Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Colour Sketchbook :: 1

You may recall that last summer, I set SPECTRUM, the group that I mentor a summer sketchbook project called "Close to Home" and I posted ideas and suggestions for them to follow on this blog. Well, this summer they have been set another challenge and this time it is to produce a new sketchbook following the same theme but limiting themselves to one colour. They have been asked to choose either a primary colour (red, yellow or blue) or a secondary colour (purple, orange or green) and to work primarily in this colour only. Once again I will be posting some of my ideas on the blog so please feel free to join us... and let me know so I can share your progress too.

As ever, starting a new sketchbook can be a daunting prospect and those blank white pages can be quite offputting. So I shall start with a really simple idea for colouring pages. You will need some water based media. One of my favourites are these water based dyes by koh-i-nor which I get from Art Van Go. They give brilliant colour plus they are very portable. But any water colours will work.

Your sketchbook can be any size you like but unless you are really confident I wouldn't go too big... but not too small either! One of the things I'm going to stress is filling the pages right up to the edges. No tiny little drawings in the middle of the page. We're going to be big, bold and colourful!

First of all, dampen the page you are working on with a sponge brush and clear water. This just slows down the drying process.

Then flood the page with your chosen colour using a big soft brush. As you can see my colour is going to be red. When the page is totally covered you will need to turn quickly to your kitchen and pick up a packet of cling film. 

You then need to cover the entire page with a sheet of crumpled up cling film and leave it aside to dry completely (no peeping to see how it is getting on!)

When dry, simply lift off the cling film and you are left with a lovely textured surface.

These pages can then be drawn into later or used as the basis of collage but that will be another post!

Meanwhile think of all the things you can associate with your chosen colour. Colour can be very emotive. It effects our moods and can alter the way we perceive the world. When I think of red for example, I think danger or excitement. It can signify warmth and passion... think red roses, hearts etc. Yet it can also suggest blood, torture and anger. What can you associate with your chosen colour?


  1. Cling film - plastic - fossil fuel - fracking - red = rage! Might there be a greener way to achieve that?

  2. That's a new palette Gina - mine doesn't look like that!!! I've done similar one colour projects, in a round robin, inspired by the book True Colours.
    Hope everyone enjoys the project.

  3. Excellent stuff - just the push I needed to get started playing with some paint! who-da-thunk of using clingfilm like that...

  4. I love the textured look that cling film gives. Thankyou for reminding me of that. We learn so many great tips and tricks of the trade but it is all too easy to forget about them. Thankyou for this mini tutorial.

  5. Ooh, I might have to join in! In fact I'm off upstairs to find my sketchbook right now.

    Would turquoise count? I have such a thing for turquoise and it might be interesting to see what I can do with it.


  6. I wonder how someone discovered this technique? LOL! Must have been a multitasking person me thinks!
    Even I could manage this, though I'll have to improvise on the sponge brush....

    Thanks for sharing,

    Sandie xx

  7. Drat! Why am I always so busy when your projects come along? I now have a long list of things I want to revisit. Lucky students!


  8. Now school has broken up this is just the sort of project I can dip into. Am I brave enough to step out of my comfort zone and choose a colour I would not usually be drawn to?

  9. Like Beverley, I have a set of those paints and mine don't look like that either! I have 'True Colors' and my favourite pages are the white, black and sepia - none of them mentioned in your brief Gina. Perhaps I can play along in my own way with one of those or really push myself out of my comfort zone and pick a colour I usually run a mile from.... green... yes, it would have to be green.... mmm.... maybe I'll watch from the sidelines!

  10. Looks like fun - I would choose red...... tempted to join in and loosen up.

  11. Oh looks interesting - shall watch what you do from now on and see how Angela gets on!!!

  12. Mmmm my worst subject but never mind. Red is my favourite colour and so for that reason I will choose another colour.I'm tempted to go with yellow but it may not be posotive enough for me.You always make it look and sound so easy and I'm already worrying over choosing a colour. Maybe I should have a glass or two of wine first!

  13. Is this an excuse to buy a new palate of Koh-i-Noor's? If so great, can't wait to see what else you've got!

  14. What a great & simple technique - the result looks ace!

  15. Hmmmm I have a big old tool box in the garage full of paints and brushes. They haven't been touched since before Twiglet was born 6 years ago - this could be the encouragement I need, now if Mr Twigs can fight his way through the junk and get them out for me ....
    A great project, Gina.
    Twiggy x

  16. I'm a bit late to the party but am going to try and catch up. I sorely need the motivation to get 'creative' again. I've always loved working in sketchbooks but since I left college they've been sadly lacking in my life.
    Blue is the colour...definitely, but what to choose as a motif..? Of to scour the garden.

  17. Righto, I've been for a rummage in the garage and found half of my paints, I think the other half are in the attic!!
    My sketchbook was delivered this morning, so I'm in Gina and very excited!!
    I am lagging behind and we are away at the weekend, but I can't wait to get stuck in !!
    twiggy x

  18. I have found the first post. I too have those Art Van Go colours but not really used them. I am on holiday at the moment too so parted from my paints and stuff, but I shall see what I can rustle up. Can I play along too.


Thanks for leaving me a comment. I love to read what you have to say and try to reply directly by email when possible... although it sometimes takes me a while!