Since I have been using watercolours I feel my art has really developed in ways I could never have imagined. I now work on a scale I never thought was possible or confident to attempt. This style is a total contrast to my pet portraits and previous wildlife work.
The zebra painting above is 40×16 inches, and most of my pet portraits are around 10×12 to 16×12 inches. A huge jump in size. This has helped my drawing skills immensely. When I first started working on this scale I had to draw the initial sketch on paper and scale up, now I can draw directly on to the large canvas without doing this. The zebra were drawn directly on to the canvas with no prior sketch.
This cheetah was the same, and is also 40×16 inches.
There is a lot of controversy about how artists get their initial line drawings down on the paper. Many are of the thought that if you trace or use a grid it is cheating. I strongly disagree. I use both these methods and freehand also. I am more likely to use a grid or trace when doing my pet portraits as I think it is essential to get an a perfect replica of the pet. Owners obviously dearly love their pets and I can assure you they will notice anything that is not quite in proportion. Rightly so, I only want the best for my clients and I am honoured to be trusted to paint their pets portraits.
However, whilst I disagree tracing is a cheat, I do still strongly believe in doing free hand drawing. It is something all artists should practice, either from life or photos. Of course life is best but anything to train your eye and hand is beneficial, and in the long run will only serve to improve your art.
Try to take 10 minutes a day to practice in your sketch book, you will find you develop ideas and it is also surprisingly relaxing.
I say to other artists there is no right or wrong way in art, just your way. As long as you are not ripping off somebody else’s work of course. Now go and get sketching! I would love to see some of your sketchbook work.
Anyway back to the pet portraits now and another large canvas as I have work to get ready for a gallery in Wales!