multi-people, Multi-colour, multi-sketchbooks

This week I have been continuing with the practice of fast people drawing and drawing people in motion and with that comes an interest in using different pens and pencils as well as finding sketchbooks that are good enough quality to allow practice of different media, including watercolour, but without breaking the bank.  This blog reviews some exploration from the last week.


These are amazing pencils and I have a 5.6 mm chunky clutch case that suits me down to the ground.


At first I just had graphite leads which I used for some life drawing quick poses  but recently an  art club member gave me a sepia compressed charcoal for some ‘drawing each other’ work and I loved its blend-ability and soft colour.


Then recently Lucie, a sketching friend from Manchester Urban Sketchers ( you can read her blog here) generously gave me a wonderful multicoloured lead and I have been using it for my fast people drawings in the last week including some cafe sketches:


Most recently I used it at a  jazz concert where this really was blind contour ( pitch black so had very limited vision- although the stage was lit so I could see the musicians!).  These were done sequentially and some characters like the claranet player were particularly interesting for their multiple poses although the most animated were very fleeting!  These leads are easy to use, feel waxy and glide on the page, giving some interesting effects as the colours change unpredictably!  Because they glide it is easy to create more curved and loose lines  (although it isn’t that apparent with my blind contour sketches!).  By varying the pressure, you can also create more or less depth in the lines and marks.  One thing that is not so easy is that the leads are rather chunky (although could be sharpened to a point) making it more difficult to do finer facial details.   I am also going to invest in the metallic leads which come in a set of separate colours: gold. silver, bronze, green, blue and red.  These should be great for work on coloured paper too.


SeaWhite Sketch books

Given the need to produce multiple drawings without the worry of wasting another page I’ve settled on using SeaWhite of Brighton.  Great bright white cartridge paper that can cope with watercolour washes without excessive buckling and they come in a variety of sizes.  Currently I’m using a 19cm X 19 cm  x 2.5 cm (all the sketches above were done in this sketchbook) which is a bit chunky for my bag but they also do A5 which seems more portable.  On the other hand I needed to start drawing on a larger format so the bigger one is good.     I’m finding there is really no one size fits all for me and sketchbooks!  I use moleskine watercolour journals and Handbook watercolour journals for a lot of my urban sketching but they aren’t appropriate for all the people practice I’m doing at the moment.  Interestingly, I have also used the sea white concertina sketchbooks to good effect and you can see my blog about one I used on my Australian adventures here


0 thoughts on “multi-people, Multi-colour, multi-sketchbooks

  1. Very interesting. What is it like to sketching a square format ?I use a13 x 19 Moleskine all the time and find that any thing else challenges me (concertina was really different!) .Are you experimenting at the moment and going to settle on a few alternatives for Manchester?

    1. Hi Alissa and thank you! I actually don’t mind the square format but like you use the landscape moleskine a lot. I am experimenting but think I may be told what format I have to use anyway?! Not sure, another question I need to ask! Actually I am doing a commission with square format at the moment but if it is big enough you can still use the same approach you would with the longer format! With the people drawing, I guess I am practicing individual figures rather than overall composition so that’s another layer I need to add in!

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