Thursday, 30 November 2017

Colouring Books for Practice

I've just discovered that botanical colouring books are a really fun way to practice shading techniques and try out colour mixes.

I wanted to find the perfect layering recipe to achieve rich dark colours for 'black' berries like elder and blackberries in coloured pencil, so I started out just drawing circles or rough freehand berries for my experiments, but then remembered that I had a couple of  (never used) colouring books which included images of blackberries and other fruits, so I got them out and had a go.

It was great! It was so much fun that even after I figured out how to do the blackberries, I wanted to finish the page. I'm obviously not going to stop doing my own drawings, but for practice, relaxation and stress-free fun, I'm definitely going to carry on using colouring books!!

This page was from the (very beautiful and luxuriously bound...) colouring book 'The Flower Year' by Leila Duly. Her artwork is absolutely gorgeous - really inspiring.

Page from 'The Flower Year' colouring book by Leila Duly, coloured using coloured pencils.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Crab Apples

I'm trying out different sketchbook papers, to see which I like best. Some work much better with coloured pencils than others. Here's a study of crab apples I did on Winsor and Newton sketchbook paper. I like the brightness of the colours with this paper.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Goldfinch on a Teasel

I'm really enjoying drawing birds at the moment. Some of them don't turn out so well but I'm pleased with this one. It's coloured pencil on sketchbook paper.

Based on a reference photo by Darren Bellerby on Flickr (CC 2.0 license)

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Geranium Botanical Study

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' Cranesbill.

We have this plant in our garden and the bees love it. It's the first time I've used cuttings of all the different parts of a live plant in the studio (although I did take photos too, because I work so slowly!)

It's a sketchbook spread in coloured pencil.

Friday, 11 August 2017


Bumblebee sketchbook pages.

And my version of an identification guide of common British bees.  The artist of the original guide kindly gave me permission to use it as a reference guide for my coloured pencil version.

Bee on Foxglove

I've joined a challenge group on my art forum. Each month there is a theme and we all paint/draw an offering within the theme. Reference photos are provided, which we can use or not as we wish. It's good fun, and nice to feel part of a group.  This was my first month's submission. It's coloured pencil on smooth hot-press watercolour paper.

Pied Wagtails

I love Pied Wagtails and their jaunty tail-bobbing. They always seem so cheerful.  These are coloured pencil on sketchbook paper.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Siberian Iris in Coloured Pencil

This is actually an exercise in one of my Billy Showell instructional books (A-Z of Flower Portraits). I did it in watercolour first, but then I decided to also do it in coloured pencil, and I prefer this coloured pencil version.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Botanical Work in Coloured Pencils

I'm really enjoying my coloured pencil work at the moment and am making good progress, getting a feel for the techniques and colours.  I'm doing sketchbook work as well as finished pieces.

These are some of my completed exercises worked from my instructional books. This one is an exercise in depicting 3-dimensionality from 'Classic Sketchbook - Botanicals' by Valerie Baines

This one is an exercise on shading white flowers on white paper, from 'Botanical Drawing in Color' by Wendy Hollender. I'm fond of Ox-Eye Daisies so I'm going to work up my own drawing now that I've got the hang of the shading from doing Wendy's version.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Bullfinch in Coloured Pencil

I'm enjoying some good coloured pencil tutorials at the moment. I've just finished this bullfinch under guidance from a video tutorial with Alan Woollett.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

More Tutorial Work

A couple more of my paintings done under tuition from Anna Mason's online school.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Realistic Watercolour Tutorials

I've tried a few different online tutorial sites but find I am happiest with Anna Mason's online school, which teaches very realistic watercolour painting. It's not traditional botanical painting as such, but there is a similar focus on detail and realism.

Here's a few more of my paintings, which were all done using Anna's tutorials. I'm doing the beginners courses, so the subjects are quite simple.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Coloured Pencil Advanced Techniques

Wow - coloured pencil work using the advanced layering and burnishing techniques I've just learned is SLOW!  It takes hours and hours to do very little. Quite a lot of patience is required, which is a definite challenge for me. I'm starting to get a feel for it though - this is my first piece done completely solo - no tutorial. Not perfect, but not too bad for a beginner.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Beginning Botanical Painting

I've decided to study botanical painting. I'm studying from various books and am also taking an online course. I'm learning both coloured pencil and watercolour, both of which lend themselves well to botanical portraits. There's a LOT to learn, but here are some of my first efforts! These are all watercolours done in tutorials.