Spring sketches with Derwent Inktense by Robyn Parker

Spring is fast approaching and with the unusually warm weather we’ve had just recently, it’s not surprising to see more people than usual venturing outside making the most of the sunshine. It seems even nature has responded to the unexpected warmer temperatures with daffodils appearing and trees beginning to blossom.

It’s during the changing of the seasons I feel the most inspired to pack up a backpack full of my favourite art supplies and take myself out in search of inspiration. With the arrival of the sun, it seemed a shame to waste the opportunity. Equipped with my materials of choice: my sketch and Store, Inktense pan set and blocks, I set out in search of spring – not needing to travel far.

I started out in the local gardens with some quick observational studies; for these I used a combination of my Inktense pan set and Inktense blocks. As an artist who generally works in quite a precise and detailed manner, taking a sketchbook and creating observational studies I find is a fantastic practice, often teaching you to look at the shapes, lines and colours as opposed to the details.

The Inktense are an incredibly versatile medium and being that they come in several different forms including, blocks, pencils or in pans they are ideal for both looser sketches and more resolved artwork. Similar in application to watercolours but packing the colour punch of inks, there’s really nothing not to love. For most of my work on the move I favour the pan set due to how compact and portable it is.

Returning to my studio with an abundance of studies from my trip out, I decided to create a small series of floral illustrations based on these and the photos I’d taken. Having completed some very loose sketches I opted to take a much more graphic, stylised approach with my next drawings. Laying down a faint outline onto a smooth watercolour paper, I followed the contours of the flowers using my range of black Graphik Line Maker pens. The Line makers come in a range of nib sizes making them ideal for detail work, ranging from the super fine 0.0.5 to 0.8. On a separate sheet on textured watercolour paper I applied several Inktense washes of pinks and purples using my blocks. Once dry, I cut petals from my textured paper to add to my now completed line drawing. Though satisfied at this stage I again used my Inktense blocks to add a contrasting colour for an extra pop.

With more warm days ahead I’m excited to see what unfolds on my sketchbook pages next time around and too seeing what March has in store.



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