Art Studio

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 A6 pencil sketch: Truro Cathedral



I don’t know about you, but I find carrying a heavy camera around with me everywhere I go a right pain in the bum!  Enter the camera-phone. Lightweight, discreet and pretty good pictures. Sometimes. But the trouble with snapshots is that they’re just that: a quick click of a button and you move on.  What do you really look at, really see?  A better way of looking is to carry a sketchbook and pencil in your bag.  Add a small palette of colour (watercolour, coloured pencils, etc) and you can come home with a much truer picture of the things that catch your eye.

I’ve had my head down for so long though that I haven’t been looking around me with any real focus. But recently, when I’ve been out walking locally, I’ve felt the need to drink in the landscape and have rummaged around in my well-worn rucksack to find my tiny, not-quite-A6  Moleskine sketchbook (it’s 3.5″ x 5.5″) and 7b pencil.  There they are at the bottom of the sack in a clear, scrunched up plastic bag with a rubber (eraser) and a (useless) pencil sharpener. Probably lighter than an iPhone.  Definitely more creative (for me anyway).

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 A6 pencil and wash: Misty hillside Coosebean

Misty Hillside, Coosebean. Pencil and wash.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 A6 pencil sketch: Truro Cathedral

View over the Cathedral. Pencil.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 A6 pencil and wash: Coast Path, Porthtowan

Thrift. Coast Path, Porthtowan.  Pencil and wash.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 A6 pencil and wash: Coast Path, Porthtowan (detail)


Some sketches get finished, some, like the Oak Tree (below), don’t.  Sometimes you have to move on too soon; it doesn’t matter.  With more regular practice you can train your eye to see/draw more quickly.  This particular sketchbook has some pretty rudimentary stuff in it.  Embarrassing really, but it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do any regular sketching. I’ll get back into it. In the mean time, I’m not worrying.  It’s a sketchbook, so who’s going to see it except me?  Oh, and you of course – but I’m only showing you some of the ‘best’ bits!

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 A6 pencil: Oak Tree, St Clement

Oak Tree, St Clement. Pencil.


‘Best’ is a matter of opinion. It doesn’t even matter if you think you can’t draw: take a sketchbook and a few coloured pencils or watercolours (watercolour pencils are great too), look at something closely but don’t try to draw it representationally.  Just draw some squares and fill them in trying to capture the colours you see.  For example, you could look at a rose in a hedgerow – what colours are there?  The petals won’t be just one shade of pink so try and fill your squares with the variety of pinks you see.  There might be yellow stamen, but what sort of yellow are they? Gradually you’ll begin to build up a picture of the rose by colour.  You could photograph it too, to stick in later. Write notes. It’s a great way to design a colour scheme for a patchwork quilt.


Snatching a few minutes here and there for drawing has been fulfilling this last week or so.  Kim’s health is slowly improving and my concentration has improved along with it.  Looking through this sketchbook reminds me of that; but I wonder if maybe it’s the walking itself that’s helped with concentration.  I find it quite a meditative process, especially over longer distances.  A couple of times this week I’ve walked between 10 and 13 miles and that’s when I really start to lose myself. I’ve been thinking about hiking a lot lately. Getting itchy feet. I’ve got a strong desire to head off into some hills for a while, or out on the coast path at least.  But it’s raining, pouring in fact, and I don’t have any shelter.  So, for now, I’ll have to take day hikes. And remember to pack a sketchbook.

What do you do to help you concentrate?

Back soon with something stitchy, until next time, have a great weekend.


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4 replies
  1. Ann
    Ann says:

    Great idea for creativity and meditation. I started sketching last year but haven’t lately. Must start again. Thanks for the explanation of using the sketches to notice color variations and placements. And I’m so glad to hear Kim’s improving.

  2. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    I would have said I knew 4 year olds who can draw better than I can but you are making me think again. Maybe I’ll give this a try. Walking does it for me every time, or swimming – in both cases you can lose yourself in the rhythm of movement. Glad Kim is still making progress.


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