Sketchbook update

blue, green and yellow fat stabilo watercolour pencils

* * UPDATED 17/09/2016 with better photos!**

My sketchbook is coming on apace.  I did an intro page for it covering all the types of stuff in it (isn’t ‘stuff’ a useful word?).  No doubt I will add to this in the coming weeks:

sketchbook page with inspirational words

The left hand page below is one of my latest.  I stamped the background with the home made ‘fence’ stamp which I see makes great texture as well, stuck an old railway ticket on it and drew a rather inept set of railway tracks.  They are a bit wonky – I expect that if an actual train tried to travel along them it would derail pretty quickly!

fence sketches
I’m using train tickets even now! (see trainticketart project)

This sketch is based on a photo I took in the tropical biome at the Eden Project.

sketch of palm leaf from Eden Project, Cornwall
This palm frond looked amazing with the sun shining through it!

For these, I’ve stuck some of my screenprinted fabric on and a smaller layer of polyester organza printed with the same screen in yellow acrylic paint.  I like how I’m using this sketchbook to try out possible fabric designs.

I haven't used this particular colour combination on any of my work so far...
I haven’t used this particular colour combination on any of my work so far…

I did this sketch this afternoon – it is based on a photo I took the other day when I went for my monthly reeds walk, showing a curve in the fence by the river and its shadow.

fence and shadow - sketch done for sketchbook project with watercolour pencils

I thought I’d post some pictures of the tools I’m using in my sketchbook.  As well as PVA glue to stick some of the pages together and make them thicker and more able to take paint without bleeding through to the opposite side; and clear gesso too.  I was introduced to these woody Stabilo water soluble pencils when I did the online course run by lk ludwig and I absolutely love them.

a set of fat stabilos

You can see which colours I’m using the most for this sketchbook!

blue, green and yellow fat stabilo watercolour pencils
Love these colours!

I also love these Neocolor II watersoluble crayons and I like the fact that they make so many different shades.  Drawing shadows, I’ve bought several different greys!

a line of neocolor watercolor crayons
Landscape colours!

And here is a pic of my box of pens.  That grey Pitt pen is getting used a lot in the sketchbook!

box of markers, pens, pilot parallel pens, silver pens
pens, pens and more pens!

Photographing Shadows

I’ve been working through some of the exercises in Finding your Visual Language by Claire Benn, Leslie Morgan and Jane Dunnewold.  One of them is to take lots of photos, paying attention to the possibilities for design, and they suggest going out and taking a whole series just of shadows.  So I did this last week, the first sunny day in ages when there actually WERE shadows…

tree shadow

Oh dear, there’s my shadow as well!

tree shadows

As you can see, I’m drawn mostly to tree shadows (and, to be honest, they were the only interesting shadows around, mostly….).

another tree shadow

At least this one has a streetlamp in it as well.

I had fun with this one when I got back.  I used Irfanview, that brilliant free photo programme which I usually just use for resizing photos.  I cropped it, set it to greyscale, made it into a negative image and then got this by clicking on ‘Image > Effects > Effects Browser > Metallic Gold.  And here’s the result:

shadows manipulated

Cool, eh?  I could see this as a gocco print….

I did the same thing with this photo:

street with tree shadows

Here it is – I actually turned it upside down as well….


And while I was trying out how I did it in Irfanview so I could write it down for this post , I tried it with a random transfer paint design and that turned out fun as well:

transfer crayon rubbings manipulated

Do you remember this circles rubbing from the post about transfer paints I did a few weeks ago?  What amazing things you can do with photos these days!   Hmm… got a feeling that effect might get used a lot in the future….