I’ve been doing more in my sketchbook lately, having got into a groove with it during the DailyScapes project. It’s an easy way to make art outside when it’s warm enough, which I love to do because of the change of energy from the studio, and because it has that feel that eating outdoors does ~ something ‘outside the norm’ and therefore kind of exciting and a bit decadent.

This one, in my largest sketchbook, was really just an excuse to play with my favourite ink and feather, and then to mess about with watercolours. I love how the ink smudged into the colours and knocked them back a bit. And how the feather makes unpredictable thick and thin lines.

sketchbook playing outdoors {tara leaver}

This next one was done with Neocolors and I changed tack halfway through, hence the slightly ‘out of place’ pod shapes in the middle. I’m really loving creating these kind of vertical ‘stripes’ recently, and then blending and softening and toning them down.

One thing my DailyScapes project taught me was that you – or perhaps I! – can push a painting or drawing far further than might feel comfortable. The sketchbook really provides a safe place to practice that, and if it doesn’t quite work out, well, that’s ok. There are parts of this page I love, and parts I don’t, but it’s all learning and was fun to do, so I call that a win.

sketchbook june 14 {tara leaver}

This one {below} was really fun to do as you might guess! I was thinking about Mary Ann Wakeley’s art, with her organic shapes and waving lines and beautiful colour combinations.

Again using Neocolors and a wet brush. My natural leaning is toward bright rich colours, but I am also very interested in softening and blurring and creating lower intensity combinations. I have to make a conscious choice to do that but I find it’s always worth the extra effort. The fear is that you’ll just end up with mud but I’ve learned that including some neutrals adds a whole new level of interest to a painting, so don’t be afraid of the mud! 🙂

sketchbook june 14 {tara leaver}

Another thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is having another tattoo done. I currently have three {if you’ve watched any of my videos you’ll have seen one of them!}, and if you have tattoos you’ll know how addictive they can be.

So I’m currently in the process of designing my next one. I know where it’ll go – on my left shoulder – so it’s just a case of finding and adapting a design I like {thank you Pinterest}, and then I’ll go and talk it through with a local tattoo artist I found.

tattoo sketches {tara leaver}

I like to design them myself, but for one this size I’m borrowing from things I’ve seen and adapting them to make it mine. The lotus is not an original tattoo image, but for me the visual and the meaning are more important than anything else.

This drawing {below} isn’t actually the plan; it’s more an excuse to play with my new Promarkers. There seems to be a huge trend for ‘watercolour’ style tattoos, with messy outlines and colours that look as though they were splodged and painted on. It can work really well, but seems to be a bit hit and miss, from what I’ve seen.

sketchbook playing outdoors {tara leaver}

This one below is heading in the right direction, but needs more experimentation, and I’ll need to get some advice from the dude about what will work.

tattoo sketch {tara leaver}

This is kind of in lieu of a holiday for me this year; I’m not likely to go abroad so I figured I’d treat myself to something else I’ve been wanting for a long time. Besides, when it’s sunny I can just pop to the beach and pretend. 😉

Oh, and here’s one more painting I did on Saturday in the large sketchbook. Trusty Neocolors and my favourite ink-and-feather trick. It’s so fun to make a watercolour painting have more impact with a few random scratches of a feather and some ink flinging. 😉

sketchbook {tara leaver}