Friday, January 14, 2011

The Sketchbook Project 2011 - How to do a quick smudgy sky

I thought you all might appreciate a little tutorial on how to create a quick smudgy sky!

The finished sky, Cari-Jane Hakes
Step one: Get a scrap piece of paper with a clean edge and some pastels.  Scribble a little bit of your pastel on the scrap paper.  This is a good time to mix colours too - just scribble all the colours you want to blend on top of each other.

Step 1: mixing colours and preparing to smudge.
Step two: Line up your scrap paper with the edge of your drawing where you want the sky to start. Use your fingers to sweep the colour from your of scrap paper onto your 'sky'.

Step 2: transfer the colour onto your sketch (note, the pastel is picking up the grain of the paper )
Step three: Colour in any detail with a pencil that is close to the colour of your sky.

Step 3: Filling any gaps with a close matching coloured pencil 
Step four:  I use a little bit of matte varnish to seal the pastel in - otherwise it will tranfer onto the facing page when you close your sketchbook.  Obviously, wait till the varnish is dry before you close your book otherwise your pages will stick together and rip!  (Acrylic paint artists use this varnish so you will probably find it next to / close to the acrylic paint tubes in your art shop)  I have also used it on this page to seal over my rub-down transfer lettering.

Step 4: Seal in the colour with matte varnish
I hope that was helpful.  Obviously, you don't have to just limit this technique to sky.  It could be used to create shadows or moonlight etc.

I have just finished my final drawing for The Sketchbook Project 2011.  Just need to fill in my contents page and package it up ready for posting tomorrow.

And then, I really MUST clean this little house!


  1. this is pretty cool! Thanks for the tip!

  2. Rembrandt favourites. I love them to pieces. I use them on all kinds of pictures, usually in combination with ink and black pen and black markers, and acrylic paint. love them.

    Although never ever ever would i be able to use them so cleanly and so subtly as in your sketchbook images. SO beautiful!

    p.s Great tip about varnish.

  3. I am so proud of you. That's a bizarre thing to say, but as a fellow Mama, knowing all it entails (but knowing nothing of what your creativity entails) a fellow 'story-teller'....I am desperately proud of what you have done, I am honoured you have shared the journey with me (and all). I will miss these updates. I will miss Cedric. I will visit the pages in the months to come and remember all you shared, taught and journeyed with me. Love, Mrs L x

  4. Andrea - those pastels really are good - I have had mine for over 10 years and they are still working well.

    Mrs. L. - Thank you! My turn to cry xx

  5. I know, same! Some I have had since high school and uni! I remember buying thtem in the art shop in my home town!!


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