Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Here's a sketch I did last night at a concert of the Bard College Orchestra. I was sitting about four rows back. 

Since some of you have asked about materials, here's the lowdown: I was using a black watercolor pencil and three waterbrushes. One was filled with Higgins Eternal ink, another had plain water, and a third contained blue-black fountain pen ink. The sketchbook was a Moleskine watercolor notebook.

Previous concert sketches on GJ:
Horn Player
Mirko Listening
Club Passim Gig
Concert Sketching
Shapewelding Sketching 
The Cello and the Pencil


Adele Hawkins said...

This looks wonderful. Thanks for the supply list, too!

Mike K said...

As versatile as these supplies are, I'm still impressed by how your plein air work makes them seem all the more portable. For something like attending a concert, where your space is going to be extremely limited, how do you lug them around? And how do you manage them while you work when you're already using one hand to draw?

Cecilio said...

Beautiful picture. I love your sketch!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Adele and Cecilio. I wish I had used the blue-black in the background behind the bow, instead of the solid black there, which would have made the black of her dress more striking.

Mike, Yeah, they're very portable. I carry them in a little belt pouch. Before the concert starts, I pull out a couple pencils and two or three brush pens and hold them in my left hand. I try to make as few tool switches as possible, and keep the hand movements and head bobbing to a minimum so as not to distract anyone around me. I only really reach into the bag between pieces. Brush pens have the advantage of being totally silent. Some pencils make a scratchy noise, which doesn't cut it in a concert.

In case you're in a theater with very dim house lights, sitting near the stage gives enough light spill to see what you're doing.

Larry Kitchen said...

Thanks for showing the sketch. Really nice. Looking forward to seeing you at Spectrum this summer in Kansas City. Are you still planning to be there?

James Gurney said...

Larry, I'll be there. Look forward to seeing you. It's next week!

I'll be giving a new presentation on Worldbuilding on Saturday May 19 at 4:00. More at spectrumfantasticart.com

Dan Kent said...

This is very exciting! I never thought of putting ink into my water brush!

Ben Gutierrez said...

James, do you do anything special to keep the ink from leaking out of the pen? I tried your idea and was having a lot of fun, but I panicked after the ink started bubbling out the side. Maybe this was from bringing the pen into a warm room. Do you only keep ink in it when you know you'll be using it?

PS - Been lurking on the site for a while and bought Color and Light. Loving it all!

James Gurney said...

Hi, Ben, Thanks for your comment. Make sure you're using a Niji (Kuretake) brand water brush and make sure it's really tightened. The other brands have problems with leaking and the caps coming off.

The only problem I've had is with pressure changes on jet flights, when they might leak a drop or two.

smileyginger said...

sweet tip on the waterbrushes - those have gone on my Blick wishlist :)