Practicing watercolours with #The100DayProject

At the beginning of this year whilst making plans, I wished to take a Skillshare class on fashion illustration which would use watercolour as a medium. I had virtually no experience of watercolour, or even attempted to try it for any length of time even in my college days.

I bought myself a small watercolour Moleskine in February and decided to try a little sketch everyday. The following images are set chronologically. At first I used a small Winsor and Newton brush with their pan set. I became frustrated that pencil lines made my painting 'tight'  and overworked for some reason.

I found a happy place with a fine black Pitt artist pen - a basic outline to provide a frame gave me confidence to be looser and freer with the paint. I received a kind response from Instagram as I posted each daily sketch. It soon fell into a little routine, and I alternated between flowers, packaging and a decorative item. It's just what I have around to house, and I was just keen to explore.

My friend Stephanie Corfee suggested I might try a Pentel watercolour brush pen as the washes dry quicker and saves a lot of time. It worked a treat and I very much preferred it to the sable brush. It's also very handy to pack when you are away for weekends and want to continue with a watercolours.


Making this part of a daily routine  (usually just after I've picked up the kids & during the time they are having a snack) is something I have come to look forward to. It also shows up more clearly what I am attracted to most for subject matter- with packaging I like a slight vintage or retro vibe.

As Spring continued I was very much inspired by the seasonal flowers. Florals rarely appear in my pattern or illustration work but after drawing a few each week I have a better understanding of what specifically attracts me, and perhaps I can incorporate them in the future.

I feel studying an object in this manner everyday I can judge contrasts better, both in shapes,  colours, and tone.

When I started my daily watercolour challenge I had just under 500 followers on Instagram. But as the months have passed they have grown steadily, I know much of this is down to these watercolours. Due to the number of comments and questions I received I started using Iconosquare to keep track of everything. This is a great platform to view statistics about your content, follower growth and even when the most optimal time to post for interactions with followers (mine is apparently 2pm on a Monday or 10pm on a Thursday!!)

The above is the amount of 'likes' for my IG images (you can choose to see this grid based on amount of 'comments' too) As you can see 16 out of the top 20 are my little watercolour sketches. I still consider myself as a learner. I have not attempted to paint anything outside of the little Moleskine. I've just passed half way mark, 50 out of the 100 days. There was no prior motive other than to have fun and enjoy a quiet 20mins each day. The practice everyday also helps me to step away from my computer, its almost like having a break to recharge.

So I shall fill you in again in another 50 days and see where that takes me

They Draw & Cook Challenge -update

So last month I wrote about my plan to create a illustrated recipe every the hope of having a book published by They Draw and Cook...well its working out so far. Recipe No 3 was Raspberry & Passionfruit cupcakes which was featured on their Valentines recipe collection. I was able to use the hands making the heart shape from a short animation from last year. And the cupcakes were from a doodle a day exercise from last year also. I'm finally understanding the value of leveraging!

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Next up was a crunchy Pear & Walnut Salad. Again the pears were from a Doodle a Day from last Autumn. I did have to come up with rather a lot of various salad leaves and the walnuts.

The next week was Grilled Mackerel with lemon & Chilli. I loved illustrating these mackerel- they are wonderful to cook when super fresh. I was able to use the chilli peppers from a greetings card project. Below are the sketches that I worked from. I have a loose framework of ingredients that I want to work with an have started planning two or three weeks ahead.

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And this weeks was Herb Infused Oils. I had back to back deadlines and knew had had to come up with something simple but effective. I researched the different flavours then in one evening I drew a sheet of herbs and a sheet of various oil bottle shapes.

I have enjoyed researching, planning and trying out new layouts for each recipe. I have learnt to work quicker and hopefully not lose any freshness. Whilst I'm very pleased with these and have played and explored , this month I'm going to try adding some new elements and expand things a little further stylistically.