Microsketching and memory

Here are some tiny sketches I made as a result of local walks. I have a small sketchbook, about 3½ inches by 5½ inches, the size of a big mobile phone. On my walks, I pause for a minute or so to notice a view, a detail. I make a few marks in the sketchbook, to remind me. Then when I get home, I make the sketch in watercolour, using the marks, and memory. I am trying to train my memory.

Here is the sketchbook:

It is from The Vintage Paper Company of Orkney. It was bound by Heather Dewick, @heatherthebookbinder on instagram. The paper is Saunders Waterford 200gsm Cold Pressed.

A nice small size for all occasions:

Colours are all Daniel Smith Watercolours. Pen is Sailor Reglus fountain pen with De Atramentis Black document ink (waterproof).

7 thoughts on “Microsketching and memory”

  1. I love these tiny sketches, also your use of colour in them. I was looking at some of your lists of colours the other day- some of them seem very obscure/ specialised. Do you have a basic set you use all the time?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good evening Sue and thank you. Yes, I have a basic set of 12 which are in my portable palette. The palette is shown here: https://janesketching.com/portfolio/watercolour-box-3/
      I change the basic 12 from time to time. At the moment I have:
      – Buff Titanium
      – Transparent Pyrrol Orange (very useful for lights, faded traffic signs, some brickwork)
      – Mars Yellow (I like this colour – a sort of brown yellow, transparent and natural looking)
      – Hansa Yellow Mid (a basic yellow)
      – Green Gold ( a new colour for me, I’m not sure I’ll keep it)
      – Burnt Umber (makes black with Prussian Blue)
      – Perylene Maroon ( a very dark and intense colour, a little goes a long way)
      – Fired Gold Ochre (highly granulating and good for brickwork)
      – Green Apatite Genuine (a colour I received as a gift, it’s fun – black specks in green, useful for trees)
      – Prussian Blue (makes black with Burnt umber or Perylene maroon, bright blue on its own)
      – Carbazole Violet (another new colour, makes a grey with yellow. I got it for a coastal trip. I may swap this out)
      – Phthalo Blue Turquoise (essential: this is the cold London sky)

      These are Daniel Smith Colours, except the Burnt Umber which is Jacksons. I also am tempted by the wonderful Daniel Smith specialist colours and treat myself sometimes. I recently bought “Iridescent Moonstone” which is a gleaming sort of grey, rather good for icy streets. I also had some “Iridescent Gold” which is amazing – I used it for New Year Cards. Sometimes I use Neutral Tint too.
      I use these special colours when I’m painting at my desk.
      But when I’m painting out and about, which is mostly what I do when we are not in lockdown, then I use the portable palette and the 12 colours I’ve got there.

      Does that help?


    2. Hi Jane- thank you so much – that is brilliant! I just have to keep telling myself that acquiring lots of pretty new colours will not actually make what I do any better. But the London Winter Skies blue looks very useful! Had never heard of Sailor pens- how exquisite – if only I had £5000 for the Waterfall and Dragonfly- so lovely! what a great history they have.


      1. Fortunately Sailor offer lower priced models as well! The great thing about the one I have is that the nib is extra-fine. “The Writing Desk” in Bury St Edmunds have a good selection, including the cheaper ones.


        1. Thank you again, Jane. Yes I had a look at the Reglus pens! I do love the physicality of beautiful tools, and those copper paint boxes are really satisfying also!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh yes, beautiful art supplies definitely help! The thing that makes the most difference, in my experience, is the paper. I was fortunate to have this little book with proper Saunders Waterford watercolour paper in it. I bought it ages ago and I’m so happy to have found a good use for it. I’ve recently discovered an online supplier based in Wales, “Print Urchin”, who make small sketchbooks with real watercolour paper in (Bockingford, for example). I’m going to use their A6 watercolour sketchbook for my next collection of microsketches. That’s the plan.


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