Last week's Greenwood sketches with some progress photos

October 4, 2021 | 9 Comments

Today is a public holiday here in NSW so just a quick article to share last week’s marker sketches in my Greenwood Journal… with the added bonus of a few progress photos.

It’s more of the same (as I shared last week here) but I now have a few new colours – Green Grey, Grey Olive and Bush. Now don’t they just sound as if they would be perfect for my daily Lane Cove sketches?

As my Greenwood sketches have become a little more elaborate than the quick pencil drawings I was doing during my staycation (see here) I took a few photos so that I could get a better idea of how long my sketches are now taking. I want them to remain super quick and loose as these are done in the middle of a walk. The sketches in this book should remain as ‘glorified thumbnails’ rather than ‘serious sketches’.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As always, I have to stress that my natural pace is very fast and so please do not compare my times with yours! I don’t believe that there is any inherent merit in working fast but for me, if I’m trying to reach a state of flow, that means quick sketches capturing the scene. I often try to slow down my natural pace but for these types of sketches I’m trying to work as quickly as I comfortably can so that my hand is moving in sync with my brain. Please do not think that you have to work faster… in fact, if you are a beginner, you might have to slow down and take more care! This blog is where I document my personal journal and so I’m mainly recording these times for my own record and to get a sense of how long proportionally each step takes.

Step 1: Quick setup

I don’t know exactly how long this took but my guess is under 30 seconds (once I have my gear out that is!) This was done with a Caran D’ache Museum watercolour pencil: Sepia 10% .

Note: I don’t always do this step, but the goal is just to work out what I’m going to include in my sketch and position it on the page (Foundations Lesson 5)

Step 2: Ink (3.5 minutes)

This is De Atramentis Document Ink Sepia in my 55 degree Fude.

Step 3: Coloured Pencil (1.5 minutes)

Mostly Watercolour Pencils (Caran d’Ache Museum) applied very quickly.

Step 4: Markers (4 minutes)

I’m still experimenting with colours and textures and often this step takes longer (10 minutes)

So there you have it! The four steps of my typical bush sketches – done with ink, pencil and marker. For watercolour sketches in my Alpha, I follow the same steps 1-3 but step 4 is a combination of paint and pencil.

As for the rest here of the Greenwood sketches from last week, here they are…

It will be interesting to see how these quick sketches relate to watercolour versions that I plan to do of these views down the track.

Let me know (in the comment section below) if you have any questions!


  • Ellen Agger says:

    It’s so interesting to see how you are playing and experimenting with new media, Liz. It reminds me not to get fixed with what I am coming to know (using ink and watercolour). Thanks for sharing, as always.

  • Jamie C says:

    I do so love your forest sketches! I even went to a local arboretum on Friday because it has an Australian forest as one of its areas! I couldn’t work out how to sketch quickly enough, however, so your in progress and time notes are most welcome! I may have to copy this multi step approach, it looks so effective!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jamie – so coll that you have an Australian forest nearby. They are tricky! 🙂 Hope these steps give you an idea!

  • Gillian Eadie says:

    Here is a beginner question, Liz. When using watercolour pencils, do you draw dry then wet the drawn area, dampen the paper first and draw or somehow activate the pencil before you begin? or some other way? The sketches look amazing and I have pencils but can’t make the outcome look anything like yours!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Gillian, The easiest way to use them is to draw on dry then carefully add water… although I do like drawing over wet washes as the line gets thick and crayonlike. And I like painting over them. See here:

      I have quite a bit on watercolour pencils inside my Foundations course (especially lesson1) 🙂

      • Gillian Eadie says:

        Thank you so much for this – I’ll definitely try paint over them as I’ve found I lose control when adding just water. Wonderful courses and I simply MUST devote more time to the skills you are teaching.

  • manuela says:

    Really enjoying your marker sketches Liz. You’ve captured the Aussie bush colours beatifully.

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