Showing posts from 2018

Why I favour Ink & Wash

Those of you who follow my YouTube channel will be aware that I enjoy using all media. It's great fun trying out new products and seeing how different products work together. When I first learnt to paint, like many people it was with watercolour. Maybe this is why after flirting with different media, I always come back to my battered old tin of watercolours.

I will always continue to try out new things, especially as there are new art products regularly released to discover. In fact I was saddened to learn that Derwent no longer make Artbar, as I have just got into using them and am loving how you can layer them. I also love using Colourcraft Brusho for it's unpredictability and bright colours.

When displaying my work at Art fairs and exhibitions, a few times now I have received complimentary comments about my mark making. Many beginners in art lack confidence in their drawing skills, much preferring the process of painting. I believe that when your drawing confidence grows with…

Alternative paint mixes to using black.

In my next YouTube video out on Thursday, I talk through why I don't use black paint and the alternatives I mix. I thought it would be useful for you if I wrote those mixes down here.

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I find that black paint on its own can appear very flat and boring. My first tip if you have black you want to use, would be to add a touch of blue to it.

My favourite alternative mixes are French Ultramarine with Burnt Sienna or French Ultramarine with Burnt Umber.

You can also use Paynes Grey in many cases where you need a dark colour.

Dark Greys can be made from all three primary colours, using different combinations of your available reds, blues and yellows. The colours with this are infinite, if you mix one you really like, don't forget to write it down.

Finally, a tip for beginners in painting. Don't be too tentative to use very dark mixes. You need to go dark in places to make your highlights "pop".

Quick beginners guide to the Elements & Principles of Design

As a beginner you may not be familiar with the term "Elements and Principles" of design. This simply refers to some important points to consider in all your artworks. The "Elements" are more tangible and obvious, whereas the "Principles" are a little more open to interpretation and personal preferences. They are not set in stone, more of a guide to make you think about how successful your finished piece of artwork will be.

I have made a video talking through the Elements and Principles. however it is also useful to have things in writing.

Here is the list I refer to in the video :-

Elements & Principles of Design
Elements of design :-
Form (shape)

Principles of design :-

Most of the list are self explanatory and although it is important to learn them, over time they become automatic rather than something you are consciously thinking of each time you paint.
It is particularly …

Review and first go with Derwent Artbars

A couple of weeks ago I was tempted to buy a set of Derwent Artbars. The shop display had a fantastic selection of colours and I was also attracted by the description that recommended them for "mark making and texture".

I bought the set of 24 and used them for the first time whilst filming for YouTube (linked below). I tried the various techniques of layering, blending, scraping back, drawing and using with water. You will see in the video that I had difficulty blending the colours on the paper initially. I realised that this was because they needed warming up and the more you blended with your finger the easier it became. As someone who always has cold hands, I thought that this was a very labour intensive way of painting!

Later I decided to have a go at a more finished piece of artwork and created the figure painting below. This had many layers and lots of blending. Instead of relying on my cold hands to warm the colours on the paper, I used the hairdryer to soften them a …

How to paint loosely - Beginners painting tips

I have lost count of the number of times people have said to me, "I wish I could paint more freely". I remember as a beginner (and still now) looking at very loose and expressive artworks and wishing I had the confidence to paint in what seemed to be such an effortless way. I have found that as with all things, the best way to achieve this is to practice, practice and practice.

Having said that, I thought it would be useful to put together a few tips to get you working more loosely. I have also created a video to go alongside this blog.

Tips for painting more freely:-
1. Sketch every day, keep sketches quick and avoid using an eraser. Sketching in ink is perfect for freeing up your drawing. Don't forget, your sketchbook is for you and isn't to be judged. You are learning, give yourself permission to make mistakes!
2. Draw and paint at an easel standing up. This gives you room to move. Draw with your whole arm and move from the shoulder, NOT JUST the wrist.
3. Use a B…

Watercolour techniques for beginners, easy petal exercise.

To accompany my YouTube video on this subject, I thought it would be helpful to list the process of this beginners watercolour exercise.

Trying out this variety of watercolour techniques will help you get used to working with watercolour and become more familiar with it's properties. Different techniques suit different styles and subjects. Learning which techniques you like best will help you to develop your own style.

The accompanying video is linked at the end of this blog.


1. On a watercolour paper (min 140lb) draw using pencil a very simple flower with 6 petals.
2. Mix three colours, i.e. Permanent Rose, Alizarin crimson and Winsor Violet all the same concentration. Then mix the same three colours with the Rose the weakest concentration, the Alizarin more concentrated and the Violet the thickest concentration.
3. On petal 1 (number and make notes as you go), paint the whole petal in the first mix of Rose. Allow to dry completely. Paint over half the petal with A…

Beginners watercolour supplies - Getting started with watercolour

As a beginner, it can be overwhelming going into an art supply shop. Art shops are full of such a wide variety of papers, paint colours and different shapes and sizes of brushes that it can be difficult knowing just where to start.

In this Thursday's YouTube video, I talk through some of the supplies and colours I recommend for beginners just starting out. Of course, you may wish to tailor this to your own budget and it isn't necessary to buy everything to begin with.

Here is the list I compiled for YouTube :-

1. Board, not essential but good to have and you can easily make your own.
2. Masking tape, can be bought from a DIY shop.
3. Watercolour paper - recommended 140lb NOT pressed, either loose or in a pad.
4. HB pencil.
5. Eraser.
6. Brushes - recommended synthetic round size 6 and 12 and a large flat brush.
7. Water pots - 2 x jam jars.
8. Watercolour paint, either student or Artist's quality depending on budget.
    Colours - French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Yellow O…

iskn slate 2+ review

For my first blog post of 2018, I decided to review the iskn slate 2+.

I was very lucky to receive one as a Christmas gift.

I would like to begin by saying Happy New Year and wish you good health and happiness for 2018.

Now, the reason I wanted to try the Slate, was that I thought it looked a good way to have your sketches saved directly from your paper to the computer. Normally when I want to put a sketch on social media or print it etc. I spend considerable time waiting for good light for photographing my work and then setting the white balance etc. The slate skips all that need for photographing your sketch and has the added benefit of creating a video of your sketch.

Of course you can do this by drawing on a touch screen. However, I have never felt at ease drawing on a screen and the slate lets you have that natural feel of sketching with your own pen or pencil.

The slate is the right size for an A5 sketchbook. I do sketch in A5 and it is fine. However an A4 version would be great…