown tea ink to darken it because it wasn’t dark enough. I drew the portrait using a pen I made from a whittled stick a year or so ago. It has a fat rounded nib rather than a more blunt calligraphy nib. I’m pretty happy with this given I was just using what I could find in my house. I’ll be buying some turmeric and walnuts this week and making some ink for further experimentation…
I’ve been taking a class on drawing with ballpoint pen in the Sktchy Art School taught by Robin Hilthouse. It’s a great course and the key technique is smooth transitions between colours. I’ve enjoyed it enormously and learned a great deal. However, I know don’t have the patience to work in exactly the same way that Robin does, so by the time I was halfway through this, my final practice portrait for the course, I was starting to adapt and move more towards the kind of hatching I do with coloured pencil. I simply don’t have the patience to create the kind of gentle invisible hatching that Robin creates, and I’m not a realistic artist anyway, so I think I’ll be taking what I’ve learned and using it for a more textured hatching, more like that which I use with coloured pencil, which conveys a sense of the person without creating a realistic portrait. I’ll be practicing more in the coming weeks and I’ll have to see where it takes me.
This was drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook with a variety of Bic and Staedtler ballpoint pens. It took about 5 hours to complete.
I’m taking a Sktchy Art School course offered by Robin Hilthouse on drawing with ballpoint pens and decided my attempt to draw an eye with ballpens could be my daily Sktchy, my practice for the course and today’s Inktober drawing for the prompt “frail”. I had surgery on my right eye in my very early 30s and I have some more problems with my eyes now which are bothersome more than worrying, but perhaps I know more than the average person how frail and precious our eyes are. I think I have some way to go before I can draw an eye as beautifully as Robin but I enjoyed the challenge.
I drew this in a Moleskine sketchbook with a variety of Bic and Staedtler ballpoint pens.