As you know, it's been too cold or wet to go outside sketching, and I don't care much for sketching indoors, but I had to do something -- so I signed up for an online art class at craftsy.com. It's called Travel Sketching in Mixed Media, taught by Montreal-based artist Marc Taro Holmes.
His basic approach is similar to mine (and a lot of sketchers) -- a realistic though slightly loose ink drawing with watercolor on top. But unlike my approach, he creates very fluid line work with a technique where he puts the pen down on the page and draws the subject without lifting it up again (or lifting it as little as possible). I always did a lot more start-and-stop line work, and I found his method challenging and a whole lot of fun.
He also likes to use a brush pen to add shadows for a more dramatic depiction of light and shade. When it comes to the watercolor, he uses a lot more water and creates lovely blending effects by letting the colors mix together on the paper instead of on the palette.
In order to practice, since I couldn't go outside to find interesting buildings or landscape views, I dug up my photos from a two-month-long sojourn in Great Britain way back in 1982. Lots of good material there! Here are some of the practice pieces I did for the class.
This was my first attempt at single-line drawing (which turned into multiple lines here and there). I also used the brush pen to add some shading. The building is Bath Abbey.
This next exercise was to draw shadows only, using just the brush pen, making as few lines as possible (concentrating on just the dark shapes). This is a partial section of the street in front of Wells Cathedral.
The next three practice pieces are my efforts to put his line work, shading, and watercolor mixing techniques together. This is Pulteney Bridge in Bath:
This is the Bridge of Sighs at St. John's College in Cambridge:
And here is a view from the Thames of the Houses of Parliament:
Finally, here is the best piece I did (I always prefer landscape over architecture), where I got better watercolor effects by mixing the colors on the page and letting them bleed into each other. This is a view of the coast in Cornwall.
Now I just need some warmer weather so I can try out these fun techniques locally. Until then, it's back to the photos!