SketchCrawl 20


It was a year and a half since I’d last had the chance to sketch and chat with Anita, so there was no way I’d be letting the wintry chill of the coldest day of autumn so far keep me from my date with her, here in Ely, for SketchCrawl 20.

Having downed the first of several coffees, we got the sketching underway with the King’s School boathouse, as seen from a bench overlooking the River Great Ouse. Anita was generous enough to let me use her Daniel Smith watercolours, and they were a treat. This is in my Canson journal.

I managed to fill another page as we recaffeinated and lunched at the Lamb Hotel. Going straight in with my pen for the people sketches was fun, but there are parts of this page I would happily obliterate. I gave no thought to layout, being caught up in trying to capture the lunch crowd, who were quite the most fidgety bunch of people I’ve ever observed. I used pen, Inktense and a bit of watercolour and gouache.

Our last coffee stop was at Costa, where our table out front amid the stream of Saturday shoppers afforded me my next sketching subject: this bloke, talking on his mobile phone. Anita and I had made a detour into the art materials shop prior to this, where I’d been unable to resist buying a tiny Paperblanks sketchbook, and at 2.5″ x 3.5″, it was the perfect size for a bit of surreptitious scribbling.

This is the mess I made of Nitsa’s watercolour palette. She didn’t mind. She’s a star!

Remains of the day


This sketch in my Canson watercolour journal was made on the same day as my entry entitled Lily Lily. I was slumped on the sofa in a postprandial stupor when I felt the inexplicable urge to record the remains of our Chinese takeaway, so I reached for my black Pilot .01 pen, a black Inktense watersoluble pencil and a white gel marker and got scribbling. My husband’s mother was in the armchair nearby, and an episode of one of those interchangeable US medical dramas was blabbering away pointlessly on tv.

Lily lily


My mother-in-law, who’s been staying with us this week, is a bad influence on me – but in a good way. And I think, and hope, I am a similar influence on her.

This afternoon, when my work was done (or mostly!), and I had somehow been persuaded while shopping for new prescription glasses for her to order a pair for myself (with pink frames … which sound so totally un-me but which I fell in love with and am very excited about) we arranged on the kitchen table the flowers we had purchased in Ely Market, filled every inch of the remaining space with our Inktense pencils and watercolours, and set about a couple of hours’ sketching. My lilies look cleaner on the page than on the screen. I’m not sharing the rushed sunflower sketch that followed, because my concentration was shot by that point. Maybe tomorrow I’ll re-attempt it. Who knows.

Something from the weekend


It was a weekend of unpredictable skies, toddlers’ birthday parties, fun summer purchases and not-so-fun goodbyes. This is how I’ll remember it, from the two pages I filled in my Canson watercolour journal.

EDM #155: Draw something with steps

I’ve been meaning to attempt a drawing our child-unfriendly, lumpy, bumpy, twisty staircase for ages – both to challenge my aversion to straight lines and to play with a triad of burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and cadmium yellow deep. It proved a tricky subject.

Pen & watercolour in Canson journal

On the fly


Found on a path by Palace Green.

Pen, Inktense & coloured pencil in Canson w/c journal.

My day in black & white


I pencilled in a very light, very rough grid in preparation for Tuesday’s journal entry, and kept my materials simple in the hopes of filling the page more easily as I went about my day. The danger with sketching one’s everyday activities, of course, is that the sketching has a way of taking over from whatever one is s’posed to be doing, sneakily becoming the activity itself. Thus did I find myself enticed with an old-fashioned pad & pen into a local coffee shop, away from my computer; and I proceeded to sketch my work instead of actually doing it.

A few hours later, another cafĂ©, and a group of diners who had the discourtesy to finish their meal and leave just as I’d begun to sketch them.

Pen & black Inktense in Canson w/c sketchbook.

9 May 2008


Today’s journal entry was achieved despite many interruptions from the hyperactive small person whose shoes and nappy rash ointment you see here.

I find that lightly pencilling in a rough grid to use for my day’s sketches makes it easier to create a pleasing overall composition; breaking out of the grid in places also becomes great fun.

Pen, watercolour & Inktense in Canson w/c sketchbook.

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