Playing with Line and Colour: Handbag Collection

October 21, 2016 | 2 Comments

Going through the archives I found this sketch which was included in my Coloring Book Review last year (here and here), and I decided that it was worthy of an article of its own.

The goal of this sketch was to explore different ways of sketching with line and colour. Each bag was done differently and each one of these approaches is explained in my online SketchingNow Foundations course, so for those of you who have done/are doing it, I will use my terms (noted in italics). It will be a little refresher course!

Note: Click on image to view at a large size.

Bag 1.
Feeling edges, I started doing a contour drawing ,working from one part to the next and embracing the wonkiness! Because of the way I was working, all my lines were the same line weight.

Bag 2.
I decided to vary my line weight by lightening the lines that described the texture and only doing this partially. When I painted I applied my strokes to correspond to the texture.

Bag 3.
The simplicity and symmetry of this little bag increased the pressure to be accurate, so I decided that I would get a pencil to help with the next one. Random Fact No 1: This is a rare black object (I don’t wear black generally). Random Fact No 2: When was the last time I use a tiny bag/purse like this or bag 8?? Gone are the days of small handbags – my long tailed Lamy joy pen wouldn’t fit in either of these bags!

Bag 4.
I used pencil for some gestural setup. This helped me work in a freer and looser way and use less linework! Interesting to compare this with bag 1, where my tendency was to draw outline around every part.

Bag 5.
Constructing volumes, (but without my pencil!) I started with the big overall shape which helped me place the internal components. Oops! a smudge when I was applying paint.

Bag 6.
Back to the pencil, using the constructing volumes approach again, this time to help draw some guidelines for the pattern as I decided I didn’t want ink outline around it.

Bag 7.
Time to put away the black pen and try coloured water-soluble lines instead.

Bag 8.
And oh! I just had to throw in an abstracting shapes version – putting down the paint first. This really helped me minimise my lines (ah, that is an Edges concept!)

Bag 9.
And finally, using paint as my setup for a more complex pattern.

Although these examples are less playful than my usual work, I hope you can see how options there are when working with ink and wash. It is always good to mix it up and try out different options.

Why don’t you try something different with your sketch today?

Check out my SketchingNow Online Courses – Foundations and Edges – both self directed, work at your own pace, start today.



  • Caroline Morgan-Grenville says:

    Perfect timing Liz – I am about to embark on my handbag assignment for the Foundations course this afternoon! What fun to have this blog to inspire me, the only problem is that its going to make me over-ambitious and try to do more than one bag … ! I’m loving the course by the way.

  • Molly Barnes says:

    Having the 3 big concepts repeated like this is really helping me “get it”. All part of the tool bag now! Thanks so much for your great teaching style:)

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