Observation in Nature: Compilation of random stuff throughout course



I purchased inktense pencils, you use them like coloured pencils but once on paper you brush them with water they turn into immensely deep or bright coloured permanent ink, emasing stuff. Here a picture of them lovingly organised into 5 different tonal groups, I even taped a sample colour when wet on each pen and the respective tonal range number so when IM working I can just spread the pencils Im using on a table carelessly.  I sampled my coloured pencils as well, Im feeling contented about this arrangement. Behind the pencils, you can see a picture of my adult high school (A-levels) teachers I graduated from 1999.



The tonal ranges on a paper brushed with water.


A still life with Japanese umbrella fruits and vase of Daffodils done with coloured pencils


Dead bird with charcoal on old memorybook



Using complimentary colours behind fruits to stand them out, done with coloured pencils



Mugshot of a dragonfly (close encounters hehe) done with coloured pencils and 20 X enlarging goggles as visual aid, you can see the crack on the left side eye ball caused by my kitty cat



Drawing one of my cats as she is chillaxing on the transparent roof of my art cabin



I was closely observing a spider in a jar feeding it with insects, in this still image it is wrapping on of its meals, when I drew it alone as that it looked really boring so I started playing with idea of filling the space with abstract forms and ended up with these studies



Sketch done at the mill, I was drawing the river scene when the swan and ducks took over, as always…



Fruit studies done with oil pastels on smooth paper



Experimenting with texture, abstract fruits



Little Wood Mouse done with Inktense pencils



Excercise Fish on a plate


For this excercise you need to buy a fish. Find a decorative plate and place it in a relatively neutral context. Use water-soluble pencil and or coloured pencils and inks on a Bockingford A3.

Sit slightly above the fish to capture as much as possible, pay attention to the plethora of colours and the unusual metallic texture of the fish.

When you have finished your drawing, be critical. Look at the fish again. see what you have managed to capture effectively and what hasn’t worked so well. Learn from this and make notes.


The first drawing I ever made was the down right corner with pink background. Huge salmon, mackerel, sardine and oyster. In all of these fish drawings I see the main problem is composition I didnt really plan it enough and though the background should be neutral I basicly didn’t add anything at all which does not look right at all.

These were all A3 in size but started cropping them with scissors.


I continued to persist, to tackle the composition problem I tried to add some more interest to the backdrop and drew the second fish on a thick square transparent glass plate placed on a surface of cut tree facing the river Ouse in Bedford city center. These following two next drawings I used mostly Inktense pencils, my most ambitious art buy up to date worth every penny !

What are Inktense pencils ? Check this video !


The next fish to try was a perch that I came accross at the mill drawing the scenery I saw a dead perch floating on surface. Love the shape and colours of this fish, I pierced it with needles on a piece of wood spreading the fins and placed a stone inside the mouth to open it up. I had also previously found  a huge dragonfly in my “garden” and butterfly trapped into my art rehabilitation greenhouse plastic and plastic roof which I cruelly also pierced (were already dead, mind me) I think this composition is nearing a masterpiece compositionally vice, I really love all the elements and colours that are going on here and look forward to try this with oilpaints later on. In the background I let the random background elements on the table overlap in Patrick Caulfield style, more consairned about the flow of lines and what it makes to overall composition. I now realise that the metal clip is like an echo of the dragonfly but wasnt thinking of this at the time, the metal clip maybe a bit too prominent could have toned down a bit, on the other hand it leads the eye from down right corner to left up corner so it maybe serves it purpose as random as it looks like….


I add this final picture of gigantic 2kg salmon on a basket laying on a bed of fig branches, its also drawn on a A3 bockingford rough paper mostly oilpastels. The fish was in a curve because it was too big to fit in, I was not however very successful in conveying this, looks a bit wonky, I may still go back to this its not completely finished.


Project Drawing animals


Animals are challenge to draw as they hardly ever stay still. The fur disquises the sceleton the secret is in getting a balance between depicting anatomy and the texture of the fur as a unified object.


Research point:

Look at how Reneissance masters such as Leonardo and Durer depicted animals. Make notes and try and find some images to include in your learning log.

Leonardo Da Vinci was a scientist and gazillion of other things, he was inventor and wanted to know how to make things or how things worked, their innate mechanism which even living beings are. The way to study animals was to dissect them to reveal their muscular and sceletar structure and observing them in motion. When forinstance observing the horses he studied their characteristic behaviours and whims, to become accurate he created his own measuring system showing in the down image. If he knew how the animal functioned from the inside, the limitations that its physiques set and how the horses would act in certain situations he would be able to draw the animals without reference based on his knowledge.





Albert Duhrer approached his subject by depicting what he saw in front of him, photorealistic depiction of accurate detailing.


albert head of a roe deer, pen, ink and watercolour, dureralbrechtdurer_lobster2

Excercise: Grabbing the chance


Select your model. Leave your sketchbook and tools in a handy place and grab them when your animal is settled in a good pose. Be spontaneous and take opportunities to draw as they arise.

Do a series of small sketches of your animal in different poses. Experiment with different media. Try drawing with a fine black drawing pen, coloured markers or ballpoint, then try again with a really soft pencil. Break your studies into several different days, once you feel confident with the chosen model draw it on a bigger sized paper.