Using Borders in your Sketchbook

In this video, we look at using borders to make a simple sketch look more interesting. Sometimes, we might like a sketch just as it is and we don’t always want to add anything more… but on the other hand, we want to make the page a bit more eye-catching. Using borders is a great way of doing just that!

If you have any questions please let us know in the comments.

The initial sketches

the initial sketch

Painting shapes around the sketch with gouache

painting shapes around the sketch

Adding borders to the sketch

finished sketches with borders

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Art Book Review Remedial Sketches by Lewis Rossignol

We wanted to share a new art book we’ve bought called Remedial Sketches by Lewis Rossignol. Here we give you a sneak peek inside.

Lewis’ work has a childlike charm, it’s playful and grungy. We love the way he combines vintage photos semi-legible text and drawings to create images that you can weave your own stories into.

If you want to learn more about Lewis Rossignol you can also listen to the podcast interview we did with him

Art Book Page Lewis Rossignol

Art book page Remedial Sketches

Lewis Rossignol Book Review page

You can buy Lewis’ books from his Etsy Shop www.etsy.com/shop/LewisRossignolArt 

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How to use Caran D’ache Neocolor ii Water Soluble Wax Pastels

Someone in our Facebook Group asked if we’d make a video about Caran D’ache Neocolor ii Water soluble Wax pastels. So here are our tips and tricks for using Neocolors.

Which paper to use with Neocolor ii

The first thing I want to mention is paper. If you are going to be using a fair bit of water with the pastels I would suggest using mixed media paper. I like Canson Imagine and Daler Rowney Mixed Media paper. But you can also use a toned mixed media paper. I have used a heavyweight coloured paper but only used water very sparingly.

paper for Neocolor 2

The two types of Neocolor Pastels

There are 2 types of Neocolor Wax pastels. Neocolor 2 are water-soluble whereas Neocolor 1 aren’t. This does mean that if you wanted to you could create effects by combining the two. For example if I use non watersoluble white pastel and a soluble green I get a wax resist effect. You can see here some other combinations too.

Neocolor 1 vs 2

How hard to press on the pastels

Someone asked how hard should you press on the pastel and this all depends on what sort of effect you want. If you use them very lightly and add water you get a soft watercolour like effect. If you press harder and make the pigment dense it will look more like gouache when you add water.

Blending Neocolor ii wax pastels

I find the easiest way to blend colours is to choose 2 colours that are not too far from each other like a yellow and an orange or a light green and darker green like have here. If you use them lightly you can get a nice soft watercolour like blend. If you use them heavier and add the lighter green over the darker it will start to give a blended effect. When you had water to the thicker pastel it’s a lot more tricky to mix. It’s best to start with just a little water as you can find that you just end up moving pigment around.

blending neocolor ii

Cleaning your pastels

One thing you need to consider when you are working is that your pastels will get dirty and if you are not careful you will transfer the colour your pastel has picked up onto the page. To avoid this wipe the end of your pastel with a bit of kitchen towel or a rag.

Creating small details with your Neocolors

Getting small details drawn with these pastels can be a bit tricky. One way to do this is to sharpen the crayon. If you want to you can put the shavings in a container and use them like paint. The sharpened crayon can get a reasonably fine line. You can also use the reverse of the crayon for lines. Another thing you can do is wet a brush and dab it on the Neocolor and use it like paint to get a fine line.

Neocolor sharpening

Necolor ii used with mixed media and over backgrounds

Neocolors also work well with mixed media, you can see here how they will work over backgrounds. This one has been created with acrylic inks. They will also work over collaged elements. You can see that lighter colours will allow the text from this torn book pages to show through while the dark colours are more opaque.

Neocolor ove mixed media

Drawing and writing over the top of Neocolor ii

I have heard people say how tricky Neocolors are to write or draw over the top if you have used them thickly. The best thing I have found for this is either to sharpen one of the crayons as I have shown before or use a Stabilo All black pencil. These pencils will draw over pretty much anything and they are watersoluble.

Writing over Neocolor 2 - Stabilo All pencil

Taping down your paper before you start drawing

Before you start a drawing with Neocolors, if you are going to be using a lot of water I would recommend taping down your paper to a board with masking tape. It will stop the paper buckling as much.

Semi Abstract Face Timelapse

abstract face in Neocolor 2

Here is a semi-abstract face I drew for the Sky Portrait Artist of the week paint-along. I start with a pencil drawing and then for these drawings generally start with yellow and then move on to darker colours. That way my yellow doesn’t get so messy with darker colours. However, I do go back in with different colours both light and dark so I don’t work in a strict light to dark manner on these. There are no strict rules so do what works for you.

Once I have the colour how I want it I will smooth the pastels out a little with water. You can still go back over the top of this when it’s dry if you want to.

