Two quiet days: tea and cake sketches

June 11, 2015 | 10 Comments

I didn’t get a chance to sketch yesterday so I started today with a cuppa sketch (drinking Top of the Town from Tea with Alice). After watching bits of an amazing new Craftsy class with Shari Blaukopf this week I decided to do this tea cup sketch with a big brush and a rigger for the details. I suspect that I will chat more about this class in upcoming weeks! I have been a huge huge fan of Shari’s work for years (she is a good friend too!) and although I have seen her in action before it is so good to have this class to watch her work up close. Her watercolour paintings are unbelievably beautiful.

I have known for a long time that she has a masterful control of wetness, so it was good to see this in the videos. I often find it hard to use big brushes because of excessive water, (although I do work wetter than Shari) so it was fun to use a big brush for a small teacup sketch. I didn’t quite achieve the control I am after but I am now one step closer!

And here is a mini carrot cake. I did the whole sketch with a rigger brush and was thinking about concepts for my new online SketchingNow course while I was doing it. My mind is exploding (in a good way)at the moment trying to work out a way to structure the concepts I have floating around at the moment. I am not giving away any more details yet, but it is going to be a concept based course and not specifically about watercolour techniques or a specific topic (such as sketching cake!) – if that is what some of you were thinking!

Below the cake is a fancy square protractor that I have been looking for for months and it is going straight into my teaching bag right now. I have been thinking it would be a perfect device to check angles… not that anyone would ever want to sketch by measuring angles, but on occasions it would be handy to use this protractor to see your angle errors.


Very unusual composition for this spread, but it is sequential.

Ok, time to get back to all the grind type work that I have to get through this week as well as thinking my art concept thoughts!



  • There is a softness coming through some of your latest sketches Liz and I think it is beautiful. Love the palette both here and last post. And if you love tea, you'll drink it all up…no worries!

  • Pilgrim says:

    Never heard of a square protractor. Interesting. Loved Shari's gorgeous brushes. I watched the class, too. Beautiful materials and work.

  • Gabriella says:

    I can't wait to hear more about the course (s)! I will have to check what a rigger brush is.

  • ashbyart says:

    Huge fan of your blog, it's one of the first things I read each day. A little off topic but do you seal your sketches in your journals with a spray fixative or anything? I'm almost finished with one I solely dedicated to Everyday in May (thank you by the way, I was introduced to EDiM through your blog and absolutely loved participating in it) and I've noticed that some of my sketches are rubbing off on other sketches on the other page. Thanks

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks Sherry!

  • Liz Steel says:

    I will post more details of the protractor later… and yes, sigh, Shari's work and brush. Sigh! is the best word to describe them both!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks gabriella! rigger brush is a long narrow brush for painting lines (like rigging on ships)

  • Liz Steel says:

    HI ashbyart – thanks for your message and so glad you enjoyed EDim!!! yay!
    I don't have any trouble with rubbing normally – occasionally if I leave something in watercolour pencil but most of my work is ink and wash. What are you using?

  • ashbyart says:

    I looked at it again and I think it is in fact the water color pencils that are making the smudges. I use watercolor, waterproof ink, watercolor pencils and occasionally a white gel pen for highlights. I guess my only concern is that I'm going to put the sketchbook away for a while and when I open it back up the sketches will be all muddled. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to answer my question. Thanks again.

  • Liz Steel says:

    My pleasure!
    your comment got me thinking that once I have scanned my work, I don't care so much if smudging starts happening… it is all about the act of sketching for me. The fact that the sketch ages isn't such a problem.

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