Sketching Magpies

watercolour magpie  sketchWatercolour magpie sketch

Hi there, how are you?

This week I have done absolutely nothing at all. There I said it.

The week before I had planned to scan and post the few scrappy drawings I had done and then bang, I was hit by the superbug COVID!

The illustrious other half caught it at work and brought it home to share, he needn’t have bothered.

I went to bed shivering and aching and didn’t resurface until this weekend. Bleah!

So, these are the things I would have posted last week. Magpie studies.

(above)from a photo taken in the garden a watercolour painted in the sketchbook. I’m reasonably happy with the background and twiggy bits here.

Drawn in graphite pencil these magpies (below) had to be scanned in black and white as it’s not always easy to see. These are pretty much all Pinterest magpies.

graphite magpie sketches
Graphite magpie sketches

Some birds drawn with a fountain pen. It’s not easy to colour with fountain pens (I think it’s a fine nib) so I just give an impression of shading drawing the lines close together.

fountain pen magpie sketches
Fountain pen magpie sketches

Fountain pen and blue ink trying and failing to show some iridescence, it was the wrong colour blue.

By this stage the drawings are getting a little more sketchy and unbeknownst to me I was starting to get sick.

blue fountain pen magpie sketches
Blue fountain pen magpie sketches

I’m still coughing but my cotton wool head is slowly starting to clear and hopefully this week will soon be a soggy memory.

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


Inktober, All Over For Another Year

peony brush paintingPeony brush painting

Hi there, how are you?

Inktober is over for another year as we now enter a soggy November.

I made 30 pieces of art by October 31and topped up the last day with something experimental.

1. a peony in the style of Chinese brush painting.

After trying a number of different types of paper, even rice paper the one that worked and was least annoying was painted on a piece of junk mail. It was just absorbent enough with the right amount of tooth so no fancy paper here then ha!

2. These were the make up pieces, I was experimenting with spraying, masking and transferring ink.

A die cut circle was placed on to watercolour paper and blue ink sprayed on top. After it had dried I loosely sprayed water into the centre to wet the paper and reactivate the ink then laid a circle cut from an ink painting that didn’t work over the wet circle. The red ink transferred into the blank space and bled into the blue ink.

It’s an interesting effect and I thought I could draw some little silhouette trees or something on the top but the ink activates too easily with anything wet so I left it. They look like little moons.

Maybe if I drew the silhouette first in waterproof ink it would work better, an experiment for another day I think.

moon experiment 1
Moon experiment 1
moon experiment 2
Moon experiment 2

This last one is a watercolour using the magpie image from last week. I needed to make a card and this one fit the bill as he loves magpies, or any birds really.

It made him smile do job done.

magpie pumpkin watercolour
Magpie pumpkin in watercolour.
magpie on a pumpkin
Magpie on a pumpkin used as the pattern for a watercolour card.

The goal was to use the blue and red ink I had just bought, and try to generate some new ideas because I was feeling a bit stuck. If I don’t have a goal I know I’ll procrastinate, then I wont finish, sad but true. That’s why I give myself the little tasks and by with using different tools and ways of applying the ink it keeps the interest going for the whole month.

Apart from the odd “my life what am I going to draw” its been a good month.

I’ve loved looking around at what other artists have produced, some following prompts, some making their own prompts up and some like me busking it and doing their own thing and it has been amazing. So much good work.

If you did some, all or any of the Inktober month congratulations, hopefully like me your giving yourself some pats on the back.

You can check out the previous weeks inktober’s below:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. till next time, have fun

Inktober 2022 week 5


Hi there, how are you?

Inktober 2022 week 5. by the time you read this Inktober will probably be finished but I’m not quite there yet, still a little more to do.

1. turtle (above). I quite like this one, there’s only a tiny amount of pink in some of the shading so more monochrome than the others, I think it fits the subject though.

2. teapot. Not sure what to call this really, bits of things? It makes a nice composition though.


