Monday, August 25, 2014


I've prepared this blog for friends who have shown an interest in digital painting to help them get started. The simplest way is to use a graphics tablet like iPad. All of these quick sketches were done on an iPad but now cheaper android tablets are coming into the market with their own apps. I've always got on best with Autodesk software and android versions maybe available now.
Autoink This is a very simple drawing app. It only allows you to draw lines though thickness and colour can be varied. It simulates drawing with coloured ink but without the freedom to dilute - all marks are fully saturated.

All of the following sketches were drawn with Autodesk Sketch

This flower sketch was made from life and is essentially a first statement, Autosketch allows the use of layers to build up the picture. The colours were added on the new layer placed above the drawing layer.
I used one of my photographs for this study. It was created quite freely by making quick bold marks in different colours and blending them. AutoSketch allows the use of layers and I created a new layer for the owl taking care to get the shape right. Finally the linework was touched in with a fine 'brush'.

Here the landscape background was painted quite freely from memory. Autosketch comes with a whole range of brush settings which can be used for textural effects. These show in the middle distance  If I was taking this further the foreground would need some work. I'd also have to tidy up the Magpies - they need more careful drawing from observation.


 This is an imagined seascape. It was inspired by one of Fred Cuming's videos where - painting outdoors - he pushed paint about on a large canvas until he got the effect he wanted. I've done the same. I used a more advanced technique to add the oystercatchers using one of my watercolours.

I selected and made a copy of the flight of birds in Corel Photopaint and dropped it onto a new layer in Autosketch. Layers can be moved around and resized to get the motif in the correct position. The tricky bit is to erase the watercolour background from around individual birds.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


I don't know of a waterproof ink that you can use with a fountain pen like the Rotring Art Pen. But that isn't a great problem you can create washes from the pen lines with a Pentel wash brush or a wet watercolour brush.   

Although a pen is best for sketching buildings I much prefer to sketch directly with a brush for street scenes. I drew the sketch of Napier with a sepia Pentel Colour Brush. The brush marks can treated with a wet watercolour brush to create washes.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

TINTED SKETCH with a Pentel Brush Pen

This sketch was drawn with a Pentel Brush Pen in an A5 sketchbook. The Pentel Brush Pen has replaceable black ink cartridges. The Brushmarks are waterproof when dry.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


 The following sketches were posted to supplement a tutorial given to a local
Art Group.
A Rotring Art Pen was used to create this line and wash sketch.

Anyone brave enough to develop this sketch further?

Print off this ink line drawing to add washes

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


I made this study of a Little Owl at the ICBP at Newent - I used Autodesk Sketch Book Pro.

 At the end I thought it a bit overworked so I decided to strip off the colour layers and develop the line work. I feel this simpler treatment gave a better rendering of the Owl's pose and character.

As a final touch I dropped in a new colour layer for a background. I may decide to print it as a notelet.


Saturday, November 16, 2013


For most of the summer the field adjacent to my garden has been covered by a crop of maize. Now the maize has been cut and the stubble left until the ground is dry enough to plough. Immediately it has attacted the interest of Pigeons, Jackdaws, and Magpies.

The Magpies are the most interesting subjects and I decided to try a direct iPad sketch of a group of them browsing the stubble for worms and seeds. I've not used the iPad much for direct sketching sur le motif but I can see it has advantages over my usual sketchbook and charcoal method. It makes colour available without the burden of watercolour box, brushes, and bottles of water. So it's very handy for quick notetaking and you have a digital file saved for future reference.

With an iPad file you have a two choices. First to use it to create a digital print. If I think the file has possibilities print it as a limited edition of 10. These are offered signed, mounted and unframed. Alternatively the sketch can simply be used as the basis of a painting in a traditional medium. I think this will be the starting point for acrylic on board. I used Autosketch Pro to create the picture.

Friday, November 08, 2013


Year’s ago I read a book called ‘On Not Being Able to Paint’. The author was Marion Milner, a clinical psychologist who was also a keen painter. All I can remember was her advocating an exercise aimed at suppressing logical ways of observing and allowing emotional responses to take control. To do this she advocated relaxing into a state of reverie and allowing the hand to make marks.  She claimed that the results could be quite surprising. Sitting comfortably on a warm summer day in front of fine view could sometimes result in vigorous mark making that suggested a violent storm.
From time to time I try this method and adapt it to making marks which don’t represent anything other than being what the eye likes. I like to use a medium like soft pencil or Charcoal which can be used to exploit a range of design elements notably Line, Tone, and Texture. One of Picasso’s artistic objectives was to ‘realise forms’ and once a form is realised it is there to lead a life of its own.

Here are two examples which don’t represent anything other than forms. They’re what my eye likes but they may not appeal to anybody else.