New Beginnings Creative Sketchbooks Module 1

As you probably know I’ve decided to work my way through our sketchbooks course again. I’ve made a start and thought you might like to see a little of what I’ve done so far. At the beginning of Module 1 we suggest you record your place – what could be more ‘my place’ than a drawing of my garden workroom?

I could have sat in the garden and sketched what I could see but it’s December and way too cold for plein air!! Taking a photograph of the open door with a glimpse of my chaotic but welcoming room was a much better idea.

If you think drawing objects from your kitchen cupboards is an odd place to start it’s because when we wrote the course we had to make it accessible to everyone, whether they lived in the country or a big city. We couldn’t assume that everyone had a  garden or if they had that it wouldn’t be covered in snow for weeks on end. We couldn’t know if students could visit art galleries or historic houses or travel to exotic landscapes. For that reason we focussed on the everyday things people have. Everyone has cutlery and cups and saucers don’t they? Everyone has favourite bits and pieces they choose to surround themselves with!


Drawing is about making marks on the paper but of course it helps if the marks end up in the right place!  I started this drawing by sketching very lightly with a 2B pencil. I constantly check where each shape lies relative to its neighbour and change the sketchy marks until I’m happy with the size, shape and direction. Only then do I switch to a softer 6B or 8B pencil and start to look where I need to create the mid tones and the darkest shadows. The highlights where the light reflects on the objects are simply the white of the paper – the contrast between these pale areas and the dark shadows is what convinces the eye we’re looking at 3D forms.

I get bored working with the same medium all the time and like to try a different approach to see how it affects the results even when I’m working on the same subject. This page shows another study of my corkscrew – this time I’ve drawn the lines using artists’ masking fluid and an old dip pen. Once dry I washed over the page with black watercolour paint. The raised line of the fluid retains the wet paint so I could add more paint in some areas of the drawing to enhance the shape and make it appear more solid. When the paint was completely dry the masking find rubs off with a finger. I rather like the bold lines this technique creates and will definitely come back to it again.

Here’s the start of another page where I’m making a pencil drawing of the corkscrew – I’ve used white acrylic paint to blot out some colour that had bled through from the previous page. I’ve discovered that fixative spray makes the paper absorbent!

Finally here’s a watercolour sketch where I’ve zoomed in to see the head of the corkscrew much enlarged. I’ve got a large collection of framed keys in my kitchen – I’m thinking they might come into play soon. It’s fun to mix disparate objects together!

Check back soon to see what I get up to next!

Bye for now,