When life gets too busy, just sketch


My watercolour paintbox

The past weeks have seen various family members come and go, each group staying a few days, making for a very busy time. This has meant, however, my ideas for new posts have been like jelly waiting to set.  That was, until yesterday, when I was invited to join another of Tony McNeight’s sketching classes, the subject, linking typography with watercolour sketches. He asked me to bring something to sketch which held a special meaning.  


I scanned my living room, which has many ceramic pieces, all favourites but not quite right. ‘What about the little horse,’ my sister said, ‘because of the colour.’ This little horse has seen many lives, and nearly lost his totally last year, when my cat accidentally broke it. But, it is more how I came by the ornament which is the special part, when I lived and taught English in Japan. I was in Kyoto, walking down the pottery street in the Kiyomizu-dera, when I spotted the horse in the window. I didn’t buy him that day, but kicked myself for not doing so. I decided I’d buy the horse if he was still there when I re-visited the shop two months later. He was, and now this small Japanese Folk-art horse sits on our bookcase to be admired by all, apart from Ninja the cat, of course.

Tony initially talked of the ways a variety of typography can enhance our travel diary pages and gave a demonstration of different types. I do know something of this topic, having studied various lettering styles and practised them for many years, as part of my work in advertising, and just for fun.  But the doing is always different from the knowing, right? However, we were to layout our page, making a feature of  our ‘precious’ items.


First we sketched our object in pencil, then added the colours. Second, would be the arrangement of titles, and the story which we’d be writing in ink pen.  I enjoyed sketching the horse, which I angled for interest on the right side of a double page (I never like working too small). I chose to use a favourite fountain pen to write my short story along the bottom of the page. Back home, I dissolved the lettering with water (Note the gorgeous blue ink above), as I just wasn’t happy with what I’d done.


This is the sketched idea for the left side, and where I plan to write some Kanji near the centrefold, from top down, as the Japanese do – once I’ve sourced the script. Then, I’ll use my 0.2 or 0.3 pigment liner to write the words; just got to sort where they’ll go. But hey! At least I got the horse done.  Thanks Tony for your input as usual.

And all you artists in the WordPress world, go well with your own artwork.

6 thoughts on “When life gets too busy, just sketch

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