Edges and Looseness

August 29, 2015 | 3 Comments

When I’m out sketching I’m thinking about edges all the time. When I find a scene I want to sketch, I first simplify what I see into shapes and/or volumes (in my head or in a thumbnail), but it is how the edges of the parts interact that I’m constantly thinking about while I’m working. As much as I love shapes and working with watercolour, it is the interaction between paint and lines that I love the most, and sketching on location is the best way for me to explore this.

Traditionally, ink and wash can be seen as drawing outlines and then infilling these shapes with colour (colouring book style) but it’s more satisfying when there is a dynamic relationship between lines and shapes.  When my ink lines and my paint take turns sharing the responsibility for the edges, I have more fun and I feel my work is richer. There are many edges to choose from, especially when drawing out on location, but the more I sketch, the more selective I become about which edges I include and the harder I want those edges to work for me.

[This little excerpt is a preview from the introduction in Lesson 1 of my Edges course]

Whilst I have known what I wanted to do in this course for months, it is only in the last few weeks, as I finally put it all together that I have start digging deeper and making lots of interesting discoveries!

Something that has struck me this week as I finalise Lesson 1, is how my approach to edges is a key to my looseness and how fast I work. Being selective about a few edges and then allowing myself the freedom to play with the rest gives me a great balance between fun and accuracy (which the architect in me still constantly demands).

So I am finding that a lot of the concepts we will be looking at are linked to spontaneous sketching in surprising ways!

I haven’t had much time for sketching in the last few days but I thought I would share a few cropped versions of my favourite sketches in this blog post… and oh! a cuppa sketch as well!


Find out more about SketchingNow Edges



  • I don't think you've ever done a sketch I haven't loved, Liz. These are no exception. I think I don't think enough about what I am doing. Maybe that is why I feel like there are more fails than successes.

  • JanetB says:

    I cannot wait till this starts! And I actually bought 2 teacups at a second hand store just so I'd be able to sketch them. I have only mugs, and I've done those — it's just not the same.

  • I absolutely adore your work !! I'm in love !! I really like your sketches of architecture and your style of drawing x


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