Paul Weaver Line & Wash Demo

On 10th Februrary we were treated to an informative and brilliant demo of line & wash by long-standing friend and regular demonstrator at our art group: PAUL WEAVER.

Paul started this two-hour session by showing us how to sketch figures, explaining how the proportions of body length of a person is equal to 7x the length of the head, the head always being drawn as an oval, never a circle. Showing how the torso, arms and legs are all cylinders (using a kitchen roll tube as an example), he quickly added a continuous contour line for each element to give girth and shape to his stick figure.

For the next part, with the help of one of our committee members acting as his model, he quickly sketched Eric in both a standing and sitting position to show how the elements he had explained worked, particularly in how to foreshorten limbs when the figure is seated. He continued by adding tonal shading before painting the skin tones using a mix of raw sienna and permanent rose. In a darker wash, he painted the background behind the figure to bring out the pale blue and white of Eric’s shirt. Although a simple line & wash sketch, there was no mistaking whom the image was of.

For the next part of the demo, Paul showed how he sketches groups of figures from various photographs. For these he uses a thin twig, matchstick, even a piece of thin bamboo to draw with and water-fast Indian ink, emphasizing that line & wash is not an outline drawing coloured in with paint but about tones, movement and shadows. From there, he draw a tonal landscape sketch which including several buildings, and demonstrated how to find the horizon line and determine perspective. Before adding figures to the landscape, he drew several on scraps of rough paper, moving these around the picture until he found the correct location to place them in, then drew their outlines on to the scene, scribbling in shading, tones and shadows.

This sketch progressed to a “proper” drawing, Paul constantly glancing at his tonal sketch, putting in the main points but keeping everything loose with no detail before adding watercolour washes. Outlines were added using a pen to pull the picture together before adding the final washes of paint, always painting the background first and working lighter to dark.

Two hours is not very long to demonstrate and complete a piece of art but Paul managed this in his usual humorous and skillful style, patiently explaining each element, at the same time giving us lots of helpful tips and hints on technique, brushes and tools. All in all, another excellent afternoon to a packed hall. I am sure we all learned a lot and hope it is not too long before he returns again.

Full details of Paul’s workshops, exhibitions, painting holidays and courses can be found on his website: