Drawing Flamingos From The Comfort Of My Arm Chair

sketch of two flamingos in green ink.

Two flamingo heads drawn with green ink.

Hi there, how are you?

We wanted to draw flamingos, the weather was OK as we arrived at the zoo then suddenly the heavens opened and it rained and rained and rained! It was too wet for sketchbooks so we did what everyone else did and hid from the rain in one of the animal houses.
Normally we would sketch in the houses but there were so many people and not too much room so we just spent the day enjoying the animals.

Later at home I still wanted to draw flamingos so pulled up some photos I’d taken on a previous visit and drew a few in the dry comfort of my arm-chair (hehehe)

I received some new fountain pen inks this Christmas, they are all small sample bottles, if I like the ink enough and use it I will maybe buy the full-sized bottles in the future.

I filled the pens I had with red and green ink (I already have brown in another pen) and used them to draw these flamingos, then used a water brush to pull out some of the colour from the ink


pink flamingo ink sketches

Flamingos drawn in red ink , I drew over some of the lines with a pentel brush pen and the feathers are a mixture of gouache and watercolour.


I drew a few close-ups of their heads to try to work out where the eyes and beaks are positioned, this is usually difficult when we see them at the zoo because they’re quite far away.

peeved pink flamingo

I drew this one too close to the gutter of the page so it didn’t scan too well. I do like the look on her face though, a slightly peeved pink flamingo.


These were little gesture studies, there are others but I had painted them with watercolour and the scanner didn’t like to colour so these were the only ones I can show.

flamingo gesture sketches

A few flamingo gesture sketches drawn with a fountain pen and brown ink. Trying to work out the direction the feathers lie.

Maybe next week we’ll have better weather then we can spend a little time drawing real flamingos.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x


Drawing Experiments: Orchids

drawing of a pink orchid in brown ink

A drawing of a pink orchid in dark brown ink

Hi there, how are you?

This week I have been drawing orchids, lots of orchids. We have two orchid plants in our house, mine is the pink striped one and the other is white with slightly bigger flowers belonging to my daughter. We are extremely happy with ourselves because amazingly they are still alive after over a year, whoot!
The pink one started to flower last week and I drew one or two sketches of it. This week the white orchid is flowering, it has grown four flower spikes so far so there will be lots of drawing opportunities available in the future.

The drawing above and the one directly below were both drawn with a fountain pen and brown ink, the ink was then brushed out with a water brush to create the shadows. I really like the way the tones and shadows stand out on the first one,

drawing of a white orchid in brown ink

A drawing of a white orchid in brown ink. I love the colour of this ink.

The next two are drawn the way I usually draw things in general, with a pentel brush pen. I know it makes them look a bit cartoon-y but I like the effect. I also wanted to use these drawings as a pattern for watercolour and thought it would show better though the light box and paper. It did.

sketch of white orchid flower buds

A sketch of white orchid flower buds

The shadows didn’t show up too well on the scan of the flowers, to be honest I’m not sure they were strong enough to start with, something for me to experiment with later.

sketch of a white orchid spray

A sketch of a white orchid spray.

I painted a green background on this one trying to push the white flowers forward, I had wanted to try to paint it without the heavy lines but the shadows again were not strong enough. This is all useful information to take into future drawings.

white orchids on a green background

Some white orchids on a green background

This one was more an experiment with the paper than the drawing. I like the effect of the blue background and I will try this again. The paint was applied with a 1” synthetic brush in a criss-cross pattern.

white orchid on a blue background

white orchid on a blue crisscross blue background

All of these drawings were done in my sketch book which contains a coated cartridge paper so an even wash is not possible. It turned out quite well and isn’t any where near as much work as the green background in the image above.

This quick sketch was drawn on brown packing paper, I wanted a toned surface and this was all I had. It’s drawn with a fountain pen and brown ink then painted with watercolour (Chinese white for the petals)

orchid sketched on brown paper

An orchid sketched on brown paper

Finally watercolour paper (phew!)  This is always fascinating to me, the water was added and the paint allowed to travel out along the water.
I like the colour and the way this turned out, again the shadows are not strong enough. I could have fixed it maybe but the next day it had been made into a birthday card and was winging its way to its new home.
Its recipient said she liked it and that’s what really matters.

blue orchid birthday card

Blue orchid birthday card

I love playing and working in my sketchbook, It’s nice to make pretty pictures but my sketchbook is the place I experiment, make mistakes, learn from the things that worked as well as the things that didn’t. If all my drawings were perfect there would be no need to practice and for me that is where the fun lies.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Happy New Year

teasel drawn from the front and back

A teasel drawn from the front and back.

Hi guys, how are you?

It’s the end of the year already! A time that makes most people think about the past and present simultaneously.

These drawings, a few hawthorn berries and teasels found on a winter walk were drawn with a fountain pen in brown ink brushed out with a water brush.

teasel sprig drawn in brown ink

A teasel sprig drawn in brown ink.


hawthorn berries drawn in brown ink

A few hawthorn berries drawn in brown ink.

All carry their seeds into the new year filled with hope, ready to grow into future plants.

As we move forward Lets all take the seeds of hope into 2019.

I would like to thank each and every one of the people who have stopped by, liked or sent uplifting and encouraging comments. You make the whole experience such a pleasure.

Have a very happy and healthy New Year everyone.

See you next year  XXX



More Garden Flowers To Draw

honeysuckle painting outlined with a fountain pen

Honeysuckle painting outlined with a fountain pen

We’ve had such beautiful weather this week, just perfect for sitting out in the evening drawing flowers.

The honeysuckle is out, it’s not actually in the garden as such, it just drapes itself over the fence looking lovely. It’s a very obliging plant.

I’ve tried to draw honeysuckle before and always end up getting lost in the curly petals. This time I went straight in with water brush and paint. It seems that painting in the shapes first prevents my fiddling about with all those petals, and then I drew in the lines with a fountain pen. I like the way they turned out.

This page of honeysuckle is painted without any line work. I keep looking at it thinking maybe I should add the lines but I think leaving them like this will remind me how different they look as I look back through my sketchbook.

honeysuckle painting not outlined

Honeysuckle painting without any outlining.

In the corner of the garden is a large shrub? It grows very fast and has to be pruned back hard every year. I have no idea what it’s called bur every year it’s covered in big yellow flowers. I drew them last year; you can see the drawings here.

I’m still trying to find the right yellow to do these flowers justice. I’m sure I’ll find it eventually.

sketch of yellow flowers

A sketch of yellow flowers


These fuchsia flowers are not in my garden, I spotted them growing over somebody’s fence as I walked past so I snapped a photo on my ipod to draw later.

drawing of Fuchsia flowers

A drawing of Fuchsia flowers found growing over somebody’s fence

It is such a colourful time of year. Plants are growing, flowering away, and all I have to do is pull up the odd weed. sit back and draw them, love the warm summer evenings.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Blackberry Flowers,Weeds Or Drawing Opportunities?

Blackberry Watercolour

a small 6 x 4″ watercolour on student grade paper.

Hi there, how are you?

I’ve been in the garden this week, R.I.P yellow poppy, it was fun while it lasted. The slugs ate the last few leaves this week, didn’t even leave a stump!

I have to say I’m not what you’d call a natural gardener but the one thing I have no problem growing is weeds. Blackberry plants are trying to take over the garden and as I set about pulling them out I saw the flowers and thought, ho ho here’s a good drawing opportunity. I took out my sketchbook, my little stool and started to draw. Not really surprising the weeds are taking over really is it?

I started drawing them with my preppy fountain pen, then pulled the ink about with a water brush. It dries in shades of blue, grey and brown which is a nice effect. I wish the scanner could pick up the colour better.

Blackberry flowers pen and ink

Blackberry flowers drawn in pen and ink

I had heard about the 30×30 challenge and wondered if I could paint something without drawing it first; it was also an opportunity to try some negative painting. It didn’t turn out too bad considering I was painting in a sketchbook on cartridge paper.

Blackberry flowers negative painting

Blackberry flowers, painted negatively without drawing first.


I’m not doing this challenge, I just was just curious to see how hard it would be (very!) I might have a go at the doodle wash watercolour month. Try and get through the whole month this time.

Next I decided to go back to sketching lightly first. I like how the green poofed out and the colours split in this sketch. It was mixed with hookers green, perylene green (The only greens I have in my palette) and new gamboge (a strange mucky colour in the tube but paints out quite nicely).

