Urban Sketching with Derwent Procolour by Jacky Fellows

I’ve been urban sketching for around six years now. I started when I saw an article about Birmingham Urban Sketchers in ‘Leisure Painter’ magazine.

I was hooked after that first meeting…I particularly loved the community aspect of getting to know other people whilst sitting together and sketching a common theme. Urban sketching and sketch crawls are the brainchild of Gabriel Campanario who started a group in 2007 on Flickr. The group soon grew into a global organisation with chapters in most major cities around the world, all following one manifesto…We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation. Our drawings are a record of time and place and tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.

It’s really exhilarating, capturing the beauty, energy and emotion of a place at a snapshot in time. Derwent Procolour is the perfect pencil range for just that – its vibrant colours capturing the light and hidden beauty of a location, the dust-free finish allowing me to quickly create an illustration without the worry of smudges and the strong point which is great for the finer detail and textural additions to buildings.

Partnered with the new Derwent Line Makers, Derwent Battery Operated Eraser and sharpener hidden in my trusty portable Derwent Pencil Wrap, I think I may have found the perfect art kit for all weathers.

I co-created the Black Country Urban Sketchers in 2013 and we tend to travel in and around the area, hence two of my sketches are outside of the region. I like to sketch industrial and old buildings, particularly buildings that are about to be lost to time and progress. The sketch of Bilston Science and Art college is potentially one of my favourites – listed in 2000 but left derelict and open to the elements…it seems only a matter of time before it is lost…sketching the building places it firmly in my memory as well as providing a personal record and reflection of its history.

Luckily, Procolour’s lightfastness means I can store my work too – even if the buildings are lost, I know my artwork will continue to hold it’s brightness for a long time after I’ve put my pencils away.

Sketching can be an all-focusing activity and one tends not to think about anything other than the subject in front of you. For many, this can be a valuable relief from the trials and tribulations of the everyday. Stoke Minster was sketched during our visit to the Potteries. This gave me a chance to test other materials too.

I’ve been inspired to use cardboard to sketch on recently as it has a nice midtone and I’ve found the Derwent Inktense Paint Pan Set is the perfect accompaniment.

Where normal watercolour paints soak in and get a little lost in the cardboard, the vibrant colour of the Inktense sit on top of the surface and stand out. I find that the Derwent Procolour range works well on cardboard too –  not having to press too hard to deliver the colour is a bonus and the velvety texture lays down brilliantly on most surfaces!

I like to sketch a wide variety of subjects and we have plenty of tourist attractions right on our doorstep.

Our last sketch crawl was held in Ironbridge, Telford. I was taken by the view over the River Severn, so, armed with a tin of Derwent Procolour pencils, I settled in the car park and spent a glorious two hours blending and sketching the wonderful view. That’s the thing about Derwent Procolour, they blend really nicely too and boast really good quality pigment that stands out, even when the weather is grey!

Find out more about Jacky and her work via her Facebook.

Derwent Procolour pencils can be purchased here.

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