Thursday, September 22, 2011


A well-pointed brush is a wonderfully expressive drawing instrument. Some years ago I enrolled for a course on Chinese painting and the tutor set us off drawing bamboo – a basic motif – as a first exercise. I never really took to Chinese painting but I became hooked by the excitement of making expressive marks with a well charged brush.

This drawing owes something to the direct watercolour studies in Darren Woodhead's book 'Up River: The Song of the Esk.' but I've used a simple monochrome treatment rather than full colour. My basic method is to draw with a Pentel Sepia Colour Brush and use a 'Pentel Wash Brush' to soften and blend the brush marks. The difficulty with this basic method is to create mid-tones. So in this drawing I've used an extra wash brush filled with diluted calligraphic ink.

The drawing was made in the studio and I haven't tried to depict any particular species. But the sketch is based around some of the winter visitors attracted to a bird feeder hung in an apple tree in the garden.

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