Archive | March 2014

Tulip sketch

Tulip. Blue ballpoint pen. March 2014

I am trying to regularly do quick ballpoint pen sketches. I haven’t been doing a lot of hatching and crosshatching in my sketches, so this was quite new to me. It was fun. I have to remind myself that this kind of sketching can be done everyday, even at work, when I take a short break. The result may not be presentable every time, but even failures are important!


Guardian Cat

Guardian cat. Markers and coloured pencils on watercolour paper. March 2014

Once upon a time there was a little village up in the mountains. The people who lived there lived in ongoing fear of being attacked by robbers. They were poor, and could not do without the little they had. They also were too poor to pay for armed help. But they were not too poor to give milk to the cats that visited them in the evening before departing into the wilderness. They loved the cats, and the cats loved them.

So, one night, all the cats met together in the deep of the forest, and one after another they spoke in favour of their human friends. “They are our brothers,” one of the cats said, “and although they cannot see very well, and they cannot hear very well, and are reather weak compared with our proud cat tribe, they have been good to us, and so we have to take action and help them. Every day and every night one of us will act as a guardian and sit down on yonder hill by the path, and whenever he or she sees a stranger coming he or she will tell us others and we will fight with claws and teeth.” “Hear, hear,” replied his mates, and from this night on the little village up in the mountains had its guardian cats.

Cat on the Hill – still work in progress

Cat on the hill. Markers and coloured pencils on watercolour paper

I am still working on it. Coloured pencils and markers are slow mediums. I am hoping to get this painting finished by the end of the week, but I am not sure whether I will make it. Every morning when I am sitting down enjoying my cup of tea I have a look at it and think about the next steps, the mixture of hues, the effects I want to achieve and how I will achieve them. But I know that I better not take out my pencils – the danger of forgetting the time and arriving too late at work is too big!


The Cat on the Hill

Cat on the Hill. Coloured pencils and markers on watercolour paper. March 20142

I got a ceramic cat standing on one of my shelves, and I thought “why not use it as a kind of model for a quick sketch”. Then the cat was on the paper, asking to be placed somewhere in an illustration, to become part of a story.

But what kind of story would that be? It took some days till I had this idea of a cat sitting on a hill as a sort of watch-person /creature, with some houses – or a fort – behind it.

I also wanted to continue playing with the combination of coloured pencils and markers. You can use coloured pencils on markers to do a bit of shading; you can use markers on coloured pencils to change the hue of the colour. You can also put on second layer of the same marker colour in order to shade. So many possibilities – so much fun!

Some fish sketches

A pair of fish. Ballpointpen on some scrap paper. March 2014

I am still practising quick sketches with a ballpoint pen. Fortunately I’ve got heaps of scrap paper with prints on one side, and they are ideal for practising quick drawings.

Here is a shark:

Both of these sketches are based on some references I found on pinterest. Pinterest is full of drawings, paintings, drawing tutorials,  character design references and the like. Here you can find my pinboards. Enjoy!

Tulip #2

Tulip. Ballpoint pen drawing. March 2014

Here’s the second tulip sketch. As I said before, no pencil, no eraser, just a ballpoint pen.

I think it was Leonardo da Vinci who said that you should practice drawing every day. It seems to be easy, but in fact I’m having difficulties to sit down and do a sketch every day. There is a place online – www.habitRPG – where you can “gamify” your goals and to-do’s and work on your habits. I have discovered it a few days ago and find it fun and useful…

Tulip sketch

Tulip. Ballpoint pen sketch

I decided to set myself the goal of doing one quick sketch a day. As spring is approaching quite fast, I am focusing on tulips. I am using a ballpoint pen because I really wanted a quick sketch and not something I had been working on carefully wih pencil and eraser. Of course there is the possibility of cleaning up the lines in photoshop, but I won’t do that. No eraser, either the traditional one or the digital one.

I am not working with printed out references. I did a google search for “tulips”, went for one photo I liked, opened it and then began to draw. Why should I use ink and paper when I don’t really need to?

Butterfly – finished

Butterfly. Markers and coloured pencils on watercolor paper. March 2014

What I learnt doing this piece is that markers, coloured pencils and watercolour paper (not too rough!) go together quite well. I like the radiant colours, and the contrast between the butterfly on the light green leaf and the pattern of the background.

The only disadvantage – if you can name it that – is that it takes way more time to paint than painting with acrylic paints. Painting with markers and coloured pencils means taking your time. It is nothing that can and should be hurried.

Butterfly – Work in progress

Butterfly – work in progress.

This is a mixed media piece in the full meaning of the word: For the darker leaf I used markers only (copics and delta markers – the latter are produced by a German company called “Rotbart”.), the lighter green leaf has been painted first with markers and then been shaded with coloured pencils. For the background I used coloured pencils first and then went over these coloured pencils with markers in various shades of green. Those markers are filled with inks containing alcohol, and so you can use them to blend the pigments of the coloured pencils. The butterfly up to now is painted with markers. I used the smoother side of rough watercolour paper.

The butterfly itself is based on a quick and dirty pencil sketch. I put transparent paper on top of the sketch and refined the drawing with a pigment fineliner. In a third step I used my window pane as a light table and transferred the butterfly to the watercolour paper. I then arranged the two leaves around the butterfly, drawing directly on the watercolour paper.

I then coloured the background first, using various shades of green with my coloured pencils and various shades of green with my markers. I wanted to create a kind of abstract background serving as a contrast to the clean shapes of the leaves and the butterfly.

The effect you get when you blend coloured pencils with alcoholic markers is similar to the effect you get when you use watercolour pencils on a wet surface. However the advantage is that your paper doesn’t get wet and bumpy.

Kitten and Butterfly – Finished

The Kitten and the Butterfly. Watercolour pencils, copics and coloured pencils, March 2014

In my last blogpost I told you about the combination of watercolour pencils (wet) and copics. I’ve added coloured pencils in the finishing process. In order to shade properly with markers you need a lot of colour combinations – which I haven’t got. So I decided to shade with my coloured pencils.

I’m so glad to have all these art mediums and to be able to use them whenever I’d like to. Obviously there’s a time to use pencils and markers, there’s a time to use acrylic paints, to use oil pastels. In the beginning I was afraid to have bought the wrong mediums whenever I stopped using them for some time. But then, for whatever reasons, I rediscover them, use them and am happy to have bought them!

By the way I am just working on a piece in which I am combining coloured pencils and markers in various ways. You will learn more about that in the Wednesday blogpost.