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The sketchbook habit

John Mitchell extols the virtues of keeping a sketchbook, offers quick tips on turning a sketch into a full-sized painting and how to find inspiration in every day subjects


Inspiration for new media and ideas

How to size up a sketch for a painting

Begin drawing every day

Have you ever sat down to paint and found that you have run out of ideas? I know I have. One way around this is to use sketchbooks. They can become your vocabulary. Techniques, watercolour, acrylics and oils are essential, but without a vocabulary they lack focus. With this article I hope to encourage you to start sketching regularly in a variety of media and to build up a wide range of source materials for your paintings. Additionally regular sketching will improve your drawing skills.

If you haven’t bought a sketchbook, make a visit to your local art shop and see what they have to offer or look online. Daler-Rowney makes a good range of types and sizes, and a variety of paper types. I find A4 and A6 useful, and remember your sketches can cover a double page, which gives you flexibility. I avoid using HB pencils – so boring! Try a 3B, a fine felt-tip pen or chalks or, in fact, anything that takes your fancy and stimulates your imagination. Don’t forget the humble ball-point pen. As for subject matter, anything goes: landscape, still life, object drawing, plant form, people and pets.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Leisure Painter - Feb-18
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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the February issue of Leisure Painter, including our 16-page art holidays and courses guide. Leisure Painter publishes a wide range of inspiring and practical tutorials and projects for the beginner and amateur painter each month, from step-by-step demonstrations from photographs to illustrated techniques, practical tips and ideas for making the most of your favourite hobby, and plenty of inspiration to pick up your brush and try for yourself. This month: how to paint landscapes in different styles using watercolour, acrylics, oils and pastels. There are ideas for portrait painting and 5-minute sketching exercises. If you're new to watercolour painting, you'll need David Webb's step-by-step tutorial on how to stretch paper. There are drawing exercises ( yes, you can learn to draw well!), first steps in abstraction, Japanese ink techniques to paint a frog, and ideas on how to fill your sketchbooks. Have fun with your hobby this month.