Sometimes simplest is best. I loved the angle of the inspiration image for this portrait of Katoka from the Museum by Sktchy app but I kept my drawing and painting as simple as possible because i was concerned that if I made the portrait at all complicated it might be difficult to read. i think it works well as it is.



In my last post I shared a portrait that I started during a workshop last weekend with watercolour artist Mario Robinson. Yesterday I began this portrait of Vic from Museum by Sktchy with the very deliberate intention of using my usual watercolour and coloured pencil approach BUT incorporating what I had learned from Mario’s workshop last weekend.

So instead of rushing the watercolour stage as I usually do I slowed right down. I started yesterday and finished today, spending at least twice as long as I usually do on it (2 hours +). I also used water in a second brush to soften the edges and preserve the highlights. And I tried to replicate some of Mario’s very swift brush strokes, designed to keep the brush on the paper for a short a time as possible.

I also didn’t do a number of things that I would usually do. I didn’t use any masking fluid – and I really like the end result just using water to preserve highlights, even if it takes longer. I didn’t use my usual darker fineliner – I’m not so sure about this decision. I feel like that’s part of my style and the portrait does look quite right without it. And because I did go in to finish off with my coloured pencil hatching I think that’s looks a little off (too strong ) without the fineliner outline to balance it. But I think my watercolour work is definitely better than it was a week ago, especially in the hair which is where I always lack the most confidence.

So I think going forward I will certainly be taking a lot of what I learned and incorporating it into my own method and adapting it to make it workable within the shorter timescales that I generally work with.


Last weekend Sketchbook Skool held an online watercolour workshop with the incredibly talented American watercolour artist Mario Robinson. I attended the workshop, and though I couldn’t stay for the whole live event, I was able to catch up with what I missed afterwards via online recordings.

I’ve spent several hours today painting the model from the workshop, Nellie, doing my best to follow Mario’s instruction. I didn’t have the same paints that he used (he used Winsor & Newton paints which I don’t have) or even all the same colours in other brands of paints so I had to do my best to approximate his colour mixes – but my painting is still much too brown. I clearly didn’t get the blue to brown ratio right when mixing.

I learned so much about technique from watching Mario work. But what I also learned is that I really don’t have the patience to be a realistic painter. I’m always too keen to just rush ahead with my pencil and brush. After 2 hours of blocking and glazing I’d more than had enough and I really didn’t want to do any more. I wanted to finish this and move on to my next portrait. So I stopped at this half- finished point rather than continue on…

Meredith’s child

It’s not often that I draw a whole person and even rarer that I do a portrait of a child, but who can resist a child in a dinosaur jacket? Not me. This is from a photo posted by Meredith on the Museum by Sktchy app.


I love drawing sunglasses and I also love the unusual perspective in this portrait. I’m really happy with how the glasses came out but less so with the hair – really need to work on my hair skills! Perhaps I could have spent less time on the glasses and more on the hair 😂


I started drawing and painting Rosi in my Drawing Faces class for Sketchbook Skool and finished it after the class. This was one of those portraits where I think I had a likeness at the drawing stage, then I lost it, got it back at various points, lost it completely and at this finished stage have a sense of her but definitely not a complete likeness. I think the bottom half of the face is not bad but I’ve lost something around the eyes, hair and top of the face.

Of course drawing in class isa very different to drawing for myself. I have to draw flat so my document camera captures the process well for everyone viewing online. I have to work faster than I would normally (though that’s not necessarily a bad thing). And I use a thicker pen so that my lines are more visible for viewers – and I do find that makes a big difference. Perhaps I’ll start using a fountain pen again so I can have more line variability if I’m going to have a thicker line?


I love drawing glasses and sunglasses and any kind of reflected light in portraits. I had a lot of fun with the green sunnies in this portrait of Kathryn from Museum by Sktchy.

I drew her with a Unipin fineliner in a Fabriano Venezia sketchbook, painted her with Daniel Smith and Zecchi Toscana watercolour and finished the portrait off with Prismacolor coloured pencils.


This is India from the Museum by Sktchy app drawn and painted in a Fabriano Venezia sketchbook with a Unipin fineliner, watercolours and coloured pencils.


This is turning into a very stressful week, mainly due to my father being unwell and in hospital. At times like these drawing and painting are the best therapy. These are the times when it is, of course, hardest to find the time to just stop, sit and draw. It can seem the least important thing to do when there are one hundred and one other demands on your time. But I know that, for me, it’s the most important thing to do.

I have chronic and persistent migraine, which means that I have migraines on between 15 and 25 days in any month. Of course I woke up with one today and have been nauseous and vomiting on and off all day. I know this is stress-related and the best couple of hours I’ve had all day have been those I spent drawing this portrait. I know that taking some time out to draw increases the chances that I will have a migraine-free day tomorrow.

Thank you to Julie from the Museum by Sktchy app for being the muse for my portrait today which was made with watercolour and coloured pencils in a Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.


I got to spend a couple of hours with my watercolours and coloured pencils drawing and painting Cuervo from the Museum by Sktchy app. I’ve got a migraine today but I find drawing for an hour or two helps me to focus and forget the pain, at least for a little while, so long as I have enough natural light to work by (I can’t cope with artificial light or too bright natural light).