Reflex sketching while catching up with friends

August 19, 2022 | 1 Comment

I’ve had a few zoom catchups with friends lately and my general rule for such catchups is to sketch something that relates to the person I’m talking with. I’ve shared some of these in previous Recent Sketches articles but I wanted to give them their own article as they are good examples of reflex sketching.

In these cases, I’m really not focusing on the sketch at all as I’m actively involved in the conversation (either talking or listening). I have to rely on quickly mentally mapping light and dark at an early stage so I don’t have to think about values too much as I work.

My friend Frannie from Brussel recently visited Semur-en-Auxois and so while she was telling me all about it, we both sketched the same photo. This was done in my previous sketchbook (back when I was using watercolour) and I drew first in ink, then added coloured pencils and then a little watercolour over the top. This is a very complex scene to do in a ‘reflex way’ but I’ve trained myself to record the shadow areas first and this helps a lot.

On Tuesday morning I had a long overdue catchup with Esther from Edinburgh. Last year at some stage we were sketching together regularly (trying every two weeks) and we had a theme of Scottish Castles.

Braemar was the chosen one this time and I really wasn’t sure what Pitt Brush pens to use. So you will see lots of different colours layered over each other. My strokes were a little too rapid ending up in a stripey rendering. But I like the look!

After the call, I added a few more layers in an attempt to lessen the stripes.

I also did another quick version working slower.

And here is the final spread.

While on the topic of Scottish Castles… I never posted the previous castle we sketched (Caerlaverock Castle) back in January so I’m adding it here.

The final catchup was with Suhita. She had posted a video of the Mumbai Central Station all lit up for the 75th anniversary of Independence. As I had sketched that building before (see here) I decided to do another version. Once again I really wasn’t sure what I was doing with the colours so I just kept layering! And was pleasantly pleased when I decided to stop.

Note: I’ve just been told on Instagram that this building is in fact the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly the Victoria Terminus). So does that mean that the old sketch is in fact Mumbai Central Station. If you know can you please let me know in the comments section below.

I also started a teacup sketch but this was as far as I got during the call.

I finished it afterwards. I’m thinking of adding another layer of blue to the shadows area.

Suhita made an interesting point that even though I’m using different materials and different colours, the result is still very much me. In fact, I’m using beige Red and Sky Blue a lot – both are not typical Liz colours! But regardless of the materials I use, I see colours the same way and so the end results are not radically different from my watercolour work. Have you noticed this too?

1 Comment

  • Jamie C says:

    I e noticed the same, regardless of your materials, your sketches still shine with your style! Isn’t that red beige a lot like Potters Pink? The sky blue seems to hit the same mark as the cobalt turquoise light. At least when I see them in your work.

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