My sketching story

My sister in law Lisa told me about Sketchbook Skool. I always liked drawing, but from the age of 9 when my Grandmother Emma ( who was a painter and art teacher) died, I lost the initiative and always felt I did not know what to draw. Throughout my life I have done many painting, watercolour and drawing classes and trained as a Ceramic Artist, but always felt ‘if only I could draw….”

I always felt inadequate, that my drawings were boring, that I lacked composition skills and that I could not find inspiration. So I resorted to learn photography as a way to capture scenes, but I know now that the best way to enjoy a place is to see it with the eyes of the drawer.

In Sketchbook Skool my journey was a bit bumpy, I started with Stretching, but found the approach of the teachers was very graphical and not attuned to my style. Non the less I caught two or three gem teachings: I enjoyed

  • Lapin’s portraits
  • France Breville approach to cross hatching and cars and Ipad 53
  • Miguel Herranz was the turning point giving me freedom to take from each scene and teacher one thing I like and putting them together even on a the same page, to create something truly personal to me
  • Jason Das for capturing the moving scene and the skill to practice at drawing people, he said he was not good at it and then he practiced and learnt.

Then I did the Seeing course and here my hero was

  • Liz Steel I learnt to use pen and ink and watercolour washes, to paint teacups (I am a maker of teacups so this is very important and rewarding!) and I joined her online course on Edges at Sketching now

I started to hear about groups and FB groups like Everyday matters and Urban sketchers where I could share my drawings adding motivation to my work. I started to draw everyday and post pictures of my drawings. I joined Urban Sketchers London on an outing and found how nicer it is to draw in company. It can be daunting to draw in the street with people looking.

I bought Lynne Chapman book on sketching people and I am having a go sometimes from the television sometimes in cafes.

In a few weeks I will join the first three day course of Urban sketchers in Brighton and I hope that will be another jump forwards.

I am seeing the power of drawing as a way of keeping track of my life and seeing the world in a different way and noticing more of what is around me. I wish I could stop the car in the middle of the road to draw quickly a piece of architecture I just saw. In my bubble I feel freer than standing on the pavement. My latest project id to draw my parents in law’s house because sadly they are no more with us, to keep the memory of it.



Thinness of the rim

thinnes of a rimBefore I studied ceramics I never even considered the cup I was drinking from. I did not come from a tea culture and I used to take my daily espresso at a bar with colleagues, from the normal commercial little cups they give in Italy.

Coming to England opened to me an amazing possibility of exploration both in beverages and in containers. I started to make my own cups and in the struggle of the technical difficulty of throwing, the rim was the last thing I mastered. It was a miracle if I even got to the finished rim!

I learnt to judge the aesthetics and feel of my rims only in my third year at college, when I had gained enough skill to be able to consider all the elements of my finished product.

You can see in the picture a progression from the thicker one to the wobbly one to the more elegant one. I get a lot of good feed back for the pleasure in drinking from my cups and the thin rim is always mentioned.

I find now very unpleasant to drink from cheap industrial mugs and all the ones bough years ago sit unused in the back of the cupboard and I see even my children reach for the thin handmade ones.


It is a long process but it is very rewarding. Every year I clear my strawberry patch select the best plants and then cover the soil between them to avoid too many weeds and slugs. I cover the bed with nets against the birds and then forget about it for three month. Suddenly I notice the red appear and then I have to wait patiently until they are ripe all over. There is always a white patch on the underside. Another challenge is to get all the way home without eating them…

Tonight it is the first time we have a reasonable amount to eat for dinner and served in my “Wave” bowl ( see for more detail on the bowls)strawberries