I’m sharing the details of the workshop which I gave at the USk Switzerland Symposium* last year. The venue was a picture-perfect village called Zuoz, high in the Alps and I was very privileged to be invited. I hope you enjoy following the exercises and would love to see your results so please tag me if you post on social media - I am @lineandwash on Instagram and Twitter – and at the end of this post there is a link to a FREE A3 downloadable worksheet.
* Just to let you know that the workshops, opening and closing receptions were all held outside and complied with the Swiss COVID regulations at the time.
In this workshop, I hope to explain and share the methods that I use when drawing on location. In the spirit of ‘less is more’ I hope to encourage you to make each mark count by making them accurately and economically. As I strongly believe that there is no particular right or wrong way to draw, the aim of this workshop is to offer you a chance to acquire new techniques that they could be useful in the future.
Materials you will need:
Often when I sketch, the view in front of me can be busy and complicated and knowing where to start can seem daunting. Starting boldly with big watercolour shapes helps lay the foundations for a successful piece.
Choose five things in your view that you can paint as shapes, then spend about two minutes on each.
Exercise Two - LEAVE IT OUT!
In my own sketches, I tend to leave a lot of white space on the page, which I find helps contribute to the final image. Often referred to as ‘negative space.’ I prefer to call it ‘positive space!’ It can be a useful technique when you want to focus on a particular area when drawing a busy scene. Here are some examples of how I have used this technique personally.
Choose a view that has something in the way, a lamppost, a car or lorry, a tree etc and see if you can draw the scene without actually drawing the thing that is in the way. Spend 15 - 20 minutes on the sketch.
Exercise Three - DECORATION AND DETAIL
Fineliners and white gel pens are great for adding decoration and detail to drawings, either on the plain paper or over watercolour washes.
Choose a something that has a lot of detail (a piece of architecture or a plant maybe) and spend 15 - 20 minutes just concentrating on drawing the patterns and shapes.
Here are some of my photographs from the trip to use as inspiration:
Exercise Four - DRAWING IT ALL TOGETHER
Choose a view that you’d like to spend 30 - 40 minutes drawing and try to use all the techniques we have talked about to make the drawing. A few things to remember:
- Watercolour dries lighter, so be bold when you start.
- If it helps, use a pencil to quickly draw your shape before painting.
- Allowing watercolour shapes to dry will mean crisp edges for the next layer of watercolour or fineliner.
- There are no mistakes, just happy accidents!
- Enjoy and have fun!
I would love to see what you create so please share on social media, tagging me and using the hashtag #liswatkinsworkshop
I've compiled a FREE downloadable A3 worksheet with the main points of the workshop. Download it here and use the instructions below to cut and fold.