Sketching. Colour Texture & Hatching


Monday Class. November 24 ’14

This is week 3 of 5 classes. Today’s we’d be playing with watercolour. Somet have had a couple of tries and some have never tried it.

Well you’re in for some fun.

Our NZ sketcher would be doing a similar exercise in wcolour pencils. This one for her in a day or two., and she found it fascinating to see the action.

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On the table we had some round smooth rocks. Thanks Judy.

Looking at these we needed to make 5 sets of 2 rocks, just simple shapes to put paint on.

On these we’d be layering our pure colours. Apart from Jacaranda of course. That’s worked out between the  2 colours we use, in the lid.

We had the recipes for the colour combos written with each set. So that’s the order you start.

Start with a loaded brush of the first colour. Next another colour. Simple big strokes. The less the better. Third colour. Drop it in. Tip it up and watch them merge.

Do all the others in the same way. You get braver as you go.


We talked about using this technique on our next exercise. Trees. Another good subject for letting paint go.

Down the street to Gilbert Park and find your tree.  Observe the shape of your tree and sketch it.

Prepare the 5 or 6 colours you’ll want in the lid. Then apply layers as you did in the Studio.

This is the travel sketching technique I use for high speed and clear bright colour.

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All the sketchers were getting right into this. Gorgeous surprising colour being applied one over the other and running riot.

At Rush Cafe we added little punches of colour when we looked at them again while ordering our caffeine fix. No we’re not addicts. We just can’t proceed without our coffee!!!!

Some sketches didn’t need anything more, and others suddenly came to life with a touch or two of intense colour.

I think everyone felt they’d learned a great deal. Certainly that idea about watercolour being difficult to control was being challenged. You let it do it’s magic. Don’t try to control it.

So ended another very enjoyable day together with some great results to refer to in our sketchbooks.


Tuesday Class. November 25  ’14.

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Tuesday Class. November 25 ’14

“Hello everyone, it’s Christy here”, and we’re going into week 8. Now that we’re quite established into the term, we thought it would be a good time to shake things up a bit! And so we’re tackling something fun today, and new, we’re looking at ‘cross hatching!’

We discuss a few of the basics about cross hatching and what it is exactly. When we address ‘travel sketching, we don’t usually have the time to establish a lot of pen work, however it’s a good opportunity to observe all those details once in a while and change things up with different techniques and approaches to your sketching.

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We decide to start with a simple lemon. This demo has been done before by an established and well known artist, Tommy Kane, who is the absolute ‘go to guy for cross hatching examples’ as his work depicts intricate layering of crosshatching and other detailing.

We take the opportunity to observe the lemons in front of us and approach our sketches, having fun with the cross hatching lines…and give credit to ‘Tommy Kane’ when we sign up, as it was a valuable lesson shared by him for all of us

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We are all very impressed with the results of our first sketches.

Some have managed to sketch another quick one in the studio, before its time to head off down the hill to the Manly Municipal Council Building.

We thought it would be a good idea to sketch outside this building, and while we get settled we realise we’re being ‘wind swept’ by rather chilly winds. The weather this week  has been swinging in round abouts!

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We then head for Miss Chu, one of our favourite cafe’s alongside our sketching location today. It’s a Vietnamese restaurant with wonderful outside seating, in a very ‘asian street side style’, framed by banana trees and an awning.

It felt very authentic, and of course the food is delicious. I always order my favourite papaya salad, and ‘lychee and cucumber’ coconut icy drink. Though it was a bit chilly to be having icy crushes on a day like this, I did enjoy it very much.

Toni and I keep an eye on everyone’s sketches, continuing the hatching techniques, between delicious mouthfuls.

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We finish off our sketches for today, and it’s been a lot of fun!

Thank you everyone, and looking forward to seeing you all again for some more fun next week. A few have finished off their sketching term early, and those on your travels, may they be safe and happy and full of lots of sketching opportunities, and we look forward to sharing in your adventures when you get back.

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Thursday Class. November 27 ’14


Thursday Class. November 27 ’14

A few raindrops falling on my head.  I suppose that dictates a change of plan for our outdoor location.

I think I have the answer. Let’s stay in the Studio that bit longer and do more of the techniques we’ve planned. Mmm I’m pleased with that idea.

We had the lovely round rocks on the table along with some puzzled looks.  Rocks! What surprise do we have in store?  Watercolour on rocks. That’s what.

Here are my two examples. (Hold up books and show both groups)  So how do we do that!

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Here’s how and don’t get ahead of me or it won’t work. Yes mam.

Double page spread and sketch 5 sets of rocks. Note the colours to be used in that order.   Run your chinagraph around all tops and sides. Like this. (Point to example)

Prepare paint starting with jacaranda ( purple)  See what else you’ll need. Red? Ok mix a good amount of that till it’s the consistency you want.   Now with big strokes get your first colour down.

Before it begins to dry, load your clean brush with the next colour.  Big strokes. Good. That’s right.

Not all the way up though. Let’s leave some of the original colour for the second one to run into.  Clean brush. Third colour. One stroke. Leave it. Leave it. Let it run. Yessss.  Yummy.

Complete all sets of rocks and surrender yourself to what the colours will do. Let it do the mixing.  You won’t have any control over the magic. It doesn’t need your help.


Everyone did just as they could see on the examples. Delicious colour running into the next.  Murmers of happiness could be heard as colours did their thing. There’s always one you’ll love most.  Everybody was so delighted at what they and others round them had produced.

Usually we’d be getting ready to go on location. But the misty rain wasn’t that inviting and staying in playing with techniques was much more appealing.   Now we would be trying hatching. Cross hatching. Double cross hatching. Scumbling scribbles. Whatever it takes.