3. cockerel. I wondered if I painted a cockerel (rooster) with two colours how it would look.



4. magpie. This time of year everyone draws crows, magpies are corvids too don’t you know hehehe. It looks cool standing on a pumpkin.

magpie on a pumpkin
Magpie on a pumpkin

5. bird. This is actually based on a blue tit. It’s interesting the difference the colours makes.


6. ginkgo. I saw a ginkgo tree on a walk the leaves an autumn gold, very inspiring. These turned out a little graphic, fun to draw.

ginkgo leaves
Ginkgo leaves

I still have a couple more left to do as I’d missed some hopefully I’ll get them sone soon.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. till next time, have fun

Inktober 2020 5th And Final Week

java green magpie
25 Java green magpie

Hi there, how are you?

Well we’re finally at the end of Inktober, whew! To be honest I didn’t have much of a plan this year other than to use my new ink and some of the ink pens I have in my pencil case.

I have been drawing lots of flowers this year so I wanted to include them in the drawings in some way.

I didn’t use prompts, it usually takes twice as long to interpret the prompts and do the drawing. I was just going with the flow, following where it takes me and that was the plan.

Day 25 – magpie. (above) This is a Java green magpie, they’re endangered and very shy but I managed to take one or two ropey photos of them at the zoo last year. They have bright green and blue plumage with a vivid red beak and legs, so beautiful.

Day 26 – toucan. These always strike me as comical birds. Lots of fun to draw.

26 tucan
26 tucan hopping along the passion flowers.

Day 27 – lily. Drawn from the blue lily photos I took a few years ago. We can’t have lilies any more because the other half discovered he has allergies. “Sad face”. Good job I took lots of photos eh?

27 lilies
27 lilies

Day 28 – honeysuckle. I love honeysuckle in summer, they smell amazing and attract all of the insects.

28 honeysuckle
28 honeysuckle and a butterfly.

Day 29 – Bali mynah, these endangered birds are a beautiful snowy white with blue colouring around the eyes. They’re drawn from photos I’d taken at the zoo last year. They were actually not too bothered by people and happily hopped close by for a good look, probably to see if we had food.

29 bali mynah
29 Bali mynah

Day 30 – sparrow. A sparrow sitting amongst the magnolia flowers. I love sparrows and magnolias.

30 sparrow on magnolia
30 sparrow on magnolia

Day 31 – owl. A little owl surrounded by roses.

owl surrounded with roses
31 owl surrounded with roses

For Inktober I try to keep things very simple, drawing something small every day, that makes it easier to keep going.

Nice to see me listening to my self huh, some of these were a little more elaborate than I wanted but I liked idea and just kept going.

Some were a little rushed or not too well thought out, it just gets posted and hopefully the next day would be better.

I was experimenting with the black frames and circles. Sometimes it looked better sometimes it was too much and it used a lot of ink. I would draw the image scan it then add the frame, it was interesting to see the difference before and after. Sometimes I liked it sometimes not.

I enjoy Inktober, 31 days is a long time though and by the end of the month I was starting to run out of steam. I think once a year is enough for me.

inktober 2020 overview
Inktober 2020 overview

When all of the images are put together they look quite interesting, there’s definitely a style happening there. It’s funny how it just turns up when your not watching hehehe.

For anyone interested in seeing previous weeks Inktober 2020 the links are below

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4

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

Inktober 2019 Final Week

28 iguana
28 iguana

Hi there how are you?
Inktober is done, happy November!

It’s been an interesting and very enjoyable month, I liked the way brown paper looked when other people used it and wanted to see if I could get a similar effect.
I have used tons of pieces of paper drawing, sketching and working out ideas, hopefully it’s had impact on my drawing abilities.

1. iguana – (above)I took a photo of this iguana at the zoo, it was a bit blurry but good enough to draw from.

2. iguana – once I’d posted the iguana in instagram I realised it wasn’t quite done and needed more work, so I used my brush pen to give it a dark background and lightened the rock a little with a white gell pen, I like it a lot more now.

29 iguana 2
29 iguana 2

3. pigeons – this one made me chuckle, it was actually a photo of pigeons eating seed but once I’d drawn them it looked like two ladies having a cheery chat hehehe.

30 pigeons
30 pigeons

4. magpie – I love the way this one came out, I should have drawn more magpies, they look great on this paper. This was day 31 the last day of inktober

31 magpie
31 magpie

5. testers – although inktober was finished I had missed one day in the middle so I used some of the little test pieces. They were 3×3” off-cuts from the bigger pieces of paper. The two little bees were drawn with gell pens, I was missing colour and I hoped I could use the gell pens but meh, it wasn’t quite working for me. I used watercolour for two of the hummingbirds; it worked a lot better than I thought it would.

testers last ones
testers, last ones

I didn’t use the prompts this year; I haven’t found a way to incorporate them into my drawings without turning out a lot of art that I feel no connection to. I have enjoyed other people’s interpretation of them though.

I enjoy the inktober challenge; somewhere in the middle I always get that low feeling of “how many more is there left to do!” If I can push through that it’s usually OK.

I never know how this month will impact on the future arty stuff I do, it’s always fascinating to see it crop up when I’m not thinking about it.

If you participated no matter how many you did congratulations and here’s to next year.

(too soon? hehehe)

Next week hopefully I will be using colour again, yay!

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

Magpies Re-visited

Magpie on a branch
Magpie on a branch

Hello there, welcome to 2019, how are you?

Well, new year, new sketch book.
It doesn’t really bother me if a sketch book carries on into another year or not, they’re all dated when they’re finished and each book is a continuation of the last, but this year I finished it at the end of December whoot!

Normally I use an A5 sized book but this time I am using a 7 ½ x 9 ½ inch note book I found in the back of a cupboard (still using stuff up). It’s an odd size, bigger than A5 and smaller than A4, filled with a coated cartridge paper.

I’m sure ill get used to the bigger pages as I use it.

one for sorrow
One for sorrow

Last week we had a visit from the friendly neighbour hood magpies. I’m sot sure they are the same magpies that nested in the tree behind our garden (it’s very hard to tell).

two for joy
Two for joy

I’ve used dark blue and dark paint colours, including indigo, payne’s gray and neutral tint rather than black. They all seem to work to some degree.

There’s quite a population boom of magpies around here this year, I wonder why that is?
Any how thinking about magpies made me want to draw some.

magpies in a line
Magpies in a line

The paper in my new sketch book seems to take light washes of watercolour quite well; So far so good.

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


Magpies – Meet The New Neighbours

sketch of 1 magpie
A sketch of a magpie protecting his patch.

Hi there, how are you?

Every year the birds come and nest in the huge sycamore tree on the other side of our fence. All of the little birds, blue tits, robins, sparrows, blackbirds even pigeons nested early this year.

The bigger birds crows and magpies normally keep to the small patch of woods not too far away, this year however there seems to be an abundance of magpies, and they’re every where!

magpie sketches
Meet the new neighbours.

Usually the little birds gang together to mob the magpies or crows and chase them away because they will eat almost anything, including bird eggs and chicks.

The magpies have decided to move into the sycamore. Lucky the little birds have finished and fledged so, meet the new neighbours.

sketch of 2 magpies
Mr & Mrs Magpie

I have taken a few photos throughout the week and decided to try and draw from them.

Magpies are black and white I know but as the sun catches their wings the feathers become iridescent and flash blue or turquoise.

watercolour sketch of 2 magpies
A watercolour painting in my sketchbook.

Most of these have been drawn on a white background and I wanted to paint them sitting in the tree. This should really have been painted on watercolour paper but since I had already drawn the magpies in my sketchbook I just carried on adding colour (I need to use backgrounds more often because I really do need the practice)

It’s very exciting watching the wildlife in my own back yard..

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