Creativity Outdoors


It feels like a totally different experience when you pack up your art materials and take them outdoors. You are off on an adventure and unless you have a something in mind, you create things you discover on your walk or the view before you.

I create  mixed media sketches on my walks. Using watercolours, Indian ink and more recently coloured water colour pencils. The coloured pencils have brought a more depth to my artwork and I really enjoy using them.

How do I begin when sketching? I’m often asked. It’s a very good question and one which artists often are not thinking about. We are just in the moment.  Below I will take you through my approach.

Step 1 – I sketch my view lightly using a pencil, so I have the outline of the land before me. I pick out the highlights and look at the landscape in shapes and lines. For instance the hill or mountain line, hedgerows, woodland.

Step 2 – I colour the landscape using watercolours. In my walking sketchbook, I don’t completely wet the paper first. I am mixing the colours with water in my palette and then adding them to my page. I tend to use bold colours for my landscapes, picking out the highlights. I’m trying to keep it simple to capture an essence of a place during my walks.

Landscape sketch with pencil first and then watercolours

Step 3 – I go over the lines and shapes with black Indian ink. I add in lines to enhance shadows or shape to fields, clouds in the sky, and to create the feel of movement in some instances.  The additional lines I add in, come from studying the land and the experience of seeing. I select the ones which are again providing an essence of the look and feel where I have been on my walk.

Adding in lines using Indian ink

Step 4 – I add coloured pencil lines, a mix of light and dark brown and white. How I apply these to enhance hedgerows, field and hill lines have developed with experience.

Using coloured pencils to add depth

Every time you take your sketchbook out on your walks to create with you, experience will grow with you. Creativity is about experimenting and being open to try new things. So if I have inspired you to try something new, I would love to know.

White, light and dark brown pencil lines

Looking forward to hearing about your outdoor sketching adventures.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. blod says:

    I like the step by step approach. Good to see how a drawing develops in stages although if I had drawn it I think I would have been absolutely delighted with it even at step 1

    1. That’s great to hear you found the step by step approach useful. I hope my blog inspires you to have a go. 🍃

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