Recent morning local sketches (and experiments)

January 5, 2024 | 12 Comments

December was such a busy month that I didn’t get time to do much scanning. But I was still doing regular morning sketches in my local area (including the Village Green). Here is a collection of sketches done last month – I was still playing with different materials, taking risks, and trying new combos. Some days I didn’t have a lot of time (or the headspace to focus on my sketching) but I still experimented.

My current fad is to start with some Manganese Blue Hue washes. This colour was added to my palette a few years ago (see more here) and I love how transparent it is.

In these sketches you’ll see some watercolour pencils, some coloured pencils and some Neocolor II… and in (nearly) every sketch, the main component is watercolour! Most of the lines are done with my 55-degree fude but you will also see some watercolour pencil and some black polychromo lines.

The goal of these sketches is not to produce masterpieces but simply to have fun and get my creative juices pumping. It’s a great way to start my work day particularly if there is lots of grind to do.

So here we go…


I’m very happy that I’ve been able to maintain this morning routine even when things get a bit crazy.  Having fun with texture and creating areas of complex colour makes me smile!

How much sketching did you manage to do during December?

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  • Susan Court says:

    Thanks for sharing your process. I am exploring using more WCP and Color pencil and some neocolour but the watercolour seems to be the most rewarding. Each of your sketches reveals a piece of each media and possible combos. I learn more each time I look at your work.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Susan – I love all media but it’s undeniable that watercolour is the most special! Enjoy your explorations.

  • Jamie C says:

    Those blue under washes really do add depth and texture to the watercolor. Do you find it is slower or takes more time for you to do the first wash in blue?

    • Liz Steel says:

      HI Jamie – the extra time is minimal. I’m not conscious of having to wait for it to dry. Lots of wet-in-wet work!

  • Patricia Wafer says:

    This is interesting thanks for the post and I’m going to give it a try. I have some DaVinci manganese blue hue. I also have 3 small 5 ml tubes of old Holland manganese blue that I’ve been hoarding in an airtight container for way too long. I finally decided I’ve got to use them up before they are completely dried out and useless. So I got one out yesterday to do a glaze over an ultramarine Blue Sky and the color was just gorgeous. But using it in a sky is a little risky because it is so granulated. I was just relieved that the tubes have not dried out yet. They will be the last manganese blue I will ever get to use. I’ll try the Daniel Smith version too but I don’t think there is ever going to be a perfectly exact substitute for it. It’s just such a magical color but at least we have approximates. Thanks for suggesting using this as an initial wash. And yesterday at my framing store I did my best to encourage one of the employees there who draws beautifully and wants to know more about watercolor to sign up for your class. I think I got her talked into it!

  • Lois Courtright says:

    This is always such a delightful place to stop by for a minute to dwell on something lovely and inspiring!

    This post got me pulling out some brilliant blue (my palette has Sennelier’s Turquoise de Phthalo) to start a simple sketch.

    What a cheery way to push local color! Wow!


    Thank you Liz!

  • Ginie Udy says:

    All these sketches are interesting and inspiring. Thank you for sharing them with us. I was out sketching and painting in our apartment block garden today and your combination of trees, grass and vegetation with buildings in these sketches encouraged me to add some detail of our building into my sketch.

    I think my favourite sketch of yours is your last one. The simple shapes with your clear, confident lines combined with so much beautiful watercolour magic is quite mesmerising.

  • Josee Houde says:

    Hello Liz, I’m from Canada and I recently discovered you.

    Your blog is super interesting!

    I started doing sketchs x 2022.
    It has become a passion and I draw every day, but not all live sketchs yet …
    I love to use watercolor , color pencil, ink…
    I discovered recently Albrecht Dürer Warercolour markers and since my sketchs have more characters .

    I open my horizons with you.
    I’m very happy to start to followin you! …

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