Working with Hindsight

If, like me, you’ve been working though our online Creative Sketchbook course and have reached the end of the fourth module you might want to take stock of how your sketchbook is looking. I’ve gone right back to my work for the first module. It concentrates on the importance of tonal value in art work. We believe that’s made easier if you work with a limited range of mediums and for that reason we encourage restraint! You may be itching to get into colour but colour can be a distraction at times.  So that’s why we encourage pencils and pens and working largely in black and white in the early stages. But of course it is your sketchbook and there’s no law that says you can’t revisit a page and add to it at any time! As you progress through the modules you may want to apply some of the new techniques to previous pages like I’m beginning to do now.

In the page above I had rifled through my cutlery drawer and found my favourite corkscrew – a salmon headed gift from my Canadian friend Catherine. I used only black water-soluble pencil with a bit of dilute watercolour paint as a wash. Looking back at the page it seemed very unresolved. The left hand page was completely blank. What would complement a corkscrew I wondered? Why a wine bottle of course. I’ve used water-soluble Graphitint pencils for the sketch and then washed over them with clean water to dissolve and distribute the colour. The pale highlights are simply the original white of the paper. It’s tricky to photograph these pages because I’ve added in a sheet of heavy watercolour paper that can be folded over one or several of the preceding pages. On one side of the added paper there’s the black and white corkscrew (above) and the coloured version is on the reverse, (below).

The close up image below shows how coloured pencil picks up on the texture of the paper to create a grainy quality. I chose a green pencil called ivy and a burgundy pencil called most appropriately, port!

This image below shows how the inserted page, with a collaged photo of the corkscrew, can be folded back over a previous page so my salmon can be overlaid with the more colourful photograph version. This is a fun way to transform the appearance of the page by juxtaposing different images.

This salmon started as a very simple line drawing made with a black fine liner pen. I’ve given the drawing more solidity by painting with a watercolour wash using a mixture of brown and indigo paint. And, in the same way that I tried to add context to the corkscrew by including a bottle, here I’ve drawn a wine glass. Again I used water soluble pencil with a delicate wash for the shadows.

Because the black pen is waterproof, and the watercolour paint is transparent, I was able to flood the wet wash over the top without lifting the lines or obscuring them. I think these pages now look more interesting and I’ll be looking back at all my Module 1 work to see how I can improve it!

I hope you are enjoying the course and that your sketchbook is getting fatter and lovelier to look through!

Linda x