Monday, 5 November 2018

Sketching at Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens


It was a sunny morning yesterday at Mt-Coot-Tha. I had previously sketched the Japanese Gardens where the rest of the sketchers were meeting, so I decided to look for something else. I found this striking view of the Tropical Display Dome and a magnificent baobab tree. I started directly on the tree with watercolour - no drawing. The dome was tricky so here I used a light pencil sketch to keep me on track.


Mt Coot- Tha Tropical Dome - watercolour and ink in a Beta Sketchbook



First pass with watercolour and the pencil sketch of the Tropical Dome. 

Once this first wash was dry, I went in with some ink (Pilot Metropolitan Fine nib) to draw in the details of the branches. I wasn’t concerned about keeping to the painted areas, rather worked to redraw new details. 

More progress - ink and watercolour 

Summer in Brisbane, it seems, is here in earnest. It was very hot day and the shade I had been sitting in was disappearing. By the time it came to painting the Dome, I decided this would be achieved much more easily with a table, proper shade and cup of coffee. I moved into the cafe to complete the sketch. I was so wrapped up doing this that I only noticed the rest of the crew when they stood up to take photos! 

It’s strange how our brains translate what we see into manageable symbols. I must have stared at the Tropical Dome for over an hour before I started to paint it. My brain saw ‘diamond’ shapes and painted them accordingly. It was only when I was halfway through painting the Dome that I realised that the ‘diamonds’ were in fact triangles. Talk about painting what you think you see and not what you actually see!


Graphite drawing to re-see the Tropical Dome 


The reality...

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

More Inktober - the second half


As I write this, on 24th October, the end of the month is in sight. I have been able to maintain the discipline of doing an ink drawing every day. I must confess that I am now starting to get a little bored and I’m looking forward to November! 

All drawings, with the exception of the collaged portrait, were done in a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook A5. It’s a favourite for ink because of the smooth plate finish. At 270 gsm the paper is tough and even where there is crazy, heavy cross hatching there is no show through on the  back of the page. 


Amellie from Sktchy - Black BIC ballpoint pen


Amellie II. Using the same Sktchy muse as the previous portrait - this time with watercolour, collage and ink.



Rick N from Sktchy - Pilot Metropolitan F nib, Faber Castell brush pens on gesso


Jul Zus  from Sktchy - Pilot Metropolitan F nib with water brush for the wash. 


Pink Roses - Pilot Metropolitan F nib with Daimine Hope Pink and water brush with coloured ballpoint pens.


Mike A from Sktchy - Back to the trusty Black BIC ballpoint pen



Chris Mathews from Sktchy - Black BIC ballpoint pen







Umgeni Reeds I - Lamy Safari 1.5 mm nib with Pelikan Smokey Quartz 


Umgeni Reeds II


Umgeni Reeds 


Gary Dadd from Sktchy - Black BIC ballpoint pen


Spot from Sktchy - Sailor Fude with Sailor red-brown ink.

For the last four days of Inktober I have decided to do a larger drawing, posting as I completed a corner.


Pink Roses - Top LH corner of the last Inktober drawing. 


Bottom LH  corner 


Top RH corner 


Bottom RH corner
And here’s the completed drawing:


Pink Roses - Pilot Metropolitan with Daimine Hope Pink and Waterman Inspired Blue. Water brush for the washes and assorted coloured ball point pens.

I have to admit that last few days have been a struggle. What I have found, though, from the discipline of regular daily drawing, is that I really do enjoy losing myself in an image. The meditative state induced by cross hatching is addictive. Portraits using a simple ballpoint are the most satisfying since the marks have a subtlety not easily achieved with a fountain pen or felt tip pen for that matter.

I think I have found the solution to keeping my interest high and completing some worthwhile drawings. 

I would still plan to draw every day but to do fewer drawings with a more holistic theme. I could perhaps take a few days or a whole week to complete each drawing. At the end of the month I would have a coherent body of work with a meaningful theme instead of 31 disparate drawings. 


Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Keeping up with Inktober - the first half

So far, so good. It’s twenty three days into October and I have been able to keep to the challenge of drawing in ink each day. Some days it has been a struggle. I knew ahead of time that being true to the offical prompts would be problematic so I decided to draw whatever I felt like if the prompt was not inspiring.
Here is a selection of the drawings. I’ve used a variety of pens and inks, ranging from the humble ballpoint pen to the calligraphic Sailor Fude or brush pen. 


#Poison - ballpoint pen 


Bike at my local cafe - Pilot Metropolitan 


Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens - Sailor Fude pen


Sailor Fude pen with Sailor red/brown ink 


Pilot Metropolitan M nib with De Artramentis Fog Grey #Drool - none here...


Pilot Metropolitan F nib with Daimine Hope Pink #exhausted


Lamy Safari 1.5 mm nib with Pelikan Smokey Quartz #Precious


A series of a biker leaving my local cafe. Sailor Fude, black ink and water brush. 


Pilot Metropolitan F nib De Artramentis Document Black and a water brush for the wash 

 Lamy Safari 1.5 mm nib with Pelikan Smokey Quartz and Pelikan Smokey Quartz #Guarded



A mixture of cheap coloured ballpoint pens. 


Sailor Fude De Artramentis Document Black

BIC ballpoint pen, Pilot Metropolitan with a water brush for the wash. #angular

Please note: all photos taken quickly with a phone - saves time for drawing!