Italian Sketchbook

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend my birthday in Florence. The trip was a wonderful birthday present from my husband. What’s more, because he knows I love to draw and because I have CRPS which means I use crutches and can’t walk very far, he booked a hotel with roof terraces and the most amazing views over Florence. He also sweet talked the staff and got us a room with a view too! And he booked a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia for the morning of my birthday so that I could see Michelangelo’s David.



So, although I’m not really an urban sketcher, I was able to do some genuine urban sketching over the course of the week and I got some wonderful art viewing in too, seeing some awe-inspiring Michelangelo’s, Botticelli’s and Giotto’s, amongst others at the Accademia.

Florence 2

Florence 3

We also ended up with a couple of days in Pisa after our flight home was delayed by 24 hours due to a strike in Italy, so I got to draw the Leaning Tower too!


All of these were drawn in a hand•book sketchbook with a variety of media including Micron and Unipin pens, Zecchi and Greenleaf & Blueberry watercolours, Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth colouring pencils, a Signo uniball white gel pen, a dip pen and ink and various tickets and papers.


FullSizeRender 2

Today’s face 95/99  13/08/16

Today’s face is a little more personal than usual. It’s a portrait of my Mum, who died a year ago today. I drew this portrait yesterday. It’s not the first I’ve drawn of her and I still can’t quite capture her likeness. I almost did: about halfway through it looked so much like her mother, my grandmother, it was scary. And then I lost it somewhere around the mouth. I still struggle with getting mouths right.

Drawing mouths and teeth is always the hardest part of a portrait for me and on a portrait of Mum it’s definitely very difficult. So much so, it made me howl with laughter. Because let’s be honest, she’d hate this portrait. If she was still here, she’d insist that I took it down straight away and never let it see the light of day! She hated her teeth and she hated any photo that didn’t flatter her and this portrait  both shows her teeth (and not well) and isn’t a good likeness but, worse still, it’s not very flattering either. A poor likeness would be OK if was flattering.

So a thousand apologies Mum but this portrait is important to me because it was made with so much love. And I didn’t want to get to 99 faces without including one that really matters in this week that is so important to me.

Drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook with a Unipin pen and Copic markers. And if you’re wondering about the lettering – I’m doing the Sketchbook Skool Creative Lettering kourse at the moment taught by Andrea Joseph and this is lettering from one of this week’s lessons, drawn with my non-dominant (left) hand and then embellished.



Today’s face 48/99  29/06/16

Asja, inspired by Sktchy app. Drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook with a Unipin pen and Copic sketch markers.



Today’s face 39/99  20/06/16

Daisy. Today’s face is extra special.  Yes, you can find this photo on the Sktchy app, because I put it there.  This is my daughter, Daisy.

Drawing family (or anyone you know for that matter) is difficult because they will usually want to see the portrait you’ve drawn and they will both want it to look like them and want it to be flattering. Achieving both these goals at the same time is not always possible, and getting good likenesses is both difficult and not always what an artist wants.

I don’t want to draw perfectly realistic sketches – for me that’s what cameras are for. I want my sketches to have something of my personality in them. Having said that, I’ve worked hard over the past month or two to really hone my portrait skills to be able to capture good likenesses. Personally, I do want my portraits to look something like the person I’m drawing. And seeing my portraits improve and my likenesses get better and better has given me huge pleasure.

So yesterday I felt ready to try to draw Daisy. I wanted to get a good likeness. I knew that if I did then she would look beautiful because she is beautiful. The portrait isn’t as beautiful as the photo from which I drew it, but it’s good enough. It has a good likeness of her but injected with my own portrait style so I’m very happy with it. And she likes it, so it’s a win win.

Drawn on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil in the Procreate app.



Today’s face  38/99  19/06/16

Cami, inspired by Sktchy app. Drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook with a Unpin pen and Copic sketch markers.


Today’s face  35/99 16/06/16

Jerel, inspired by Sktchy app. This sketch is my personal response to the Orlando shootings last weekend. Drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook with a Unipin pen and Copic sketch markers.


Today’s face 33/99  13/06/16

This is a portrait of Danny Gregory, co-founder of Sketchbook Skool. There is a tradition in Sketchbook Skool (SBS) of students drawing the teacher. I am currently retaking the SBS Beginning kourse as a Teaching Assistant and Danny is teaching this week’s klass. Although he has taught many of the classes I have taken I realised that I have drawn him because, until recently, I was too scared to draw portraits!  So I have remedied that today by drawing his portrait.  Drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook with a Unipin pen and Copic sketch markers.


Today’s face  30/99  10/06/16


Anet, inspired by Sktchy app.  Drawn in a sketchbook with a Unipin pen and Tombow markers.


Today’s face  29/99  09/06/16


Ximena, inspired by Sktchy app.  Drawn in  a Moleskine sketchbook with a Unipin pen and Copic Sketch markers.


Today’s face  27/99  07/06/16

Mia, inspired by Sktchy app. Drawn in my sketchbook with a Unipin pen and Tombow brush pens, with a digital background added in Procreate on an IPad Pro.