Posts Tagged ‘watercolour’

I seem to have spent much of May painting watercolour shoes. First I tried out some new Canson XL 300 gsm watercolour paper and did a few trials of modern ones. I do find feet shapes hard for some reason. But the painting was fun. And I added some scrawled pen lines as they were casual images really.

WC shoe collection

And then, because it had been so much fun, I had the bright idea of  pretending to illustrate a historical article on the evolution of women’s shoes. The first image is a sort of introduction to how we have always focused more on women’s shoes and feet. The others are from 16th, 17th-18th, 19th and 20th centuries respectively. The reason they are on a background is to give them some uniformity, like make them a set. I chose a clock face to indicate “timeline”, then gave them a segment each and simply positioned the shoe on the segment.

Screen Shot final feet

Screen Shot final 16th c

Screen Shot final 17th c

Screen Shot final 19th c

Screen Shot final 20th c

While getting my journal through design and to press at the end of a cycle, I am usually wanting a bit of down time. Time without a screen and time without a deadline or responsibilities.

This time I threw some watercolour around on a 12×16″ piece of Cason XL paper. I allowed both hard and soft edges and used a bit of Indian ink too.

loose wc background

Seeing as how nothing jumped out at me to turn it into via negative painting, I then decided I would sketch a lady and flower and cut a stencil from it. I managed to preserve my fingers (I’m useless with a scalpel!) and placed the stencil over the background three times, moving it around and taking a photo each time, and this is the result.

three wc ladies

I rather liked all of them for different reasons. But not wanting to waste the bits I’d cut out, I traced round them onto the watercolour paper, and stuck them on black paper.

collaged lady and flower

And finally, before chucking the stencil out, I placed it on some mid-grey Strathmore paper and pressed white pastel through it.

pastel stencil lady

This proved somewhat messier, but there you go – I had completely unwound and satisfied the itch to create something!


I spent some time last week doing pen and wash sketches of various kitchen items and various foodstuffs – mostly cakes and pastries. They are not meant to be accurate, rather an indication. And in the case of the kitchen items, I tried to remove mention of any branding but keep colours close enough that they would be recognisable for what they are.

I owe much to Yasmina Creates for kicking me off on this path although, as she told me, this is the first time she’s seen anything but pastries done in this style! Plus, I imitated her trademark flowery offerings by trying an image in similar style. Is this a style I want to pursue? Who knows? It could come in useful for illustration purposes. I certainly take to watercolour more when it’s used like this. We’re maybe not quite friends yet, but me and my pan sets are getting more of an acquaintance relationship recently 🙂

Eleanor Patrick cakes and pastries

Eleanor Patrick kitchen stuff

flower and wash2

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.