Archive for the ‘watercolour’ Category

You never know what will set you off writing. This morning’s combination of triggers was a surprise.

I had sketch-painted a conker in its shell last night while drinking my last coffee before bed. It was only a quick one and could be improved if that were my main aim, whereas it’s only for relaxation and mind-emptying ready for sleep.

But I got up this morning and thought: ‘Must look up the disease that’s killing our conker trees.’

This gave me information just before I finished off reading about the Mad-Song Stanza that rhymes x a b b a. This info was in an article in Writing Magazine – and the only reason I had a copy of Writing Magazine was on account of having noticed a very cheap year’s subscription from iTunes on the PocketMags platform. [Wow – hasn’t this e-platform become brilliant since I last used it. Thoroughly recommended, for WM at least.]

And the only reason I noticed the subs offer was that I had won a competition WM runs (as I mentioned in an earlier post) and wanted to read the judge’s crit of my story! Strange how life happens 🙂

Anyway, the end result of this trigger chain is a little experimental image with a little experimental stanza underneath it. Food for thought too – nature trying to right itself.



The conker tree’s at war

with moths that mine its leaves.

But friendly mites

take killing bites

inside the pupa thieves.

Into the forest

Posted: January 26, 2016 in art style, watercolour
Tags: ,

Well, a girl has to have a bit of downtime! Over the last few days, I used up some Hahnemuhle 425 gsm watercolour paper doing a couple of figures but in different positions, sort of sequentially. Much harder in real media than digitally, where you can tweak to your heart’s content. So many things could be improved (pink legs anyone??) but it was a learning exercise. Watercolour is not really my thing. I did want to imply story, though. Writers always want story 🙂

One thing I do like is the brush I used throughout – an Escoda versátil sintético size 16 – what a fab point and water-holding body. Couldn’t agree to change to a smaller one, hence the slips occasionally.

Acknowledgement: It’s possible I got the basic idea for a long thin guy on his own from somewhere a long time ago (it came to light from one of my old sketchbooks so I can’t tell now, but maybe I did), but all the rest is entirely my own work. However, if you think you inspired me, thank you.

forest fantasy pt1 blog

forest fantasy pt2 blog

fantasy forest pt3 blog


I never thought I would prefer solid paints to tube paints. But then, I never thought I would prefer small illustration to large masterpieces! My tube paints are all W&N Artist quality (hollow laugh, but they say we should use good paints) plus a few Terry Harrison ones. These are great for large areas of wash. Here, I’m going to introduce my three favourites field boxes which have pans not tubes, in case you fancy giving one a try.

First off, I acquired a tiny travel box from Daler Rowney – with quarter size pans. Not refillable with blocks but I could replace the paint from tubes. These have entranced me. With a cut-down, decent-size brush together with the given small one, they are my go-to set, at home or out. The colours come off onto the brush well and, strangely, the one mixing area is mostly enough.

Daler Rowney quarter pans

Daler Rowney quarter pans

I then found out about St Petersburg White Nights – a set of block paints from Russia. Very reasonably priced and nice to use in a different way. Also soft. I wouldn’t take these out for a quick sketch because the folding out palettes make it a little bulky to hold in one hand. But definitely if going away for a week to a relative or a hotel. The front tray can be removed. There are some great colours in this box. I confess I was a little lured by the fantastic write-ups and the rather romantic-sounding name, but I haven’t regretted the outlay once. The names on the wrappers are not repeated elsewhere so I quickly made a chart to keep.

St Petersburg White Nights

St Petersburg White Nights

And then, just recently, someone on ArtTutor asked about Koi paints. I was probably stressed out with work and vulnerable to shopping therapy, but OMG what superb paints they have turned out to be! It’s a travel-sized box again with a removable additional palette that can be fixed left or right, plus two little sponges and a water brush. The paints come off easily and are transparent. What a gorgeous set!

Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box

Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box

I might or might not take these out for a spot of sketching but they are certainly fit for purpose – they won’t look this new for long. I’ve no idea how I would refill these particular paints, but I think the W&N box has proved how long little blocks can last for illustrations, so I will worry about that in a decade or two!

I think I should abstain now from buying any more field boxes. But if you’ve used any of these boxes, I’d love to hear what you think of them.