Colouring old sketches ✏️🎨

I’ve reached the last page on a sketchbook that I’ve been using on and off since 2015!!

That may seem like I don’t do much sketching but actually what I do is have three or four ‘on the go’ at any one time.  Not particularly intentional but that’s just how it works out.

As with the last two sketchbooks I finished I wanted to do a “flick-through” video when it’s full up before I file it away.  However I realised that back when I started this book it was before I’d started painting so I decided to add some colour just to see how it turned out.

I remember doing this pencil drawing as if it were last week, I was unemployed and doing the rounds of interviews and had a few hours to kill.  I should probably have been swotting up on work-related stuff but instead I headed for the grounds outside St Paul’s cathedral with my sketchbook.  Giving my brain a rest from the interviewing was well worthwhile.

Something worth mentioning is that this isn’t watercolour paper.Β  Whilst it’s fairly resilient and I have done paintings in it later in the book it’s less than ideal.Β  The colour getting sucked straight into the first point you touch leaving you dragging an empty brush.Β  I countered for that by wetting an area and instantly dipping in the colour and back to the paper.

I didn’t head back to the cathedral and I didn’t have a reference photo so the colours and additional parts are from imagination and memory.

It’s added a bit of depth and interest I feel, what do you think? It’s only a small sketch rather than finished picture.

This next sketch was from a reference, I can’t remember exactly* but I think it might been similar to an advert for Amazon Kindle.  Most of it was made up, I think I copied the pose and that’s about it.

* on that memory thing, I wonder if I don’t remember as much about this one as I was copying an image.  I find that generally any sketch I’ve done whilst sat in front of a subject I have great recall of the situation. The weather, my mood, exactly where I was, sometimes even the smells, the passers by, etc.  Perhaps there’s a lot more invested in the experience that gets glued to those neurons as compared to when copying from an image even if it involves greater imagination or concentration.

I think the colour here really has added even more than with the St Paul’s cathedral gate, a lot more life than the original.

Glad that I used a waterproof fineliner, I’ll have a scoot through the book to see if there’s anything else I can find that deserves a dash of colour.


  1. Interesting post! The color does seem to add atmosphere and depth to both sketches. Especially the girl by the tree. I’ll be looking for to seeing your sketchbook flip through.

    Also, I’m the same way with sketchbooks, I never seem to finish one because I keep several “active” sketchbooks!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. These turned out really great, Steve. The color seems like it adds much more depth and texture, particularly for the stone in the cathedral piece. If you decide to add color to any more old sketches, I hope you share them – I’d definitely enjoy seeing the progress. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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