Adventures in Learning How to Draw

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Month: September 2016

Drawing Tip: “Madness in your perimeters”

Recently, I’ve been sharing with my friends and family tips on how to draw.

A few of the things I’ve heard a lot are:

  • “I don’t know what to draw.”
  • “I don’t have enough time to draw.”
  • “I don’t feel confident in my drawings.”

In response, I’ve been saying:

  • Draw anything – especially things that give you joy or that grab your attention.
  • Draw quickly. Anyone can find five minutes for a drawing.
  • Have fun. It’s totally okay to make a mess.

One of the main lessons I’ve been sharing is  drawing with one line. One-line-drawing is always quick and lots of fun.

I’ve also encouraged my friends to use a waterbrush as this is a quick and easy way to add colour.

Here are some of the sketches “Mommabear” created:

My yellow teapot.

My yellow teapot.

Mums Drawing

Perfume bottle.



We also had a “sketch off” drawing Stikeez toys. Here’s Mammabear’s (she calls them squidgies) sketch:

Mums Drawing 4

And here’s mine:

Mums Drawing 3

Another day while out for a beer, I encouraged my friend Drift to draw a beer glass:


While Drift was adding colour, as often happens when you’re drawing in public, a stranger approached and started a conversation. The stranger identified himself as a pagan, and admired Drift’s loose, vibrant brushwork.

The stranger talked about how drawing can help you feel more in tune with all things, something I often feel when my drawing.

He then commented on Drift’s drawing: “I like it. I like it a lot. There’s madness in your perimeters.”

I think that’s a good aspiration for all sketchers.

May you, too, have madness in your perimeters.

Brighten Up Your Sketchbook with a Background Watercolour Wash

A simple black line drawing can get so much more interesting when you draw it on a colourful background wash.

It gives the page that little bit of je ne sais quoi.

This is what artist Koosje Koene said in a recent video I watched of hers, all about background washes.

In the video, she shows how to create a background wash in a Moleskine sketchbook, and how it makes a sketch “pop”.

Here’s the video:

As you can see, Koosje’s drawing looks amazing on the background of a simple watercolour wash! And splashing looks like so much fun.

So, I decided to give it a try for myself.

First, I did a yellow and red wash. I was wondering what to draw, and my wife said I should draw a pig. So I did. I actually drew it while the was still drying (this was a mistake – I’ll explain why in a moment).

Here is the pig:

Pig Watercolour background

As you can see, I also drew an outline around the wash. I think it works well.

Then I did a blue and green wash.

This time, my wife said I should draw a frog. I agreed, a frog would look really nice. However, as we have a friend’s tortoise who is staying on holiday with us, I decided to draw a tortoise instead.

Here is the tortoise on a background watercolour wash:

Tortoise Watercolour Background

There was one problem when I drew the tortoise: my pen wouldn’t work!

I think drawing on top of damp watercolour for the pig might have blocked up the ink. However, after some shaking and persistence, I got the ink to flow again.

Lesson learned: don’t draw on damp watercolours.

I really like this technique. It’s quick, and it brightens up your sketchbook. Thank you to Koosje Koene for sharing it!

Do you ever use a background watercolour wash? How do you use them?



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