2019 Foundations Fridays 8: Balancing line and colour

February 22, 2019 | 1 Comment

One of the things I love so much about sketching (as opposed to more traditional watercolour painting) is the interplay between line and colour.

Whilst there is a real charm about neat ink and wash illustrations, where the paint completely fills in the shapes defined by the ink drawing, I really love it when line and colour share the responsibility for defining edges.

This balance between line and colour is what we are looking at this week during the Foundations Re-run. It’s a huge topic – so much so that I created a second course – SketchingNow Edges – just to deal with it in more detail.

These days I am always mixing up my use of ink and wash. Here are a few examples from my travels in the last few years.


How much building texture to do in ink?




Relying on colour to define a lot of the edges.




One step further: Mixing coloured line and shapes


Do you struggle with drawing too much in ink? Have you tried starting with some painted shapes first? Has that helped?

1 Comment

  • Christopher Alexander says:

    When I was in the seventh grade, I took my first art class in high school. We were forbidden from using lines in our drawings. If we did, the teacher would hold up the piece in front of the class, shaming us for what we did. When I started drawing more recently, I kept having memories of that. So I tried not to use lines and ink outlines. I couldn’t do it. So now I use them both and I’m fine with it.


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