Sketchbooks are an essential item for every artist. The become a repository for the active mind, and each artist fills the book with their unique type of content, be it careful, accurate drawings or brain-dump sentences surrounding mad sketches. Mine contain few, if any words. My world is a pictorial one, and I fill the pages with loose sketches of whatever I see or think.
Some recent sketches from my current sketchbook.
Sketches from a moving train in the Stillman & Birn Delta Softcover.
Travel Drawings 1988 - 1997
In late 1988 I left England for a short visit to New York, nearly two years later I returned having visited Australia and the Far East. For most I used sepia ink drawn with a stick of bamboo cut to a nib, and washed over with a Chinese style brush. Here are some of my travel sketches.
Stillman & Birn sketchbooks
In early February 2014 I recieved an email from a representative of Stillman & Birn, the east coast US maker of high quality sketchbooks, who’d seen ands liked my work online, offering me a selection of the company’s products to try. I knew the company by name and reputation but had never used their products, so welcomed the chance to draw and paint on some top notch materials. I won’t go into too much detail, you can get the full story here, but Stillman and Birn produce a wide range of the most robust sketchbooks available.
Each book contains sturdy paper with a clever double-sizing process allowing paint and ink behave in an enjoyably unique way. The goodies were supplied by Jackson’s Art Supplies in London, a well-run business providing all manner of wonderful things for arty creative types, and arrived a few days after choosing. Heaving the contents out of the packaging I was met with two impressively well-crafted sketchbooks, the Beta and Zeta, rough and smooth versions to test ink, watercolour and line & wash. But enough of the waffle, let’s see some art.
More Stillman & Birn gifts
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Stillman & Birn telling me that I was the lucky recipient of a Gamma sketchbook and a set of Faber Castell pencils. I get through many sketchbooks, quickly filling pages, using mainly pencil and wash. For the past few months I’ve been using Faber Castell’s water soluble 6B & 8B pencils with a Pentel water brush. These pencils sharpen well and give a smooth wash once wetted. The Pentel brushes keep a point and deliver water with controlled consistency. I've not tried other makes but this chap on You Tube has.
Recently I tried something from Australia (via Jackson’s Art Supplies, London) called Liquid Pencil. It’s graphite powder in some sort of acrylic medium, I chose the non-reworkable but they offer a range of tints - warm>cool -and a reworkable version. I spent yesterday at Chichester making a few sketches of the cathedral with the Gamma sketchbook, Faber Castell 8B w/s pencils and the pot of liquid pencil.
Below are some of the results, one or two more successful than others.
Thanks go to Stillman & Birn and Faber Castell USA for sending these fine gifts.