Usually I sketch in watercolours and pencil, then work up
the sketches in acrylic back in the studio. I prefer to choose
one or two species per sketching session so I build up knowledge
of the subject and sketch plenty of different poses. My wildlife
sketchbook page may also show habitat, colour notes and perhaps
written notes about anything that seems relevant or amusing
at the time. Sometimes I take a few photos for extra reference,
though my wildlife paintings are never just copies of a photo.
artists are often asked what equipment to take out sketching,
so here's a quick run down of my 'must haves':
a better view of my wild subjects I use fantastic Swarovski
optics: 8.5x 42EL binoculars and an ATS80HD telescope with
a 20-60 zoom eyepiece. Astoundingly good optics that I delight
in using, whether I'm sketching wildlife or birdwatching.
The angled eyepiece on the 'scope means I only have to move
my gaze a fraction to focus on the wild animal or bird and
my sketch. My old 'scope had a straight through eyepiece
but I've recently swapped and now wish I'd made the switch
contains sketchbook, pencils (3B-9B), oil and soft pastels,
compressed charcoal and watercolours. The sketchbook is
a hardback A4 with smooth but thick paper, heavy enough
to take a watercolour wash without cockling. Watercolours
are a mixture of makes, all artists' quality half pans.
I carry a number of brushes, making sure there's a good
selection of size and shape. I'm starting to work larger
(A2) in the field, hence experimenting with charcoal and
pastels. Arboreta cartridge is my preferred paper: the off-white
colour has less glare in bright light than pure white.
no wildlife sketching session would be complete without
a flask of coffee and some emergency chocolate. It's amazing
how often an emergency can occur!