Location Drawing 20jan18

January 20, 2018


Mitsubishi pencils, Zequenz 360 sketchbook [Thailand].

Today’s was an indoor drawing session at the Sutherland Shire History Museum. I knew space would be at a premium and I doubted paints would be allowed inside the museum, so I took the smallest sketchbook I have and three pencils.

I’ve been battling with watercolour all week, so the last thing I needed was to working wet. Time to hone my observational skills with some contour drawing!

The first (right) was a gasmask, as worn during World War I and the second was a children’s bike, almost identical to one I rode around on as a child.

I enjoy drawing on the Zequenz sketchbook paper a very great deal: I’m sure it can’t be more than 100gsm and is incredibly smooth, like Bristol paper. It allows me to draw in small format and incredibly finely, ideal for tight spaces.




This the e last of my current daily drawings of eggs, with  Daniel Smith watercolours (plus W&N Payne’s Grey which seems indispensable for the egg carton greys even though it’s much too blue) in Venezia Sketchbook Fabriano Accademia 200gsm.

Once I start, everything rational seems to fly out the window: washes aren’t watery enough, heavier “juicier” consistency isn’t heavy enough, and so on. In my defence, though, I did move to a smaller synthetic #4 brush for most of the drawing, which helped a great deal.

The ultimate conclusion is that even though the look might be very sketchy, the process has to be much more in line with traditional studio watercolours: creating a swatch of colours in advance and applying each layer with 20minute intervals in between, with a discernible tonal range from “watery” through “juicy” to “pastey”. In other words, properly done, even something as small as this (6×4″) would take half a day or more to meet my expectations.


Today’s interpretation. I’m still working with too large a brush (Rosemary & Co, R2 Kolinsky #8) for this size drawing, more or less filling 9×6″ (Venezia Sketchbook Fabriano Accademia 200gsm).

Just one more tomorrow before I move on to new subject matter. In deference to the paper (more Drawing and less Watercolour is what the paper itself is telling me), I might take an entirely different tack tomorrow.

After a week, I’m still far from happy with the wet-in-wet for the egg; the water raises the nap of the paper so an entirely different approach is called for, for the egg alone, let alone the drawing as a whole.


P.S. My flatbed scanner is not working so I’m taking digital photographs of these drawings. I’ve noticed that when I take the photos in shade outdoors I get light contamination (see curious aberration upper LH corner) which I put down to the age of the camera.



Another in my Venezia Sketchbook 9×5″ with Fabriano Accademia 200gsm (dubbed ‘student watercolour’ paper by some). I’m working in the tradition of Liz Steel, Marc Taro Holmes and Tony Belobrajic, more in the outdoor sketching mode than traditional studio painting.

The finished drawing is just 13×9.5cm.


  • introduced hard edges with pen (DeAtramentis Black Document ink via Lamy Safari pen) over the pencil lay-in – a Liz Steel influence;
  • I draw the egg carton first and added the egg later, reinforcing an abstracted look;
  • the Rosemary & Co #2 sable travel brush is rather too big for the size of this work – I’ll revert to a smaller dagger brush for the finer work, reserving the Rosemary for the biggest shadow washes;
  • I’m conscious of either eliminating or leaving the ‘bead’, but can do better in this regard;
  • I’m not being too particular about accurate colour-mixing (that will come later); I’m just working on creating appropriate washes (similar to Liz Steel “juicy” and Marc Taro Holmes “milk”).



Venezia Sketchbook 9×5″ Fabriano Accademia 200gsm Medium, 9x11cm, the repository of all my current daily drawings and plein air sketching. The paper holds the washes used in Derivan Liquid Pencil quite well, but there is cockling with these current daily watercolour drawings.

Changed brushes (Rosemary R2, Kolinsky #8) which holds water well for bigger washes but without a sufficiently fine point for the detailed work. The R13 brush, which I think would fit the bill, is out of stock here at the moment and difficult to obtain in a hurry.

To my foundation W&N Payne’s Gray, I added some Daniel Smith warms today. The granulation is not brilliant on this student watercolour paper, so I might try some Arches Cold Press 185gsm in tomorrow’s drawing, just to compare.




Today’s subject matter was the same as yesterday’s, though I was sorely tempted to work the specific, geometric shapes in gouache rather than watercolour. Yes, it would like stained-glass, but it would tighten up my drawing in the process. In terms of the desired stained-glass effect, I’ve been trying without success to track down one of my favourite watercolours by Mariano Fortuny y Masal.

I stuck however with watercolour today – Winsor & Newton Payne’s Gray, Quin Gold, Cad Yellow, plus some Ultramarine Violet to vary the look of the larger dark passages.

Again, it’s small, barely 15x10cm, on Fabriano 200gsm (Venezia Sketchbook, 9×5″), b ut big enough not to warrant an overlaid photocopy paper mount to frame and contain it.

I stuck to certain parts of The Plan, but gave way on others. I think I need to use wet-and-wet just for the egg, to differentiate it from its context.

Technique-wise, I’m glad I’ll be benefitting from Liz Steel’s Watercolour 2018 online course in the coming weeks.



Today’s drawing is an extension of yesterdays, from egg carton to egg-in-carton. The ShireSketchers group has a current holiday challenge, calling for Egg with Shadow.

In terms of shadows, I had the following in mind, but I didn’t formally set down the egg and examine its shadows in detail – perhaps with tomorrow’s drawing! Let’s just say I had it in my general consciousness.


Pencil lay-in was followed by painting, working from lights to darks, with Winsor & Newton Payne’s Gray, with W&N cad yellow, cad orange and quin gold, with a small dagger brush, on Venezia Sketchbook 9×5″ Fabriano 200gsm, overlaid with a photocopy paper frame.

Here’s what I need to do when doing it again tomorrow:

  1. take longer with pencil lay-in: define specific geometric shapes (reducing the labour involved in adding watercolour);
  2. keep specific geometric shapes as neat as possible: no jagged lines, no re-entries;
  3. go for a more balanced range tonally: from whites to greys and blacks – i.e. make sure each is connected as the eye runs around the drawing;
  4. keep to segmented geometric shapes – reduce any decorative effects such as thin lines, splatter, etc.

So that you are seeing what I’m seeing, and appreciate the challenges I’m imposing on myself, here’s a photo of the subject, a desaturated photo of the subject, a desaturated photo of the sketch.