September 30, 2023


How Art Works

Contained in the Sketchbook of Ann Witheridge

7 min read

Ann Witheridge is the founding father of London Nice Artwork Studios and been instructing the craft of portray and drawing for over 25 years. Ann visited Jackson’s Studio together with her daughter Liberty, an artist following in her mom’s footsteps, to share her sketchbook apply with us. Discover out what sort of supplies she makes use of, and her recommendation for different artists approaching their sketchbook apply.



Ann Witheridge Takes us Via Her Sketchbook Observe

I’ve been portray full-time and instructing for 25 years. I’ve at all times had a sketchbook with me and love shopping for new sketchbooks. There’s a actual pleasure in attempting completely different papers and shopping for a sketchbook, which earlier than you could have even put pencil to paper, holds a complete vary of prospects and potential concepts for you. Though I at all times carry a sketchbook with me, I have a tendency to make use of it extra in my studio apply and as a instructing device.



There are numerous causes to maintain a sketchbook and to sketch. I believe it is rather necessary that you simply do it for pleasure and studying, which is able to develop into one of many identical. I favor engaged on toned paper as then we are able to put down darks and lights, beginning off from a midpoint. A number of artists work on white paper however I discover it fairly intimidating to be confronted with a clean web page of white paper. If I’ve a white sketchbook, I would put down a watercolour wash, or espresso wash first; on this method the paper already appears inviting earlier than you could have even began with the drawing.



Very similar to firming a canvas with a selected color, firming the paper first or engaged on completely different colored papers invitations you to maneuver in numerous artistic methods. There are these artists who’ve a transparent methodology and at all times work in the identical method. I’m not a kind of artists; I prefer to experiment and problem myself to make use of completely different media, completely different papers, and completely different surfaces.



I do lots of sketching with my daughters who at the moment are younger youngsters, I encourage them to tone their papers and produce pencils and chalks wherever we go. They’re so used to it, and much more pure than me. I believe you need it to develop into a part of your routine and never see your sketches as items of artwork work. Maybe draw one sketch subsequent to a different so that you simply be taught from every completely different drawing and strategy. A few of my sketches I reference and use as a part of my portray apply. Some I just do as doodles and won’t return to them for a while. Like writing a diary, I’m not sketching for the general public view, or for affirmation, they’re a part of my private journey. It’s superb how generally I’m going again to previous sketchbooks, they usually can evoke such private dialogues, locations and occasions, which for me an article can be much less capable of do.



I’ve so many sketchbooks and should confess that I really like shopping for and gathering them, and dreaming up what I’ll put in them, greater than filling them. I positively have an awesome selection which I take advantage of for very completely different tasks. My studio sketchbooks are a lot bigger and I take advantage of them as preliminary research earlier than portray. My plein air (panorama) sketchbooks are a lot smaller. I take advantage of them to work out compositions and get me into the rhythm earlier than I begin portray.




Within the studio I’ve very massive ones, usually with toned paper, these are extra for tasks. I like Strathmore paper, primarily as a result of they’ve an awesome number of papers and weights. Additionally the papers come in numerous colors; greys, tanned and pastel colors. If we use the identical model then we get used to the texture of the paper however can change up the color. Figuring out your papers is sort of necessary to me, as all papers have a unique really feel. You want a sure fluency when sketching, and in case you are additionally having to battle papers and regulate to new surfaces, this may take away from the method. When I’m sketching open air or in museums, I’m usually simply utilizing pencils and due to this fact I’m much less fussy concerning the floor, however the look of the sketchbook turns into necessary to me. I really like holding an beautiful small sketchbook because it places me in the precise temper when within the hubbub of life.




I like to make use of a wide range of supplies. I’m not an artist with a strict methodology, though I at all times work from life. With my supplies I favor to be experimental. When sketching out and about, my supplies are less complicated, I utilizing graphite pencils as comfortable as I can discover and possibly I deliver some chalk or sanguine. Within the studio I’ve a wider vary of supplies. I take advantage of pastels, charcoal, I experiment with firming the paper with inks, watercolour washes and even with casein powder to get a gritty construct up.



If I’ve toned the paper earlier than I begin a portray, it units me off to work in a freer, extra artistic course of. If a clean piece of white paper, I can really feel a bit uninspired. Very similar to firming a canvas earlier than you begin a portray, the color and floor on which you begin can lead your artistic course of into a unique course that you simply hadn’t anticipated.




I consult with my sketchbook very often, however I don’t actually have a routine of after I use my sketchbook. I’m positively sporadic. I’ve a sketchbook with me on a regular basis in my bag however haven’t made it a part of my every day apply. Usually part of my new yr’s decision is to be extra routine with my sketchbook, however like most of us I path off beam by February.



With my panorama sketchbooks, the sketches are positively used as a stepping stone in the direction of the portray, to suppose out and whittle away potential compositional mistake and concepts.



I believe whenever you first begin drawing and portray, it is best to use a sketchbook tons, and draw many drawings on the identical web page. Use your sketchbook for apply in mark making, design and musings. Your sketchbook is a private journey and never for public present, use it for experimenting and taking part in with concepts. It’s best to do multiple drawing on a web page as every drawing will inform the opposite, additionally composing a web page of drawings is so good to show you about design and the way compositions work collectively.




Each side of your sketchbook is necessary. If you’re an artist, then you definately just like the visible world and are an aesthete. So do take into consideration what kind of sketchbook you need to work on. I usually begin my sketchbook from the again as I’m presuming that I’m going to get higher not worse as I progress. Like strolling round an exhibition, I by no means comply with the route set out by the curators which is normally chronological. I like to begin within the final room, which is commonly emptier and see the artist’s work from their mature works to their beginnings.





Pencils 2B & 6B
Unison Color Delicate Pastels
Cretacolour Conte Onerous Pastels
Nitram Nice Artwork Charcoal
Vine Charcoal
Derwent Pastel Pencils
Strathmore Paper
Bristol Board
Ingres Paper



Ann and Liberty at Jackson’s Studio


About Ann Witheridge

Ann Witheridge has been instructing portray for over twenty years. She learn Historical past of Artwork at Christ’s School Cambridge earlier than shifting to Italy to review artwork full time. She returned to London in 2004 and based her personal artwork college London Fine Art Studios. She has written articles for a lot of artwork periodicals and given portray demonstrations and workshops in museums throughout London together with the Nationwide Portrait Gallery, Dulwich Image Gallery and Leighton Home Museum. She has additionally been invited overseas to provide workshops in Paris, Addis Ababa and Charleston, South Carolina. She loves instructing and portray in equal measure.

Visit Ann’s website

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Additional Studying

The Relationship Between the Artist and Their Supplies

The Grammar of Portray: Ann Witheridge of London Nice Artwork Studios

Invoice Murphy on Combining Supplies to Reinvigorate His Drawing Observe

Contained in the Sketchbook of Mark Chen


Store Sketchbooks on


Clare McNamara

As Weblog Editor, Clare oversees content material for the weblog, manages the publishing schedule and contributes commonly with options, critiques and interviews. With a background in high quality arts, her practices are illustration, graphic design, video and music.

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