January Sketches

Looking towards the M62 motorway junction from the Showcase Cinema, Birstall.

Here are a few quick sketches from my A6-size pocket sketchbook. Barbara was asking me which I preferred, drawing on an iPad or drawing in pen and watercolour. For pleasure, pen and watercolour are what I feel most at home with, but I always like learning something new. I think of iPad drawing as being something akin to printmaking, it’s undeniably drawing but with technical considerations which might be considered limitations but which can also contribute to the character of the artwork.

Old scouring mill


The original of this sketch of the old scouring mill at Horbury Bridge is just two inches, five centimetres across. Seen in close-up, the unpredictable effects of real ink and real watercolour on the slightly textured surface cartridge paper are, I feel, more convincingly organic than anything that I could have concocted on the iPad.

All these sketches were drawn as we paused for a coffee. When no view was available, when we sat in the corner at the Filmore & Union in the Redbrick Mill, Batley, last week, I attempted to draw a chair.

Beams at Blacker Hall
Silver birch, the Red Kite, Calder Park, Wakefield.

Inspired by a video I’d been watching of a virtuoso South Korean comic artist, I attempted to increase my speed when I drew the timber framework of the barn at Blacker Hall Cafe this morning. I’d normally try to keep my trembling hands under close control but it’s good to try and let myself go occasionally.

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  1. I love your hand drawn sketches Richard. They show sensitivity to the scene and the fruit of defication to your art. I would love to improve my sketching but feel disappointed sometimes with my work and get put off. Thank you for this post and the interesting one yesterday about the lichen.

    1. As you’ll have seen from my recent posts, I’m currently alternating between quick sketches, such as the ones drawn as we wait for our lattes, and overworked iPad drawings. Both have their weaknesses, but I feel that between the two extremes I must be learning something, and I do enjoy both approaches.

      1. Thanks for your reply Richard.I just reread this and saw my typo. That was ‘dedication’ not the other. Oh my! I bought an ipad recently with plans to do different things on it as I don’t have a computer. It gives my horrible aura headaches and sore hands. Do you spend much time looking at the screen when you are drawing or do you take breaks? Just asking as I can’t find much info on the problem.

        1. No, I haven’t had any problems and I often spend an hour on a drawing. The only time I remember having problems was years ago on my desktop, but that was when I had to work to a deadline or I’d be grappling with some problem and not taking enough breaks. I’d get migraine-type disruption of vision, but I’ve had that when I’ve worked too long on illustration projects, long before the arrival of computers. I’ve got the luxury of leading a more balanced life today 🙂

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