On markers, colour highlights and Moira Huntly

September 14, 2012

5×8″ textured cartridge paper; pen (black and sepia) and markers (red and grey).

Back in January 1999, I was amazed by the loose style of Moira Huntly. I loved then (and still do now) her use of pen with colour highlights and copied one of her drawings to better understand this looseness and her restrained use of colour. Years later, I still like ‘dots’ of colour, highlights in amongst linework to reduce the ‘flatness’ of monochrome. I appreciated then her contrast of warm colours (a sepia-red and a darker red) with cool (a cool grey) but I wasn’t using an appropriate paper back then. I have recently picked up a ring-bound sketchbook of 220gm multimedia card which would suit pens and markers.

Talk of the marker workshop at the Santo Domingo symposium for Urban Sketchers recently has made me wonder about doing more in this style. It’s deliberately looser than usual for me, but I very much like her variety of mark-making, which is ultimately extremely important. Huntly’s sketches are free, but less frenzied than Veronica Lawlor’s, another whose work impresses me enormously; the former is English and the latter is a New Yorker and obviously Lawlor exuberantly expresses all the pace and verve of urban life.

I copied this sketch of Huntly’s in the vain hope also of applying the technique to local content, the boats moored at Tempe Bay. I did follow it up with some sketches of local boats in pencil back in January 1999. 

Drawing Workshop: learn to draw with confidence by Doreen Roberts features a range of sketches by Moira Huntly, wonderful dark watercolours of bridges and buildings by Ian Simpson, plus large and complex streetscape drawings by Alan Hume. John Blockley’s drawings in the same book are worked in the greys of pencils with colour highlights in pale red, orange and blue, whcih seem tailor-made to the English landscape; there’s a lot more oomph in the vivid colours of Veronica Lawlor and I’ve been tracking the use by her (and others) of water-soluble crayons.


Roberts, Doreen. Drawing Workshop: learn to draw with confidence. London: Guild Publishing, 1991.


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