Sketching the City in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor

from Instagram: My latest @becraftsy class got a lot more complex than the landscapes class! @sharisketcher shares an excellent tip to slightly change the color as you paint across an area for interest. Sometimes it’s a little cooler or warmer, darker or lighter. http://ift.tt/2t9Gi8g
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Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor with Shari Blaukop

Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor class

I bought this class taught by Shari Blaukopf several months ago, along with her other class “Sketching the City in Pen, Ink & Watercolor”. Watching the classes was inspiring, but also a little intimidating. I kept feeling like I wouldn’t be able to make my sketches look as good as I wanted. And it felt like I would know how to do the techniques just by watching, not necessarily doing them myself. (Wrong!)

But motivated to take my skills up a notch, I finally jumped in and sketched along with her all the way through. And I’m so glad I did! Shari has lots of great tips throughout the class, and actually following along makes things stick better. Instead of completing the lessons as she assigns, I chose to mimic what she’s sketching and painting in class.

In the months since I bought the class, I became more and more drawn to Shari’s style. I particularly like the dappled brush strokes that make her work recognizable, and how her work looks accurately representational yet relaxed and loose. Watching her work and talk her way through her process was very helpful — it took some of the mystery out of it and made it more approachable and methodical than seeming like pure magic. She’s a great instructor!

My sketches

I’m on the hunt for a sketchbook and paper that will work best for me, so these lessons were done on a variety of papers to test things out. The morning sky, neutral sky, and fluffy clouds are on Fabriano Artistico 140lb cold press natural white and the stormy sky is on Fabriano Artistico hot press white (folded from large sheets into journals using these instructions). The Flatirons sketch is in a Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook.

Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor with Shari Blaukopf - morning sky
Morning sky, with additional textures for trees
Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor with Shari Blaukopf - neutral sky
Neutral sky with ink and dry brush textures
Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor with Shari Blaukopf - fluffy clouds
Fluffy clouds with watercolor textures from other lessons
Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor with Shari Blaukopf - stormy sky
Stormy sky with detailed tree
Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor with Shari Blaukopf - Flatirons sketch
Thumbnail sketches, value study, and watercolor sketch of the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado

Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor with Shari Blaukop

I can see that in my main Flatirons project, I went too dark with the first big shapes layer, making the mid tone layers hard to distinguish and the darkest layers too dark and muddied. I’m still working on my techniques for layering color, leaving white areas, and nailing values.

This class is fantastic just to watch Shari work, but even better when you do the exercises yourself. I highly recommend it for developing ink and watercolor sketching skills!

LINKS

TOOLS & SUPPLIES

  • Lamy Safari fountain pen with EF nib
  • Black De Atramentis Document Ink
  • watercolors (mostly Daniel Smith)
  • watercolor brushes (Escoda Versatil travel brushes sizes 4, 6, 8; Master’s Touch round size 24; Princeton Neptune size 10)
  • 5.5×8.5 Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook
  • Fabriano Artistico 140lb cold press watercolor paper in natural white
  • Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper in white

Daily art – blouse design

from Instagram: After an intense week of working on my sloper, I’m ready to start making this top. I’m hoping it has a good balance of structured lines and details + comfort. Gotta have comfort. http://ift.tt/2m9D59c

Daily art – a sketchy little birdy

from Instagram: The dip pen takes awhile to dry on hot press watercolor paper, but I love the fine details that can be made with it.⠀
#sketch #watercolor #inkandwatercolor #drawing #draw #drawingoftheday #dippen #bird #illustration #hotpress #danielsmith http://ift.tt/2jIklcr

Daily art – coffee mug with little potted succulent

from Instagram: Getting acquainted with my masking fluid on this little potted cactus…the color shaper tool helps with control but it’s definitely going to take some practice. Loving the bubbles and shadows demo’d by @mariyakey ❤#watercolor #succulentlove #inkandwatercolor #sketch http://ift.tt/2hAHRur
sketchbook - ink and watercolor wash sketch of a vase of flowers

Loose and sketchy watercolor flowers

After watching a recent Draw Tip Tuesday video on pen control, I was inspired to draw a vase of flowers by loosely holding the pen at the end away from the tip.

sketchbook - ink and watercolor wash sketch of a vase of flowers

I started the sketch by roughly doing a single-line contour drawing, lifting the pen only a few times to reset. I knew I was going to go over with a wash of watercolor, so I focused more on suggesting the foliage instead of carefully drawing every item. And instead of obsessing over making the roses look like literal roses, I made swirly ends to suggest the petals.

