What is your cup of tea?

March 3, 2015 | 17 Comments

The fact that the saying “my cup of tea” refers to

Something or someone that one finds pleasing

says it all for me!

Drawing and drinking cups of tea is certainly my cup of tea. And for that matter, so is sitting down with a friend over a cuppa having a really good catch up. Although writing this blog often feels somewhat one-sided – yes, I know I do a lot of talking in any situation or platform –  I do often feel as if it is like having a cuppa with YOU!

This week, being my week in Seeing on Sketchbook Skool means that I have a truly legitimate excuse to sketch teacups. So here are the few that I have done this week…

Above: a version of my green cup trying to get cascade green to perform!
Below: a very experimental version of my Peacock Cup (with dispersing ink), a very slow and somewhat tame version of my Orange SketchingNow cup, and a completely crazy splashy and gouache-y version of my ‘Barcelona’ cup. All three cups are challenging for me to draw. Why?

Peacock Cup

  • the shape of the saucer needs careful setup. If any of you think that an ellipse is hard, try a shape like this!
  • the peacocks ‘need’ to look like peacocks
  • the detail on the face demands that I slow down and work small and tight

Orange Cup

  • the detail is small and fiddly, with thin light coloured lines over dark backgrounds
  • hard to get a quick wet in wet shade for the orange without creating brown
  • extra pressure because I love the cup so much

Barcelona Cup

  • once again, fine detail and light on a dark background.
  • the overall geometric pattern is ‘easy’ but how to deal with all the small shapes in a loose way.. ah I love a challenge
  • once again, extra pressure because I love the cup so much

The major factor in why all these cups are challenging is TIME! I try to do my sketch while I am having a small pot of tea (2 cups worth).  If time was unlimited, I would have no trouble working up a careful rendering of each of these complex patterns with careful setup and fine brush strokes, wash and after. But… I do think that the ability to drink (hot tea) and draw at the same time is VERY important as the enjoyment of the tea does add a life and joy to the sketch! So because of this, these cups are a delightful stretch for me!

Anyway, enough about me…

The big question that I want to ask you is: Do you have a subject that is your cup of tea?

Do you have a subject that you have sketched numerous times? Why?
Do you get bored drawing it numerous times – if not, why not?
Do you use it as a subject matter to challenge yourself – in what ways?

Really looking forward to hearing from you … and hope that I am not the only one that obsessively draws the same thing over and over again.


  • Judy says:

    I love to paint pears–in oil–they are such great shapes, and I find the colors difficult, yellow, green,–and how to get a sense of shine and roundness.

  • Pilgrim says:

    I have sketched Sophie Ryder's Dancing Hares, nearby sculpture, about a dozen times. The changes in sky, light, weather, and season interest me.

  • I'm trying to do the opposite at the moment and sketch anything and everything! I love your teacups and can't think of a lovelier way to practice. Am going to look around for a similar object that I love…..

  • Buddhas, over and over — I have a few statues with lovely shapes and this I reach for.

  • Margo says:

    My dog Beatrice. I've sketched her hundreds of times, pencil, ink, watercolor. When I want a major challenge I do her in graphite and work on the shadows and sculpting her incredible musculature.

  • I don't think I've ever drawn the same thing twice because I do get bored with it! Lately I've done no art at all…like in months! I do love seeing your teacups. Love the orange one and the last, as far as paintings go, especially. The peacock cup is just lovely!

  • Liz Steel says:

    yes that is the problem…getting bored…. but sometimes you can push through the boredom factor (maybe after sketching 3 or 4 times) and get obsessed. The key is to find variety I think. Half the battle is deciding what to draw!

  • Liz Steel says:

    I handle my cup in my right hand and brush in left so it never happens (water is on left side)
    Flowers are a great subject…wish I had more in our garden (bulb flowers require too much work here- digging up and putting in freezer in winter)

  • Liz Steel says:

    YES! endless variety and life AND risk taking… I know that it is addictive and funny to say that is one of the reason why I have been holding off and taking it in small doses… imagine how many sketchbooks I would fill if I started seriously drawing people!

  • Liz Steel says:

    ah dogs are great- do you know about Roz and her daily dot – drew her dog Dot for an entire year

  • Liz Steel says:

    variety in shape is always good

  • Liz Steel says:

    that is good too …perhaps I need to do that for a month. Sketch something new everytime

  • Liz Steel says:

    ah! just looked them up- that would be fun to draw many times – changing seasons and weather are a good motivation for continuous sketching

  • Liz Steel says:

    oh- pears… yes they have such beautiful shapes and those colours are hard. I find it hard not eating them too!

  • Whenever I try to paint my teacup with tea in it, I end up washing my brushes in the tea by accident. 🙂
    Flowers (tulips, pansies, peonies, roses, irises) – I love their simple beauty and in between the times that they bloom each year I have a chance to learn something new and am fascinated to see if I can capture them a tiny bit better each time.

  • MiataGrrl says:

    People! I hang out in coffee shops all winter, sketching not my coffee cup but all the people around me. I never get tired of it, and I get a small rush from the tiny bit of tension of not getting caught. 😉

    – Tina

  • melisnorth says:

    As someone who is really just starting on my artistic journey I'm still trying to find my "teacup". I tend to draw subjects in streaks, so maybe do lots of birds one week, then trees, then portraits. My mood seems rather fickle. I do keep coming back to natural subjects, there is always so much variety. I'd love to tackle more architecture and cars/mechanical subjects that I haven't tackled yet.

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