Inside the Sketchbook of Lis Watkins

Lis Watkins is an artist who specialises in drawing on spot, travel illustration and sketching workshops, with her do the job having her close to the United kingdom and throughout Europe. Here, she shares her views on her sketchbook practice as effectively as her ideas for extending your watercolour palette when painting on site.


Lis Watkins Can take Us As a result of Her Sketchbook Exercise

I have a sketchbook on the go most of the time, filling it up in advance of commencing the following. I enjoy observing and recording city tales and drawing in a sketchbook can be an unobtrusive way to do this. I use them almost solely for place drawing these times but in the previous have used them more as scrapbooks, filling them with strategies and notes more like a visible journal. They are the issues that I have constantly held, even when I threw other parts of artwork away, so they are exclusive to me.


Lis Watkins


At the instant my favorite sketchbooks are from the Stillman and Birn Beta series, particularly the 8 x 10 in and 5 x 7 in dimensions. They are the kinds with the blue delicate back deal with. I seriously like the paper excellent, which is a really clean thick watercolour paper that feels pretty much like a skinny card. It is wonderful to attract on, taking both equally watercolour and pen strains definitely well. I have also purchased sheets of it to make into accordion sketchbooks when I wished to try out a much larger structure on vacation excursions. A further favourite are Laloran sketchbooks which are handmade in Portugal. Considering that I started off my website, Line and Wash in 2011, I consider that I have tried most of the manufacturers on the sector. I make a decision based on the paper high quality, sizing, irrespective of whether it can open flat and if it is rather sturdy.


Lis Watkins Sketchbook



Elements intelligent I use a combination of watercolour and pen line. The watercolours are mainly from the Winsor & Newton Specialist vary, with a handful of additions from Daniel Smith and at the moment I also have just one from Deep Deep Light. Brushes are artificial ones, generally travel brushes from Escoda, which are really functional when out on locale. I am not the most careful individual with my supplies so the truth that you can pack them away devoid of damaging the bristles is helpful. For line, I use fineliners in black, sepia and white. I also have a little tin with further bits and parts like crayons and pastels which are valuable if I want to incorporate a bit of texture to a sketch.




More than time, these are the resources which I have identified to be most handy for getting the finest success. Working with supplies which are light and transportable is a huge thought when I go out drawing on area. Trustworthiness is especially important too. Colour decisions have formulated more than the yrs via experimentation, chatting to other artists about their certain favourites and also becoming specified samples to test out. I have introduced new colors to my watercolour tin when I have been browsing new areas as well.



When I frequented Lisbon in 2017, I included a Cobalt Turquoise and Naples Yellow as I felt they would be valuable for the sunnier local climate. Over the pandemic I extra far more greens as I was drawing in lots of parks and gardens. I have managed to squeeze 24 50 % pans in my watercolour tin following sensible advice from Liz Steele, who indicates eradicating the centre segment and incorporating a layer of Blu Tac to preserve the pans in place. I realize that you can mix so lots of colours from a a great deal scaled-down assortment but when on spot I am just wanting for the quickest and easiest way to seize the scene in front of me.



Sketchbooks are my favourite location to attract, where by I can be myself, just play and get in the flow, so I use them a lot. There is some thing about a sketchbook that is so personal, it does not have the complicated quality of a single blank sheet, you can just shut it up when you are finished. And there is often the prospect to switch a site and start out yet another working day if matters do not perform out pretty as you anticipated. When I glance back at my sketchbooks, I am transported back again to a certain position and time, drawings can evoke inner thoughts and recollections.


Lis Watkins Sketchbook


I am effectively a drawer (that always looks odd when you generate it down!) so the perform in my sketchbooks is my most particular expression, quick mark producing motivated by a response to the location. To be pretty truthful, they are not ‘for’ everything though of training course they can be helpful for making an attempt out distinct approaches and tactics, which then can have a knock on influence for illustration commissions.



In the previous I have also applied sketchbook drawings to make prints and lately I made a zine, London Greens, which was a assortment of my favourite sketches manufactured for the duration of the pandemic. I was invited to show it at the French vacation sketchbook festival, Rendez-vous du Carnet de Voyage, in November previous year, exactly where it was nominated for the Prix du Carnet de Voyage Global.


Lis Watkins Sketchbook


I enjoy the principle that ‘sketchbooks are laboratories,’ locations to experiment and acquire with no expectations. I am notably inspired by artists from the City Sketcher neighborhood like Jenny Adam, Swasky, Inma Serrano and Maru Godas who seriously use texture and color boldly in their sketchbook operate.


Lis Watkins Drawing


Sketchbooks are terrific for any artist to retain and use. They can be an priceless useful resource to glance again on if you experience stuck. They trace your inventive path, grow to be a visual diary. I imagine it is superior to find the ideal sort of just one that fits your exercise, it does not just have to be for drawing, you can stick items in, add notes, color swatches, whatsoever you want. You can pour your coronary heart into them, share them with everybody or present them to no a single.





Stillman and Birn Beta Collection


Winsor & Newton Watercolours

Daniel Smith Watercolours

Pens, Pencils, Brushes:

Rotring Tikky Pens

Pentel Black Brush Pen

Derwent Line Marker Pen in Sepia

Uniball Signo Wide White Gel Pen – equivalent to Sakura Gelly Roll White Gel Pen

Pentel Micro Suitable White Pen

Faber Castell Pencils

Crayola Crayons

Caran d’Ache Neocolour II

Escoda Travel Brushes

Pentel H2o Brush

Other Materials:

Bulldog clips

Jam jar for water

Sketching stool



About Lis Watkins

Lis Watkins is an artist specialising in drawing on area, vacation illustration and sketching workshops. She examined at Brighton and Kingston art faculties.

Drawing in sketchbooks is an integral aspect of her observe, wherever she captures regular day-to-day times, even larger town tales and travel adventures, employing watercolour and pen.

She is knowledgeable at making illustrations, visuals and hand-drawn maps for purchasers in the travel and functions sectors.

Lis is providing workshops this yr in Barcelona and Intragna, Switzerland and is also one particular fifty percent of the ‘Sketchwalk London’ group, introducing the corporate neighborhood to the wellbeing features of walking and drawing in their London locality.

Comply with Lis on Instagram

Check out Lis’s web-site



Further Examining

Lessons Uncovered Immediately after a Calendar year of Watercolour Portray

A Information to Watercolour Portray

Establishing a Each day Drawing Observe With the Royal Drawing School

Preparing a Watercolour Gouache Palette for Portray on Spot


Store Sketchbooks on


Clare McNamara

As Blog site Editor, Clare oversees written content for the weblog, manages the publishing routine and contributes frequently with attributes, testimonials and interviews. With a track record in high-quality arts, her procedures are illustration, graphic design and style, movie and tunes.