I’m happily surprised how this loose approach worked! I think the swirly roses read better as roses than when I tried to draw each petal step by step in another sketch.

For the watercolor wash, I also kept it loose and rough. My main goal was to get a good range of greens, from bright yellow-greens to deep brown-greens. I added some splatter to amplify the sketchy quality.

Tools

  • Uniball Vision Fine black ink pen
  • watercolors
  • watercolor brush
  • Pentel Aquash Water Brush
  • stencil brush (for splatter)
Ink and watercolor wash of a binder clip

Simple sketch of a binder clip

While working on my hatching skills, sometimes I draw simple objects that hardly warrant any excitement. But there’s something about this binder clip sketch that I just love. I think it’s the judicious use of watercolor on the shadow areas. I focused the hatching and wash on darker areas, and I think that restraint helps make the sketch more interesting.

This simple object is also good practice for my contour drawing. Instead of doing a pencil sketch first, I went straight for the PITT Artist Pen on this one. I know that when I start with pencil, my drawings can look too measured and not very alive or spontaneous because I get so focused on accuracy.  I’m liking the character that an imperfectly-drawn ink sketch has.

Ink and watercolor wash of a binder clip

You had to have the big salad final layout

Lettering Layouts class

When I started taking Skillshare classes over the summer, I quickly fell in love with Teela Cunningham‘s classes. She has a knack for breaking down cool and trendy techniques into steps that make sense.

I’ve seen great hand-lettered layouts for awhile now, like with those chalkboard lettering walls, art prints, or tees. But I never understood how they were made — they seemed to appear by magic. Teela’s class Lettering Layouts: Create Beautiful Messages provides a ton of clarity on how to get started with these designs.

After choosing my phrase, “You had to have the big salad!” (from Seinfeld, of course), I designated the hierarchy:

  • level 1: big salad
  • level 2: you
  • level 3: had to have the

Then I started sketching possible layouts using Teela’s inspiration elements PDF that she includes with class enrollment. I appreciate the resources she puts together because when there are seemingly infinite options it can be hard to just choose something and get started. But she makes it clear and easy to just start drawing.

Lettering Layouts class - first steps

You had to have the big salad lettering 1

You had to have the big salad 2

You had to have the big salad 3

My final layout:You had to have the big salad final layout

I liked a lot of my sketches and it was actually hard to choose a favorite to implement. I wanted to incorporate some other little veggie illustrations, so I went with a complex layout. It got pretty busy, and is more of a food illustration than a lettering layout. But the whole experience was so informative and fun, that I know I’ll be able to do more projects with this technique.

My introductory Skillshare subscription rate has expired, but I’m tempted to renew my subscription just to watch this class again and again! Teela also shares some inspiring layouts and ways to get started with this technique on her awesome blog.

Links

Tools & supplies

  • pencil
  • a variety of PITT artist pens
  • Canson Drawing pad
little ink and watercolor sketches of potted succulents

Sketches of potted succulents

During my daily drawing practice I discovered how fun it is draw little sketches of potted succulents, especially with a dip pen. I like using this subject as a way to explore hatching with the dip pen. It has a really satisfying scratching quality on the paper.

desert plant drawings from sketchbook

Adding quick watercolor washes to these little sketches helps them look more fun and colorful.

little ink and watercolor sketches of potted succulents

Tools

  • dip pen with 512 Speedball nib
  • India ink
  • watercolors