Drawn to subjects that have been “battered by life,” British watercolor artist Denis Ryan, featured in the October 2012 issue of Watercolor Artist, has long found inspiration for his watercolor sketches in the urban landscape—the more rundown the better. Racing against time, he aims to capture old bridges, skyscrapers, shop windows and vintage neon signs before they’re torn down, replaced or rebuilt. The watercolor sketchbooks below show his ability to capture these scenes before they disappear.
I use Moleskine sketchbooks (as used by Hemingway, Picasso and Chatwin) in various sizes. I find particularly useful the expandable inner pocket that stores paper collage material I pick up on my travels.
I have all sorts of notes and ideas pasted into my sketchbook to remind me what to do in my larger painting.
This images gives you an idea how I work out different paintings. I often will stick pages in my sketchbook to compare images.
This sketch shows my early notes, suggestions and a rough idea of the color.
This quick color sketch gives me an idea of what my final painting will look like. It also gives me a chance to familiarize myself with the content.
Read more about Denis Ryan in the October 2012 issue of Watercolor Artist.
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