Teacups 33-35: Taking risks

July 20, 2020 | 5 Comments

Time to catch up on a few teacup sketches which I have done in recent weeks.

They are good examples of three important aspects of my sketching:

  • reflex sketching
  • sketching in the in-between moments
  • taking risks when working wet-in-wet.


Teacup 35: T2 Fruity cup and saucer

This is a completely reflex sketch while chatting non-stop with Suhita during a catchup zoom call. It’s so much fun to sketch when you’re talking and not really concentrating on your work. I’ve missed this type of social sketching a lot, so these zoom calls are a good substitute.

I was drinking the wonderful ginger kiss organic tea by The Tea Centre which matched my fruity pink cup perfectly.

This cup has one of the most fun inside patterns of any in my collection which makes it perfect for sketching! The outside of the cup doesn’t have a very nice design but from my normal drinking view it doesn’t matter. Even when I sketch the side of the cup I can improve it!

Note: When I choose cups to add to my collection I always consider the saucer pattern before the cup pattern, and also favour cups with inside designs !


Teacup 34: T2 Mystic Carpet Ride – Sapphire

A super quick sketch during the only quiet moment I had on this particular morning. The pattern of the saucer is a detailed paisley so I will have to come back and do a more careful version of it on another occasion.

I’m not sure why this cup is called Sapphire – it looks more turquoise to me! This cup and saucer set is the same shape as my ‘Buildings cup’ and it’s one of my ‘tall cup’ shapes.


Teacup 33: T2 ‘Barcelona Cup’

Watercolour is all about timing!

In this sketch I intentionally put down my second wash too early and then resisted the urge to fiddle.I thought it was a total disaster but I just let it dry without touching it! I love taking risks and experimenting and teacup sketching is the place where I experiment the most.

Note: When you let the pigments settle naturally it’s amazing how much better it looks once it’s dry.

As for the cup, this is one of the harder patterns to sketch quickly. I call it my Barcelona Cup as I bought it in 2013 as a birthday present for myself just before heading to   the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona. Sadly I don’t know what the official name of the pattern is.

I still have a number of cups to sketch in my collection and a few teacups have been added lately! Will I ever get to the end of this project???



  • Jane Varley says:

    Hi Liz, your fruity pink cup and saucer with ginger kiss tea is particularly beautiful. Wow, you’ve really captured the quality of the porcelain!

  • Kimberly Ester says:

    Hi, I love this fun collection of tea cup sketches. I couldn’t keep myself from commenting. The pink one is especially eye catching and even has pink tea. Lovely lovely! Makes me feel happy just looking at it.

  • Fabienne Dreelan says:

    Liz – you are definitely the ‘queen of watercolour teacup sketches’! I love them all!! I also have to say that I’m always a little envious when I see sketches of your green & pink teapot cozy – I would like to have one just like yours too! ?????

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Fabienne – that teacosy was a test and I never made the real one….10 years later and still going.

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