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Your illustrated journal

Begin keeping a visual record of your life as David Bellamy offers insights and practical advice for filling your sketchbooks

Watercolour

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

■ How to add figures, drama and more to your sketches

■ Rapid sketching techniques

■ Ideas to start your own journal

As artists we strive to create paintings, often thinking only of producing that finished work to frame and exhibit, which for many can be a daunting prospect. Sometimes it’s a good idea to step back and think about where we are going. Should we always be working towards a completed painting? If I’m fed up with it, do I have to finish it?

Instead of carrying out finished paintings, think about alternatives you might like to try. Sketching has always given me immense pleasure, even when I have no intention of creating a finished painting from the original on-the-spot work.

A great deal of my work outdoors is done in hardback sketchbooks using pencil, pen, watercolour and other materials as the mood takes me. On overseas trips and expeditions this tends to take the form of an illustrated journal, where notes, sketches, diagrams, maps and much more come together to form an exciting mixture. I usually take several sketchbooks of differing sizes, although this approach does vary quite a bit and no two trips are alike.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the April issue of Leisure Painter. Aimed at beginners and amateur painters, it is packed with practical advice, step-by-step demonstrations, illustrated techniques and tutorials to help you draw and paint successfully. David Bellamy introduces his sketchbook secrets and launches the first of two new painting competitions: Your sketchbook challenge. For watercolourists, we continue our year-long back-to-basics series – this month the wet-in-wet technique – along with watercolour still lifes, a rainy day crowd scene and tonal painting. Learn a five-stage acrylic painting process for landscapes, practise line and wash techniques, mix watercolour with pastels, and put down your brushes to try the 'pour' technique for acrylics. Enjoy another creative month with the UK's best-selling learn-to-paint magazine.