You can see near the end of the drawing I use the Stabilo All pencil to draw on top of the picture.

If you have any questions please let us know in the comments.

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Virtual Art Gallery Tour with a Friend – Lockdown Idea for Isolation

While we are currently in lockdown, due to the Corona Virus Pandemic, why not try a virtual art gallery tour with a friend.

In this video, Sandra and I demonstrate how to use Skype and Share your Screen with a friend in another location. This means that you can tour the gallery at the same time and chat about the paintings.

Sandra Skype virtual gallery visit

We used the website Google Arts and Culture which features many different virtual galleries that you can look around.

Van Gogh virtual art gallery

Enjoy

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Creating Your Own Cartoon Character

In this video Sandra talks about how you can create your own cartoon character. She has recently created her own character called Felicity Fizz and shares how she draws her with a dip pen and watercolour.

Initial Drawing

After a pencil sketch, Sandra inks in the cartoon with a dip pen. Then moves on to a finer nib to add some detail.

draw with dip pen

Adding colour to the Cartoon

Sandra adds watercolour to the cartoon to colour it up, leaving plenty of white for a clean look.

finished cartoon

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Virtual Urban Sketching with Google Maps and Street View During Coronavirus Lockdown

With a lot of the world currently in Coronavirus lockdown, we can’t travel to visit places we’ve always wanted to see or revisit places we love. So how about a bit of virtual urban sketching instead using Google Maps and Street View.

Search for a Place you Want to Draw on Google Maps Street View

A place I love is Chamberet, which is in Limousin France. So I put that in the Google Maps search.

map chamberet

Then I need to zoom in a bit so I can see the streets in Chamberet a bit clearer. Then I click on one of the roads and a circular icon appears. Below it there is an image I can click. Here you can see the main street of the town and the two stone buildings are the school and the Marie. And on the left here is the bakery where we buy bread and croissants.

Finding an Interesting Building to Draw on Google Street View

If we go down the road a bit and turn left I’ll have a look around and see if there is anything I would like to draw. I like this stone building which is next to the post office and has a war memorial in front of it so I think I will move it around to get a good view and draw that.

streetview building to draw in Chamberet France

Using a Permanent Fineliner to Draw After Creating A Pencil Outline

After my pencil sketch, I use a Unipin permanent fineliner pen to draw the scene. I’m working on a small A5 piece of paper as I don’t want to fuss with any detail, just as if I was actually sitting there.

pen drawing from street view

Using Travel Watercolours to be More Authentic

As I am virtually urban sketching I figured I should use my travel watercolour set and pop up water pot, just to make it more authentic. Although I have to say that my office chair is a lot more comfortable than a sketching stool.

travel watercolour set

Then I add a bit of watercolour to the sketch, but again trying to keep it fairly simple.

virtual urban watercolour sketch building Chamberet

Why don’t you try a virtual trip to somewhere you love and create a drawing there

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Draw Without Fancy Art Materials – Use a Simple Biro Pen

You really don’t need fancy art materials to start to draw. An everyday pen and scrap of paper or card will do.

In this video Sandra draws a woman drinking a coffee with a basic biro pen, that just happens to be purple. So if you are stuck inside isolating, give drawing a go.

We release a new Art Kick Sunday video every week. You can find them here

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Get Art Inspiration from Children’s Book Illustrations

You don’t always have to look at art books to get inspiration for your drawings. Tara and Sandra look at some fantastic children’s books that you can use as creative inspiration.

The Two Children’s Books Mentioned

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse – https://fave.co/2IWglCG

Charlie and Lola: We Honestly Can Look After Your Dog – https://fave.co/3d8ZRVS

*Some links are affiliate links. If you choose to buy anything through these links, we’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you 🙂 Thanks so much for your support!

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Sketch the People You Love

Do you ever sketch the people you love? Sandra sometimes finds them easier to draw as she already knows them really well.

In this video Sandra draws her husband and Grandson with fountain pens, a Pentel brush pen and a water brush.

Starting the Drawing with a Fountain Pen

starting the drawing

Adding Thicker Lines with The Pentel Brush Pen

pentel brush pen

Adding water makes the watersoluble ink produce mid tones

adding water to the drawing

The Finished Sketch

the finished sketch

We release a new Art Kick Sunday video every week. You can find them here

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How to Avoid Mixing Muddy Watercolours

Sandra offers advice on how to keep your watercolour paints pure and bright when you mix them. Transparent colours when mixed together look good, but mixing opaque colours can leave you with muddy colours.

Demo of Mixing Transparent Versus Opaque Watercolours

transparent versus opaque watercolours

We release a new Art Kick Sunday video every week. You can find them here

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Podcast Episode list

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Buy us a Coffee!

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Podcast Episode list

Click here for a complete list of our podcast episodes

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