Blackberry flowers sketch

Blackberry flowers sketch

The next painting is my favourite. It’s the picture at the top of the post. I used a photo and painted a small watercolour 6” x 4”, the greens worked really well. There are things to be fixed next time but over all it makes me happy.

Next job – weeding! It’s all very well distracting me with pretty flowers but those brambles have to go!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Drawing Songbirds At The Zoo

timor sparrow sketch

Timor sparrow sketch

Hi there, how are you?

This year we wanted to draw more animals so we have bought zoo passes again. It’s still cold outside so in weather like this we like to go into the houses and see any of the tropical birds and animals. They keep it toasty warm in there.

In one such house we came across some tiny songbirds, so books and pencils out, we drew birds. Birds don’t like people, particularly the ones that stand and stare at them for ages; they get nervous and fly around.

If you look at the picture above and think Oooh…., well, that’s not the level of drawing I can do from living beings.

The kinds of things I draw at the zoo are tatty little things like the picture below. If you look carefully all of the information is there, I jot down little notes to remind me of the colours or any other distinguishing marks, their names and if possible I draw them from different angles.

bird reserch sketches drawn at the zoo

Bird research sketches drawn at the zoo.

Once home I decided to do a little home work and look up the birds I had drawn to try and do a better job of capturing a likeness. I’m hoping this will help me, 1) learn to draw and 2) fix in my brain how they really look so next time I go out drawing birds (or anything else for that matter.) I will have a better understanding of how they are put together.

zebra finch sketch

Zebra finch sketch

I haven’t looked up the superior fruit dove (what a name) yet, I didn’t have time to write down any notes on colours etc so I’ll go back next time and have another look. I could just find photo’s on the internet but I’ll probably learn more and get a better idea of the real colours by checking for myself. We have passes so we can go back every day if we want, we probably won’t, but we could hehehe.

If anybody has any useful tips for drawing live animals I would be very interested.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

Sketching Jellyfish

jellyfish draw with a fountain pen

Jellyfish draw with a fountain pen.

Hi there, how are you?
I have been thinking about jellyfish, I’m not sure why I find them so fascinating at the moment but they’re in my head so I’ve drawn them in my sketchbook.

Above are some jellyfish I drew with a preppy fountain pen, it still has Quink ink inside so I’ve brushed the lines out with a water brush (not that is shows up). It’s a bit scrappy but I was just trying to get the idea of how they’re put together.

pink and blue jellyfish sketch

Pink and blue jellyfish sketch.

one blue jellyfish sketch

Blue jellyfish sketch.

long jellyfish sketch

Long jellyfish sketch the blue one was outlined with a brush pen.

It’s hard when you look at them to see where one part ends and the next part begins.

I’ve tried to let lots of paper show through to make them appear transparent. They’re all drawn with pencil and coloured with watercolour. The blue one was outlined with a pentel brush pen because i didn’t like the way it turned out.

I think I need to practise drawing lots frilly things so I can do a better job of the arms (Is that what they’re called?)

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x


Newts, Testing De Atramentis Ink

sketch of two newts

We took pictures of this newt at the aquarium, unfortunately I didn’t write the name down so I’m not sure what it’s called. They looked quite gray because the lighting was low and very blue.

Hi there, how are you?

For my birthday this year I was given some waterproof ink (so lucky). De Atramentis Document ink to be precise.

I use quink ink in my preppy fountain pen and I can get some cool washy effects with it but it leaks into the watercolour so it’s best for pen and wash or straight line work.

To test it out I drew a little newt and once the ink was dry I washed some watercolour over it. It worked no movement at all.

I found an old fountain pen; the ink inside it had dried out so it needed cleaning. (Note to self, do not take a pair of pliers to your fountain pen when trying to take the nib out! The pen still works but it didn’t do the nib any good.) I am using this for the De Atramentis ink. I now have two fountain pens to draw with hehe, I may have to sort out of my pencil-case soon before it gets too heavy to carry.

two californian newt sketch

These newts are Californian newts.

I like the look of the gray newts, they’re quite sweet. The Californian newts look more salamander-ish to me, maybe it’s the way I drew them. I like the colour of the top newt and the shadow in the bottom newt, it worked out much better than I thought it would.

I really like De Atramentis Document ink, especially for use with watercolour; I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to use.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x