Since hitting the 1,000 mark with my Watercolour Sketch a day, I’ve been attempting to do less tutorials and also less working from reference photos. I’ve enjoyed doing the tutorials but I thought it was time to start challenging myself more by doing my own original compositions whilst attempting to apply the techniques I’ve been learning within the tutorials.
One of the challenges I have with the daily sketches is that sometimes, I do not get a lot of time to spend on them. Sometimes it can be as little as 15 minutes, sometimes up to an hour. I love doing the daily sketches but am conscious that when time is short, I don’t get the chance to do the multiple layer washes are required.
I still want to do the daily sketches as I want to keep my daily art practice going (Art is not my full-time occupation) as I want to continue to improve and I find the practice quite meditative.
One of the things I am aiming to do is more A4 size Watercolour and Line and Wash paintings. These will need to be done on weekends.
Below are a few of my original sketches since passing the 1,000 day mark.
Last Wednesday, I completed my 1,000th Watercolour Sketch a Day in a row. All of them are posted on one of my Instagram Pages – Communicating Creatively.
When I first started this Watercolour Sketch a Day journey way back in January 2019, it was for the following reasons:
I wanted to foster a daily Art practice
I wanted to improve my sketching, drawing and painting
It has been a journey of fun, challenges, (lots of mistakes), experimentation, learning and practice, practice, practice!
I remember completing 7 days straight and I was really pleased…could I make it to two weeks? Throughout the journey, I have just kept my eyes on the current day and aimed to do a sketch a day. Many people have asked me what is the end goal? Is it 1,000, 5,000, 10,000? The answer remains the same, ‘I’m just trying to do ‘a sketch a day and improve my skills’.
About 8 months of the 1,000 days we were in lockdown so I couldn’t get out to sketch en Plein Air so I completed tutorials, mainly by Peter Sheeler and Nil Rocha Art, and used reference photos (some of which were my own) and sketched from my imagination. On business days it normally has to be from the imagination or a reference photo.
It would be great to say that I improved with each sketch but that did not always happen as I felt, at times, that I plateaued for longer periods than I imagined would happen. Somedays it would seem that I was going backwards, too…
It was also a challenge doing the sketches some days due to tiredness from the business of the working day (I co-run a Finance Broking business and have a part-time role as an Entrepreneurship Facilitator, am involved with Toastmasters International and Red Point Art Association) plus more. There have also been health challenges in our family, and extended family to deal with, including losing three of them.
The practice of doing one a day was also quite meditative. More often than not, I would be playing music softly in the background. With all that has been going on in the world at large and our own world it has been quite a calming experience. I highly recommend it!
Mostly, I did the sketches in the morning as I was fresher. To get this done before the working day started, I rose earlier. Sometimes, I would get the line sketch done and do the painting after the working day was done. During the week, the sketches are A5 size and on the weekends sometimes larger.
One of the challenges I have in front of me is to be able apply the techniques that I have learnt during the tutorials to my own original works so the journey continues.
Today is Day 1,004 so I will leave it there as I hear my Watercolour Sketchbook calling me!
I’ve realised that its been a fair while since I did a post relating to my, ‘Daily Art Practice’ aka, ‘A Watercolour Sketch a Day.’
Today is Day 872 and I chose to revisit one of my favourite subjects, a Lighthouse, though in this case the Lighthouse isn’t the main subject, it merely makes up a small part of the scene.
Recently, I purchased a book from the Book Depository, ‘Rendering In Pen and Ink’ by Arthur L. Guptill, edited by Susan E. Meyer. The book was written some time ago and the techniques were written for Dip Pens and Quills, though they can be applied to modern drawing tools. The book is an inspiration and I’m so glad to have it as I use it on a daily basis, practicing different techniques it discusses.
I have grown to love using Dip Pens and Ink from sketching and prefer to use this combination rather than use Pigment Liners when at home. When I’m out and about, Pigment Liners are far more manageable, though in the future I would like to develop/find a way to use the Dip Pens/Ink combination when I’m away from home.
I cannot really explain why I like using Dip Pens over Pigment Liners except to say that, ‘it just feels good and right for me.’
Here is another selection of recent, ‘Watercolour Sketch a Day’ efforts.
Sometimes along a journey you wonder whether you are improving or not. I remember this happened with Toastmasters early on. I was going along to meetings, writing, rehearsing and giving speeches, taking on roles etc and after three months, I wondered it was having an effect?
A colleague I worked with at the time suddenly said one day, ‘David, you are appear to have greater confidence these days, what’s the secret?’ I knew then that going to Toastmasters had started to affect me in a positive way.
With my Watercolour sketches I have wondered the same thing, although it is easier in one way to gauge improvement as I have tangible evidence in the form of previous Watercolour sketches.
During lockdown last year I did 120 YouTube tutorials in a row and occasionally, I do more. One of the ways I am trying to gauge improvement is to go back to a tutorial but not actually ‘do the tutorial.’
Instead, what I do is sketch the image and do the painting without watching the tutorial. This way, I am trying to gauge what I can do without the step-by-step instruction to see how close I can get to the one I did when I did the tutorial.
Today’s Watercolour sketch (Day 727) is an example of that. I did the tutorial (Nil Rocha Art) back on Day 500. I have added a couple of shrubs and there are some other elements which I have changed but I am pretty happy with the result. I would love to reach the skill level of the tutorials. More practice required!
I’m happy with my progress with Watercolour in general and with Line and Wash, however, I am looking forward to the time I can do a face-to-face Watercolour course with a professional. I was due to start a 10 week course like this when Covid hit.
I’ve been using Winsor & Newton Cotman Half-Pans for over two years now. I’m thinking that maybe it is time to jump to Artist quality paints and have purchased a set of Primaries.
Still have so much more to learn. Still having so much fun! 🙂
It’s been well over 2 years since I started ‘formally’ journalling and it has been a thoroughly interesting journey.
I started off with a (writing) Poetry journal in the form of a Visual Arts ring-bound A5 book and an A5 Moleskine Watercolour journal then in my next journal, a Paper Mill A4 with Ivory sheets, I combined the two interests.
On the writing Poetry front, I noticed that my Lamy Safari Fountain Pen’s nib now writes a bit rough after using it on 110 gsm paper. I won’t make this mistake again.
The Paper Mill Journal seemed like a great option at the time as it would hold Watercolour but was smooth enough to write on with a Fountain Pen. The one thing that kept gnawing at me though was that the paper was too smooth for Watercolour.
I’ve also tried a Strathmore A5 190 gsm Watercolour Visual Journal which was ok though I think I prefer the Moleskine A5 200 gsm.
I now write my Poetry on normal paper that is contained within an A4 Journal that is approx. 3.0cm thick and it works rather well and have been utilising both the A5 and A4 Moleskine Watercolour Journals of late.
It would be so nice to find ‘a one Journal fits everything’ though so far I have not seen anything that will fit the bill, short of making my own Journal.
I’m sure that I will try a home-made one in time. I’ve seen examples where people have ripped out the pages of a book and repurposed the cover for their home-made journal. Being a book lover I would find this extremely hard to do so I would have to make the covers myself as well.
I have a few commitments that end on 30 June this year and plan to spend a little more time investigating in a home-made journal then, so till that time, I will keep experimenting.
Have you found a Journal that meets all your needs?
Poetry and Prose by #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow, Co-Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, and Jan/Feb 2022 Spillwords Press Author of the Month