Friday, 4 March 2011


A5 Sketchbook (from marumam.japan...a new purchase has quite nice thin watercolour) paper)

Thanks for you comments everyone....this is for Pooja, Nancy,Vicki and Ann.

My basic sketch supplies.
I bought this small (and in-expensive) Van Gogh travel watercolour set half-way through Everyday in May, for convenience, and have been very happy with them. Before that I used anything I had at hand and usually acrylic paint that I use with lots of water.
Many years ago I had a Windsor and Newton tin box but this little set was such a bargain.
I was looking at larger sets last week as it might be fun to have lots of colours, but was recommended professional quality paints as the Van Gogh ones are only student quality (? this could have been a pushy assistant )....the problem with this is the fact that they quadruple in price (and my supplier doesn't sell them individually). Any suggestions?

The main thing I have come addicted to this year is good quality paper and do prefer to do most work on loose sheets...usually Bockingford watercolour paper (Acid free 140lbs).
It saves many problems with rippling, is good for HK's humid climate and is good quality if I sell a sketch.
I tend to work about A4 size or a little larger so the Arthouse Sketchbook was good for  teaching me to scale down.
My favourite tool is a 2B pencil...although i sketch at first with HB and sometimes use 4B at the end for darkness.
On my next sketch I'll do a proper step by step but here's a little one for the above to get in practise. Although after stage two I broke up the still life (as I needed my paints etc.....and sat on the balcony in the sunshine......can only do that with an aerial view)
Thanks everyone for making me think about the process, as my sketching time is limited I usually put on the radio and just do it. I'll also be adding details of paper and size on my posts from now on.

Time to clean my paints!!


  1. oooh, i like this :)
    thank you for your comment on my EDM cup and saucer drawing - i'm now back in action having got my laptop fixed *phew*

  2. Great painting of your paints.

    Yes please clean your palette, I do not know how you get such clean colours working from it.

  3. Thanks for showing your process of artwork. I think I will try it tonight

  4. Thanks for taking the time and effort to do this post, Debra! It's always so interesting and fascinating to see the process artists use. The A5 Sketchbook intrigues me - thin watercolor paper that is nice sounds like an oxymoron. Seems like it would wrinkle if it's thin. I like this little study very much (as always!). nancy

  5. Other people's supplies are endlessly fascinating! And thank you for sharing your process - I too had wondered how you went about a painting. I like the combination of graphite and w/c - it seems to result in a nice painterly look. At least, when you do it!

  6. Wooooooohooooooo! Thank you so much for this fantastic post.

    I didn't know Van Gogh were student grade paints and I wouldn't have guessed looking at your sketches. Love your quick demo and looking forward to a step by step version of your next sketch.

  7. Thanks so much for this, Debra. I love the sketch of your paints. I didn't know that Van Gogh paints were student grade either.

    Love your blog,


  8. You certainly do some great work with you student grade paints!

  9. Your work is always amazing and so enjoyable to look at. just shopped for gel medium today and almost croaked when i saw the price.

  10. Very educational Deb! And what a great way to show the entire process too... :) You're using the tools as the subject to show basically erm... what you used to draw :D it's confusing to explain it but you know what I mean. I've never used Acrylic before...but I think after this I am going to give it a try(and I know what you mean by it not being strong enough, that's the reason why I use pen markers)

  11. Wow and dang! Every time I come to your site, I am blown away. I LOVE this! Perfect colors.

  12. wow, that's really insightful about your processes. no wonder your pieces are so delicate and detailed, there's so much love and care in the procedure.

  13. Love this watercolour: composition and result :)
    And very very useful post, Debra.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I'm looking forward your next step-by-step post ^^

  14. If you're getting this quality of painting from student grade paints, imagine what you'd get with artist grade. In my opinion, the clarity of color and translucence is what comes with artist grade paints...have you considered mail order? You could start with a warm and cool primary collection which would only be 6 colors...I can't stress this'll be amazed at the difference. This is a case of "you get what you pay for."



Thanks for your comments everyone!