We talk about being somewhere travel sketching and you don’t have your colours. Well let’s do black and white with texture.  It’s yet another option for you.

From rocks to lemons now.

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Look at the lemon and do several on a page. Try hatching up the centre and leaving white on sides and top.

Starting with nice clear lines on an angle at the base, work your way up. Go back the other way. Even up and down.  A few dots here and there like you see on the skin.

This is very effective though the first lemons take a little practice to get the fading to work.  By the time you get to the last one you’re getting the hang of it.

Looking so good. So let’s go to MissChu Vietnamese street food restaurant.

We arrive and take a few of the tables. Some over by the banana trees. Others nearer the serving counter. Sketch in black line and add technique. No need to use colour unless you want to.  This is a good place to sketch as there’s lots of interesting decor to pick.


The girl took orders and we all picked something very tasty served in nice little woven baskets or roundy bowls. For some this was a good chance to check their elipses. Round tops have round bases. They don’t suddenly become flat! What’s happened there! Get your scumbling technique into action and round off that corner. The pointed corner nazi police are here !

Time to lay all the sketches out for a pic. Some very innovative paper weights were added to stop the pages blowing.  Wow look what you have produced. See how effective the hatching can look. Almost black here and much lighter there.

You got it everyone. Great work. I have pushed you today but I so want you to remember all these ideas to make your travel sketches sing.  You’ll have your work done so quickly if you can.

Time then to have your coffee or drink as a reward.  What a really really good day. Very proud of you I am.


Friday Class. November 27 ’14.

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Friday Class. November 28 ’14.

Hi, Judy here. How were we going to cram in all the things we had planned for today I asked myself?

Only one way, yes I’d have to be pretty bossy and get everyone cracking as I knew we had lots of fun and educational things on the agenda, starting with playing with our watercolours to see how the work together layered.

How much paint to add, how much water, when is it too wet, when is it too dry, yikes do those colours really make that colour when mixed, oh I made mud, yum those colours look like opals……..these were just a few of the things we encountered today.  I love it, playing with colour and discovering how amazing things look.  The photos go to show how yummy things looked.

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Next subject in the studio today was lemons.

Perfect for my zesty bunch of ladies!  And today we are trying a new technique for many – crosshatching and shading with our pen.

I’d prepared a sheet of different lemons for everyone to look at showing different ways you could approach things.  Gee I could hardly stop everyone from photographing it! Everyone threw themselves into crosshatching with great gusto.

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It was great fun trying something new and you all did so well and everyone enjoyed this new perspective on things.  Yes we like to change things up, no time to get bored here!

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Now getting everyone packed up and out of the studio on time is quite a challenge – makes teaching look easy.

But phew, we made it out and off to the Manly Municipal Council building at the end of the Corso.  A great subject for sketching and trying out crosshatching but we had little time due to working on two separate subjects in the studio.

So I crack the whip and scurry everyone off over the road to MissChu’s Dumpling House.

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I love this funky place, with banana trees, weird and wonderful decor and the most delicious fresh and healthy food ever.  Having said that I actually never had time to eat or drink a thing this time, too busy running around and forgetting to take photographs.  Ah, there’s always next time.

Thanks everyone for a great day.

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Saturday Class. November 29 ’14.


Saturday class. November 29 ’14

Today was another very enjoyable ‘play with paint’ day.

Following on from last week’s w’colour pencil and layering, this was the 2nd way we use colour.

Similar in that we prepare our colours in the lid ready to use in layers. One over the other.

Five sets of rocks would I nicely. With chinagraph scribbled around tops and sides we are now ready to apply our first colours. Karen and I worked between groups to help with how much water and pigment you’d need. More than you think actually.

Lay down big brush strokes in the order the colours are written.

Hold back that brush. No no,  h o l d  b a c k.  One or big strokes should do.

Work through all the combos and see what you get. Amazing. The person next to you is doing the same thing, but look how different they all are.

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We were about to take a little extra time now to try a black and white sketch and add cross hatching to get some shade into it.

Lemons are a good simple shape and we remember to leave our whites on top and sides!

Beginning with little strokes from the base, all going one way, you then go back the other way. Even some going up.

Looks good don’t you think. First time for some and they’re getting the idea nicely.

These sketches work well with one colour used to highlight parts of it. Yellow is pretty ok for lemons wouldn’t you agree!


Time to tidy up, get pics done and toddle off down the hill to Manly Council Chambers.

We sit in a row along the raised edge of the big lawn, gazing at what part of the building to sketch.

Look at your sketchbook and back to your subject. Decide how much or how little you’d like. It’s as you feel.

Before long some wonderful sketches began to emerge.

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Interestingly most have never considered doing a b/w sketch. But by adding some hatching and a few blacks, you have a gorgeous little artwork, and you didn’t need to use colour to get it coming to life.

I think that because it’s the detail which makes these work, it suits some sketchers a lot.

I suggest that if you do wish to colour, use only one. Any one. It looks great.


We pushed a few tables together at MissChu Vietnamese, and got ready to order their wonderful Viet coffee to start.  Mmmmm. Something about the magic of bitter coffee with condensed milk that we can’t resist.

About now some gorgeous sketches are being hatched and cross hatched. Along with some lovely details.

Coffee is being stirred and shaken. Happy humming is heard . Coffee is blobbed on someone’s page. Uh oh. What now. Why not use more coffee and run it over your sketch. Coffee colour is just right.

Would you like sugar with that?

We all think it’s looks great. An accident turns into a success. Much hilarity.

You’ll see which one it is.  Oh and one sketcher had to get away. That’s hers below.


So we complete another excellent class and begin to drift off into the afternoon.  Looks like a great weekend for us all.

Looking forward to more brain teasing exercises next week.


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©ErinHillStudioChristyPowellJudySallehKaren&Toni Nov’14




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