Sketchbook Skool – Beginnings – Week 6

I’ve been waiting with baited breath for the final week of Beginnings, tutored by the amazing and totally whacky Tommy Kane – his videos, as expected, were full of great advice and wise words. Tommy can spend up to 10 hours on a single sketch – crazy! Our homework for the class was to draw our own kitchen – choose a really complex part of the room and go for it. Tommy Kane Illustration Tommy Kane’s Blog I took a couple of days over the drawing and the eventual painting with watercolours and a small addition (as per Tommy) of coloured pencil – probably a total of about 3 to 4 hours. I hadn’t expected to draw past the corner on the right hand side – my original plan was to draw from the oven to the corner. Once I turned the corner everything went to pot and my perspective was way out. My corner plate rack is not actually in the corner and it looks like an elephant trod on my toaster it’s so flat! But I was partly impressed with the final result, wonky and quirky as it is. Every single item is included, every bottle, every cup, every plate. It was very absorbing, even when I was adding the watercolour. So absorbing in fact that I took a swig of my brush-washing water that was in a mug next to my cup of coffee! Bleeuurrgh!! Tommy has a number of rules that he follows when doing detailed drawings like this that I will adopt:-

  • Draw in slow motion and really look
  • Once the pen hits the paper finish the drawing!

And what did the great man himself have to say about my kitchen drawing?

Yvonne, you have made a gorgeous little masterpiece. Your line work is so delicate and perfect. Your watercolor work is spot on. Your work has great personality to it. I even love the texture of the paper you use. You should be very proud of what you did.


Sketchbook Skool Homework - Tommy Kane
Sketchbook Skool Homework – Tommy Kane


Sketchbook Skool – Seeing – Week 6

Seeing – Week 6 – Homework Part 1

Liz Steel is the tutor for the week 6 Seeing class – I have been really looking forward to this amazing Aussie’s class. Liz is an architect by trade but is mostly known for her urban sketching and her addiction to drawing tea cups. I love her tea cup sketches! Liz Steel Liz’s Flickr Our first lot of homework was to draw an object that means something to us – it didn’t have to be a tea cup… Sadly I don’t have any really fancy cups and saucers (but have it in mind to go through mum’s china cabinet when i’m there next month…) so I started off with a 1930s style cup and saucer – a Clarice Cliff repro by Moorland Pottery with the famous Crocus design on. I wasn’t too thrilled by the results so this morning I had another go – this time using a Wedgewood soup cup and saucer which was given to me by my grandmother on the birth of my oldest daughter 30 years ago. The design is called Kutani Crane. I was much happier with the result. I was quite embarrassed when The Artist from next door dropped by to pick up my husband and i’d left my book on the side, opened to the Wedgwood cup page so he scooted over when he spied it and had a look. He seemed reasonably impressed 🙂

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist

Seeing – Week 6 – Homework Part 2 The next lot of homework that Liz set for us was to draw a building. With her being an architect she gave us a number of tips for when drawing buildings. It was a dull and dismal day and I decided to draw our house – it’s kind of wonky, I think I definitely need a lot more practice!

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist

Sketchbook Skool – Beginnings – Week 4

The teacher this week for Beginnings was Jane LaFazio and in her demo she showed us the process that she goes through – how she selects what she wanted to draw, doing a rough pencil sketch then adding pen and finally watercolour. Jane loves to work in mixed media, including stitchwork and she talked us through some of her sketchbooks. Our homework was to create a grid drawing. Jane suggested fruit or vegetables but we’d had a beautiful sunny day and there were a lot of butterflies in the garden, especially on the Buddleia which is fully in flower (and unlikely to stay that way here – the wind and the salty air soon knocks the blooms down).

Sketchbook skool jane la fazio

I drew the 9 x 9 grid first then pencilled in the basic shapes of what I wanted to draw. Once i’d done that I used a fine line pen and added colour using Inktense Pencils. Jane had suggested using black for the grid but I thought that would be too harsh and detract from the flower and butterflies so I used some diluted watercolour. I used this drawing for the #DrawingAugust Challenge too. My mum has already asked me if she can have it to put on her wall…

Sketchbook Skool – Seeing – Week 5

The tutor for week five of Seeing was the totally incredible Andrea Joseph – what that girl can do with a ballpoint pen is truly amazing! Andrea’s Blog Andrea’s Flickr Andrea’s Etsy Shop Andrea is one of the few British tutors on the course and was very generous in her advice and teaching, lots of video demos and she went through some of her sketchbooks too. The first homework was a lettering piece – we had to choose a quote that we liked and write it out. I chose this one by Camille Pissaro.

Next we had to find some objects of the same colour and then draw them in a ballpoint pen of that colour (red objects, use red pen etc.). As I could only find a blue ballpoint pen in the whole of the house that’s what I went for…

Lastly Andrea demonstrated drawing a collection of items and set us the task of drawing a collection of our own – in ballpoint pen of course. I had a bag of buttons that had come from my late mother-in-law’s house so I chose them.

I really enjoyed this homework and indeed the whole week. I don’t think that I’ll be making a habit of doing drawings with ballpoint pen – Andrea made it look way easier than it really is. I guess with practice it would become easier – I found myself pressing too hard occasionally – in Andrea’s video she used very very light, soft strokes when doing the cross-hatching and this is where I found the difficulty – I felt very clumsy. My favourite button to draw and the one that turned out pretty good was the large round, leather-covered button. Sadly week 6 will be the final week of Sketchbook Skool for this semester 🙁 but i’m looking forward very much to it, Liz Steele is leading the last class!

Sketchbook Skool – Seeing – Week 4

The very first online courses that I participated in were by Cathy Johnson so I was looking forward to learning a whole lot more from this lovely lady, especially as a lot of her drawing is bird and nature orientated. Cathy Johnson’s website Cathy Johnson’s blog Cathy demonstrated techniques for sketching birds – both from life and using photographs – then homework was to do our own bird sketch. I chose a House Sparrow, it turned out OK(ish) it was a little bit out of shape. Maybe i’m just picky when it comes to bird art – I think it stems from knowing birds so well. Anyway here is my homework, followed by some links to a couple of great bird artists.

House Sparrow…

My Lapwing turned out a little better


Both of these birds were drawn from my own photographs. Part 2 of Cathy’s homework was to upload a page from our nature journal. I submitted my seaweed page


I love the lovely loose watercolour work of wildlife artist Darren Woodhead, I first saw his work at the UK Bird Fair in 2011, held annually at Rutland Water. Darren is based in Scotland and his website is: Another artist I greatly admire is The Artist that I mention now and again who lives next door. Bill Neill has lived here in the Hebrides for over 30 years and is an amazing all round naturalist. He uses mainly watercolour but sometimes acrylics. Bill’s website is:  Books I recommend for drawing birds:-

  • John Busby, Drawing Birds – An RSPB Guide
  • John Muir Laws, The Law’s Guide to Drawing Birds