Autumn Sketchbooks

My autumn sketchbook work isn’t very impressive; between online courses and fitting in my ten thousand paces a day, I haven’t given myself much time for drawing, which is a shame as we’ve taken short breaks in the Lake District, the Dales and on the Yorkshire Coast.

We’re now into winter proper, specks of snow are drifting down over the garden and I’ll be quite happy to stick to day trips for the next couple of months.

Rush hour at Nethergill Farm, Langstrothdale, in November, white shorthorn.

We saw large flocks of fieldfares one misty morning on our Dales break in Langstrothdale but we’ve seen very few on our home patch. On our regular visits to Nostell Priory, we’ve seen flocks of crows and rooks on the grassland, along with a few mistle thrushes. As it has been such a good year for berries, perhaps our winter thrushes are still foraging in the hedgerows.

Lower Falls, Aysgarth, 2 November.

Tufted ducks and gadwall have joined the resident mallards and Canada geese on lakes and there are now two or three pairs of goosanders beginning to gather in their regular spot on the quieter side of the Middle Lake.

Fern-leaved beech, the Menagerie, Nostell Priory, 8 November.

The grey squirrels – all of them looking sleek and bushy-tailed – all seem to be engaged in caching their sweet chestnuts for the winter. We haven’t seen many examples of them chasing each other, prior to mating.


More practice in drawing on my iPad with an Apple pencil and, as I’m using Clip Studio Paint, I’ve got the option of framing the drawing in a ruled border.

I had intended to add an ink layer but decided that pencil was more appropriate for the relaxed subject matter.

There are so many options available to create different effects when using a digital brush but, until I’ve got more familiar with the process, I’m keeping things simple, using the standard settings for the entire drawing.

Tulip Tree

There’s just one tree on the lawns around Nostell Priory which is surrounded by a small wire-mesh fence: the Tulip Tree, which, a small notice explains, has bark which the rabbits love to nibble.


Pencil, ink, colour and layout produced using an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro in the Clip Studio Paint program. I’d struggle to draw frames as neatly as this by hand.

Continuing on my learning curve with Clip Studio Paint, this doodle is a real achievement as I’ve now worked out how to lay out a comic strip using the program on the iPad. As you create the frames, you can set it so that the program creates a separate image folder for each frame.

Why should that be an advantage? Well, if you’ve ever drawn a comic strip by hand, using a ruling pen to draw the borders, you’ll know that you have to take care not to go over the line when you’re drawing, otherwise you’re giving yourself extra work going round with the Tippex to clean things up before publication (or the Photoshop equivalent of Tippex).

If you need a drawing to run through adjacent frames – for instance in a scene where figures move through a landscape – you can set things up so that several frames, or the whole page, share the same folder.