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Tea, Milk and Honey

The paintings below are selections from a body of work created between 2010-2012. They demonstrate an approach to tinting drawings that I call Tea, Milk and Honey.

I talk at length about it in my book The Urban Sketcher – but also – in this self-printable one page download that summarizes the method in a short ‘cheat sheet’.


I should mention, this is not something I’ve invented from whole cloth – like any artist, I borrow from painters before me. Most prominently here from the early instructional videos by painter Joseph Zbukvic.

Though you might be hard pressed to see the influence. His work is much softer and wetter – and carried out with far greater skill and subtlety than my works from this time period.

But anyone who has read his first book (now out of print) might recognize the approach. I think my small contribution is to simplify things for the purpose of working quickly on location.

That, and a kind of cross-pollination with classical academic drawing. The use of a sharp division between what is in the light, and what is shadow shape. I then to like a more hard-edged drawing.

12July02_Sketchcrawl_Centre d'histoire de Montréal

This method remains what I recommend to beginners. It’s the way I learned to move from drawing into painting, with the minimum of frustration. There are as many ways to paint as there are painters, but this is what worked for me.

I think everyone is more adept at drawing than painting – most of us use a pen (or at least crayons and markers) for a few years before we pick up a brush. This kind of ‘tinting’ approach lets you create paintings that leverage your drawing skills.

It’s a great way to see some early success with watercolor. I hope the notes linked above, and the tips in my book will help you get started with sketching on location!


Sketch of my lunch of Grilled Sardines

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  1. Paintings | Citizen Sketcher | Jackie Braden's Artist Page

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