Today I am entertaining myself by watching watercolor videos on YouTube, along with ones on ink drawing, sewing, and whatever. As I watch – looking up here and there from my practice – I decided after a couple of pages it was time to draw. Why not an artist’s palette with watercolors waiting to be used?
Today, an ink study of orange slices on a bit of peel.
I am / was trying to do a bit of watercolor painting every day, but I find that such commitments, while good, can be stifling. Drawing is integral to painting, and it is a pleasure to do in and of itself.
I’ve been working on the exercises in Alphonso Dunn’s Book Pen & Ink Drawing Workbook, so an ink drawing after exercises seems like a good thing to do! I know I certainly enjoy drawing after the practice. It’s also relaxing and, I find, a good way to loosen up for a painting session.
In addition to using Dunn’s book, I am also working through Tom Hoffmann’s Watercolor Painting: A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium. Right now I am working on simplifying forms and determining the 5 shades of grey – the lights and the darks – in pictures. I am not very good at that, so combining his exercises along with ink drawing, I think it may sink in. Then, let’s see if it can be applied to paint.
Thus, a dose of vitamin C for painting health!
Today was just too nice of a day to stay home, so I headed out to the local botanical garden, cameras in hand, pen, and paper. Bulbs are up and beginning to blossom; the ones in the shade are getting there – more for later visits! Birds, butterflies, bees, cool breezes.
Since I have been playing around with the exercises in Alphonso Dunn’s fine book today, I decided to continue the adventure and draw some daffodils with pen and ink, but follow through using watercolor pencil.
I laid down the major lines in pencil, and followed through with a fine pointed Namiki pen with waterproof ink.
Next, direct application of Faber-Castell’s Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils.
And finally, using a water brush, I wet the colors, taking time to use a light touch. A few lines of extra ink, and it was done. Below is a gallery if you wish to cruise through the sequence from pen, pencil, and water.
Every now and then an outstanding artist and instructor shows up on the scene. When they write books that are accessible and practical, it’s even better. Alphonso Dunn is one such person! He has a personal website, a YouTube channel full of information and wonderful tutorials, and two fantastic books.
The workbook was published after the simple guide, but is used in tandem with the exercises found in the workbook. Besides using the two together, head over to YouTube for a really great set of instructions.
Today, rather than paint, I finally sat down and did some exercises from Dunn’s books. The exercises were on lines – direction, shape, shift. It takes a bit of patience and time to understand what may be going on. I had to think about how I had my pad of paper, how far up or down my fingers were on the pen, whether to use my fingers, my wrist, or more of an arm movement. In many ways, doing these exercises made me think of learning printing and cursive back when I was a sweet young thing. Lines, repetition, thinking about how to do things, and doing them over and over.
Skill is bought with repetition – but repetition of itself is rather dull. Rewards sure help! Thus, a few drawings – one of a hat from Dunn’s book, and one of a Christmas cactus on my patio. In each, I used straight lines, or slightly curved ones. I thought about light and dark, repetition and straight or curved lines, or placing more lines over ones already laid down.
To aid with the line studies, I ruled pencil lines onto my sketch paper. It helped. Sometimes I also drew vertical lines, or extra horizontal lines, either in pencil or pen.
Nothing like a pen in hand to make me happy! Altogether a pleasant way to while away an afternoon. I shall continue!